Saturday, March 31, 2012

Julie's Orchid 2012

Diane Mannion,  JULIE'S ORCHID, 6x8" oil
Sometimes, when a new technique is learned, another inspiring art book is read, another artist I admire... well, all these things influence the way I paint until I assimilate them into my own way of painting.  Going through another transition stage with my work and have to allow for the change in style.  My brain understands what I want to achieve and also my mind's eye... but it may take awhile for the paint and brushes to catch up.   But...  happy pushing the limits of what I can do now.
This orange orchid was pinched from a friend's plant growing outside her door.  Each year this plant has more and more blossoms and I don't think she noticed I took one little branch.  If she reads this blog, I'm in trouble.  Didn't have much time to paint today with all the Saturday chores, but pleased with this fast sketch.Buy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Florida Tulip

Diane Mannion, FLORIDA TULIP, 6x6" oil
A word of warning... don't start looking at Carol Marine's Artbyte Tutorials at Daily late at night.  Eye-opening!  They're so inspiring and useful they'll blast your brain wide awake!  I bought every one of them (some are free!).  Beautifully done and for any skill level. 

Miss seeing tulips growing in the yard down here (one of the only things I miss about the North).  Found this one in our local food market which has them cut or potted, bought a batch for my painting students.  They left carrying a painting in one hand, the real thing in the other, and the web address for Artbyte Tutorials.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Punta Gorda Model

Diane Mannion, PUNTA GORDA MODEL, 8x6" oil
Had the pleasure of painting with the Visual Arts Center artists this morning for a three hour session.  Buy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

One Tulip

Diane Mannion, ONE TULIP, 8x6 oil
Value study from black and white photo.  "If you get the values right, the color falls in place."  Often heard when I was in art school and now I'm sharing this with my students.  And Spring is a good time for tulips... one of the flowers I miss from up north.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wrapped Tulips

Diane Mannion, WRAPPED TULIPS, 8x6" oil
Promised myself to only paint ONE tulip tomorrow!  Simplify.  This was a lot for a daily painting but fun to do.  Intrigued by the plastic wrappers and how transparencies and highlights happen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Purple Palms

Diane Mannion, PURPLE PALMS, 8x6" oil
As a class exercise this week, had my students paint palms from black and white reference photos I took.  Asked them to paint with colors that they would not ordinarily think of using like purple, orange, pink!  Instead of the usual green green green, it was an anti-green day, with green used only as an accent.   A wonderful way to play with color and imagination.  I often tell students, "If in doubt, smear it out.  And if all else fails... use PURPLE!"  

This colorful experiment also worked well with my Heady Portrait studio.  We had blue Liz Taylor, pink Charlie Chaplin, and red-headed Elvis.  While students played with colors, they almost forgot they were doing portraits and created some of the best work of the year!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Parker Again

Diane Mannion, PARKER AGAIN, 10x8" oil
Had to paint Parker again...  has too much charm and great character to paint only once.  Asked him about the cap ornament which he always wears.  It's a thistle, symbol of Scotland, his proud heritage.  He wears a hearing device which means I usually have to write notes and draw diagrams in class to be understood.  There's not much I can teach him... he's an incredibly talented artist!  And a snowbird getting ready to fly back to Maine.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cocoanut Palm

Diane Mannion, COCOANUT PALM, 8x6" oil
Had my class paint palms today.  Thought it would be a snap,  after all, it's just a stick with leaves, but we all struggled.  Maybe it was because we were inside a classroom and worked from black and white reference shots taken by me.  I had hoped they would help everyone see the values, dark and light contrasts.  We used memory and imagination for color and quick glances outside.  The door was open and palm trees sparkled in the sun.  Next time, I'll make sure everyone is prepared to paint outside under the palms.
Started with a red underpainting, then painted the dark and light masses before indicating any leaves.   Saved sun-dappled highlights for last. Buy.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Diane Mannion, SEA OATS VENICE BEACH, 8x10" plein air oil

Location: Celery Barn Gallery in Towles Court, 266 South Links, Sarasota.
Show runs MARCH 16th-30th.
Gallery open Wed-Saturday

