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Borsheim Art Newsletter:

by Kelly Borsheim copyright 3 March 2010

  1. Sculpture Challenge This Saturday
  2. New Work-Santo Spirito Shadows
  3. Viewing Perspective in Art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
  4. Pastels in Paradise - Hawaiian Art Journey
  5. New Austin Venue - The Curiouseum
  6. Subscription Info.

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[perspective in art]

"Creation of Man" (1511)
Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Dear Art Lover,
"Well, hello there … how ya doin'?" (I am hearing the soulful voice of Austin's own WC Clark, in honor of the SXSW Music Festival that happens this month here in Texas.)

This Saturday sculptors from around central Texas, including myself, will be helping Philip and Michele Hoggatt of Carved Stone in Dripping Springs raise money for PAWS - a local animal shelter. The event is titled the "Sculpture Challenge" and you can come out and stroll through a garden full of 3-dimensional art and chat with the artists who created most of the works there.

You may also cast your vote for your favorite sculpture and 20% of all sculpture sales this Saturday benefit PAWS. Voting concludes by 4 p.m., but the grounds are open from 10 am to 5:30 p.m. You do not even have to buy art to help out the shelter: The small entrance fee goes directly to PAWS.

CARVED STONE, INC. - Sculpture Challenge March 6
5300 Bell Springs Rd., Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Phone: 512-858-5665

For more information and directions, visit: http://joomla.sculpturechallenge.com

New Work-Santo Spirito Shadows

I recently finished another 2-dimensional work in my pastel and charcoal series inspired by my beloved Florence, Italy. Despite the interesting subject matter, my goal is always to capture her illusive and rapidly changing light.

There is a small thumbnail of the drawing "Santo Spirito Shadows" at the end of this email for you to enjoy. I am delighted that when I return to the Renaissance City soon, I will be living quite close to this very active "piazza." No doubt there will be stories reflected on my blog as well.

To see more and larger images of "Santo Spirito Shadows," visit her page online at:

[Santo Spirito Shadows pastel art]
[perspective in art sistine chapel]

Viewing Perspective in Art

Over the years I have been giving the art observer's point of view an increasing amount of thought. Many events have factored into this, especially museum trips in America and in Europe. And of course, I am a viewer as I analyze my own work during and after the creation of it.

Several years ago, I heard a lecture while I was in Florence about Michelangelo and his famous Sistine Chappel. In it I heard that the great artist began work on the ceiling with the more recent events first, intending to work backwards in the timeline towards creation. The theory (perhaps fact - that escaped me) was that after finishing several of the panels, he climbed back down the scaffolding and looked up. What he saw sent him back to the drawing board to change the compositions of the rest of the panels.

Here are two views of the ceiling. Intricate and amazing, one could easily strain the muscles of the neck from enjoying too much this figurative art. Artists communicate in a visual language and as such, at least the better ones, are conscious of the environment in which their work will be viewed.

[perspective in art sistine chapel]

Our designs usually incorporate various "tricks" so that the viewer may "read" the work the way in which we intend. For example, for centuries sculptors have been aware that huge works or statues that are placed very high up and seen from the ground, must skip the fine details of more accessible works and instead play with the light using large planes more than soft forms. Sometimes we even create a distorted figure or architecture that will look "proper" from where the audience will be standing.

In this first detail shot of the ceiling, you may see the three panels in the center column. Top: The Drunkenness of Noah (1508-1509) Center: The Great Flood (1508-1509) and at the Bottom: Noah's Offering (1509). Note how complicated are the compositions with their multiple figures.

[perspective in art sistine chapel]

In this second image, you may see from top to bottom: God Dividing the Waters from the Earth (1511), Creation of the Sun and Moon, and Creation of the Planets (1511), and God Dividing the Light from the Darkness (1511). Note that while the panels are the same size as the others, in this series, there are far fewer figures and they are larger in scale. The backgrounds are more simple and lighter.

In short, the designs painted later are much easier to see and to read by viewers who are standing on the floor and looking up to a quite high ceiling.

[perspective in art sistine chapel]
[viewing distance for art sightsize]
[viewing distance for art sightsize]
[viewing distance for art sightsize]

While I have yet to receive a ceiling commission, I do a lot of walking back and forth while creating my own works of art. My students hear me advise often that they stand while they work. This is largely to remind the artist to take a step back now and again to evaluate their compositions from a distance.

I used the Sight-size Method to create my charcoal and pastel drawing of Donatello's portrait sculpture of the Medici banker Niccolò da Uzzano. While this precise drawing method utilizes a very specific viewing point, there were still many times in which I would step further away from this point to evaluate my work with a fresh eye. Other times, I would advance closer.

The distance simplifies and I can see more clearly my overall design in Notan - a composition of light and dark. Naturally as I move closer, I can see more detail. And finally, when I move almost on top of the work, I see the finest of detail and even the grain of the paper. [Unfortunately, my camera did not catch that sharp focus and this particular work is still in Italy, so I could not re-photograph it before press time.]

There tends to be a viewing position for each artwork that seems perfect - one can see the overall design, as well as enough of the personal touches of the artist to give an overall wonderful and sensual experience. As an artist, I enjoy changing this viewpoint and working to expand this ideal position as much as possible. And often I find that moving around helps me discover the secrets of subtlety that I cannot often perceive any other way.

[viewing distance for art sightsize]
Portrait of Niccolò da Uzzano (After Donatello)

64 x 46 cm (25" x 18")
charcoal with pastel / carboncino con pastelli
grey Roma-brand paper
© 2008
Kelly Borsheim

[Click on the image above to see Donatello's original sculpture bust.]

[perspective in art street painting] [perspective in art street painting]

And besides straight-on distance from the artwork, a viewer's perspective can most easily be altered (and in more dramatic ways) when standing almost anywhere besides directly in front of a 2-dimensional work. I include here two images that were taken of me while I was street painting in Florence, Italy. We generally draw our horizontal compositions from the viewpoint of a bird in the air, so most everyone sees some distortion in what we paint. This is why we photograph our works holding our cameras as high up and in the center of our compositions as much as we can. But you may see here in these images that none of these positions of the photographer are ideal for viewing the art.

For me, this is part of the fun of chalking in the streets. It is different. It can be entertaining. And I hope to get people to think a little bit about how many ways they may enjoy art and creativity.

[perspective in art street painting]

If you would like to know the story behind this artwork, please click on my blog entry here about warped art.

[perspective in art warped art viewing]

Pastels in Paradise - Hawaiian Art Journey (HAJ)

I recently posted an announcement on Facebook for my pastel workshop on the Big Island of Hawai'i in September and have gotten some very positive responses. The day after that I received a call from Hawaiian Art Journey's Robert Adams that included new information about the optional day trip to the National Volcanoes Park. You may see all of the new details online at:

And I am happy to report that many attendees of recent HAJ workshops have sold their artworks to resort visitors. What a cool way to fund your art and beach habits! You will have to price your work accordingly, but that fine print is also on the page above. I hope you will join me - this is going to be a lot of colorful fun!

Become an Art Fan on Facebook

I am also trying Twitter . . .

New Austin Venue

There is a new cultural space developing in Austin, Texas, and my friends Ruth Glendinning and Susan Buhrman have asked me to be a part on it with them. So, they are now representing my work in Austin and I hope that you will go by to see what they have, including a beautiful line of antique French wood furniture.

The Curiouseum
6800 West Gate Boulevard, Austin, TX, 78745
Phone: 512.925.4085

BREAKING NEWS at The Curiouseum in The Marketplace: "Wine, Women & Wood" (and who would not be intrigued by THAT title?)
Saturday Mar 27, 6-10 pm,
6800 West Gate Boulevard
featuring Thierry Amisse wood craft, Kelly Borsheim paintings & sculpture, and a wine to be named later. Live music too!

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That's it for now. I hope to see you soon!
Thank you for reading and by all means, forward this newsletter to anyone you think would enjoy it. All of the events mentioned here are open to the public.

Pace (peace),
Kelly Borsheim
3 March 2010

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