Project Based Homeschooling: Mona Lisa Picture Study

mona-lisa_PBL mona

Great Resources to Have on Hand


Becoming Leonardo

L decided to journal as she did her research and called her journal ‘Becoming Leonardo’.   Her goal was to really to try to get into his head and try to understand what it was that made him tick.  This was her own idea and her own journal, and whilst she shared with me what she was discovering and was happy to have me browse through it, the journal was not something I marked or made her do corrections in:

Ribbet collagebecoming leo

Recreating the lady who posed

I really enjoyed this part of her study.  She dragged her sister in to help her with attempting to recreate the Mona Lisa.  Much thought was put into her clothes and hair dressing, as well as to her slightly melancholy look.  My usually effervescent daughter appeared quite demure!   I just love how C11 turned out:

Ribbet collagepretending to be mona
Then we played about with the above photos in Ribbet, to create different effects.  I particularly like the aged one.  This was just a bit of fun but I think taught L11 to see the shades and different depths of colour and she learnt a new skill to boot!

Ribbet collagepretending to be mona 1

Ribbet collage pretending to be mona 2

Sketching Using the Principles of the Golden Ratio

Again, in our group study we had learnt a bit about the Golden Ratio, in particular how Da Vinci used it in the proportioning of the Mona Lisa:


After many practice drawings, she drew the Mona Lisa outline lightly onto the canvas she would be using to recreate the oil painting:

DSC_0728monalisa lil

Recreating the Mona Lisa in Oils

Her final piece was to try her hand at painting the Mona Lisa, using oil paints.  She’s not a huge fan of oil paints, but I think she did a great job:

DSC_0738lill paintingDSC_0740lill painting

She decided to leave out the back ground altogether, so went over any smudges with white oil paint to tidy it up a bit.  And here is the final piece:

DSC_0741lil painting

After she had completed all her projects she typed up all she had learnt for a presentation.   Once completed she had finished her study.  Another successful foray into project based learning for L11.  Well done, Sweetheart!


  1. I agree with Hwee, it’s a great painting. And I really like the angle she chose to take on her project; thinking about what someone must have been feeling when they did their great work is such a good way to remember them.

  2. Wow. Your kids have wonderful ideas. In my teens I also was fascinated with Leonardo da Vinci, mainly thanks to the book “the romance of Leonardo da Vinci” by D. Merezhkovskiy.

    1. He definitely is one of our favourite characters we have studied so far. I’ve not read that book, I might have to pop to the library to see if they have it!

  3. I love how she threw herself completely into the project – and with such wonderful results!

    Thanks for the award, too. It will be a while yet before I’m back to myself enough to get around to even glancing at what it’s all about – but still, thanks 🙂

  4. That was quite an endeavor and she did splendidly. The oil painting is lovely too. I still love how your children help each other with projects and are so sweet to each other. Thanks for sharing all of L’s hard work.

  5. L’s painting is beautiful! She looks so happy. Please tell her for me. C made a lovely model. Your girls are precious. This looks like another successful project!
    Have a wonderful day, Claire.:)

    1. Hello! I missed you! I hope you had a lovely rest time. Are you back to normal school yet?
      Yes, this was another successful PBL from L. She really does seem to thrive learning this way!

  6. Oops my comment didn’t get through.

    I like the comparison you did using the different techniques on the computer, that’d be a fun study in and of itself.

    I’m pretty impressed with your kids’ skills with oil painting, I’m not so good with oil paintings myself.

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