Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tenebrism Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I fell in love with an old wooden spool the other day. What fun we had! Perhaps you have read the stories of Giuseppe, the shoe flirt and his father (now flirting elsewhere). I had originally decided that my painting project of Tenebrism would be about the historical music of Firenze, such as in my pastel on black paper artwork “World Traveler.”

However, after the many interesting exchanges with Giuseppe, I changed my Tenebrism subject to something more personally connected to my life. "Mr. Kisses" was generous enough to loan me some old tools for repairing shoes, so old he said he could live without them for about four months. He also gave me pieces of leather, polish, and various doodads that I asked for, not knowing how I would arrange the items. I bought the old shoe forms from an antique market in Piazza Santo Spirito. The old sewing machine is borrowed from another artist friend. And the spool on top of it came from Norway, handed down from a mother to a daughter, who is living now in Firenze and is a sweet friend of mine.

I am using the Sight-Size Method, which is a time-saver for those who can draw, and a crutch for those who cannot. So, my canvas is situated perpendicular to my eye position about two meters away and alongside the grouping of objects in the middle ground of my composition. In this exercise, I have three distinct groupings, with at least seven centimeters between each section. I have arranged them in a way that I hope is pleasing, but also in a way that conveys depth. I want a feeling of space on my two-dimensional canvas. My first image here shows you my work station from my viewing position, where all judgments are made.

I prepared a canvas with a dark campitura of burnt umber, black, and white. Now I will sketch in the basic shapes with charcoal. I have drawn too much in my attempts to get the shapes right the first time, but since this is the first time I have painted this type of painting, I will give myself a break about it. It just means that I have done more work than necessary.

The next step is to take a mixture of raw umber and a smidgeon of white and make a tone painting of everything that is darker than the campitura. I only work on a section that I can finish in one sitting.

I then repeat the process, using black this time with a little bit of black medium. You may see in this image how little of the sewing machine remained in the raw umber stage. Actually, I left too much of it light just because I did not relish the time wasted in redesigning the shapes of some parts.

You may notice, though, that the spool on the top of the sewing machine did not exist when I painted the raw umber tone painting. I find this stage of painting subtlety in the darks glorious fun and wondered how I could ever make myself add any color to this painting! My goal is to keep everything soft, yet rounded as its form is, and in the right amount of light. So, now, I am off to the studio again to finish the black!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mobius Strip Sculpture

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Many different ideas come together to form a single idea for a work of art. That is the case with Möbius Mouth. I bought this particular piece of creme Rattlesnake Limestone from another Texas carver that I know. This stone is named after the shape of the fossil shells embedded in the limestone - they resemble the rattle on the tail of that well-known snake. When I have a busy patterned stone, I want to carve a simple shape to show off the personality of the stone. Mathematics, in one form or another, never seems to be far from my mind, so I decided to sculpt a Möbius Strip in the shape of an open mouth as part of my Lips Series.

”Möbius Mouth” by Kelly Borsheim

Take a long strip of paper or a ribbon, such as 1” wide by 10” long. As you pick up one end, give it a half twist before attaching it to the other end to form a ring. You will now have a Möbius Strip, which means that you may "travel" from one side of the ring to the other without crossing an edge. [Take your pencil and mark a point on the flat surface of the paper; anywhere, just not on the edge, but in the center makes for a better demonstration. Draw a line with your pencil in one direction along the length of the surface. Keep on until you reach your starting point. You will discover that your pencil has traveled on “both” sides of the paper without breaking your line! THAT is the genius of the half twist.]

Named for German mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868), a Möbius Strip only has one side and one edge. I understand that engineers have used a Möbius Strip in the belt of a car engine, for example. The twist allows the belt to wear out evenly and have a longer, more effective life.

My 2-part stone sculpture Möbius Mouth is part of my "Lips Series." The mouth has a heart shape in the negative space inside the lips. He is carved from a Rattlesnake Limestone from Texas, named after the shape of the shell fossils in the stone. The triangular base enhances the idea of the mathematics of the Möbius lips and is carved from Henna Limestone from Canada. This rich brick red colored stone is saturated with golden fossil patterns in which I find I can lose myself for hours while staring at them. I hope you enjoy this original artwork. He is absolutely one of a kind!

Limestone sculpture may be displayed indoors or out. The top piece rests on a stainless steel pin (so no rust) that is permanently mounted into the red stone base. This also allows you to turn the top stone for a different view each day, if you like. Both stones have been sealed for protection from finger oils and the environment, so please – touch and enjoy!

The price of this sculpture is not listed below. While prices of my available works are posted on my Web site pricelist, in this case, I wanted to encourage you to take a look at my anniversary celebration that is happening now. If you add this or many other sculptures to your art collection (or start one!), check out how much more art you may acquire…thank you for reading and for your art appreciation.

"Möbius Mouth"

Rattlesnake Limestone (Texas)
with Henna Limestone (Canada)
17" h x 22" w x 8.5" d
by Kelly Borsheim

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Identity Crisis Sculpture

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I try to use my head often, but it is my heart that typically makes the decision and asks the brain to figure out how to make the idea into reality. I have been experiencing a bit of an identity crisis lately. I am living here in Firenze, Italia, a place I feel strongly connected to although I do not exactly know why and maybe do not need to. I am studying the art of painting in a classical style. I am enjoying it and learning a lot. I am.

But my hands are missing the touch of the stone and the feel of a heavier tool. Some days it feels that painting is a system of constantly making corrections, while stone carving means knowing that I may not be able to redesign if I remove too much material. One shot. One unique stone. There is no putting ON of the stone. One would think that this would be stressful, but I find this process strangely freeing and intellectually challenging. Perhaps freeing BECAUSE of the challenge.

Does it matter? I need to get back to it. I need my drug. I need to touch a stone and work with it again. And the heart is strong in this desire and rarely patient. Since January is my anniversary month for taking the art-life plunge and I typically make a special offer to promote art for the home and office, the brain decided to “up the ante” this year and create a promotion involving my stone carving. Some part of me hopes that if I find new homes for my existing stone carvings, I will feel the void in my studio and then the priority in my life will have to change and I will be carving again sooner than originally anticipated.

Allora, this special offer is described in my latest art newsletter: It is the best “sale” I have ever had, giving you more art with each purchase. Offer expires on February 15, 2013. Valentine’s Day gift, anyone?

The sculpture ”Encounter” (shown in this post) was carved from the most amazing stone. It is called Astra marble and features white crystalline starburst patterns in a black rock. Busy, but beautiful. The stone came to me from a quarry in Canada. I wanted to design simple elegant lines to show off the stone and eventually created a pair of stylized manta rays.. Like many of my stone carvings, you may see images of the work-in-progress on my Web site.. This is the best time to get the art you love! If not this sculpture, maybe another (stone or bronze or even terra-cotta).