Finally got to see a flock of the elusive roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling, Sanibel! They flew off minutes after I arrived. My first sighting after living in Florida for over twenty years.
Painted with the Peace River Painters, Lee County Plein Air Artists, and Suncoast Plein Air.
My plein air study evolved into studio painting with major struggle:
This painting was first a plein air study that I decided to paint on top of to add the birds... mistake. Should have kept the plein air study and started a new painting. After looking at my photo of the first version, decided I liked it much more, but it's lost under layers of paint.
So, lesson learned. Keep plein air sketches and studies as they are. Something vital happens while painting on location that can never be duplicated with photo reference in the studio.
Plein air study forever lost under several layers of paint and many wipeouts.
Another version under the final painting. It was important to illustrate the Spoonbills... but they took over the painting here. Wiped out a few more times.
This is how they looked that day, off in the distance. Folks were lined up with huge cameras lenses snapping away.
Painting conditions were difficult, breezy with spotted clouds. It was a four hour drive, so I didn't want to go back to work on location again. When I showed my husband the original plein air painting, he said... "You drove four hours for that?" But I was determined to celebrate my sighting of the Roseate Spoonbills, thus the many, many wipeouts.
Punta Gorda History Park, 8x10" oil/linen, plein air, Diane Mannion
History Park Again
Delightful morning painting with the Peace River Painters! Also present, members of the Monday Morning Painters, the Heatstrokes, the No-Name Painters... and a member of a Fort Myers group! Even though it was almost 90, everyone found a cool spot in the shade and there were no complaints ... only about a sudden shower from some lawn sprinklers.
Two more of my History Park paintings, both oil, plein air from 2013.
Ken and Grandkids, 10x8" oil on linen panel, Diane Mannion
Was setting up for a garden commission in Aiken, SC when I caught my cousin and his grandkids struck by the sun. "Freeze!" I yelled, aiming my camera. Sometimes, the light's just right. Another tiny portrait, caricatures really, because of the small size. Nothing cuter than a six year old with front tooth missing.
Back to a favorite painting spot! There are thousands of compositions just waiting to be painted here. Ants, a gusty breeze, and heat (almost 90, again) made it a challenge. Difficult to paint after 10, but worth the effort starting early. I think this one is darn good!
Portrait of my friends, Julie and Joan...on their Harley with Harley, their African Gray parrot. Promised to paint this as a wedding present, glad it's finished before their first anniversary!
At such a tiny scale, it's simply a caricature of my friends, they're actually much more beautiful than this shows. Told them, that if they hated it... I'd paint their house, instead. We'll see.
Technical notes: Limited palette! Used ONLY ultramarine blue, red iron oxide, and white. Just a touch of cad red on the parrot's and bike's tails. And a few glints of cad orange on a light and near windshield.
Painted at the Ringling Museum Rose Garden with a hardy group of Peace River Painters. I was first to arrive and met an official rose garden pruner, who puttered about snipping roses beyond their prime and tenderly inspected each plant... not an easy job with 1200 plants to care for.
The 27,225 square foot, rose garden, was completed in 1913 by Mable Ringling. After falling into disrepair it was lovingly restored by volunteers led by horticulturalist, Ron Mallory. It's now one of the most outstanding rose gardens in the nation.
I couldn't find a shady spot, so stood in the sun (almost 90!) for two hours, not too bad with large hat and shirt. Experimented with a car sunscreen to shade my canvas and palette. Will be traveling this summer by air and don't want to bring my painting umbrella, so this should work fine. But did have to hang onto it when the wind kicked in! Was time to leave, anyway. Finished details on statue later.
While painting this scene in Venice, some cloud shadows created a dramatic, but fleeting light show! Noticed right away that it would strengthen my composition. Had to paint the effect mostly from memory, but think I caught it.
This is the early, primitive stage my painting was before the cloud shadows happened. Darkening the foreground and adding the dramatic slash of light towards Sharky's was a happy accident that made the painting come alive for me! Love the new fins on top of Sharky's.
Brilliant morning painting in the dunes near Sharky's in Venice. Another red, yellow, blue, and white limited palette, but used red iron oxide for sketching and underpainting. I like how a touch of the red oxide tones down greens.
Middle of May and easy to see season's over here, only a handful of people on the beach, sweet relief. While snowbirds have headed north, a couple of crows circled and landed nearby searching for nesting material. The same crows visited me this morning again, will remember to bring a few crackers tomorrow. They'll have starring roles in future paintings, loved the shock of black against the sand, and their bird shadows as they flew overhead.
Got a good start on another painting this morning and will go back to finish it early.
Always a pleasure painting with the Peace River Painters! Yesterday in Punta Gorda about ten artists were scattered about Gilchrist Park.
Afterwards, when we lined up our paintings to compare, an artist commented that my fire hydrant was too bright. He was right... will darken it later. I got carried away with the spot of red and how it became a pivot point in my composition. But yes, will tone it down.
