re-Pre face


Previous Pre-Covers to my book. 


Every so often I feel I should do an updated "preface" as to what my site and book are about. Sometimes it's easy to forget that someone might be new and not have a clue what you are talking about or referring to. It's like watching a tv show with someone that you have never seen before and they start talking about it like you should know what they are saying.

It's like - wait wait wait - pause the show and catch me up.

How did he become vice president? (House of Cards)
Why does Brandy not trust Lisa anymore? (Beverly Housewives)
Are these people actually friends or enemies? (All housewives)
 Is that their sister or their ex girl-friend? (Game of thrones)

I am confused! I don't even know these people's names! Which one is which? Who is that again?

So the really short version is:

"Discovering Da Vinci's Daughter" is a non-fiction semi- autobiographical narrative about the author discovering the enigmatic identity of the Mona Lisa and previously unattributed artistic innovations by Leonardo da Vinci.

Or in other words I lost my mind and basically 'lost everything' when I started to try and write a book about Leonardo da Vinci. Fast Forward 7ish years and after many re-starts, I have mostly gotten everything back together again. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" eh? That may be true but I documented and wrote about all of the attempted self mutilations (and humiliations.) In my book they will be called "interjections" which is my story that's interwoven between the chapters.

This blog is what I've been using to post about writing it along the way. My web site: itsjustlife.com was my own personal project before all this started and it has turned into discoveringdavinci.com

"DiscoveringDaVinci" is a result of the research I have done and continue to do for my book. It's 'inadvertently' become one of the more extensive Leonardo da Vinci resources online. Over the years I've learned a lot about social media, web site design, and 'da Vinci" - so I am working to combine them all together. I guess you could say that I am trying to build the best Leonardo da Vinci site online as a very helpful and informative preview for my book. 


What I hope to do with this site is to present Leonardo not as just an artist or as an art historian would present him but as he is seen through the eyes of someone who knew nothing about him. As someone learning – (discovering)- him from his own notebooks and not only from the words and opinions of others. These sites work like we are discovering him together. Since I am already 8 years into it -  I’m working on my sites as being a way to play catch up. To take someone from knowing absolutely nothing about da Vinci ( like I did when I started) to being at where I am now and then trekking further along together into the future. Like a study group, or a book club, or a game. To be something fun, interactive, educational and ultimately inspirational. 

You could think of it like learning a new language- “Vinciii” this is how I learned to understand it and how much I have already learned -  but there is still a lot more to go. You may be wondering: 

"More to go? Isn’t everything to discover about him already discovered? How could there be something ‘new’ from someone who’s been dead for 500 years?"– Good question!  

For me to answer that requires a preface of information. It’s like watching a tv – series and trying to start on season 2 without seeing the first season. You wouldn’t be able to understand what is going on, what the character's motives are, who they are, their back story, or why certain things are more important to the story than others.

 That is what this site evolved into and what the first half of my book explores. You have to know how to count before you can add, before you can multiply, and then move onto algebra – and then calculus etc. What my book is about is more towards the ‘advanced mathematics’ and unless you have a quazi knowledge of the intermediary subjects you wouldn’t understand it. I’m not saying that you wouldn't be able to ‘understand it’ or that you are not capable – but that like a tv show it requires a back story to appreciate.   If you don’t even know who Leonardo is (was) or know anything about the Mona Lisa or the many mysteries that surround her – then they require a preface to appreciate.  If I am going to present things that shouldn't be present at a certain place in history - then I have to give context and an appropriate time line. 

Why? Because they are the things that I didn't know - that I needed to know to get to the next chapter. 

I do not consider myself to be an academic or an art historian. That doesn't mean that I am not educated or that I am not well versed in the subjects but I approach them from an entirely different perspective.
I became interested in Leonardo after reading about him as an individual subject and I started my da-venture focused entirely on him – and through him. I didn't learn about him through reading his biographies but by reading his own notebooks. I didn't look at his art after already being told what it was or other people’s opinions. I didn't take a class about Renaissance art or humanities – I was almost entirely focused on Leonardo’s own art and notebooks for the greater part of these last few years.

What happened was that what I was ‘discovering’ things that were not aligning with what other people – the experts and art historians – had said. Since I was going about it in a different way I didn't have any pre-conceived notions or knew what the “right answers” were. Instead of looking to books about him that were by other people – or asking other people – I went directly to the source. Instead of going to the history books I excavated and evaluated for and by myself.  

What made me very different than most of the other people who researched Leonardo and ancient art – (other than knowing nothing about it) – was that I was well versed in other areas. These areas seemed like they would have nothing to do with art from over 500 years ago. I was, and am, a fully modernized digital nerd. I've been in front of a tv or computer screen or cell phone or table 95% of my life. 

I didn't take art history lessons or humanities in college- I took digital media, animations, special effects, film, and web site design. I have never picked up a paint brush or painted a picture but I have taken hundreds of thousands of digital photographs, hundreds of hours of movies, and spent countless hours in photoshop. So while I knew nothing about paintings or “art” I knew a lot about “art” by another name. What is it that makes taking a digital picture and then “photo-shopping it" different than painting a picture? They are different skill sets but they are essentially the same thing. The same rules of perspective and color that govern painting also govern digital art – and both of those are based on the same universal rules of vision and perspective. So while I knew nothing about perspective in painting I had been studying it for years in other formats.

My biggest fascination was with special effects in movies. I wanted to know EXACTLY how something like Avatar, or Star Wars, was created. How they could make something completely imaginary come to live and look realistic. I wanted to know what it was – technically – that made something look really real vs being fake “looking.” I had been inadvertently been training my vision to be super –fine tuned and technically sophisticated. When I would watch a movie I wouldn't be immersed in the story - instead I would be trying to figure out how they created it – noticing any flaws, and thinking about the intricacies. That must be cgi- that must be a miniature, that must be an animatronic, that must be make up – etc etc etc. I was also interested in the technology behind it – the cameras, the computer displays, the graphic cards and the software, 3d – how they make it 3d – how do we see in 3d? All of these things can be very technical and boring and seem like they have nothing to do with “discovering da vinci” – right?

That is what I thought until I started to research him and study his art. That was until I started to read his notebooks. I realized that we shared the exact same passion – figuring out a way to get what was in our imaginations out of our minds. How to make the most beautiful, complicated, sophisticated, special effects laden image possible. How to get the movies that were trapped in my mind – onto a screen that could display them with the same quality. How to dream during the day. That is what I had been trying to do my entire life. That is also exactly what I found inside Leonardo’s notebooks and in his art.

That is also when reality set it. “Wait, they didn't have movies or even light bulbs 500 years ago – how could he be trying to do the same thing as me? How could he even be thinking the same things as me? Who is this guy?” – that is when my life got really complicated. That is when my book began and that is where I’ll end this. 


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