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Borsheim Art Newsletter:

by Kelly Borsheim copyright 8 December 2016

  • New Bronze Garden Sculpture
  • La Raccolta e il Regalo and USA Trip
  • More Metal: the weldng stage of bronze casting
  • A FRAME makes a world of difference: new art
  • Unison by Vasily Fedorouk
  • Staglieno Cemetery – a Followup
  • Blog Highlights: Tuscan Christmas Trees
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[not enough baskets for the olive harvest-drying]

I love the multi-colors that show on bronze when heat is applied during soldering. However, it is not permanent.

[Artist Kelly Borsheim with new garden sized bronze sculpture Rock Towers and Frogs]
Patina artist Noris took this snapshot of me with
the first Rock Towers and Frogs garden sculpture
at the bronze-casting foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy.
© 2016 Kelly Borsheim

Dear Art Lover,

There is a lovely family for whom I feel grateful this year. The wife and then the husband contacted me earlier this year about making a signature piece of art for the pond in front of their new home in California. They wanted me to enlarge and expand on my Cattails and Frog Legs bronze sculpture. And thus the adventure began. I show you here the finished bronze garden sculpture Rock Towers and Frogs.

If you would like to see the original sketches I did to earn the commission, and also many of the work-in-progress images with descriptions, please visit the page about the sculpture. It also includes many more views of the new bronze edition, here:

And the classic one Cattails and Frog Legs:

La Raccolta e il Regalo and USA Trip

La Raccolta e il Regalo is Italian for 'The Harvest and the Gift'. It describes artist my special November and December 2016 offer:

If you buy one (or more) of the selected original artworks shown on the following page (sculptures, drawings, and paintings), you will receive a gift certificate for 20% of the value of your art purchase (shipping not included) to use towards more art for you or someone important to you.

These selected artworks will ship from either Hickory, North Carolina, or Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. I organized them by location to give you an idea of shipping times and costs to where you want the art to go.


Incidentally, I had intended to be back in the USA in April and May 2017. However, recently I learned that my knee injuries from 2 February and 20 March resulted in a torn ACL (ligament that holds the lower leg onto the upper leg). In January, I will find out when the doctor can operate, but there is a minimum six-month recovery attached to that pleasurable event, so while not yet certain, it is likely that I will have to cancel that trip until I am fully healed. I was looking forward to seeing a lot of wonderful people, but I was not so smart in this situation. My apologies.

As if I could forget: Happy Birthday to my brother Paul!

[Art for sale]
Art for Sale! Enhance your life and
share the love, too.

[Art for Sale]

[Art for Sale]

More Metal: the welding stage of bronze casting

Process is endlessly fascinating. Even when you see how something is made, it often increases the awe instead of removing the mystery. I am always amazed about complicated and not particularly obvious processes: how did the first person to figure it out ever get that far?

Bronze casting is one of those processes. So many steps using a variety of materials, who figured that out? The patinas themselves are the work of geniuses on chemical interactions!

On the page on my site that shows you the new Rock Towers and Frogs garden sculpture, I describe how I made the sculpture and a little bit of the beginning of the “Lost Wax Method” of casting a form into metal. Here, I will share with you a few of the images from the metal working part of casting Rock Towers and Frogs. I hope that you enjoy this.

So, after the hollow wax copy of my sculpture has been chased and sprued, a new mold is made. This is a one-time break away mold, usually made of ceramic shell slurry. The wax contraption is dipped into this slurry many times until there is enough thickness to support the molten bronze during a pour. Foundries often add a coloring to each vat of ceramic shell to make sure they know WHICH number of dip still needs to be done.

When this ceramic shell mold is fired, the wax and any other things (explained on the sculpture page that bamboo was also used in the wax sculpture) is melted out. This step is from where the name "The Lost Wax Process" comes. The sculpture is now just an air space within the ceramic mold and almost ready for a liquid hot metal to visit!

[Ceramic Shell Molds Colored Layers]
Ceramic Shell is colored to know
how many dips each mold has had.

[Bronze Pouring Room at Foundry Italy]

Right you will see stacks of bronze ingots. Bronze is an alloy of mostly copper and some tin. Sometimes there are other metals joined with copper.

The bronze pouring room. There is an oven to heat the mold (to reduce shock when the 2000-plus degree F molten bronze is poured into it). The molds will be positioned in large vases filled with sand. Sand will move freely around any bizarre shape and supports the mold during the pour. Also, if the ceramic mold develops a crack, the sand may be thrown over the area to quickly seal it and stop the liquid bronze from draining out.

Once the bronze has cooled, the ceramic mold will be hacked away. Then all of the metal that is not a part of the sculpture will be cut off. The sculpture parts (if not small enough to cast as one piece) will be welded together and then chased or cleaned and resculpted so that you do not notice the process marks.

After that, the entire sculpture will be cleaned and then a patina will be added. There are MANY colors and applications available. Most foundrymen feel that the patination part is where the real art happens. Each bronze is considered an original because so much individual work goes into each one in the edition.

[bronze ingots at foundry]

[Artist desired corrections are made to the metal sculpture]

[Metal chasing pneumatic tools]

Left: I have asked for some refinements in the shape of the metal cattail. For the most part, the work
shows my intentions. However, it is a long complicated process and changes are inevitable. I also touch
the entired sculpture with my naked hands. I am "looking" for anything that gives an unpleasant surprise,
such as a ragged edge. I do not want anyone hurt or to have a bad experience.

[welding bronze frog to bronze cattail]

[Refining metal shape and weld]

Welding bronze sculpture parts together
and then refining the shape of the weld and art

[welding metal sculpture]

There were ten stones that were cast into bronze separately. So, I used my photo references that I took before the sculpture left to have an idea of how to balance the stones as close to my original composition as possible.

[water poured over new stone towers]

I poured water over the stones to see if it fell in a good way. Also, I then looked for places that the water would not run off of the sculpture. And I asked the metal workers to drill subtle drainage holes in the places that I marked.

[welding metal sculpture stone towers]

[Metal joining for bronze art]

I was told that they were simply "tacking" the stones in place while I was there at the foundry.
They would need some more time to get in deeper to join the bronze parts in a less conspicuous manner
than what you see here.

[Metal chasing pneumatic tools]

[traditional green patina on bronze metal sculpture applied with torch and chemicals]

A traditional green patina is added by applying chemicals with a brush and a torch.

[Metal sculpture gets patina with torch]

[size comparison frog with artist's hand, metal work garden art bronze sculpture]

Just showing you the size of the hanging frog as compared to my hand.

[Metal sculpture gets patina with torch]

[finished patina bronze sculpture]
The finished sculpture, complete with patina,
receives a good layer of wax to protect the finish.

[Metal sculpture gets patina with torch]
It will need to have more protection over the years.
Soon, she is ready to ship.

A FRAME makes a world of difference: New Art

It never ceases to amaze me how a frame can bring so much life into a painting! I do not have an eye for it. For some reason, I cannot envision how that little sample corner piece at the frame shop will look in the round. Start putting frames and mats together.. it is an art form I may never be able to grasp!

Instead, I often take the advice or at least see the preferred choices of the framer. My gallerist Don Elliott at the Franklin Barry Gallery (aka The Frame Shop) in Indianapolis, USA, has a good eye for framing. Perhaps like punctuation, it can make or break the idea expressed in a sentence.

I recently picked up three framers from a new place closer to my home in the hills of Tuscany. I think that Stefano did a nice job, don’t you? His shop is located in Pescia, a town half way between Florence and Lucca.

The painting he is holding is one I did some time ago…maybe two or three years ago? I recently refound it as I was going through things in my studio. Have you ever heard of Goats’ Beards? They grow in my native Minnesota, but I first saw them when a Florentine gifted me some. They are over twice the size of dandelions and so beautiful. She gave me three while they were still closed up. The next morning in my room were three large puffy magical things!

At the time, I wanted to return to minimal chromatic painting and I was also experimenting with the relative size of things and if I could invent something from a model that was not really close. For example, the vase here was actually the shape of a ball. I added the little rocking horse later and titled the painting, If Wishes Were Horses. The size of the canvas is 75 x 40 cm (29.5 x 15.8 inches), while the frame makes it around 85 x 50 cm in total. Granted it is an odd little painting, but if you have a need for a tall narrow, simple subject, mostly warm-neutral painting, drop me a line and I will give you a good price on her.

