Thursday, December 31, 2015

Modeling and Shoe Design

Dear Art Lover,

     Over the Christmas holiday, one of my girlfriends and I were reminiscing about our favorite models from our days together in Florence, Italy.  This one young man was intense and often studying during his breaks.  He was a professional cyclist and his figure told a lot.  Another friend of mine had a huge crush on him, so I organized a lunch one day at my nearby home and invited him over while she cooked.  Good times.  It is interesting to see how models lives change.  Some keep up with the work for artists; many move on.  Some do a little of both.

     I had an idea many years ago that my New Year’s Eve post would contain a new intentionally erotic artwork that I had made.  I wanted to bring back the memory of Pompeii and counteract this strange custom in the US (at least) of thinking negative thoughts about the bodies we have been given, as well as the bodies we have developed from what we have been given.  We have the capacity to bring and receive joy.  I believe that when we suppress many natural, but positive, qualities in ourselves, those desires manifest in crude ways.  I think it is better to teach our children healthy outlooks about our bodies and show them how magnificent the overall design!

     In this spirit, I would like to share with you my charcoal drawing of a standing Francesco.  I have not had time to create an intentionally erotic artwork, nor finish current figures in progress.  However, Francesco is a beautiful man, so I hope you can forgive me for sharing this drawing of him today.  I have many sketches of this model I wrote about in the above paragraph, but this one was a long-term study.  I am not sure why the school prefers to put the male models in this rather somber pose, but so be it.  Also, artists in the room got to pick their easel location based on a point system.  Since I was never great about doing homework or concerned about points, I was almost always last to choose.  I told myself that if I could get a good drawing from a position that no one else wanted, I would learn more.  But still, this pose rather fits our somber and often serious thinker, Francesco.

Francesco
27 x 12" charcoal drawing on paper 2008
by Kelly Borsheim
For more information on this artwork, please visit:


     As I was writing this post this morning, a friend shared on Facebook this inspiring video.  I love it!  This is a fantastic story and with a Florence connection, too. Dream, but more importantly, listen (others sometimes see your voice before you do), and ACT. Watch this:  A great way to get inspired for your new year. And, yes, the shoes are cool, too!



     I hope you have fun plans for New Year’s Eve.  I will be dining with local friends and dancing afterwards.  I must say that I am surprised at the social life in these Tuscan mountains and was even more surprised when one of my British friends in Florence asked me if I was feeling isolated and lonely here.  Nope! 

     Joy and love and peace to you.

Ti voglio bene,
Kelly


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Orion Constellation rising Over New Studio

Dear Art Lover,

     Last night my landlord Nori and a helper moved the rest of my belongings from his home in a nearby village to my new home.  He had been storing these things for me since October.  If you have seen my Facebook posts, you probably know how grateful I am for him.  I never want to move again.  I have spent weeks washing almost everything that I had in storage this summer to get rid of the mold smell.  Combined with Italia’s washing machines normally taking 2.5 hours per load and hanging things to dry, you can imagine why it took me so long. 

     That and helping Nori with construction / decorating decisions on my new home, while I lived in the one he has next door.  I am having flashbacks of building my studio with John B. in Texas back in 1995.  That was harder:  John and I were often up working until 3 a.m. on the plumbing and electricity, trying to keep up with our builder since we could not afford to pay him to wait for us.  With both John and me having day jobs at the time, we were pretty tired. Here in Italia, time moves in a different way, and in the end, it all comes together.


     I want be back to painting by at least the first of January, even if I am not fully set up in my studio.  Last night I went to pick one of my landlord’s lemons (he offered!) for a stew I was cooking and again, I got to admire one of the things I miss about my former home in central Texas:  the stars!  You do not see such skies in cities!  These are a few of my snapshots from last evening and you may see the constellation Orion (and his more famous belt) rising in the east above an agriturismo on a nearby mountain.  The latter image Orion is almost straight up in the sky:  “a beautiful sight, I am happy tonight.”



     And then this evening:  a bonfire in a neighboring town that I have never yet visited.  I love fire like this, anyway.  This really is feeling like a new year to me and a new life, indeed.

Peace,

Kelly


http://BorsheimArts.com



Monday, December 28, 2015

Magnify Art Appreciation

Magnifying Glass for Art Detail Museo dell'Opera Florence, ItalyDear Art Lover,

     I love it when museums do clever things to encourage one to stop and appreciate even the tiniest detail of good work.  In these photos, the Museo dell’Opera in Florence, Italy, has housed some delicate and precious art behind glass.  And then they created this wonderful contraption that slides horizontally along the glass front, and then the magnifying glass is attached to this structure so that the viewer may also move the magnifier up or down.


     I think the Louvre in Paris should do this with the famous Gioconda [as the Mona Lisa is called by the Italians], but applied in another way.  I never saw Leonardo’s masterpiece because I had only one day there and it was clear that there was either the choice to stand in line all day for a 15-second viewing (possible exaggeration) or I could see a lot of the rest of their collection.

Magnifying Glass for Art Detail Museo dell'Opera Florence, Italy      

     On a side note, I am loving my new community.  There is a bonfire in one of the neighboring villages on the 30th, and I will go to a dinner with dancing on New Years’ Eve.  Country people are so very kind and sincere, even if everyone knows just about everything about everyone.  Hahah.  I only really just moved in last night since I saw that my landlord was getting tired.  I told him not to worry about moving in the refridgerator until after Christmas because my guest and I were happy living in the house next door.  One “problem” with my landlord is that the more he looks, the more he finds.  But I adore him for wanting to make sure that this house looks and functions well for me.  What a treasure!

Peace,

Kelly

Friday, December 25, 2015

Ti Voglio Bene

Niccolò Barabino painter religious art, Saint Nicolas, Italy
Dear Art Lover,

     The Italians have two ways (at least) to say, “I love you.”   The one with which most foreigners might be familiar is, “Ti amo.”  Literally, “You, I love.”  This phrase is usually reserved for romantic or passionate love.  The other way to say “I love you” is, “Ti voglio bene.”   Literally, “You, I want well.”  You will hear this spoken between friends and family. 

     In my salt and pepper experiences in amore, I must say that passion fades.  Not always, and it may change without disappearing, but it seems only a relatively lucky few figure out how to keep the flames from burning out.  Another observation is that passionate or romantic love is often about the lover more than the beloved.  It can be a bit selfish in its urgency.  However, “I want you well” is actually a generous desire.  Is that not more about the beloved; perhaps even without much thought to the needs of the one who expresses the love? This form of love strikes me as true, dependable, and longer lasting.

     I tend to think that English is a more precise language.  We have so many similar words with slightly different meanings.  We can be quite specific in what we communicate.  However, I think the Italian way of distinguishing the kind of love is actually helpful.  Imagine the chaos of miscommunication:  the stuff of movies, or of drama queens!  [By the way, Italians also have two words for “gift.”  Il regalo is generally used for presents one gives on occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, job-related events, etc.  Il dono is the kind of gift one gives from the heart.  It has more emotional meaning.  This could mean a donation to a charity, a gift of an organ to a loved one in surgery, or even a simple stone given “just because.”   Charming, isn’t it?]

     Perhaps you will remember the post I made on 15 December, in which I presented a marvelous painting by Niccolò Barabino (1831–1891).  Her home is in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy

     There is another painting that I believe is by the same author.  I had to ask one of the docents how to get up on the next floor to see it.  By elevator only, she said.  When I arrived, the whole floor seemed closed off.  However, I had only come to see more of what was visible on the floor beneath me.  I really love this painter’s use of dark and light to emphasize his subject.  And perhaps you will recognize one of these saints.  Hmmm?  Allora, Merry Christmas.

Ti voglio bene,
Kelly

~  Kelly Borsheim, artist


Niccolò Barabino painter religious art, Saint Nicolas, Italy

Niccolò Barabino painter religious art, Saint Nicolas, Italy

Niccolò Barabino painter religious art, Saint Nicolas, Italy

Niccolò Barabino painter religious art, Saint Nicolas, Italy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saints Remembered Florence Italy

Relics of saint, Bernardo Holzmann, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Florence, Italy
 Dear Art Lover,

     A lot of cultures have quite exotic rituals about the dead, especially those they deem important dead.  Italy, perhaps being Italy, tends to create elaborate sculptural containers out of precious materials.  They hold the relics of saints, often parts of bones.  The creativity of these containers, as well as the metals and stones that were used, give one an idea of how treasured are these revered creatures.

      The images on this page come from some of the collection of the Museo dell’Opera in Florence, Italy.  Two of the Florentine-based artists responsible for such artworks are Giovanni Battista Foggini and Bernardo Holzmann.  They created the Reliquary of Saint Agatha’s Veils and other relics between 1710 and 1714.
     Sig. Foggini sculpted the tomb of Galileo Galilei inside Basilica di Santa Croce.  After he became his time’s favored sculptor of the Medici, he bought a bronze foundry on Borgo Pinti in Firenze.  It was once owned by Giambologna.  Who believes this?  Sometimes it blows my mind, this city so full for centuries, of artists, architects, and artisans.

Relics of saint, Bernardo Holzmann, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Florence, Italy

Relics of saint, Bernardo Holzmann, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Florence, Italy     Not much is known about Bernardo Holzmann, as far as the place of his birth or the date, but he is likely German.  His work is known in Tuscany, mostly connected with the Gran Ducal workshops and G.B. Foggini.  He died in 1728 in Florence, Italy.
Here is an article (in Italian) about the artist:
 but you may also put his name into Google and then click on “Images” to see much more of his work.

     While these designs are too ornate for my personal taste, I like the idea of them.  They are signs that we cherish someone with desirable qualities.  We cherish a “brava persona,” a person whose words match his actions, a person who thinks of and helps others.  We cherish those who truly know how to love. 
Cherishing is one of the qualities that we need more of in the world.  I love it because it is a cousin to Gratitude and Appreciation.  And on that note:

Happy birthday, MOM!  You make 70 years look good!  Keep on keepin’ on.
     Happy 70th birthday to you, my mamma! You made it possible for me to do so many things, most notably, the artist that I strive to be and the courage to try it all. Thanks, Mom. I love you!

Happy 23 December to you all.

Peace,

Relics of saint, Bernardo Holzmann, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Florence, ItalyKelly

Relics of saint, Bernardo Holzmann, Giovanni Battista Foggini, Florence, Italy 



Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Solstice Nature's Holiday

I took this shot from my window on 7 Dec.
Dear Art Lover,

     The solstice has arrived again.  I hope that you have peace in your life, as I have found with my new life in Italia.  I will get to move into my new home just before Christmas and each day, I find myself happier than the day before.
    Today, I was amused after we picked up a couch that was offered to my landlord.  However, they made their calculations and knew that it was going to be difficult to get it INTO this old Italian stone house.  My images here showed how they were successful in getting the long couch into the front door, but not around the bend in the hallway and staircase.  Plan B was to take the couch back outside and shove it in through the window of the room of its final destination [one floor up from a slanting hill ground surface].  The boys had to remove the shutter frames and interior windows to make enough room through the stone walls.  My images are not so good since I needed to help the guys from inside the house, but I hope you may get the idea.  

















I wrote about this sort of thing before here:


     While I have been painting in the house next to mine, I gave that up to prepare gifts and help with the many decisions in furnishing an empty home. 

Thank you for your interest and best wishes for the season.

Ti voglio bene and Happy Solstice!


