Portrait Painting of a Caretaker
In this issue of Borsheim Art News:
- Last-minute Valentine's Day gift ideas
- Guest artist's work available
- Love Story in Croatia (includes a painting)
Welcome to February. Sometimes I wonder why the holiday for love is placed into the shortest month of the year. hahaha... optimist, no? I have been working on stone carving (an abstracted swan design in Portuguese rose marble) when there are sunny mornings. You can catch glimpses of the progress on various social media, mostly in Patreon (link at the bottom of this newsletter), some on my YouTube channel, Instagram, Facebook, my blog, and Linkedin. I debate about TikTok, but really, what a lot of energy to expend. Burnout, ya know?
If you participate in social or online media and want to follow my art posts, please respond to me to tell me which platform rocks your world. I may have to let something go in order to tackle why I am on this Earth now.
Last-Minute Gift Ideas:
My shop BorsheimArts on Etsy is mainly for prints and digital downloads of my photographs and Italian vintage posters, as well as printable gift tags. The digital art products make great last-minute gifts, especially if you have easy access to a printer. Most are well under $10 US! Here are some mock-up images of how you might use your downloads as wall art prints:
The Guggenheim Museum, pair, Bilbao, Spain
Above: Venice, Italy, bridge without rails, photo looks great printed and hung over a couch! [Note also Cattails and Frog Legs resting on the table.]
Romantic, foggy Venice, Italy! charms many and so easy to use in your home decor
Gorgeous detail of a griffon bronze sculpture in a palace in Venice, Italy
Venetian design means narrow streets and intriguing light shapes along the canals
Sirenetta, aka The Little Mermaid, with a green patina on bronze seems to present this lovely image of Venezia, in northern Italy.
Niccolo da Uzzano, banker of the Medici sculpted by Donatello (and then I drew a charcoal of the plaster cast copy) lends a serious air to your home office. While I make these fine art prints, and thus, need a few days to get it to you, the photograph of Florence's Duomo [Cathedral] IS an instant digital download. More to choose from in the shop. Also, on the left, you will see the bronze sculpture Together and Alone (which ships from Norfolk, Virginia).
Guest artist's work available:
Dragana Adamov works for some big names in Italian fashion, but here she offers her own personal designs. Check out these scarves, for example of her Tondo (circle) drawing Tiger Shoe:
Vasily Fedorouk: It is amazing the versatility of this artist! Here is a sneak peek into his studio... artwork ships from the Chicago area:
Above: Forbidden Fruit, Adam and Eve sculpture in marble by Vasily Fedorouk, a private commission in Turkey.
The beauty of the female form matched in white Carrara marble, see the figure sculptures of another dear artist friend Kumiko Suzuki:
Donna di Lindau Marble Sculpture by Kumiko Suzuki, portrait of a long-haired woman in stone
and the late great sculptor from Austin, Texas, Charles Umlauf... this Kiss bronze sculpture is privately available. Here is the back view of the standing male figure:
Want to give an art gift but unsure of how it will be received? Allow your loved one to choose the artwork herself!
I will hand decorate a gift card in any amount you wish. I will mail you the real art gift card, or send it to you digitally, in case the shipping arrives too late. A gift card allows the receiver to choose what pleases, leaving your doubts behind.
And you may order as late as the LAST MINUTE! How convenient.
Portrait of Love, and a Caretaker
In January 2015, I was living in Croatia in a small apartment attached to a home with a lovely family. The husband Boro had cancer and his charming wife Miranda, who welcomed me instantly when I arrived on a bus from Italy in mid-December, was his caretaker at home. They live in Umag, which is in the northwestern part of Croatia that speaks Italian. That is how Miranda and I communicated. I found her through a Croatian artist that I met in a carving symposium in Bulgaria in 2014.
I was only to stay there for 90 days. It was a crazy, a bit homeless, time in my life and I left my things in my room at the Salvation Army church in Florence, Italy, where I lived for about one year. Since my stay in Croatia was for only a short time, I packed pastels and small books of papers to draw while I was away. I also brought my Nitram charcoals and the new Baton charcoal stick holder I was sent to try out.
