Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paper Crane

Diane Mannion, PAPER CRANE, 6x6" oil
      Started this while teaching my painting class yesterday.  It's difficult to teach and paint at the same time.  Thought I would wipe it off later but there was something about it, maybe just a few brushstrokes or dab of color that was worth saving.  Finished it from a snapshot that hardly looked like this.  The florescent classroom lighting is dismal.  I tell the students that if they can paint here they can paint anywhere and it will be so much better when they go home and set up their own still lifes under controlled or natural lights.  
      The green paper crane was a great excuse to break out my hardly used ready mixed greens too garish for landscape painting.  And although my students are beginning to hate baby food jars, I think they are a classic tool for learning to understand form.  And painting glass... well, just forget you're painting glass and look at the shapes, values, and colors.  Resist and add those highlights last.  Or maybe just one to give your eye a feel of the finished value relationships.
      My copy of Julian Merrow-Smith's book, POSTCARD from PROVENCE just arrived from France.  A feast for artist's eyes!  Check out his work: Julian Merrow-Smith.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Diane Mannion, HEMINGRAY, 6x6" oil 
Spring cleaning time and I keep coming across objects collected for future still life paintings.  Took time out and did a sketch of this one today.  Don't know exactly what it's called, a glass insulator for electric lines, I guess.   Perhaps it was used to protect birds from shocks, another guess.  If anyone knows what it's actually called and what it's use was, please email me.  The words, Hemingray-16 and Made in the USA wrap around the bottom part.
**This information was sent to me from a woman who's husband worked on the Union Pacific railroad:
"Many years ago, the railroad used these insulators for radio contact. When they modernized
years ago, the insulators were all removed and replaced with the modern means of communication."  She also reported that her husband had collected boxes of them at that time and they came in many colors. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chef John Again

Diane Mannion, CHEF JOHN AGAIN, 8x6" oil
Master Chef John posed for us at Ringling's Heady Portrait studio in Englewood this week... a treat for all the artists.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pork Sushi

Diane Mannion, PORK SUSHI, 6x8" oil
Inspired after watching Abbey Ryan's recent live two hour demo online!  You can find her links through Just had to try her method of holding a paintbrush on the far end, instead of like holding it down by the brush end like clinching a pencil.  I tend to paint like I do illustrations, tight and tense.  This  method really helps loosen and relax the hand in order to paint more painterly.  Also wanted to see if I could do a two hour painting in Abbey's time frame.  This one took two hours!  Felt like I could have kept going all day, but enough said about this pork chop.  Painted from photo reference to keep the dogs and flies away.  It's also my entry into this week's meaty challenge.  FUN!  And no, didn't eat it raw.  Chef John cooked it with onions and apples... delicious!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gulfscape Again

Diane Mannion, GULFSCAPE AGAIN, 8x10" oil
Spent a day at the beach painting a gulfscape last summer and touched it up at home.  Somehow, I captured all the right color notes and feeling of that day.  A few people wanted to buy it but I held onto it, trying to figure out what made it "work."  I finally sold the original yesterday, but first made this same size copy to use as reference to paint a larger version.  No matter how hard I tried to capture the feeling and energy of the original, it's just not the same!   I like both versions but think the original is more sincere and true to the time and place... the best reason to paint on location.  Something intangible comes home with every plein air piece.  Buy.
Diane Mannion, original GULFSCAPE sold

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's a Shore Thing

Diane Mannion, IT'S A SHORE THING, 6x6" oil
Back to the beach to splash more paint around... darn water doesn't hold still.  Have to memorize bits and pieces and hope it fits together.  Photo reference helps but even that has to be translated and simplified.  Paint what you see (in this case, remember), then paint what you know (direct observation), then you'll REALLY know what you're looking at.  Painting is drawing and drawing is painting... both challenge the act of visualization and memory.  The more you really look at stuff, the better you'll be able to paint.  Does that make sense?  Sure thing. 

Monday, February 20, 2012


Diane Mannion, CARAMBOLA, 6x8" oil
A few of my faithful readers never heard of a star fruit, or starfruit... otherwise known as carambola.  So today, I did a quick sketch of this wonderful fruit that grows on our neighbor's tree.  They can't possibly eat all the tree produces, so they leave bags filled with them at our door.  Just another perk of living in Florida!  This post refers to the Star Fruit Cocktail that I painted yesterday.  Buy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Star Fruit Cocktail

Diane Mannion, STAR FRUIT COCKTAIL, 8x6" oil
Nice to have neighbors with a star fruit tree!  And nice to have friends over for John's Star Fruit Cocktail.  Recipe: OJ, rum, mango and guava juice, embellished with a star. Bid.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ancient Hat Rack

Diane Mannion, ANCIENT HAT RACK, 8x6" oil on linen
This was a project I tortured my students with last week.  Challenge was to mix all the colors with just red, yellow, blue and white.  The model was a lot more patient than the students who cried and whined for three hours.  It's good practice to paint things from life, direct painting, which trains the brain and eyeballs to work along with brushstrokes.  Shocking that some students never let go of reference photo security blankets.  We're artists, not giant copy machines... make your paintings look like paintings!  Nag, nag, nag, etc!  Buy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

John's Tomato

Diane Mannion, JOHN'S TOMATO, 6x6" oil
It's mid-February in SW Florida and John's tomatoes are ripening... had to build a fortress around them because of wily raccoons and other creatures.  Oh, and the pot is one I made a few years ago when I was going through my potter stage.  
Quick two hour practice session keeping the brushes busy.  Practice, practice and more practice getting ready for the next painting.  Buy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Beachy

Diane Mannion, JUST BEACHY, 6x6" oil
Not bad for an afternoon in February (why I love Florida).  These ladies were enjoying the three b's, beach, beer, and a breeze.  They never suspected they were the subject of a painting.  Eyes and noses were changed to protect their identity.  Buy now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another Kiss

Diane Mannion, ANOTHER KISS, 6x6" oil
Had so much fun painting yesterday's kisses on a red background that I decided to paint one on white to see the difference.  This was painted as a class demo while my students painted kisses for Valentine's day and ate them faster than they painted.  Used cad red light, cad yellow light, and ultramarine blue... plus white.  Wonderful way to achieve warm and cool, neutral grays.  Used a touch of cad yellow light with white for the highlights.  Kiss was sitting on a sheet of white copy paper, so I made it a bit darker, blue tones in background to warm tones in foreground, so the highlights would pop.  Teaching at the same time kept me from overworking it. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


Diane Mannion, KISSES, 6x6" oil
My entry for the weekly challenge.  Painting foil is a lot like painting white, the colors are made up of red, yellow, and blue plus white.  But the difference between white fabric and ceramics is that all the colors in the foil are reflections from the background and the light.  Foil isn't really gray but tiny mirrors and fragments of the surrounding, in this case, the red surface and the lamp light.
350.00 Email me for purchase information.  Thanks!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Love My Bike

Diane Mannion, I LOVE MY BIKE, 6x6" oil
Should have been riding instead of sitting around painting it.
Current auction.

Friday, February 10, 2012

White Study

Diane Mannion, WHITE STUDY, 6x6" oil
Sketch for weekly challenge... tough!  White isn't really white but a mixture of red, yellow, and blue.  The only things not white in this still life were the leaves and the background.  There was also a hint of orange in the petal tips.