Kelly



Friday, December 18, 2015

Silver and Gold Florence Italy

Dear Art Lover,
     Rudolph is one of my favorite Christmas programs on TV.  When I was at university, I even bought the videotape and sang along loudly [alone, since my flatmates thought that I was nuts].  The arrangement and soothing voice of Burl Ives singing “Silver and Gold” always made me cry, as I inevitably thought of loves lost and the sweetness of loves retained over the years.  Here it is if you wanna listen:

    Artwise, I am still in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy.  To be honest, most of the time, I can out-museum most of my friends.  However, in this period in which I have not been very productive in my own art creating, I find my mind wandering no matter how interesting the museum contents and presentation.  This next work of art at first got the “Boh!” response from me, as I peeked around the corner to gaze upon it.  However, the Italian tour guide caught my attention.  He was very expressive and enthusiastic about this piece, so I meandered over and started to photograph him as his whole body told stories.

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

    So much of this art is TOO silver and gold . . . it just seems “over the top” and one sees the shine or glare, if you will, more than the forms.  However, upon closer look, it is amazing the sheer skill and ideas put into this altar that was created in the years from 1367 to 1483.  It features twelve scenes from the life of John the Baptist.

     Again, I must quote the museum display:
      “This room contains an altar front and a monumental cross of pure silver, restored between 2006 and 2012, with a combined weight of 250 kilograms in metal parts alone.  Commissioned by the Arte di Calimala – the cloth merchants’ guild – and realised beginning in 1367 by artists spanning several generations, these intricate assemblages of thousand of components were at the center of the principal religious celebration of the Florentine Republic, the feast of the city’s patron saint, John the Baptist, on June 24, when altar and cross were installed in the church dedicated to Saint John, the Baptistery.”

     On a side note, I am touched that my new community is already involving me in the life here.  I have been asked to dress the part of a medieval sculptor [they provide the clothes] for the town’s “Living Nativity” on Christmas Eve.  It will feel great to have a hammer in my hand again, even if I am unlikely to be using it on this occasion.  Also, yesterday, I was asked to speak to the local mayor’s assistant [in Italian he is called the Assessore, which looks like two funny English words put together for a public servant’s title].  My local friends seem to think that my new-to-the-community voice, especially as a sculptor, will help them give some life to a seemingly forgotten decade-old project.
     
Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist
Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist


Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist

Silver and Gold Florence Italy Altar Saint John the Baptist
To the right is a video on the far wall that tells more of the story.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Stone Sculpture Museo dell’Opera Florence Italy

Dear Art Lover,

     I hope you are not tired of these posts from my visit to the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy.  Today, I thought I would share with you some more of the stone carvings.  I really would like to know more about how so much carving of stone was done before the days of electricity.  Some of this stone is not that soft!


      For example, look at this large tub.  I apologize for not reading the label (or in this case, even photographing it for review later).  I might have understood what the tub was used for:  Is it a fountain basin for the local water supply?  Was it a marble bathtub?  Was it a coffin for a child?  That latter does not seem likely since the bas relief designs on the front do not seem consistent.  In any event, notice how much decoration there is!  Lots of architecture houses the human figures and aids in the feeling of symmetry.  Note that the figures are purposely out of proportion to one another, all for the sake of design and decoration.  I love the figure emerging from the slightly opened door.  It adds some action to the otherwise static composition.

     These others just made me smile.  The grouping with the Madonna and Child seems normal, but then, look at the gesture and expression of the figure on the right.  How funny is that?  While the others are interested in what’s up, this guy is looking down on us little people and appears to be aware of us and waving hello.
Marble Sculpture Florence, Italy, Museo dell Opera del Duomo religious art

Marble Sculpture Florence, Italy, Museo dell Opera del Duomo religious art


  And this other, rather dissolved looking couple struck me as smooching and was unexpected among religious themes (is that not sad?).  Anyway, see what you think.

Marble Sculpture Florence, Italy, Museo dell Opera del Duomo religious art

Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher




Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy
 Dear Art Lover,

     In the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy, I discovered an artist to admire.  I had never before heard of Niccolò Barabino (1831–1891), but I think his painting in the museum is fantastic.  I share it with you here.  It is titled, Christ Enthroned with Mary and Florentine Saints and was created from 1882 to 1883.