Fire Hydrant was painted with a limited palette suggested by Lori Putnam. Cadmium yellow medium, pyrol red, ultramarine blue, and titanium white. Follow the link to her blog article at the end of this post.
I always use these three colors but prefer to work with a split primary palette of a warm and cool color of each primary. And I usually use red iron oxide to start with. But Fire Hydrant is a "pure" RYB limited palette. No black or gray, except what I mix with three primaries.
I find reaching back to the basic primary colors is the backbone of any painting. Just think about it, everything is red, yellow, and blue! Even a sheet of white paper or a cloud. There's a little red, yellow, and blue in everything!
I painted from the back of my car under the raised hatchback door. My favorite place, a rolling studio with everything handy, even a spot for my poodle, Shadow to nap while I paint. Stopped at MickyD's for an egg McMuffin to share but she refused, forcing me to eat the whole thing. If a dog won't eat
Garden commission painted on location in beautiful and historic Aiken SC. So much eye candy, so little time to paint, but pleased with this one. Wonderful way to spend an afternoon, painting with pleasant company, wine and cheese, and a well-mannered pooch.
Spent a few days visiting family in Aiken, SC, an historic town filled with gardens and horses.
This painting was a demo and private lesson for a cousin. Hope he'll pick up his brushes again after years of not painting. If I can inspire a student enough to paint on their own... then I know I've done my job.
Wonderful painting while horses flew around the track!
Started this as a plein air and finished later in studio. Banyan Street's a real challenge to paint. Will try again soon. Lots of tourists stopped and took each other's photos by the trees. I also became a tourist attraction with long golf carts from hotels stopping to cheer me on.
It was a gray and drizzling morning when some brave Peace River Painters showed up, with permission to paint at this marina which I've renamed, Marina Ugly. Locally known as the place where old boats go to die.
Years ago, my husband and I pulled in by boat to explore and thinking my small poodle might want to stretch his legs, we stepped out on a rickety dock and were immediately surrounded by hissing, hump-backed feral cats. No need for junk yard dogs here!
The marina has lots of character (and characters that live on seedy, barely floating boats). Boats are crammed everywhere, helter-skelter, balanced on fragile stilts leaning precariously at impossible angles. No trespassing signs are posted on every fence and post. It's a refreshing change from the glitzy glamor of most Floridian marinas.
We set up and painted for an hour or so when a creature from Marina Ugly lagoon chased us away, snarling, "G--D---Artists!" We moved out of her way while this "behemoth in a bathing suit"* flashed us and had another resident back his smoke belching pickup in our direction. Needless to say, we won't be inviting these folks to our parties.
Most of us left with unfinished paintings to finish in the cozy comfort of our studios. Another unforgettable plein air experience!
Margaret Egli painting at Marina Ugly
Margaret had forgotten her easel so some artists found a chunk of debris that worked perfectly.
*"behemoth in a bathing suit" - Sharon's words, ha!
Sometimes, if I simply aim for a sketch... I end up with something better. Happy with this one painted under the open hatch of my car. Nothing better than going home with two in the box before noon. If I hit all the lights right, the beach and this area is only about six minutes from my house. Darn wonderful. Painted with the Heatstrokes this week.
Painted in Ding Darling, Sanibel today. Can't wait to write the amazing report! Instead of six minutes from my house... 4 hours round trip but was so worth it.
It's a Shore Thing, 6x6" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion
Painted with my summer plein air group, the Heatstrokes, membership... myself and any other artist I can coax outside. There's always a spot of shade or a breeze near the water. This one was painted in the shade of my beach chair awning only a few feet from the surf.
Quick little sketch at the beach this week. Love how clouds cast purple shadows in the water. This fisherman caught something large, could have been a shark or a rock. Line snapped and he moved on. Sometimes people just appear on the scene while I'm painting. Had started with simple study of rocks and surf but couldn't resist his red shirt. Click here to purchase.
Started this yesterday with the Peace River Painters and SRQ Artists. This morning, I went back to the same spot again on Caspersen Beach to add a few finishing touches.
This is how it looked yesterday... wanted to add more without overworking. Photo ref didn't give me enough information. So spent an hour or so adding finishing touches on location. I wanted to do more but will save that for a larger version. Happy with composition and glad I went back to the same spot. Really pleased with results!
Easel setup yesterday with all-important thumbnail sketch.
Thumbnail sketches help me visualize values and composition.
Second exercise for the dailypaintworks challenge I'm hosting this week. Fun trying the same subject in a different medium. One hour sketch/block-in and one hour to polish and finish.
Here's the link to the challenges... all are free and anyone can join. Archived challenges are a great way to learn how to paint for beginners to advanced. Great practice for learning, a wealth of tips and free education. Join us! CLICK HERE.