Monday, February 20, 2017


LUNA'S, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

SRQ and Venice Plein Air Painters!

Wonderful morning painting with many talented artists in Venice, Florida.  Rain was expected but held off long enough to capture sunlight and shadows on this popular restaurant.  Took my mom there for lunch once and it was really excellent.

Painted LUNA'S! with many fun interruptions from tourists and other artists.  Sometimes, paintings come out better when I let them paint themselves like this one.  Happy with it!

Here I am with Durinda Cheek, a selfie with Mary Erickson, Johan Bjurman, Tony D'Amico, and Maryanne Jacobsen!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Snook Nook

 Snook Nook, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Before and After

Always a treat painting with friends!  Peace River Painters met in Boca Grande Monday, but I spent more time talking than painting… and a quick trip through the Bargain House didn't help either.

The image on the left is what I went home with.  Spent this morning fiddling, was either a wipeout or a good excuse to push paint.  Could work on these things forever, when is it really finished?  But I like some of the results, especially the light flecks showing through the fence.

The Snook Nook was built in 1910 and remains one of the most charming cottages on the island.
A little white dog sat in the doorway watching all the action.  A wonderful pink, fat-tire bike sat out front until someone rode off on it.  Folks walked by, joggers, dog walkers, a woman pushing a baby carriage.  Plenty of tourists stopped to peak as artists worked behind easels…  Wish I could have painted everything!  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Surf Sunnies

Surf Sunnies, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Sunflowers #3

These sunflower paintings are actually small studies for a large project, working out compositions and color.  

Wanted to keep the background subdued in #3 so the flowers would pop.  Happy that the sky, water, and sand are completely from my visual memory bank.

Tried to keep the yellow and orange colors clean in the underpainting.

Painted background next.

Because this was painted wet into wet, or alla prima… it was difficult keeping yellows clean.
Wiped my brush after almost every stroke!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sunflowers #2

Sunflowers #2, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Still another sunflower painting and there will be more…  

Trip down memory lane: Came across some old photos from the 1990's when I painted a lot of flowers! 
 The top painting (almost 10 feet wide) with the yellow flower is a view from a clients home of the lighthouse in Boca Grande.  Bottom is me in my studio on Old Englewood Road.
Interior shot of our gallery upstairs in the Depot Building, Boca Grande.  John's furniture and fish which he designs, builds, and paints.

Friday, February 3, 2017


SUNFLOWERS, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Sunflowers were suggested by a friend so I've started a mini-sunflower series because they're a delightful subject… except for yellow.  I find yellow the most challenging color!

While making piles of paint in three different values on my palette to start with, light and medium values were easy.  I had every tube of yellow out to compare.  Dark yellow, especially a cool dark yellow, like the bottom right flower in the shade was a struggle.  

Piles of mud appeared, too much blue made green, earth tones made brown.  Painted and scraped, blotted with paper towels and started again.  TIP!  If too much paint piles on simply blot it off with a paper towel… see image below.

A dab of purple toned the yellow down.  A touch of naples yellow light raised the value of the "lighter" petals in the shade.  Yellow simply had to be judged by seeing how the color appeared to the color right next to it.  It could look yellow on the palette but when placed next to another yellow on the painting it might look green.  

Here's the painting progression from sketch to block-in stage.  Thought the left side needed something else so I added the amber jar and purple flowers.

Blotting tip… place smooth side of paper towel on top of painting and rub.  Pulls off excess paint so the canvas can be "repainted."  I use the workshop towels that are found in the auto department at Walmart or Home Depot.  Nice blue color, too!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 30/30

2017 30/30, Diane Mannion

This is about the fifth time I completed the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Thanks again to Leslie Saeta, Artists Helping Artists for the motivation.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Safe Space

Safe Space, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#30 of 30/30  LAST ONE!

I understand this particular model comes equipped with built in wi-fi, pedometer, and alarm clock.
(Google maps or Garmin optional.)

Not political... I stay away from that here and on FB and keep it strictly for art.  Actually thought of this idea long before it became popular in our society.  Simply something silly and fun to paint!

What did I get out of painting 30 paintings in 30 days... again, and for about the fifth time?  A stack of paintings some good, some awful.  Sharpened skill.  New ideas for future paintings.  Material for future book!  And a pat on my own back for a job well done.

Any excuse to mess with paint and brushes makes me happy, so this challenge wasn't as torturous as keeping an exercise challenge would have been.  I'm also an illustrator and thrive on deadlines and goals!

Thank you, Leslie Saeta, (Artists Helping Artists) for conducting this motivating challenge.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tube Boy

Tube Boy, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

3 Color Experiment
#29 of 30/30


Painted with limited palette of Naples Yellow Pale, Red Iron Oxide (RIO), and Ultramarine Blue.  Burnt sienna would work just as well, almost the same as RIO but a bit less transparent.

Found a great range of values, and warm and cool hues.  RIO and Naples Yellow Pale made great skin tones with a touch of blue to darken.  Naples Yellow Pale and Ultramarine Blue for wonderful water.

Naples Yellow Pale acted like a warm white giving the painting an even glow.  Kept my brush out of the Titanium white which is a cold white.

