Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What ME wait??

Well, I've begun work on other aspects of the project while waiting for the poplar panels to ship. There are quite a few aspects to this project! The painting will likely be the least unfamiliar territory, and because of this, will likely be the "easiest" part of the process. THERE, I've cursed it now!!
Anyway, as to what's been occupying my time lately. I've scanned images of the Mona Lisa framed and unframed, front and back, into my computer and sized them to the specifications given in the excellent book Mona Lisa Inside the Painting. The final piece is about 20.5 inches wide and 31 inches tall. framed, it actually looks pretty good sized. The frame is about 5 inches wide and very ornate. In Photoshop, I isolated a section of frame and shopped for molding pieces that gave the proper shape to the frame molding (see the accompanying picture of the moulding test layup). I cut and glued up the pieces into a section that I'm sculpting the frame detail on to. I've discovered that the painting is actually in two frames. The first is a flexible oak frame that is braced across the back with sycamore pieces that keeps the painting support from warping. This frame is hidden beneath the second frame, which is the decorative frame. The picture with the first post shows the decorative frame. After the frame detail is sculpted to my satisfaction, I'll mold the frame section and manufacture about 12 feet of frame that I can cut and assemble into the final frame.
I've also been reading a LOT of technical books about pigments and painting techniques of the Renaissance, I'll certainly be busy in the months waiting for the panels to dry. I need to test sizing and gesso formulae and find and purchase pigments and decide on and test painting media and glazing techniques. I got an A in Art History when I did my copy of the Mona Lisa 30 years ago, but THIS one is going to be a MUCH better product.


  1. Hey Andy. Very cool. I'd love to see some more pix as you sculpt the frame. What tools are you using?

  2. Enjoying the unfolding story. Now, from a neophyte, why the Mona? What make is the Grail of the Art world?

  3. Jim, I'll be sure to post plenty of pictures as I go. The frame sculpture is clay, and I'm using a combination of wire loop sculpting tools and dental tools.

    David, the Mona Lisa is generally regarded as the first psychological portrait. It's a tour-de-force painted by Leonardo at his peak. It's unique in many ways. Lisa Giocondo was the wife of a florentine silk merchant. Not someone who would generally have their portrait painted by an artist of the stature of Leonardo.

    I'll get into some of the technical specifics more as I begin painting