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La Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venezia Venice Italy Tintoretto Titian

11 December 2019 (original publish date)

CONTENTS of Borsheim Art News:

*   NEW Painting:  Red, White, and Passion
*   Flood Faces:  A Special Offer to Help an Artisan Family in Venice
*   2020 Art and Tour Workshops in Tuscany
*   Vasily Fedorouk:  Pillow and Maternity
*   Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
*   Patreon, Youtube, Instagram, and FineArtAmerica
*   Blog Highlights:  Selling Stone
*   Subscription Info.

Dear Art Lover,

      I am wishing you a warm, relaxing, and fruitful December, with plenty of holidays to share with loved ones.

     Almost finished is this oil painting on wood, "Red, White, and Passion."  I am going to have to paint more with red, since I love the impact of it.  However, I am also going to try to focus on a cohesive body of work.  I see everything as connected, but it is not so obvious at times to others how my brain works.

     Please let me tell you about these fun and educational workshops that I am teaching in Tuscany next summer, then Vasily's art, and after that, I will share with you something of the Grande School of San Rocco in Venezia (Venice, Italy).  Seriously, astounding.

Red White Passion Flowers Still Life Oil Painting Bright Red Cloth
Red, White, and Passion (flowers), oil on wood panel with gesso vero, 35 x 50 cm (13.8 x 19.7 inches), $1400

     The work is available, and as usual, my LayAway Plan gives you the opportunity to set your own terms to receive  the art that moves you.  This makes life so much more enjoyable!  Just  write me if this piece or any other interests you and let us grow your  own personal art collection.  Take advantage of this:

Special Offer After the Flood in Venice

     A Venetian family that I know is accustomed to the normal "acqua alta" or high-water tides that are famous for slightly flooding the islands of and around Venezia (Venice in English).  However, this month the tides rose under the full moon on 12 November to a level and at a velocity that no one fully realized would happen.  It was almost to the level of the deadly and damaging floods of 1966 that I have written about from my days living in Florence, Italy.
     The Marega family atelier and shop makes masks and period costumes, especially for Carnevale, but not only for that important festival.  Their compositions are wonderful.  They are fun.  They are hand-made, well-designed, and beautiful.  But the surprise flood caused damage to many of their quality fabrics, destroyed their sewing machines and some electrical outlets in their atelier, and other materials and shop furniture needed to create their products.  Thankfully, most of their masks were hung far above the water line.

     I propose a special offer:  For every piece of my art bought before this year's end, I will GIVE YOU one or more of the lovely Marega masks of your choice [and no, NOT any flood-damaged goods!].  The value of the mask(s) will be up to 20% of the value of the art you buy.  Or you may choose some or all of a period costume, from shoes to belts, wigs, and dresses and capes.  That way, we all win!
You may choose from their masks on their site:
and to have an idea of the prices of their masks, visit their Etsy shop here:

Also, check out their Grande Ball for Carnevale, 22 February 2010:

     The masks are certainly wearable, but also are used to decorate a wall or be placed on a table.  I hope that you will choose this time to put more art into your life.  And let us help them get back to sewing!  Thank you.

Atelier Marega Mask and Costume Shop Venezia Venice Italy
Atelier Marega Mask and Costume Shop Venezia Venice Italy Designer Purses

Atelier Marega Mask and Costume Shop Venezia Venice Italy Delicious Fabrics

Founder Carlo Marega Atelier Marega Mask and Costume Shop Venezia Venice Italy

Above:  Some snapshots that I took at the atelier in October when my friend Dilya and I went to see the Biennale of Art in my previous art newsletter.  That last image is of Carlo Marega, founder and father of the family-run business that lost so much in this rare flood.

      Also, I know that there are many causes to donate to and we cannot do for everyone all that we would like to do.  That said, I know that sometimes you get your teeth kicked in and a small helping hand in time of need helps the hard-working people get back on their feet.  This family would certainly pay it forward once they can recoup some of the repair and cleaning expenses.
Donate here if you like (and please share the link with others):

Venice Flood Image of damaged fabrics and furniture Atelier Marega
Above:  Just a glimpse into the front shop that first night before the tide returned . . . Venezia


So, how do you like this?  Stephen of Stephen's Lake House in Hickory, North Carolina, bought a sleeper couch to match the art on exhibit!  The artwork is one of mine and is about the laws of attraction.  This pastel and charcoal drawing is titled
"Le Scale dell'Eros [The Stairs of Love]"

Blue Panther Art Matching Couch Buy Art
and she is for sale.  Do not worry to ruin Stephen's decor:  He (like you, actually) may buy a giclee reproduction once the original finds her permanent home.  Check her out: Panther Art

See Stephen's rental in North Carolina at:

2020 Art and Tour Workshops in Tuscany

     How fun would it be to come to Tuscany, learn something about taking pictures that move you while you explore lovely places, and then make paintings of your visions during your trip here?  With charming places to stay and eat, my local friends and I will make your time in Valleriana and surrounding areas educational, interesting, relaxing, and joyful.

     I have been working on plans for next  summer, and making partnerships to show you this little unknown area of Tuscany in Italy, Valleriana aka Swiss Pescia.  I love living here!  We are situated between the amazing Renaissance City (Florence) and the intriguing walled city of Lucca.

     Each month, from May through October 2020, for five days, I will host an art-travel experience.   

5-day workshops in Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy in 2020:
     This is actually a series of workshops so that you may plan your preferred time to visit Valleriana.  Our Tuscan hills are located between Florence and Lucca, with Pescia being the closest town with rail and bus stations.  We can meet you there. Art instructor is Kelly Borsheim.


Day 1: Discussion of composition, with emphasis on Notan and emotional design; a bit about taking photographs for reference; Afternoon:  start touring in Valleriana with cameras/phones

Day 2: More Tuscan touring in our old villages and the surrounding woods.  A 2-hour (maximum) tour of our Museum of Paper, featuring the Magnani Italian paper that we will use in class.

Day 3: Morning tours; afternoon studio time to sort, edit, and choose each student's photographs to use for painting composition

Day 4: Studio day starting paintings with your own images of your visit in Valleriana

Day 5: Continue painting

with optional Day 6 [pro-rated payment]

     Each 2020 Workshop is from Friday to Tuesday, with 6 hours minimum daily.  [I chose these days of the week since it is often more economical to travel during the week.  Also, many art museums, in Florence/Firenze for example, are closed on Mondays.  If you choose to extend your stay in Tuscany to hit the cities, everything should be open and available to you after (or before) the workshop.]

Dates for EACH 5-day workshop in 2020, your choice:
* May 22-26
* June 26-30
* July 17-21
* August 07-11
* September 04-08
* October  09-13

Price of workshop at $490, with optional extra painting day:  $95  [you may decide on extra day during the workshop if you like]
Early Bird savings:  $400, if order by January 31, 2020, with a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit of $50.

[Note: I am having trouble with the PayPal pay button coding, so please send me an e-mail at  and I will send you an invoice via PayPal.  You may pay with any credit or debit card that they accept.  Thank you. ~ Kelly]

     For more details on the workshops, click here:

This site makes a  good introduction to our area:

Kelly Borsheim Teaching Castelvecchio in Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy

Castelvecchio in Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy Beautiful Medieval Stone Village
Castelvecchio in Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy

Vasily Fedorouk:  Pillow and Maternity

      The following sculptures are two good examples of my late friend and mentor Vasily's voice.  He often depicted people looking towards the heavens.  He was very spiritual in that way, and his compositions of motherhood and family often show his desire to receive good things for the future from a larger source.

Maternity stone carving sculpture of Woman giving Birth by Vasily Fedorouk

18.5 x 9 x 2.5 inches
Granite (high relief sculpture)
copyright 2000 Vasily Fedorouk
$ 2000 US

 Pillow Ceramic Sculpture Person Hugging Pillow with Legs Spread sitting
9 x 11 x 10 inches
ceramic sculpture
copyright 1996 Vasily Fedorouk
Price:  $ 1000  USD

     Please visit the site and contact either Dilbara,  Vasily’s wife [via his Web site], or me, if you are interested in collecting any of his  available works.