However, the BP Portrait competition (In England) was announced while I was away from home and I decided to apply. Miranda had explained to me the struggles to get doctors in Croatia and her husband was not the only one who received care only from a generous Italian doctor who occasionally crossed the border to visit those who needed him in Istria. Those of you familiar with care-taking know how difficult it can be to watched your loved one suffer and feel inadequate in helping at times.
I was inspired by their story and hoped that I could create a painting of the two of them that might bring some light to this healthcare problem in Croatia. I asked this lovely couple if they would model for me. We tried many poses, me unsure of exactly how I wanted to depict them. As it turned out, after our photo shoot in several different places in their home, I found my inspiration. I was still sitting at their dining room table when Miranda go up and went into the living room to check on Boro.
The casual, but caring exchange I witnessed touched me and you can see my composition develop here. There was no time to ship in materials, even from larger cities in Croatia. Thus, I was thrilled to find a local hobby store that sold a large canvas. The brushes and paints were student grade (weak colors and few neutrals), but it was something. I bought mushrooms and other foods that came in plastic buckets that I needed for painting, as palettes or washing brushes. You may see in a photo that I put popcorn in a plastic cup to use as a brush holder.
I worked in the small space at the entrance of my little apartment. Each evening or early morning, I found time to walk along the sea, not far from Miranda and Boro's home. I was very surprised that there was a professional photographer in the town center who had a copy system set up! I walked my painting to him and he shot proper photographs for my application.
Student-grade brushes mean hairs coming out at inconvenient places, making it difficult to paint well, making marks as intended.
Sadly, after paying the local photographer to document well my painting, I decided it needed something else. Thus, I added a sliver of wall on the left. It added the effect as I remembered seeing this loving exchange between two people who knew each other so very well: the idea of being a voyeur into their private space. I did not want to spend the time or money to take the art back through the town to photograph, so I simply laid it on the floor at my feet and snapped a shot with my camera.
Can you see the hint of the angel's wing and subtle yellow halo behind Miranda? It is horrible enough to suffer because we take that alone, really, but so many loved ones and even paid workers who stay by the side of those who are ill also suffer. I wanted to tribute those selfless persons who give of themselves for love and kindness, but not so obvious as to embarrass Miranda or diminish Boro. I was lucky to be introduced and then live with this couple, especially during the winter holidays. They invited me to share all with them and learn some of their traditions.
You may see more of my adventures in Croatia on my blogspot blog here [use the search bar option to get more specific]:
Ok, so my painting was not selected at any level in the competition, thus my cause was not heard. But I was thrilled that the (grown) children of Miranda and Boro were delighted with how I managed to capture the love between their parents. I gave them the painting, grateful for this family for opening their home to me. I returned to Italy in mid-March 2015. But later, on a call to Miranda, she told me that Boro had died. I still hope to get back to Umago (the Italian name) to visit those I have met, and walk along the sea again.
To see behind the scenes of art projects, such as my marble carving of "When Atlas Tires," join the Patreon page. One collector asked me to show more of the countryside and traditions of where I live in Valleriana, Tuscany.
So, once in a while, I will do that, too.
Here is an example of what you will see on my Patreon page:
Atlas WIP [work-in-progress]:
Join the fun here:
Enjoy February and keep showing and sharing the love!
~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer
P.S. Happy 55th birthday to my brother Steve, and happy birthday to Uncle John.
More ART: https://BorsheimArts.com
My older blog from 2009 and onward: https://artbyborsheim.blogspot.com
Thank you for supporting and getting updates at: https://www.patreon.com/KellyBorsheim
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I was very moved to read the story of this artwork, ‘The Caretaker’. I have been a carer for a long time and one of the things that can sometimes cause pain is the feeling that all the struggle and effort is not seen and not important in the grand scheme of things (though obviously this is in moments of doubt – it is so important!), so to hear about this story really makes me feel a renewed sense that what i do is worthwhile. I also think the way you described it was very beautiful and sensitive. Thank you so much for sharing, and what aa amazing piece of artwork – despite sub-standard materials which are really not noticeable as you’re so talented!!