- Acrylic on Stone and Cement Wall
- 109 x 240 cm (43 x 95 inches)
- Private Collection, Valleriana, Tuscany
Faux Window ~ View of Sorana, Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy
by Kelly Borsheim
Sometimes we artists are motivated to do something just because it needs to be done. That was why I painted this faux window where I could not believe a real one did not exist. I hope you enjoy these images of the view of Sorana, one of the ten castled villages in an area called Valleriana, aka Svizzera Pesciatina. It comprises the hills in Tuscany, north of Pescia. Sorana [not to be confused with Sorano, also in Tuscany] lies between Florence and Lucca, in the province of Pistoia. It is a lovely area, one that I now call home.
This mural is one long image of 109 [height] x 240 [width] centimeters, or about 43 x 95 inches. Prints of the whole mural or details are available upon request. Thank you for your interest.
The Almost After - Open House December 18, 2017:
I had scheduled an Open House to show off the finished mural on 17 and 18 December 2017. As it happened, the wall worker (due to rework the edging of the wall where I had sanded too much and hoped to rework) was unable to come over until after the event. I painted the faux window for the opening, but afterwards, new cement was plastered over it and I repainted to completion. I hope you enjoy some of the process images below.
Thank you for reading!
~ Kelly Borsheim, artist
P.S. I would be thrilled to talk to you about a mural project for your home or office. A room with a view is a great way to enhance your life!
The Mural Project Grew:
Tuscan Mural: What started off as a simple decorative mural became a bit more complicated after speaking with the Italian company who made the paints. I ended up removing more than the top layer of Tuscan wall paint [as recommended]. But I was so wrapped up in the change of plan, that I forgot to cover the objects in the room. Originally, I thought it would just be a wee bit of dust that would be easy to wipe down. I was wrong. The landlord still teases me about the dust I created and he was kind enough to help me clean it up! [cretina means 'cretin' or 'idiot' in Italian, my self-depreciating sense of humor is showing up here.]
Mural Painting Process by Kelly Borsheim
2016 Feb 16: Helping hands, Riccardo and Nori, were needed for holding the bar and level to create the lines for the window frame.
2016 March 1: On this day, my dear Florentine friend Susanna di Preta died at her home. I had been with her for many days before, but had come home for my appointment with the Questura [Italian Immigration Police]. She would have loved to see this completed mural. I wish we could have had more time for making art together; how she loved learning and making art! This was also the same day that I met my landlord Nori's brand new puppy, Gregory da Pisa.
This image shows the transferring the drawing onto the wall.
2016 March 2: Charcoal is used to transfer the design.
I started painting the most obvious forms to see and the dark ones, so I would not get so lost.
2016 April 13:
I wanted to make the acrylic paint look like blobs up close, so that when you see from a further viewing point, you might feel a wonder at the different experience. It felt so good to be back to this project after a month in Firenze teaching private art lessons. Sadly, I have now had two different knee injuries and working on my feet is painful. [One in early Feb, injured the ACL attempting to ski with my little brother in Austria; the other happened in Firenze in late March when I fell off of my landlord's van while trying to climb up to take a photo, with his new puppy, Gregory, in one arm, camera in the other. I was documenting the purchase of my new credenza that would later go under the mural. I would have caught myself, except for the two toolboxes that had been moved to the ground to make space in the van. The camera died in the fall, and I injured the inside front of my right knee. As I write this page February 11, 2018, neither injury has healed.]
2016 May 28:
The weird paint squiggles you see in the unpainted parts are me using up the paint left on my palette to fill in the cracks in the wall. The way I am painting, acrylic is opaque, so I need not worry about the color so much. I thought that since this mural was so much smaller than the one I did in Caprese, it would take less time. I was wrong.
I got so wrapped up in the forest part on the left, making sure that the trees got smaller and less defined as the view goes back into the distance that it was not nearly as simplified as I thought I would do. The problem is that I loved what I had done! Also, there was so much information in this visual that I often found myself lost in the painting!
2017 Feb 9: Locals, such as Nori and Roberto shown here, loved to point out the developing landmarks in the hills where they were born.
2017 Nov 6: Self-portrait with timer, in case you thought I knew Rumpelstiltskin.
2017 Nov 6: Using kid chalk to design how I want a little bird to feature in the foreground.
2017 Nov 9: The bird is now painted, but the olive branches [representing the real tree that is just beyond this wall] are still in chalk.
Chalk is a great design tool since it wipes clean so easily, allowing me to change my mind, as I often do.
2017 Nov 14: Designing Trees around the bird in place [a swallow; rondine in Italian].
I wanted him to be a surprise, hidden a bit within the branches, despite his looking right at YOU!
2017 Nov 25:
The only "person" in the mural is the homeowner, Nori. He is represented by his old white van with ladder on top, well-known in these parts. He is driving [with his dog Gregory] from his home in Sorana to his other houses on Via Viepori, where I call 'Paradise.' He seemed delighted by the addition, but also generous: when his friend Gianni arrived from out of town and they came to see the mural, Nori told Gianni that he was riding in the van with Nori and Gregory, hence Gianni is also a part of the art.
2017 Dec 3: I held a "Thanksgiving Dinner" here at my home for those responsible for helping me move to Castelvecchio. This was my two-year anniversary for moving to this street. So, while still unfinished, they all had another look at the progress of my mural.
2017 Dec 6: I signed the mural in the lower right area.
2017 Dec 6: Here are a few detail shots. This one shows Cava Nardini, the quarry where I carve stone. This is in Vellano, on the hill behind the hill of Sorana (in the foreground).
2017 Dec 6: This home on the right is where my landlord Nori and his younger brother Paolo grew up. Now it is the home of my British neighbors Paul and Kathy, who run the Little Tuscan Olive Farm, where you may rent a charming apartment for two as you explore these lovely hills.
2017 Dec 6: Another detail of the forests
2017 Dec 6: The second swallow is contrasted against a light sky. This image is one of the several available as a print.
2017 Dec 6: This is the view I used for the invitation to the Open House to be on 17 & 18 December. Below the mural is the credenza I bought in Firenze and for whom I hurt my knee while photographing.
2017 Dec 9: Muratore (wall worker) and friend Antonio was finally able to leave his other work to re-spackle the edges where I hastily sanded too much without thought. After dried, I tried to sand it down to get the effect that I wanted for the window frame and ledge at the bottom. Then I repainted over this.
2017 Dec 11: Claudio and Nori point out certain landmarks in Sorana.
2017 Dec 17-18: Open House.
I did not have many people come out, but those who came were interested in seeing the mural, and that is what is most important! I was told that Italians are not in a habit to go to "Open Houses." In fact, even after knowing them a while, Italians still ask for permission before following you into your home!
2017 Dec 26: The neighbors' "kids" came over when they came up to the hills for Christmas. [On Feb 4, 2018, my neighbors celebrated SIXTY years of marriage... yes, together!]
2018 Jan 4: I reworked the window frame to soften edges and make certain parts darker to enhance the 3-d illusion.
For more information about this area, please visit my site in English: http://pleinairvalleriana.blogspot.com/