La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

      Back in October, when Vasily's wife Dilya came to visit me in Italy, we went to Venice and saw the famous Art Biennale.  While there were some thoughtful and even attractive exhibits and works, our general response was depression.  I had the feeling far too often that our culture is consisting more and more of lofty blandness.  We have lost our way, disconnected with the Earth and our potential to be glorious, or at the very least, contemplative.  Too many pieces of "art" just felt like random, empty spewing, noise-making, or . . . nothing worth the time to make or see.

      But, the next day, we entered La Scuola Grande di San Rocco or the Great School of St. Roch and all seemed right with the world again. hahaha.  What I mean by that, is we entered a designed space that between the architecture, sculpture, paintings (many by Tintoretto), and mosaic-ed floors and carved ceilings, we got a taste of what mankind is capable of doing, if we asked it of ourselves and worked towards beauty and emotion.

La Scuola Grande di San Rocco Tinoretto Painting Main Hall
     I love this cherub yanking on the Virgin's foot, while he seems to be trying to grab onto the ledge to keep her from lifting him up and away!

      San Rocco was the beloved patron saint of plague victims.  In 1478 La Scuola Grande di San Rocco began as La Scuola dei Battuti (the Beaten Ones, as members practiced public self-flagellation).  Scuola was the name in the second half of the 13th century given to lay confraternities in central northern Italy.  Members were usually middle class citizens who shared an interest in religion (Catholic) or mutual aid.  They were tradesmen and professionals who worked for greater economic benefit and helped many charities.  Like the guilds in Florence, the Scuole protected the interests and regulated the activities of those in their particular type group, for example, the Scuola of the Arts and Crafts.  By the end of the 16th century, there were six Great Scuole in Venezia.

      The Grande Scuola di San Rocco is still active today, consisting of their acquired buildings, the Scoletta (small school) and the church of the same name, which preserves the body of St. Roch, acquired in 1485. The popularity of San Rocco, as well as the generous alms left him by the people because of frequent plagues, enabled the Scuola to become the richest of the confraternities in Venice.  It is the only one to survive the fall of the Republic.  All of the others, in fact, were squelched by Napoleonic decree in 1806, although San Rocco lost many of its assets during that time.

     Today the Grande Scuola di San Rocco continues its charitable works, as well as protecting its cherished art collection.  There are over 300 active members, men and women.

     In Italy, there are so many of these Annunciation paintings, in which the angel comes to the Virgin Mary to tell her of her future motherhood.  Most are quite similar, but I find each has the personality unique, like us.

Tintoretto and son Annunciation Painting Scuola di San Rocco Venice Italy
     This particular painting intrigued me because I loved the crumbling pillar that shows the cement covered bricks, exposed a bit.  Outside Mary's walls, the world looks like a disaster.  This oil on canvas is by Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) and his son Domenico Tintoretto.  It was painted from 1582 to 1584 and is 422 x 545 cm (about 166 x 215 inches).

Marble Tears in a Praying Figure Scuola San Rocco Venezia Venice
Look at the carved tears!  Marble sculpture

La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Italy Venezia Italia
     I include this shot to give you an idea of the space, but also to show you how they light the paintings:  a wee bit of Steampunk, no?

This is the hall you see when you first enter.  Tickets at the door are reasonably priced.

Marble Sculpted Column Bas-Relief Carving La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

Base of a column: each side has a carved bas-relief of marble

Staircase with huge figure paintings La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
Not at all impressive or ambitious!

Circle architecture with ceiling paintings La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
As we go up, we get a hint of what awaits us.

compositional device dark figure in lower left corner of staircase painting
I am intrigued by this figure in the dark, lower left.  I believe her to simply be a compositional device.  She is dark so that our eyes dismiss a little as we seek the light in the painting, but do you note her triangular shape?  It seems to be pointing right at the center of attention, while making less important the lower part of the staircase.  I believe this is one of the compositions about the Madonna aiding plague victims in Venezia.

