The Mona Lisa Effect

The Mona Lisa effect is known for the eyes in a portrait seem to follow the viewer as they move back and forth.

While it is hard to make it to the Louvre to see the original Mona Lisa, or any museum during this pandemic, you can see the effect in my portraits. This ability appears naturally when I paint a portrait of my client’s pets and of people too.

Calico | Acrylic On Canvas | 10″ x 10″ x 1.5″ | by Sandra Mucha

It just so happens, I am also known for using a sing-song cue when I had my elementary after school art lessons. I would say “Mona”..and they responded “Lisa” . The best was surprising my students at the end of the year dressed as her. ..For a different Mona Lisa effect.

Ms. Mucha as Mona Lisa

Stay tuned.. Students of my online virtual art share can catch a visit from the lady with the mysterious smile.

The fog will lift…

The fog will lift eventually I have to believe. By week’s end I started to trust that this pandemic will reveal many unforseen perspectives.

Snow art
“Snow Fog” by Sandra Mucha | 10″ x 10″ x 1.5” | 25.4 x 25.4 x 4cm | Acrylic on Canvas.

In the meantime, I took a much needed solo ride in nature. It was needed after a week of less art making due to the following:

Bike trail
Clear day on a trail in Richardson, TX | Photo Credit: Sandra Mucha

Information overload, planning the week(s) meals for my family, prepping my art classroom for my ten year old’s educational use til school is safe again. All while continuing my daily meditations and bike rides providing proof how life continues.

Fog art
“Winter’s Fog” by Sandra Mucha | 10″ x 10″ x 1.5” | 25.4 x 25.4 x 4cm | Acrylic on Canvas

I ended this memorable spring break week hugging my son more, working on my art, and finding hope in the rare situation. Hope stemming from my love of knowledge, and trusting  inconceivable learnings will be revealed as the fog fades. Be Well.

How to Mix a Black and Grey Palette Without Using Black.

As I mix a black and grey palette without using black paint today, I am reminded of my students saying to each other, “..Ms Mucha does not allow us to paint with black”.

San Francisco Acrylics 30
A Work in Progress: San Francisco | Acrylics | 30″ × 24″ | Artist: Sandra Mucha
Here is my reason why: Black flattens the color, while it can make the other colors pop, it does not create the depths as found in a natural setting when creating a cityscape, portrait or still life.

While it can make the other colors pop, it does not create the depths as found in a natural setting…

Glass Towers | Oil On Canvas | 48″ x 36″ x 1.5″ | Artist: Sandra Mucha

So, here is my favorite pairing for creating darks and fogs in my cityscapes: burnt umber with ultramarine blue to achieve a natural dark shade.

Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue and Tint with Titanium white.
The next time you have the urge to reach for black paint, try creating more depth and realistic darks and greys with the versatile color combination of ultramarine blue and burnt umber.

Also, be careful to use small amounts of titanium white for tinting. This cooler white tends to dominate the other colors.

See works in progress at SandraMucha.Artwork on Instagram.

Paintbrush Tips and Tricks:

Here are a some paintbrush tips and tricks based on three commonly used paintbrushes in my art studio. Whether I am painting a cityscape, a snowscape or a portrait I use the following brush style and no.:

Painting Brushes: Filberts no. 2, 8, and no. 2 Liner brush

Filbert 8-12 is used for larger color fields for the compositons initial shapes. The filbert brush with its sculpted rounded shape is a very efficient brush providing the option of thick or thin lines, as well as an added smaller tapered end for details. It even can replicate the use of a fan brush for blending.
Small filbert 2-4 for adding details with a thick or thin line,and the added smaller pointed end for details. Not as much area allowing for blending, but still allows for a variety of mark making.
Size 2 liner for smaller details, lines found in nature, architecture, hair, or great line control for signing your signature.
I use these three common artist paint brush sizes in that order as well. Large to small works best when creating a painting’s layers or wet into wet techniques.

All of these brushes provide dual purposes making it a wise purchase for a daily art making budget. My other brushes (pictured in the multi bin) have accumulated from various works over the years. Plus, it is convenient to have the same sizes at the ready too if editing a variety of colors.

Brush and organizing bin brands are available on this blog’s correlating instagram post.