Cain and Abel

Art, visual arts, sketches, ideas by Gianluca Barcbello, Italy

Cain and Abel

Hey Henri,

Hope you’re doing well! I just wrapped up a new drawing and thought I’d share it with you, along with some of my thoughts and reflections. This one’s called “Cain and Abel,” and I’m pretty excited about how it turned out. I’d love to hear your take on it, but first, let me give you the full lowdown.

As always I will divide this letter of mine into paragraphs so you can read it more easily.

  1. Objective description of the drawing.
  2. Reason that encouraged me to paint this drawing.
  3. Message conveyed by the work.
  4. The technique used to create the work.
  5. Personal final criticism.

1) Objective Description of the Drawing
Right in the center of the sheet, you’ll see two figures that look almost identical. They’re clumsy, obese, and stylized to resemble human shapes. At first glance, it seems like they’re embracing each other, but if you look closely at the bottom part of the sheet, you’ll notice that each one is holding a long, sharp knife, threatening the other. It’s like we’ve caught them in a freeze-frame, a moment just before the scene reaches its climax. What’s really interesting is that they both have these almost contented, happy expressions, like they’re enjoying the situation.

The figures are colored in a range of pinks and yellows, with some black edges made with charcoal that add a bit of roughness and definition. The entire background is a light blue, creating a calm yet contrasting backdrop for the intense scene. Their obese appearance is intentional; it’s an allegory for how they’re so full of pride and arrogance that they can’t see the value in stopping and talking things out.

2) Reason that Encouraged Me to Paint This Drawing
When I made this drawing, I was thinking a lot about the eternal struggle that often happens between siblings over the most trivial reasons. It’s always struck me how these fraternal fights can escalate over things that are so insignificant when you compare them to life itself. Envy, you know, it’s as old as humanity. It’s always seen as the spark that lights the fire of conflict, which, if not put out, leads to these sad, regretful endings.

I wanted to capture that essence of pointless strife, how something that starts so small can grow into something catastrophic if left unchecked. I guess it’s a bit of a reflection on my own thoughts and observations about family and conflict, how envy and pride can twist something as pure as brotherhood into something tragic.

3) Message Conveyed by the Work
The message I hope people get from this is actually the opposite of what’s depicted. I want to highlight how exasperation and intolerance can lead to tragic endings. The message of peace isn’t always shown with a handshake; sometimes, it’s about the hard conversations and the struggle to find common ground. Arguing isn’t the solution – it’s about dialogue and understanding.

By showing these two figures on the brink of violence, I’m hoping to make people think about how important it is to step back and communicate before things go too far. It’s a bit of a wake-up call, I guess. We need to address our issues before they escalate to a point of no return.

4) The Technique Used to Create the Work
For this piece, I went with oil pastels and bold strokes of charcoal. The drawing is 12.9 x 9.4 inches, a pretty small format. I chose this size partly because I want my art to be accessible even to those who don’t have a lot of space to display it. But it’s also about the practicality and the speed of execution. The oil pastels give the colors a vibrant, almost raw energy, while the charcoal adds that gritty texture that suits the theme of conflict and tension.

I like working in this size for now, but I’m also dreaming of creating something larger one day. There’s a certain intimacy in the smaller format, though, like it draws the viewer in closer, makes them engage more personally with the scene.

5) Personal Criticism
Dear Henri, as always, I want to share my honest thoughts with you. The small size of the drawing has pushed me to paint in a rough and troubled way, and while I do like the end result, I think of it as more of a draft or a preliminary study. I hope to someday expand this idea into a larger format, where I can really delve into the details and explore the concept more fully.

There’s always that feeling of wanting more space to let the idea breathe, you know? But at the same time, I think this version captures the raw emotion I was going for. It’s not perfect, but maybe that’s part of its charm. It’s a work in progress, just like me.

Anyway, that’s the story behind “Cain and Abel.” I’d love to hear what you think about it, your insights always help me see things from a new perspective.

Take care and chat soon,


there are no reasons to be sad...when you draw!

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