Category Archives: Art

Creative Juice #86

Creative Juice #86

Indulge in the arts:

#DC356: What’s in a Name?


This week’s Diva Challenge is to create a tangle around your name. I used my initials. Patterns: Blossom #04, Fescu, Cadent, Ennies, Printemps, Paradox, and Bumpety Bump.


I also used a watercolor pen for the first time. Fun!

Guest Post: “The Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci ~from The Joy of Museums


Thank you to The Joy of Museums for today’s guest post.

Painting of Mona Lisa

“The Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is a portrait which he started in Florence around 1503. It is thought to be of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine cloth merchant. Leonardo took this painting with him to France when he joined the court of the French King, and after his death, the picture entered King François I’s collection. The Mona Lisa became part of The Louvre collection in 1797 and is considered to be one of the world’s best-known paintings, the most written about and the most parodied works of art in the world.

In 1911, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa painting was stolen from the Louvre, and the Louvre closed for an entire week during the investigations.  The theft created a media sensation and rewards were offered. Pablo Picasso was on the original list of suspects questioned and jailed for the robbery, but he was later released. After many false leads and claims, the Mona Lisa thief was caught when he attempted to sell it to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was returned to the Louvre in 1914 and the thief, a Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia only served six months in prison for the crime.  Peruggia was hailed for his patriotism in Italy as he claimed he wanted to return the Mona Lisa to the country that gave birth to the Mona Lisa and Leonardo. Perugia argued, that the Mona Lisa had been stolen from Florence by Napoleon and that he deserved a reward for doing his patriotic duty and returning it to its real home in Italy.

Monalisa uffizi 1913

The Mona Lisa is on display in the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence (Italy), just before it was returned to the Louvre.

Before the 1911 theft, the Mona Lisa was not widely known outside the art world. The nearly two-year hunt across multiple continents helped to publicise the Mona Lisa to the public imagination. In 1956, the painting was damaged when a vandal threw acid at it, which provided more publicity and notoriety. That same year, a rock was thrown at the canvas which left some minor damage.

Bulletproof glass was then used to protect the Mona Lisa. Which was fortunate when in 1974, a woman, upset by the museum’s policy for disabled people, sprayed red paint at the Mona Lisa. More recently in 2009, a Russian woman, upset for being denied French citizenship, threw a ceramic teacup at the famous painting.

The painting has been exhibited in New York City, Washington, D.C, Tokyo and Moscow with great success. Before the US tour, in 1962 the picture was assessed for insurance at $100 million. In today’s terms that translates to approximately $800m, considered to be the most valued painting in the world.

Leonardo da Vinci - Mona Lisa (detail) - WGA12713

In art terms, the Mona Lisa is the earliest Italian portrait to focus firmly on the sitter in a half-length portrait and set the standard for future artists. Depicting the subject in front of an imaginary landscape, Leonardo was one of the first painters to use perspective in this way. Da Vinci pioneered a shadowing technique at the corners of her lips and the corners of her eyes which give her a remarkably lifelike appearance and look of amusement.

An unexpected historical copy of the Mona Lisa was discovered in 2012 at as part of the Prado collection in Madrid. When the painting was cleaned, scientific analysis revealed that the copy was probably painted by another artist, possibly an apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci, who sat beside Leonardo and copied his work, brush-stroke by brush-stroke. The Prado painting suggests what the Mona Lisa might look like if layers of yellowed varnish could be removed from the original. The face, especially the smile, does look slightly different but it is a close copy in many other respects and dates to a similar time. The painting cannot be considered as a workshop copy due to its careful and thorough execution, as well as its use of materials such as lapis lazuli or red lacquer, which were used by Leonardo.

The Joconde by a student of Leonardo da Vinci

A copy of the Mona Lisa that was discovered in 2012 at as part of the Prado collection, in Madrid.

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, scientist and an engineer who was already famous in his lifetime and is today considered a genius. Leonardo’s masterpiece had considerable influence during his lifetime and continued to influence and attract lovers of history and art in our life.

Mona Lisa:

  • Title:           Mona Lisa
  • Français:    La Joconde, La Gioconda
  • Artist:         Leonardo da Vinci
  • Created:     1503
  • Periods:      High Renaissance
  • Subject:      Not certain, possibly Lisa Gherardini
  • Media:        Oil paint on poplar wood
  • Dimensions: 77 cm x 53 cm
  • Museum:    The Louvre (since 1797)

Leonardo da Vinci:

  • Name:               Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci
  • Born:                 1452 – Vinci, Republic of Florence (present-day Italy)
  • Died:                  1519 (aged 67) – Amboise, Kingdom of France
  • Movement:      High Renaissance
  • Masterpieces:


“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” Leonardo da Vinci


Photo Credit 1) By Sambodhi Sakhare (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 3) See page for author [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 4) Robert L. Knudsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 5) Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons ; Museo del Prado [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Video of the Week #142: The Mechanics of History

Video of the Week #142: The Mechanics of History

Creative Juice #85

Creative Juice #85

Inspiration for creative folks:


10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web

10 Best Zentangle Sites on the Web

If you’re a follower of ARHtistic License, you know that Zentangle is my favorite visual art activity. The repetitive patterns with their simple complexity captivate me.

I get my Zentangle inspiration from the many Zentangle websites and blogs on the web. Here are my favorites (therefore, the best):

  • is the official site of Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, who initiated Zentangle. Read their story.
  • The Creator’s Leaf is the blog of CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) Alice Hendon. Alice also moderates the Zentangle All Around group on Facebook, of which I am a member. I love her work.
  • is the blog of CZT Linda Farmer. It is a catalog of patterns and step-outs (directions).
  • I Am the Diva is the blog of CZT Laura Harms. Every week she runs the Diva Challenge.
  • Life Imitates Doodles isn’t limited to Zentangle, but it is an excellent tangling resource. On Mondays and Saturdays, the author lists challenges, tutorials, and giveaways. Other days she posts her artwork or reviews art supplies.
  • Enthusiastic Artist is the blog of CZT Margaret Bremmer. Her beautiful designs are inspiring.
  • Beez in the Belfry is the blog of CZT Sandy Steen Bartholomew. I love her work. I have one of her books, Totally Tangled.
  • Lily’s Tangles contains the beautifully detailed work of artist Lily M.
  • YouTube is a source for thousands of Zentangle tutorials.
  • Pinterest is also a great source of patterns. May I suggest three of my own boards: Zentangle, Zentangle Christmas, and Zentangle Valentines.IMG_0278

Have I left out any of your favorite Zentangle sites? Please share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #84

Creative Juice #84

A dozen articles to amaze and inspire you.

365 Days of Tea


My mom used to save tea bag strings to darn my father’s white work socks, but this is even better! Thanks to Donna from My OBT for this inspiring post.


ruby Ruby Silvious

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#DC353 Heart Quarter Mandala


This week’s Diva Challenge was to make a make a zendala using a heart string. To be honest, I can’t see the heart in Laura’s example. (I’m sure that’s my problem, not hers.)

I chose to make a quarter mandala rather than a full one. Can you see my heart string? (I’m not talking about the quarter-circle line of little hearts.) Patterns used are Joust, Cirque, Lupe, and Locomotile. (A shout-out to Alice Hendon of the Zentangle All Around group on Facebook, who challenged us to try these patterns this week.)


Creative Juice #83

Creative Juice #83

For your idea-sparking pleasure: