Friday, September 21, 2012

Mural Process Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Here are two progress images on my mural in Caprese Michelangelo, Italy, the birthplace of the great Michelangelo Buanarrotti: one with shower cap, one without. Two days to go and I just enlarged the pool. Yes, this makes more work for me, but the artwork will be better.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Critter Watch Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

          My client wanted three buxomy babes in a pool setting with an Italian landscape and Roman ruins in the background. This evolved over time, as creative endeavors do. In late August or early September, I woke up with this idea that I did not want to create a voyeuristic situation as much as an inviting one. So, I decided to have the model try a pose that looked directly at the viewer and said, “Come on in; the water is fine.” Working in a visual language, sometimes it is difficult to communicate body language in text (e-mail). So, I shot a quick snapshot in my room while I struck the pose and sent it to the model to communicate what I wanted, time being of the essence by that point.

     I am struggling now with the acrylic paint. It seems so much more fun on landscapes, but seriously, for large areas and, thus far, skin, I am still wishing for my oils. Mostly it is the fact that acrylic dries fast (creating hard edges if I am not on top of it!) and that the color dries darker than applied. That latter makes it difficult for me to match areas that I have worked on earlier. Hmmm, practice and experience with this material could help that a bit.

     Today’s images are my “critter pics,” consisting of cinghiale (Italian for “boar”), a sunning lizard, and the swallows are back. Like the robins in central Texas, the swallows passing through here in Italia signify a season change. I wanted summer to last longer. I never got to swim enough and I like the warmth, as well as doing less laundry.

     Oh, yeah, and one image of my “Invitation” figure that greets one as he enters the room. This image just shows Notan design. I tend to build off of that and use it to check shapes before developing the figure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuscan Mural Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

     I have been working day and late evenings on this mural, with little time to write. I have been changing things a little as the mural painting progresses here in Caprese Michelangelo (east Tuscany), Italy. I include a few images here, with others being posted on my professional page on Facebook. If you click “LIKE” I believe you will receive updates of images in your Facebook newsfeed. Here is that link:
Facebook: Kelly Borsheim, Sculptor Page

     Back to work for me. I have started the figures today! Oh, for art techies, I am using Zecchi’s and Maimeri brand of (Italian) acrylic paint. Sandro Zecchi has become a friend and he and his staff were very helpful in helping me get what I need for this project. Grazie a tutti!

Happy birthday to two special people in my life: Lei and Bethany! You are both so lovely and true.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tuscan Trees in Mural

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have got trees now in my mural project! And they are not all bad . . . it is a start, anyway: One foot in front of the other. Well, now that it is behind me, I can confess that on the 14th, I lost my confidence. I am not sure why then, but . . . yes, I am. For all the preparation work that I did with perspective and composition decisions, once I got the enlarged drawing on the wall, it either was not what I thought I had designed or it was simply wrong; it did not work.

It is amazing how similar and yet how very different mural painting is from street painting. When I was street painting, people often asked me if I could do a large painting on canvas. “Sure,” I said, “this is what I do.” But when I quoted a price, many were stunned. Why would it be “so high” and take “so long” when I see you in the street recreating the Mona Lisa large, in one day, working for tips? Well, I do not mean to get off on a rant here, but basically, I was making temporary art on the street and a copy of someone else’s design. And while I always try to do a good job, street painting is more a performance art than it is fine art. I do not mean that in a negative way, by any means. I mean that I have a relatively short deadline and my main goal is to make an impression with a very large image during that time. Impress you. That is the goal of a street painter. Spettacolo!

Yes, of course I want to impress people with all of the art that I make. However, when I have time to design something and make it last, it is a whole other ballgame. There are other ways in which to impress. Yet there I was, standing before my work and not happy. I had redrawn the first figure because she just looked too small. And eventually did the same with the distant figure. And then, two days ago, I realized that the middle figure would not work at any size because the viewpoint to the model was wrong. She is below me (as viewer) and thus, my reference from my model must reproduce that viewing position.

I used to exhibit a terrible temper. But I have worked on that over the years because I did not want to be that person. I now tend to turn my anger inside and I am not too kind when I am angry with myself. Was mine an error in calculations (which I should know better!) or was I simply experiencing my first mural project and learning that theories are one thing, reality quite another? Harumph! Lucky me. Having a better understanding now of myself, I know that this love-hate thing is often a part of each creation. (Whew!) This is because I am trying something new with each artwork, even if it may not look like that to you.

Frustration turns to anger; anger to depression and lost confidence. I know that in this case, I was also feeling overwhelmed by what I wanted to accomplish, with a few voices telling me that I would not be able to do this project by my deadline. First step: breathe. Second: Slow down and take time to think about what needs to be done and in what order. Do not run. Walk. It is a tortoise-and-hare thing and progress is progress. I needed to stop thinking about being “forced” to move fast (not my forte), and get back to thoughts of making something worth seeing, regardless of deadlines.

So, I contacted my model and arranged to redo the pose for the figure I needed. In mural painting, unlike street painting, I must create the background first. I also need to create the scene before adding the figures into that scene. However, their sizes and placements help me determine other compositional elements in the whole work. That is why muralist Victor Goikoetxea told me that one always fully designs the mural before any of actual artwork gets done. There is none of this, “Let’s see where the artwork takes me” kind of thing possible in most other creative endeavors.

Allora, two days ago was a frustrating, but necessary part of this project. Today, the work is stronger; the figures sized into place. Yesterday, I got what I needed from the model, the lovely Anna Rosa. I also painted the first layer of the background. And I painted trees! I have another day at least ahead of me on the landscape, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And as they say, “Let us just hope it is not the train.”

If you have followed my career much, you will remember the name of master sculptor Vasily Fedorouk, who was my friend and mentor. Sadly and suddenly, we lost him just over three years ago. His wife Dilbara and I have remained good friends and now she is prepared to sell a selected few pieces of Vasily’s artwork. I will be announcing these pieces, with their prices, in my next art newsletter, which will come out later this month or early October, once I have finished my mural project. If you would like to be one of the first to receive this information, please sign up for my art newsletter. You may preview past newsletters on the following page, if you like: