Dear Art Lover,|
Here in Firenze, Italia, I am working to improve my oil painting skills. That means taking on specific projects and focusing in a new way. I am currently creating a painting in a style called "Tenebrism" and once again, I have used my personal experiences in the Renaissance City for the inspiration of my composition. This time with an Italian "playboy" who wants to receive kisses instead of money for repairing shoes! He is quite "famous" in my neck of the woods.
The term "tenebrism" is derived from the Latin word 'tenebrae' meaning "darkness" or "shadows." It describes a painting style in which much of the composition exists in the dark, while the more important subjects will appear as if a shaft of light fell upon them. You might imagine the high drama of so much contrast. Paintings using tenebrism certainly have more of a moody feel than paintings created in a "high key" (very few dark tones or colors). Caravaggio gets the most credit for excelling in this style, but it was around before he was and other artists have used it to advantage as well, including Rembrandt. [See Caravaggio's "The Calling of St. Matthew" on the right.]
There are many things that I am trying to accomplish in this tenebrist project that also happens to be a still life composition (and sadly, does not yet even have a working title). Thus far, I really enjoy working in the shadows and I have been enjoying the mechanical objects, such as the old sewing machine. [This is a continuation of my fascination with tackling the creation of a backlit motorcycle in my charcoal drawing "Hellcat at the Pitti."]
In my search for a foreground collection of objects, I found a grouping of postcards at the Ciompi antique market here in central Florence. I bought a variety of cards, seeking different hand-writings, stamps, and marks. I was delighted to find an old envelope from a pharmacy. It even contained a small amount of white powder inside of it! More on this later … One objective in this project is to render some sort of writing in a way that the viewer recognizes it as writing, but cannot read the words.
I hope these little stories that go into each piece of art do not bore you, but I find them the stuff that helps me wake in the mornings. I like the connections between people and even, time. Allora, theobjects for the middle grouping were the score for me. In the antique market that happens once a month in the piazza near my home, I found the old wooden shoe forms (over which the leather is wrapped around while the shoes are stitched). In addition, my friend (and bodyguard!) Roberto helped me borrow some tools from our favorite shoe guy, Giuseppe. They are so old that Giuseppe said that he no longer uses them and would not mind my painting them for about four months. Sweet. These objects tell stories, do they not?
There is a bit of a story behind the acquisition of each object, which I will detail later on the Web page that will feature my painting once I have completed her. But I can tell you that while most of the objects came from Italy, there is a spool from Norway and another from the USA and were loaned to me by other painter friends.