Stefano also framed the two paintings of jasmine and they look much better. Also, those painting are on wood panel, so the frame makes it much easier to hang now.

[Stefano shows off his framing of painting titled If Wishes were Horses]

[If Wishes Were Horses Oil Painting] [detail of goats beards plant flower in oil painting If Wishes Were Horses]

[oil painting Framed Jasmine in the Afternoon 50 x 35 cm (19.68 x 13.78 inches)] [oil painting Framed Keys to La Casa Tuscany 50 x 35 cm (19.68 x 13.78 inches)]
Jasmine in the Afternoon and Keys to La Casa (Tuscany), BOTH: oil on wood panel; 50 x 35 cm (19.68 x 13.78 inches)

Vasily’s Sculpture - Unison:

My friend Vasily often created sculptures of couples, as well as a parent with a child. His Ukrainian roots and his adopted American home gave him a strong feeling of the power of the family and love. Like many of us, he explored the old stories, as with "Unison" shown here. The fruit resting on top of the male figure leads one to believe this couple may be Adam and Eve.

I like the playful -- or maybe precarious -- nature of the poses of the figures. I think one could have a lot of fun interpreting this piece!

I wish that Vasily was still here to tell his stories and carve and... live. But I really want his art to find appreciators. I encourage you to visit his Web site and have a look around! http://www.vasilyfedorouk.com

terra-cotta by Vasily Fedorouk

See more of his art online at:

There are a limited number of available works, but please inquire.

[Original marble sculpture Brazil Vasily Fedorouk]
, terra-cotta
© 2002 Vasily Fedorouk

Staglieno Cemetery – a Followup

Two of my more popular newsletters were about Staglieno, a cemetery in Genoa, Italy, that put the awe back into artwork. These sculptures are not just technically excellent, but the emotions portraying by our losses and our hopes are astoundingly re-created in stone and bronze in this magical place along the Italian coast.



But Staglieno needs our help. My friend and fellow stone carver Walter Arnold has spear-headed a non-profit organization American Friends of Italian Monumental Sculpture that works with the city of Genoa (Genova is the proper Italian name) to clean and restore one-by-one these sculptures that are available for everyone to see and appreciate.

Right now there is a special fund-raiser going on in which a matching donor will double what it is that we can raise. While they will ALWAYS accept a donation, this particular fundraiser ends on 31 December 2016. I have donated what I can. ANY amount you give will be put to good use in the cleaning of these marbles before the dirt and grime from over 100 years damages more.

Please go here and be of good cheer:

Thank you so much!

[marble carved thin as coins with incredible detail]
Detail of an astounding masterpiece in stone carving
at Staglieno Cemetery, Genova, Italia.

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[August Art Auction]

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for sharing this newsletter with your friends and colleagues. Thank you. Please let me know if you would like to commission an artwork; or add an existing work to your home or work collection.

Kelly Borsheim
8 December 2016

[Tuscan Christmas Trees Live in Happy Environment]

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Thank you for your interest and support in the book I wrote this past summer about being a street artist in Italy. I was thrilled to receive such glowing feedback about how I had shared not only the art and the artists, but also something of the political environment regarding street art, interaction with the public and other street performers (my favorite chapter is the one in which I have invited children to join me on the pavement), as well as images of the Renaissance City herself.

The book is titled "My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy." If you have read the book and would like to help in the promotion of it, perhaps you would consider writing up a short review for Amazon.com (or even send me a testimonial for my own site). Your review does not have to be fancy. The intention is to help other people get a better idea about what is inside and whether or not they may enjoy the read.

Just click here. Scroll down to the section on Customer Reviews. Click on the button to the right that says, "Create your own review" Sign in and follow their guide.

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Above: Cover for book:
"My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy"

by Kelly Borsheim

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I have about 20 copies here with me in Italy, so if you are also here, just write me and we will organize the rest…

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