Portrait painting with great expression on man La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
Beautifully painted face / expression!

Figure emerging from a ceiling fresco or painting La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
I love it when things emerge beyond their borders!

The other side of the staircase painting La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
I am always noting how the artist divides the space given.

Luscious figure painting and colors Detail of staircase La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
This is luscious!

Crazy complicated gold frame at edge of painting in architecture of staircase
Now, this is an interesting framing task!

Lovely Drapery of a woman in large figure composition La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

Clothing painted on figure painting woman drapery La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
Fascinated by drapery. . .

Wood carving with inlaid white stone eyes Hermes La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
     I found this wood sculpture of Hermes very interesting, although the inlaid eyes creep me out, as they usually do.  You may tell it is Hermes by the caduceus, as well as the winged helmet.  I got more interested in the Greek god Hermes when I created my painting, The Curiosity of Pandora.

Hermes carved in wood La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia Tintoretto

Hermes Greek God Carved in Dark Wood La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
     Another note:  Hermes is a Greek God.  Most of the large painting depicts scenes from Christianity.  I found it interesting how the mixture of religions exists together in La Grande Scuola di San Rocco.

Words Engraved into a wood sculpture of Hermes Hermes Greek God Carved in Dark Wood La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
     I wish that I knew what this writing was about.  However, I enjoyed this combination of a (presumably) important text and the figure.  Sadly, my image is too blurry to understand what the text says, although one headline seemed to say "Silence" in Italian, so perhaps it is a list of desired qualities to improve oneself?  Our visit was relaxed, but short just the same, so I did not have time to understand how the text was applied to the wood.  Likely hand-carved.  No one would do such a thing today, would he?

Gorgeous meeting room with Paintings on the Ceilings and Dark Wood walls tiled floors
Really elegant, no?

Portrait of a Saint by famous artist La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia 

Amazing Wood Carving Figures in high and low relief La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia

     The wood carvings are amazing.  I believe the wood here is walnut.  It holds detail well and must be strong.  The panels move from bas-relief to high-relief sculpture, with the foreground figures often moving out of their backgrounds.  These are in the room above the large staircase.

Veil over face of woman looking to heaven wood carving walnut
It is such an interesting effect in sculpture to carve a transparent veil over a face.

The Sale Capitolare Capital Room upper floor full of sculpture and paintings of La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
Sale Capitolare   (Chapter Halls)

Stunning Sale Capitolare Wood Figure Sculptures Paintings Architecture Extraordinaire

Relief Sculpture in Wood with space behind the figures Amazing!

     Do you note the space behind the legs of the more central figure?  And even the dog... you may see light behind his front leg.  This is the sort of detail that I wanted when I created such sculptures as Eric and Stargazer.

High Relief Sculpture Carved in dark walnut wood La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

Realism figure painting on the Ceiling

And I love ceiling paintings that are designed with perspective of the viewer in mind.

Representing sculpture and painting, respectively, are portraits of orator Cicero and, of course, Tintoretto.
     Representing sculpture and painting, respectively, are portraits of orator Cicero and, of course, Tintoretto.
The wood carvings are by Francesco Pianta between 1657 and 1676.

Light patterns in composition Study Art La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
Here I was struck by the patterns in the light shapes of the wings.

 La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Sale Capitolare Amazing Wood Sculptures
"The whole of the Sala Capitolare is lined with walnut panels enclosed between unusual allegorical sculptures made by Francesco Pianta between 1657 and 1676."  from the page:

The floor is pretty amazing too tiled mosaic pietra dura stone tiles like quilting
Notice the FLOOR, too!

Capolavoro!  (Masterpiece!)  Fury and Curiosity flank each side of this wooden book shelf and wood books, 64 in total!
Capolavoro!  (Masterpiece!)  Fury and Curiosity flank each side of this wooden book shelf and wood books, 64 in total!

 Sculpted Wooden Books on Shelves book shelf and wood books, 64 in total!

 Fury and Curiosity flank each side of this wooden book shelf

Amazing Wood Carvings La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia Italy
Yes, the ropes are carved wood, too... simply breath-taking and truly awe-inspiring!

Mirrors are available to save the necks of visitors while they look up to the art on the ceilings
This idea is brilliant:  Decent size handheld mirrors are available (free) to viewers to save our necks while appreciating the ceiling.

Some wooden snake !  Wood carving of figure with naughty snake in crotch
Now, that is just funny . . . some snake!

La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Side view of wooden snake


La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Tintoretto famous painting painter
The Crucifixion by Tintoretto  (detail below)

he Crucifixion by Tintoretto detail La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
More Paintings on the Ceiling:

Figurative Paintings between Gilded Wood Designs on the Ceiling La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
Figurative Paintings between Gilded Wood Designs on the Ceiling La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
More Bronze and Wood Art in San Rocco

Bronze and Wood Carvings Together La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
Another Annunciation painting.  Note that in the language of painting, the Virgin Mary is clothed in a pink dress with a blue cape.

Annuciation Painting Note that Mary is always depicted in pink dress with blue robe

I am so in love with iron (or bronze?) and other hardware!

Iron or Bronze Hardware Hinges Door locks So Beautiful, especially with the wood
Metal Hinges and locks are beautiful on wood doors and shutters La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice 

Carved Coral Crucifix La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
Above:  This appears to be carved from coral!

Reliquary of the Finger of Saint Roch La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
The Italians seem to love body parts!  Of Saints anyway. And they created elaborate and different glass and metal containers for each one.  I think back then, there must have been some serious competition between artists because most that I have seen are quite elaborate and creative, even if a bit of overkill for my taste. 

This is the Reliquary of the Finger of Saint Roch.
Reliquary of the Finger of Saint Roch La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia

Reliquary of the Finger of Saint Roch La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia

And . . . the RELIC (bone):

Reliquary of the Finger of Saint Roch La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia

Bas-relief plaster decoration on wall Simple but effective architectural decor
Above:  I am pointing to a gesso relief on the wall decoration.  It amazes me that often simplicity repeated creates such an astounding effect.

 Love this Curvy Pose Painting Stairs La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
     This figure inspires me so much and reminds me of a photo taken of me while I sat on the top edge of a couch in a dress at a party in Florence.  If I remember this image, I should act on it.

Tiziano  Titian 's Annunciation Painting La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice Venezia
     This is Tiziano (Titian)'s Annunciation painting.  He was a teacher of Tintoretto before the student reached his 20th year.  Note that here, Mary does not wear the chosen colors to identify the Madonna in art.  Perhaps she is in dark blue and the photo does not show well the color.  That may be pink at her collar, near the hand?

More door hardware to love!  La Grande Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
More hardware as we left the building!  Sigh . . .

 You are so necessary for the culture you desire.

     There are many ways to support the art that you enjoy seeing and touching.  Here are a few suggestions:

* My Patreon page is here:
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* Fine Art America [FAA], my art on a variety of products. If you do not see your favorite image, please ask me and I will upload the one you want so that you may order whatever you like.

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* Sculptors and students: Buy my uncut stone that exists in central Texas: I have a variety of rocks that I hate to part with, but it is more difficult to work in two countries and much of it I must allow other carvers to turn into lovely art.

* Oh, and the obvious: BUY art when you can; BUY when something moves you. Or just BUY art and hang it over your couch. It is the choices we make that show off our personalities and it is a joy to create your surroundings to your own liking.


Kelly Borsheim

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

    "My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy"
    by Kelly Borsheim

    I have about 20 copies here with me in Italy and some in North Carolina, so if you are also here, just write me and we will organize the rest.
Venice 4 a.m. in October with Constellation Orion visible
    This was Venice in the morning around 4 a.m. after I walked Dilya to the airport taxi.  Can you see the constellation of Orion overhead?  But now, it is mid-December, and I can see him rising to the night in the early evenings.  Lovely either way.

    Copyright  2019 Kelly Borsheim
    All Rights Reserved

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