Underpainting with RIO which was completely dry before adding next layers.
Second layer
 Mid-values blocked in so final lights of pure Naples Yellow Pale would pop!
I still haven't gotten around to making those famous Richard Schmid color charts (will someday) but this painting experiment was a good way to learn the range of these three colors (and more fun).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sea U Later

Sea U Later, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#28 of 30/30

A favorite spot to paint on Manasota Key, especially early in the morning (off season's best).  Only problem here... there are a line of garbage cans in front of these palms, ruins one of the best views in the area.  And I have complained.  Will paint them in next time to show what I mean.

Underpainted with thin oils and Gamsol.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sea View

Sea View, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#27 of 30/30

Sketch of Megan which I changed completely, only the shirt remains the same, simply borrowed the pose.  
horrible underpainting

Second layer with color block in and adjustments 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Surf Collectors

Surf Collectors, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#26 0f 30/30

High key experiment.  Just when I think I have it figured out, it gets more difficult.  Thought I knew all the short cuts and tips, but this one wasn't easy.  Reached a point where I just had to stop.  

I like some things about it, maybe it's just 30 paintings in 30 days burnout.  And I've also kept up with studio commissions which I'll show later, so it's more than 30 paintings.

House's a wreck, yardwork and husband neglected, Shadow not groomed...  ack!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shell Seeker

Shell Seeker, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#25 of 30/30

This painting was inspired by the sparkling glow of the water bottle!  Doesn't take much to get my brush moving.  Also loved the red and blue outfit.  Worked from another wonderful, random, happy accident photo I snapped at the beach (really should spend more time there).


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sandy Crew

Sandy Crew, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#24 of 30/30

Image inspired by a photo taken in Venice, Florida... there was no sand, just plenty of fountain spray.  Borrowed the figures and set them on a beach, mostly made up fantasy.  

Pleased with the light and color, especially the plastic toys.  The boy on the left painted himself!  Painting was done on a used panel, a recycled portrait.  

 Didn't like it much so turned it upside down.  Oil over acrylic is fine!

Drew compostion in oil thinned with Gamsol.
 Color block-in underpainting.   Could see something happening that I liked better than the portrait. 
Like a gardener, an artist can bury mistakes!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Splash Pail

Splash Pail, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#23 of 30/30

From an old photo that I've used as reference over and over, and every time the painting looks different.

Underpainting sketched on old seascape from a few years ago, which is why signature is upside down on bottom (had signed on top right).  

At this point in my 30 paintings in 30 days challenge... I want it over with and promise never to do it again!  What a long month!  But I will persist, "Self-discipline is everything," quote from art school professor that still rattles around in my brain.  Only 7 more to go......

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Sorry

I Sorry, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#22 of 30/30.

Crowded beaches are a great place to gather reference material.  While aiming my camera at some seagulls, this intimate little scene appeared at the edge of the photo, an accidental shot.  Loved the intense moment between Mom and boy.  He looked like he was saying, "I sorry" which is how children this young talk.  Bet he was getting a lecture about not throwing sand at his sister.

Attempted to paint fast while not over illustrating, leaving image blurry to suggest movement.  Let brushwork tell the story.  Simplified values to dark, medium, and light as much as possible.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sharon Painting

Sharon Painting, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#21 of 30/30.
 Sharon Yarbrough painting at Artists Acres a few weeks ago when it was so cold she had to wear fingerless gloves.  Always a rare treat to paint folks all bundled up in Florida!

Sharon has done a fabulous job leading our Peace River Painters plein air group!  Many thanks!  Not only is she a tremendous leader, kind person, and super organizer... but also a terrific artist.  Visit her website and check out Peace River Painters, too.  (Sister group of the Light Chasers)

Underpainting sketch on a panel I turned upside down... woman under beach umbrella reading a red book (Sharon's nose wasn't really that red)!  Painting was completed alla prima, wet into wet, all at once.   

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hold On!

Hold On!  6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#20 of 30/30.
Sometimes, when you least expect it something turns out great!  Didn't have much hope for this one but now I like it a lot.  

Almost turned the underpainting upside down to start another.  Hand too small, light and color unexciting.  After working on it for quite awhile... this is how it looked after scraping it off.
I think the magic happened when I added Naples Yellow Light.  

underpainting after many scraps
Painting's mysterious, takes skill, practice, and tons of luck.  The more we paint, the better our chances are for a winner!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Looking Back

Looking Back, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#19 of 30/30.

Another sketch from an old snapshot, this one taken by my daughter,  a classic photo that was impossible to improve on.  I prefer and most often insist on using my own photo reference, but sometimes, family photos are fair game!

Was captivated by the spinning position and outfit.  A little girl walking through an amusement park seemed in awe of the spectacle.  Changed her identity but kept the colorful clothes which I'm sure she picked out herself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Light Catcher

Light Catcher, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


#18 of 30/30.  
So far, the most difficult!  Almost gave up but there was something about it I couldn't let go.  

Figure position taken from old snapshot of Rachael.  Changed everything, even invented a new character.  There WERE sunspots though and that's what I wanted to paint.

First attempted to have figure on beach... did NOT work out.  Shady light of a garden worked best, after all, that's where the original pose happened.  In Brooklyn, in a cemetery...  Actually, it was a great place to go for a walk, lots of sculpture to check out in this famous, historic location, Greenpoint Cemetery where some of our ancestors reside.  Rachael was not impressed.

An early attempt...   Was going to call it Line in the Sand.
 Still not working here, but closer once I added garden and sunspots and adjusted proportions.