16 x 20 in.
Acrylic painted print of bas-relief sculpture
Available through the artist

When you think of Italy, do you picture rolling vineyards, gourmet foods, quaint cafes, and world-famous museums? While Gina Klawitter was creating Firenze, her daughter was exploring Florence (Firenze), Italy. The photos she texted Gina of white marble sculptures and the reddish brown Duomo Cathedral came to mind as Gina observed her freshly cast bas relief artwork.

Gina’s original intent for this new art was to create a classical ballet Sculptural Painting cast from Colorado Ballet’s retiring prima ballerina. She had designed a traditional, yet energetic pose. However, Gina didn’t know at the time that the ballerina was dancing spectacularly despite the pain of an injured hip. Modeling was a different challenge. As the fabric Gina formed over her was quickly hardening, the dancer needed to straighten her pose, and the top half of the fabric casting had to be repositioned within minutes. “The resulting structure looked more stately than I had first imagined,” says Gina, “To me it held a tranquil, spiritual, renaissance look, not that of a dancer on stage.”

When Gina began to paint Firenze, she instinctively reached for the Duomo’s burnt sienna color and washed it over the entire structure. “As I wiped this paint off the figure’s surface, it seemingly emerged like a buried white marble sculpture rising out of a Florentine landscape. Then, I added touches of umber to diffuse the raw orangeness of the burnt sienna, plus touches of metallic gold, and blue sky tones.”

What Gina especially enjoys about making her Sculptural Paintings is the spontaneity of her method. Casting allows about five minutes to drape the wet fabric over the model and form the design before it’s solid. Washing on and wiping away paint is an instantaneous process, too.

Likewise, it is a spontaneous action to recreate her Sculptural Paintings as painted photo prints. “Upon discovering that photographs of my artwork look similarly beautiful and dimensional, I experimented with expressively painting over archival prints, mostly using metallic paint,” says Gina. Painted prints enable buyers with smaller budgets or display space to obtain her art. While the life-size Firenze Sculptural Painting (78x49x9) is tangibly real – like having a live ballerina posing on a wall – painted prints are captivating versions of the original.

A long-time commissioned artist and former art and creative director, Gina Klawitter is emerging into galleries and exhibits with her innovative Sculptural Paintings. You can see her ongoing, rotating exhibit by appointment at Colorado Ballet’s Armstrong Center for Dance.

View more of Gina’s work and learn about upcoming shows by visiting her website, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.