I finished the biography of Leonardo DaVinci this morning. The lesson I learned from this book of more than 500 pages is: Be curious about everything. I learned this early in life thanks to my father. He was a theoretical physicist who knew a great deal about nature. He was a ‘natural philosopher’, an old […]

Lines Part 2

I added sfumato to yesterday’s skeleton of lines, theoretically combining Leonardo DaVinci and Michelangelo’s choices in painting: soft, gradual changes in tone, with no outlines of Leonardo, and definite outlines of Michelangelo. There is an inside-out character to this part of the study compared with the initial stage:

Lines Part 1

I never realized that Leonardo DaVinci (L) and Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (aka Michelangelo (M)) knew each other. They didn’t get along too well, apparently. From what I’ve read, I would rather have known Leonardo. He was so curious about everything. Michelangelo was more competitive and a bit of a snarky fellow.* L and […]

Blue Edgelessness

Yesterday’s post, Edgeless, was inspired by my reading of Leonardo DaVinci’s notes about using shadows instead of lines to separate insides and outsides of shapes. He claimed infinite gradations of shadings, and not outlines, define shapes in real life. This is particularly true in the way he painted and sketched expressions on faces. The painting […]


The biography of Leonardo DaVinci that I am reading, has a passage that tells about his revelation that there are no lines in nature. Leonardo explained that there is an “infinite gradation of shades and blending of them, which does not allow precise borders.”*  Apparently, Leonardo studied and wrote quite a bit about shadows and […]


I just started reading a biography of Leonardo daVinci. It is very interesting but, in conjunction with my goal of experimenting with watercolor every day, it is intimidating. I began today’s experiment with dry brush strokes of quinacridone rust on paper with rough texture. I proceeded with short, choppy brushstrokes, blending with yellow and blue, […]

Abstract 122214

I’m glad that there will be more and more daylight hours starting today. (As many of you know, I write my blogs the day before, for posting at midnight the following day, so I am referring to December 22.) I always think of my father on this day every year, as this was his birthday. […]

Another Leaf

Observation I have been thinking about Paul Cézanne and his approach to art (Hajo Düchting, Cézanne, Nature into Art Taschen, 1999). Perhaps I am wrong, but I picture him wandering about Provence looking, not only at the vistas, but also at smaller objects of nature. He said, “This region is full of undiscovered treasures. There […]