Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Small Progress!

I've been working a very small portion of the landscape by Lisa's right shoulder...thought I'd put up a quick pic of the mayhem.

As I go, I'm more and more impressed with the level of detail Leonardo achieved (and I was plenty impressed before!), and the infinite subtlety of all the aspects of the portrait. Everything I'm laying in now seems very heavy-handed by aim is to keep layering until I've acheived the proper tonality and subtle smokiness, etc.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I've started laying in glazes of color in the background. I'm hoping to get the landscape well in hand in the next couple of weeks, so that then I can begin on the dress and parapet. Once all the non-skin areas are in hand, I'll begin laying in the many layers of glazing to complete the flesh tones, hair and veils.

I'm having trouble with the azurite glaze in the sky...the paint is grainy and it shows badly in a transparent glaze. I don't want to substitute another color as the azurite is a beautiful ultramarine color with a slight greenish haze that makes it quite unique. I'll be writing Natural Pigments to see what they recommend as well as regrinding the paint.

Friday, December 10, 2010


During the Renaissance and before, guild carpenters prepared wood panels for painters to paint upon. Often, the panel was already framed; sometimes the panels and frames had also been prepared with gesso and seasoned. There is evidence that the panel on which the Mona Lisa was painted was such a panel.

Some sources claim that the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo was a commission that was made through Leonardo's father, Ser Piero da Vinci, who apparently was acquainted with Francesco del Giocondo. Since Ser Piero died in July of 1504, and Leonardo is thought to have started work on the portrait in 1503, this could be the case. Did Leonardo perhaps choose a previously prepared panel because to him, the painting was a minor commission? hmmmm...