"Beverly"

28" X 30"
Oil on Masonite

Kelly Borsheim

Private Collection, Texas

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[figurative painting]

My sister-in-law Linda gave me the ultimate compliment when she saw this painting late in the summer of 1998. She said, "I just want to reach out and touch those legs; they look so real. Only a sculptor could paint like that." And it's true that I view all of my paintings as studies for 3-dimensional work. Many painters are making their statements with colour. I want to make mine with volume. On August 1, 1999, this figurative painting in oil won an Honorable Mention cash award in the Third Annual Rio Brazos Art Festival in Granbury, Texas.

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Most of my paintings are named after the models who inspired them. That is true in Beverly's case as well. What is a little unusual about this painting (and what has made it a little more difficult to "pull off") is that the image is actually a reflection of the model in a huge mirror behind her. I have discovered in the life drawing sessions that I attend in Austin, Texas, that it occasionally happens that what I see in the mirror catches my interest more than the "real" view.

Painting an image in the mirror can be more of a challenge since it is often difficult to get the model in exactly the same position. Most of the artists in the room will be satisfied that the pose is the same, and I will see something very different and usually have to adjust myself in some way. [If this doesn't seem to make sense to you, try simply telling a model how to move in order to make the desired change. Once you've mastered that task, see if you have not "messed up" the pose for someone else in the room.]

[figurative oil painting]
To the left is the painting after the first 2.5 hour session with the model. (I also could not resist photographing my 11-year-old puppy, Zac.) This canvas is actually masonite (found in hardware stores) that has been painted with gray gesso. I use gray gesso (instead of white or black) because I like my canvas to start out with a middle tone on it. Then I sketch in the darker tones and the lighter tones.
You may also be able to see several lines coming from the forehead to various points on the figure. These are sketch marks to note the relationships between parts. I tend to use triangles a lot when determining these relationships. Although you may only see the one line, the other two sides of the triangle are 1) sometimes a vertical and a horizontal line and 2) sometimes already painted over.
[closeup of step 1]
[figurative oil painting]
This photo was taken at (my first art booth!) the show Artists' Harvest (Oct. 1997). I have had the second session with the model and during the show I worked on filling in the details of the dress (at the thighs) and on the fabric draped over the pillow. I chose not work on the figure during the show because I prefer to observe the model directly and could not concentrate much at the show anyway. Incidentally, demonstrating at the show was great--passersby stopped to watch (and perhaps take a longer look at my work) and it saved me from having that I'm-so-pathetic-please-buy-my-work look (which is the way I feel if I'm just sitting there).
Here you see the painting at the end of the Artists' Harvest show. I had one more session with the model where I tried to capture information in the hands and hair. Unfortunately, I set this painting aside (when I started the next one) and it took me over half a year to get back to it. I was debating about whether or not to color this painting (by glazing transparent paints over the raw umber and white), but ultimately decided it needed nothing more.
[closeup of step 3]

See the finished painting, Beverly.


Art, like mathematics, is simply determining the relationship between things.


Glossary:

Gesso \'jes-oh\ noun 1: plaster of Paris or gypsum prepared with glue for use in painting or making bas-reliefs 2: a paste prepared by mixing whiting with size or glue and spread upon a surface to fit it for painting or gilding--gessoed adj
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Tone \'tohn\ noun 1: a sound of definite pitch and vibration 2 a: color quality or value b: the effect in painting of light and shade together with color
What I mean when I refer to "tone" is the quality of lightness and darkness (regardless of the color) that defines the form or shape of the image depicted. I consider artwork to be "flat" if it lacks tone--and flat artwork generally has a lot of color in it.
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Other art "lessons"

[bronze casting]

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[Borsheim Arts Studio]
Kelly Borsheim
Borsheim Arts Studio
www.borsheimarts.com
Contact Artist

Copyright & copy 1998: Kelly Borsheim
Most recent revision: 8 June 2001