    The composition is brilliant and I admired so many things that I see as definitely intentional.  The composition is set up as symmetrical, but then the variations create a situation that hardly leaves one with a feeling of repetition.  Christ at the center, with the largest area of white or light colors is no doubt the subject of the painting.  The lilies in their vase serve as an obvious pointer, in case our eyes could forget.  The vertical columns on either side of him lend a strength and stability, and even a calming effect (assurance of a sense of well-being?) to the painting.

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

     The figures on the left are all aligned mostly horizontally in their halos, yet there is enough of a change that there is no stiffness in the postures of the figures or their relationships to one another, while the diagonally line of the figures are right (and continued by the raised arm of Christ) serve to point to our subject. 

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

     I enjoyed the perspective in the scene, as well as the 3-dimensionally painted dark niche behind Christ’s figure that really helps to again, put the focus on him.  I like how he plays the lights and darks against one another to emphasize (or play down) each of the personalities of the saints while never losing sight of compositional interest.

     One might think that red is such a strong color that an artist would be a fool to paint the only really large red shape off to one side. But if you look, you will see that he has spread around the staircase and the right background enough of this same muted red serves as a sculptural base or even a frame (if you count the darker, cooler reds in the niche behind Christ’s head).  The artist has done the same thing with the whites or light shapes in the composition.  Christ receives the largest and most eye-catching white shape in his robes.  However, the worshiping figures each contain a figure in “white,” but they do not take up as much real estate and are beautifully designed to strengthen the composition.
Niccolò Barabino Painter Florence Italy

     I love it that the faces are individuals and beautiful.  I also love it that the artist snuck in a half-dressed man next to the nun.  Each character’s head is different, in hair style or hat or veil… lovely variety! 

     Anyway, I truly admire this work of art and I am glad that the next time I walk past the Duomo, I will look more closely at the painting under the same-shaped arches and hope to see more of Niccolò Barabino’s paintings. 

     If you would like to learn more of this artist, this may be a decent start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicol%C3%B2_Barabino

Peace,

Kelly

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher






Saturday, December 12, 2015

Florence Museo dell’Opera Stone Fragments Mosaic

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments MosaicDear Art Lover,

     Fragments tend to interest me sometimes more than “perfect compositions.”  Maybe it is the idea of “less is more,” but I tend to think it has more to do with the simultaneous feeling of mystery (what did it look like originally when complete?) with education.  With fragments, one can often understand more about the process used… in a sense:  removing a mystery, albeit a different one.
  
     Here, I am still in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence, Italy.  Here is what the museum wrote for the display titled, “Fragments of Magnificence.” 

“During demolition of the unfinished medieval Cathedral façade in 1587, most of the surface decoration was lost; the few surviving fragments are shown in this room.  Among these are pieces found while excavation beneath the nave of the Santa Maria del Fiore to uncover the remains of the old cathedral, Santa Reparata.  In the course of those excavations in 1965-1973, the pavement of the new Cathedral had to be removed, and on the underside of some white marble slabs 14th-century decoration came to light, confirming that the Opera del Duomo had recycled its costly stone to suit the needs of an evolving project.
     The carves slabs and those with colored and gold mosaic inserts made the Duomo façade an image of the heavenly Jerusalem described in the New Testament, whose walls are made of precious stones (Revelation 21, 18-21).  Especially at sunset, when the Cathedral front glows in the waning light, the allusion to that future city must have been clear.”

   Enjoy.

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic
What might look like popcorn under the mosaic is actually marble.

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments MosaicFlorence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic



     I am not above taking a donation.  Even five bucks is a help, if you enjoy what you read about and see in my images here on this blog.  Thank you.  [You may make a donation via the PayPal links on the side bar on the blog site:  http://artbyborsheim.blogspot.com ]

Peace,

Kelly

Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments Mosaic~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher



Florence Museo dell’Opera del Duomo Stone Fragments

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