Thursday, May 30, 2013


Diane Mannion, LOTUS POND #3, 8x10" oil on linen, 100% plein air.

Third year in a row painting the Jacaranda Library's lotus pond!  The Light Chasers, maybe 25 or 30 artists, painted from 9 to noon with ferocious intensity... there was hardly any talking... except at the end when we looked at all the beautiful paintings created in one morning and collectively said WOW!

I became fixated on the construction sign!

My thumbnail sketch

Diane Mannion, LOTUS POND #1, 6x8" oil on panel, plein air, 2010
Diane Mannion, LOTUS POND #3, 6x6" oil on panel, plein air, 2011
Diane Mannion, AMERICAN LOTUS, 8x10" oil on linen, studio 2013, SOLD

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beach Grass

Diane Mannion, Beach Grass, 8x10" oil on linen

This painting was a DAILYPAINTWORKS FB pick of the day!


The Boca Grande Invitational last weekend was fabulous!  60 artists and fine weather...  although a bit hot!  My sales were excellent with commissions and other exciting prospects lined up!  This show will be an annual tradition for me.  And the best part was talking to so many wonderful people.

Loved it when a little girl with chocolate ice cream smeared cheeks touched a painting with her chocolate coated finger!  "Daddy, buy this!" she said.  "It looks just like Grandma!"  And he did.

My exhibit with plein air equipment:

Thumbnail sketch:

Stage 1: Underpainting with transparent red oxide, started background.

Stage 2: Worked darks and lights into grasses and sand.

Stage 3: Worked purples and blues into shadows, highlights on sand.  

The final:  Didn't stick with my value study...  
turned into a different painting.  But that's OK.
 Will do another version of stage 3 because I like it. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Manasota Key Beach

Diane Mannion, Manasota Key Beach, 8x10" oil on linen, 100% plein air

Painted with the Englewood Plein Air Painters this morning... a hardy group, planning on painting all summer regardless of heat and sweaty weather.  Wonderful meeting so many artists pushing brushes and loving it.  I had painted with them for years but because of some weird email glitch... lost touch.  Won't let them go again!  And it was delightful painting next to Penny and watching her playful sense of design.

I've gotten into the habit of doing thumbnail sketches before I attack the surface with paint.  It helps me see what to focus on and how the darks and lights will form the compostion.  Also lets me know what to leave out, in this case, garbage bins on the left!  Here's the thumbnail:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fort Ogdan Cottage

Diane Mannion, FORT OGDAN COTTAGE, 8x10" oil on linen, plein air

We were greeted this morning by an enormous slimy, wet, stinky but friendly... bloodhound who bounded around the park like he owned it.  Sharon was almost knocked over when he put his paws on her shoulders. Fortunately he wandered back to wherever he came from and we were able to paint without fear of him marking his territory on our easel legs.  

This cottage was next to the Methodist Church across from a cool and shady park.  Love it when I can paint from the back of my car under the hatchback, even have a cushion for that purpose, all the comforts of home while painting on location.  Supplies, snacks, thermos handy and no need to shlep equipment into the hinterlands.  

Always delightful painting with the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center Plein Air group!  Sunlight glowed on the Methodist Church while a few artists captured the moment in water colors and oils.  One adventurous artist wandered into a cemetery and captured an angel in her sketchbook.  Another  told stories of what it was like growing up near Fort Ogdan.  Not too far inland from Punta Gorda... we agreed to paint there again.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Trabue Cottage

Diane Mannion, TRABUE COTTAGE, 8x10" oil on linen, 90% plein air

A Painting Tantrum

Could not pull this painting together until I got angry at it!   Slapped thick paint almost helter-skelter.  It was like wrestling an alligator doing death rolls.  Some paintings happen easier than others... it's what makes this business so challenging and exciting and addictive.  It's a never ending learning experience.  It's why artists are never bored (although we may be boring). 
I loved it when Sharon suggested taking my glasses off... no need to squint, everything gets blurry.  Never tried it!  Forced me not to see the details, only composition, color, and light.  And laughed when Beth said I was having a painting tantrum!  Exactly the way I felt.  It was either live as a painting or die as a wipeout!  Took it home and decided to let it live after a few touches here and there.  And I like it!

So much can be gained by painting with other artists!  Had the pleasure of painting in the shade with the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center Plein Air Group yesterday morning in the historic district.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Diane Mannion, Greenhouse, 8x10" oil/linen, 100% plein air
I love greenhouses!  Best place to spend a Mother's Day Sunday afternoon.  My mom and daughters live on opposite sides of the country, so visiting could only happen over the phone.  This is the Sarasota Succulent Gardens which opened for a high tea and plant sale.  Woman and daughters paraded in long skirts and hats while a few of us, ragtag painters from the Light Chasers plein air group,  slung paint at canvases.

This is my favorite, perfect Mother's Day iPhoto shot of the day!  That's actually an artist that didn't paint... went to tea with her beautiful daughter, instead.

Terry Mason took this photo of me painting in all my glory.

And here I am again!  Dressed in my finest gardening hat and tee shirt with my painting/website  printed on my chest.  Yes, I've become a human billboard...

Here's my painting half-way.  I should have stopped here!!!

Finished painting.  I like both stages... just painted two paintings on one!  But still wish someone had taken my brush away at the above stage.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sun Blasted

Diane Mannion, SUN BLASTED, 16x20" o/c

Morning sun breaks through clouds, rakes across dunes signaling another hot SW Florida day.  Gathered color notes on a small field study and later, created this larger studio version.  Getting gutsy with color and having a blast!

The small plein air painting sold right away, so I worked from a photo I took of it.  Here's the studio progression series:
Studio scene with print of painting and also on flat screen tv.  Started with thin wash using Gamsol.
Blocked in darks and pattern rhythms.  Started sky.
Painted with transparent Indian yellow where greens will be and a bit on the sand.
Started working in the greens.
 And finished.
Reworked sky, finished water, sun-blasted lights.  The most difficult part of this painting was stopping here!!!  So tempting to overwork, but I love the loose feeling.  Darn happy with this!  And rather than recreating my little study... an entirely new painting happened.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Snook Haven

Diane Mannion, SNOOK HAVEN, 8x10" o/c 100% plein air

Delightful morning painting with the Punta Gorda Plein Air Painters at Snook Haven near Venice.  There's a lot I'd like to do to this painting but decided to leave it alone... it's a study.  Once I start reworking these things at home it turns into another painting.  Light was mostly flat with clouds, not my favorite conditions to paint but good practice anyway.  Took lots of photo reference and will do a few more studio versions.  Everything was green, green, and more green.  What attracted me was the red fender on the pontoon boat at the dock.  Later, a man arrived and I added him for scale and a speck more color.  Didn't see any gators, but frogs legs were on the menu for lunch.
Here's a shot of the location and first layer:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Painting Party

Diane Mannion, Painting Party, 6x6" oil

Invited an artist friend over for a painting party.  After my mean grilled cheese sandwiches, we set up our plein air equipment outside in the shade.   Delightful afternoon of silly chatting, canaries singing, and playful brushwork... it doesn't always have to be so serious.  Was able to finish this, except for the horse head, scraped and finished later.  For some reason, horses and bicycles are the most difficult for me to draw.  But I like the way I captured the play of sunlight and the happy feeling of the afternoon. 

D i a n e   M a n n i o n ... a few recent paintings