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Diane Mannion, JOE, 10x8" oil
Joe wearing his Michelangelo tee shirt during my Heady Portrait Studio in Ringling's Englewood.  We all took turns posing for gesture practice.  Fifteen minutes is awfully long when you're holding still... and impossibly short when drawing a portrait!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Diane Mannion, DONUT, 6x8" oil
Made students paint before they could eat their donuts.  A bite or two was permitted to add character and composition.  Many delicious paintings were created with sticky fingers and gooey crumbs.  Sweet!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Plant City Strawberry

Diane Mannion, PLANT CITY STRAWBERRY, 6x8" oil
      Took a box of Plant City (near Tampa) strawberries into class this morning to paint.  I started a demo but was so busy teaching I couldn't finish.  Came home and started over.  Wish I could paint faster!  Trying to loosen up, but not easy with the ruffled paper.  Anyway, the strawberries are delicious!  Buy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wrapped Poppies

Diane Mannion, WRAPPED POPPIES, 6x8" oil
This is an addition to yesterday's post on painting from photos... oh, my.  Cloudy Saturday morning and I was looking through my digital files for something to paint demonstrating my approach to working from photography.  I came across more photos I TOOK MYSELF from the farmer's market and was not feeling inspired until I noticed some poppies in plastic wrappers way... way in the background.  Low and behold the miracle of digital photography I was able to ZOOM in and focus on them only!  Below is my process and the reference photo (please be aware of how I did not "copy" the photo but translated it to my satisfaction):
Reference Photo
Stage 1... sketched with brush, ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson, thin wash with OMS (Gamsol).
Stage 2... wanted to see how the plastic would turn out and excited by the yellow flower and highlight which would be the star of the show, so I went ahead with that area.
Stage 3.  Played with pink, reds and plastic.  Took a break to groom my poodles.  It's feels good to a least have a painting on it's way before I do chores for the day.  Makes me burn through them faster to get back to painting.
And the finished painting.  I've just noticed how much darker this version looks.  The images above were photographed, this one was scanned.  Makes me realize how "off" my scanner is.  Tomorrow, I'll photograph the painting.  The yellow flower should look like stage 3, for instance.  Hmmm...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Farmer's Market Flowers

Diane Mannion, FARMER'S MARKET FLOWERS, 6x8" oil

One of the plein air groups I paint with decided to sit in the middle of the farmer's market and paint.  Really not my thing!  Don't like painting with folks looking over my shoulder and telling me about their relative who's also a painter.   Or the most repeated sentence... "I can't draw a straight line."  My answer usually is, then you would be a good painter instead of an architect or an engineer.  Painters like lines with movement and character... not straight!  

So instead of painting, I walked around with my camera and shot a few reference photos.  Thought this would be a good time to do a demonstration of how to use photos as reference and NOT BE A GIANT COPY MACHINE!!!!

My reference photo
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Finished painting.  
I was intrigued by the shadows, colors, and light.  Photo was not "copied" but used as reference.  Everything was rearranged to create the composition I wanted... not what was captured by the camera.  I hope this is helpful.  Heard a lot of grumbling in my class last week when I asked students to use their own photos (not magazine photos) and not copy them exactly!  Please paint paintings, not photographic reproductions. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Diane Mannion, LIV, 10x8" oil
Punta Gorda Portrait Studio, Visual Arts Center, model posed for three hours this morning.  Was so great painting with all my artist friends!  Wish I could make it more often.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Diane Mannion, CLEMENTINES, 10x8" oil
Gave my class a new word today... "halation."  Spreading of light beyond its proper boundaries to form a glow or fog effect around a bright image.  In a sense, the artist paints the atmosphere around the objects.  Not much halation in this painting, but will use the concept as a goal in future works.  Buy.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tube Wringer

Diane Mannion, TUBE WRINGER, 6x8" oil
Fast Sunday sketch for the weekly challenge... paint your tools.  Finally broke down and bought one of these gadgets.  Squeezes every last bit of paint out...  don't know how I ever lived without one! Buy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Diane Mannion, PARKER, 10x8" oil
Parker is a fine watercolor artist and a friend of mine.  Started from a fifteen minute pose and finished from photo reference.  Took two days even though I wanted to do a quick study. Buy.  This is what the gesture drawing looked like: