[Borsheim Arts Studio]

Italy-Inspired Paintings

by Kelly Borsheim

Paintings / Room VII (Italy): Click on an image for more information.

[Still life painting] [Italian art] [Siena, Italy] [Firenze, Italia] [Florence, Italy]

[Florence, Italy] [Lucca, Italy] [Carrara, Italia] [Firenze, Italia] [Bologna, Italy]

"A Sculptor's Studio, Carrara, Italia":
[sculpture depicted in painting]

This gallery contains paintings inspired by my time in Italy. My first time there was in the summer of 2004. I backpacked around the country for 6 weeks, including meeting Cristiano Merra in Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany. My art arrived in Italia before I did because Cristiano contacted me a year or two before and asked if I would send some of my work to Museo Gilardi. He is the director at this small museum in the home of Rosalda Gilardi, a contemporary sculptor of the famous Henri Moore. But I digress . . .

I went to Italy with the dream of "copping a feel on a Michelangelo before I turned 40." I had not been to Europe since I lived in Germany as a child. So, six weeks seemed like enough time to get some proper exposure to good art. I knew that being away from my studio for such an extended time would make me a bit crazy -- and that sculpting is not particularly easy to do while on the move. So I created a small paintbox out of an old metal box built for storing slides, adding a shoulder strap. Then I bought a set of magnets that would act as a quick-release from one of my lightweight tripods. Besides my painting gear, I also packed two cameras and some sketch pads.

I tried to follow the backpackers creed: lay out all you want to take with you, then pack only half the stuff and twice the cash. Later, while traveling, I met a girl named Anna in the hostel in Perugia. Anna watched me pack that last night and remarked, "You really are carrying more work gear than clothes!" I just laughed: A girl's got her priorities.

I planned to do the kind of artwork that would be fairly new to me. I packed quick-drying acrylic paints (instead of my preferred squishy oils) and thick, strong watercolor paper pads instead of canvases. I researched en plein air painting on the Internet and with my gifted artist friend Jill Carver. In preparation for this trip, I had practiced life drawing with acrylics to get familiar with that medium, but never found time for a trial-run landscape outing to paint with Jill. However, I still intended to try my hand at landscapes while traveling in Italy.

[painting at Ostello Apuano near Marina di Carrara]

Instead what I discovered is that as much as I love the natural world, I have little desire to paint it. I went to Italy specifically to see Michelangelo's works in person. And I discovered that - without a doubt - the figure is where my passion lies. Instead of creating colorful landscapes, I made sketches of sculptures and people - the latter usually as they slept or read on the trains. One afternoon in Firenze (the proper name for the translation "Florence"), I had been painting a composition of Giambologna's spiraling figures in "The Abduction of the Sabines" sculpture in the Loggia dei Lanzi in front of the Uffizi Gallery. Two Italian boys watched me work and later giggled at me when a policeman asked me to stop painting (too messy; only sketching was permitted). But the boys allowed me to take their photos afterwards, so I did not mind so much. Ah, people . . .

My six-week trip only convinced me of how little I knew. And I vowed to get back to Italy, especially loving Firenze and Anacapri. In the fall of 2006, I began to make extended stays in Firenze, even joining the madonnari (Italian street painters) and learning the art of working large, working with color, and having everyone see my bad drawing days as well as my good. I now split my time between Texas and Florence. I hope you enjoy these works of art.

Please explore the other galleries as well. And enjoy yourself!

Thank you for your time.

For more information and an image of each painting in its entirety, please select any thumbnail image above that interests you.

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