Here's my 30 Paintings in 30 Days (3rd timer!) Report:
Decided to work tiny this time, 3.5 x2.5" because of
other events happening at the same time.This format, also known as Artist Trading Card size or ACEO's.(One woman was upset that I was painting that
size.Had to send an email defending my
Last year I painted a batch and called them Snippets.That series sold out and I gifted a lot.Even sold one to a woman in Russia!
This year, a few collectors are buying several to mount and
frame together.My 2014 Snippet Series
painted during the 30/30 challenge has sold enough to purchase a
new roll of linen!
The small size allowed me to focus on technique...
composition, brushwork, color, and subject matter... in a short period of
time.The series became a mini-art show
giving me a "birds-eye view" of my work.
Never realized how much I love painting still lifes!I focused on glass and shiny things and
discovered a new world to paint and a new direction to explore in my work.
I imagined the 3x2" paintings as 3x2'!
They will be used as illustrations in my Blurb book about
still life painting!
They were a joy to paint!I love giving them as gifts to friends, clients, and students throughout
There will only be about 33 in this series, then it's on to
bigger and better ones!
I'm thankful for you, Leslie... for giving me the incentive
and motivation for this project.
Diane Mannion, Tiny Pitcher, #28 Snippet, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen/mounted
Roaming around a restaurant supply store with my chef husband's always a visual feast. Shiny things! Interesting shapes! I'm like a kid in a candy store. Picked this little pitcher out... perfect for my tiny snippet series!
Almost finished with the Leslie Saeta 30 Paintings in 30 Days, but will do a few more to have enough for my Blurb book project. Still life painting tips coming soon.
Folks are buying several of these miniature paintings, mounting and framing as a group. 2013 Snippet Series sold out. There will be no more than 40 in the 2014 Snippet Series. They will also be used as illustrations in my still life painting book.
Diane Mannion, Kumquat and Vicks, #27, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
That certain moment when the sun hits at just the right angle... I'm most interested in capturing that dramatic play of light, shadows, and reflections that happens in a few seconds. For me, a push and pull between values and colors. Should I darken the value but lose the color? Or let it fall somewhere in between a tonalist or impressionist interpretation? Sometimes, we have to forget the rules and simply paint. I'm happy with this one!
Diane Mannion, Kumquat and Amber, #26, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
This kumquat was picked from a neighbor's tree in the morning and painted fresh in the afternoon.
Painting these tiny snippets is excellent practice. Whether painting still life, plein air landscapes, or figurative works... it's all practice. Sometimes they paint themselves, sometimes they're a struggle. This one painted itself and I'm pleased with the result.
Diane Mannion, GLASS BEAR, #25, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
PAINTING UPSIDE DOWN
Season's storming ahead down here in not-quite-as-warm-as-we-like Florida. Funny to see Canadians sunbathing when it's in the 60's! Must have thicker blood than Floridians.
Used the photo of this glass bear (an old strawberry jam jar) printed in black and white for my students to paint from. Had them work in one color upside down. Helps trick the old brain into seeing shapes and values. Draw what you see... not what you think you know! A few students did their best work yet!
I had fun exaggerating color reflections in this painting. Exciting when photo reference is used as a starting point and then TAKES ON A LIFE OF IT'S OWN! (We are not giant copy machines!)
Diane Mannion, Mrs Stewart's, #24, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Old bottle of liquid bluing found in an antique shop... not art supply store. Yes, artists are attracted to colorful objects! Still about a half inch of the most gorgeous blue liquid inside.
Wouldn't dare open and sniff.
Whitening Whites Safely since 1883! Mrs Stewart was born in the early 1880's. When the stuff was first manufactured in a low-ceiling basement, holes had to be made in the floor for the workers feet to hang down. Poor souls.
Diane Mannion, Pansy in Dark Glass, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippet #23.
Taped all the 2014 snippets I've done so far (33!) onto a board yesterday and took them into the class I was teaching in Punta Gorda. Instant miniature art show! Reminded me of those tiny pieces of furniture salesmen used to carry around in the olden days, not that I'm that old, but have seen historical photos. Thought it would be really neat to make a gallery appointment and carry these in as samples... "This is how I paint but they will be 3x2 feet instead of inches."
This is the 23 day of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. It's been a snap at this size! Finished and forging ahead. Putting these paintings into a Blurb book along with still life painting tips.
Diane Mannion, Ixora, #22, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Ixora, subject for today's painting, snipped from a plant outside my door. Popular bush in Florida. Friends have an ixora wall about eight feet high and four feet thick, perfectly groomed, which forms an outside party room. Beautiful at night decorated with tiny white lights.
This is the 22nd day of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. And this is also 2014 Snippet Series #22.
Diane Mannion, Orchid in Cruet, #21, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen/mounted
Some artists think they need a recognized style, something I've worried about for years. Painting landscapes, figures, still life... does an artist need to stick to one in order to develop a style? And afterall, what is "style?"
I think style is pushing your skill level as high as possible, a process that takes a lifetime... and is never really achieved. Some artists fall into a "style" of painting that sells and get stuck there. Once an artist stops growing... they're finished.
Diane Mannion, Orchid in Blue Bottle, #20, oil on linen/mounted
Painting Small with Big Ideas
Part of the fun of painting small is imagining what they would look like at four feet by two feet, instead of inches. Wish I could say these tiny works were done fast... but not! Often take as long as an 8x10" or larger.
But they've inspired me to work much larger in February! Itching to loosen up after all this tight work. Already purchased some large brushes from the hardware store (bristle chips), one and two inches, for only a dollar or two each. What a deal. Also purchased a few fine, artist quality ones for over twenty-five. Will be interesting to compare.
The next two weeks will be hectic with a full teaching schedule and the Light Chasers Plein Air Paintout in Sarasota County. Glad I've painted enough of these little works to keep up with the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.
Diane Mannion, Prickly Pear Jam, #19, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Still Life Objects
A gift some dear friends brought back from out West... finally consumed shortly after being immortalized in paint. Tasty!
Sometimes, it's difficult to get around me in the food store if I'm in a still life painting frame of mind. I stop and stare while imagining what things would look like in paint. A few jars caught my eye today... pickled peppers, olives! I'm a fool for colorful, shiny things!
Also ended up with grapes, lemons, and a box of clementines. Enough inspiration for the week.
Hunting for still life objects can turn any shopping trip into a great adventure.
Diane Mannion, CRUET, Snippet #18, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
It's a relief to paint a piece of glass that doesn't look like a peanut, lady, or a mysterious character. It's simply a small cruet found in an antique shop by my brother-in-law last year.
Glass is easier to paint if, like anything else you paint... SQUINT while looking at it. Squinting helps simplify the values and shapes. I have SQUINT! printed on my paintbox to remind me.
Try to see shapes and values and don't think that you're painting glass. Same thing applies to anything, (especially portraits) simply look at the shapes, values, and colors. See the patterns.
If while you're painting, you stop and think... YIKES, I'm painting GLASS! You'll be lost.
Relax. Drawing/painting is meditation. Be in the zone. Let your subject show you what it is.
I often tell my students: "If I can teach you to see, I can teach you to draw and paint." And I always add, drawing is painting and painting is drawing. No matter what medium you're using. Look at that apple, for instance and SEE how it is different than any other apple. It does not look like the apple that a child draws in kindergarten.
Now go paint some glass and really SEE it. And don't forget to SQUINT!
Diane Mannion, Mr Peanut, Snippet #17, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Mr Planter Peanut
At last, the shy Mr Peanut finally shows his face after resting from his journey across the E Bay. Vintage fellow, unwrapped and dusted off now stands proudly between Mrs Butterworth and the mysterious Mr Green on my studio shelf.
Heard lots of celebrating, loud music, toasting and tinkering of glass last night. Hope my cast of characters aren't scratched, cracked, or otherwise damaged before their appearance on the model's stage.
Mrs Butterworth informed me that although her breakfast date at IHOP was delicious, she was rather bored hearing about Mr Peanut's ailments... especially his peanut allergy.
This is the 17th day of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. Phew!
Mr Green's a mysterious stranger that crashed Mrs Butterworth's party. No one knows where he came from or what he was. Discovered on a remote, dusty shelf in an antique shop in Arcadia, he insisted on going home with me.
Printed on his back are these words:
FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS SALE OR RE-USE OF THIS BOTTLE
Will the antique dealer be in hot water for selling him to me? Will I end up in the slammer for using him as a model?
At first, I thought he was a samurai figure but John thinks he resembles Confucious. Perhaps he held sake or some other sort of spirits. An eBay search found another like him... but that dealer had no clue of his identity. So if anyone out there has information... please let me know.
Diane Mannion, RED INK, Snippet #14, 3.5 x 2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Show and Tell
There's a fine line between illustration and fine art. Can they be both?
Perhaps an illustration needs a story and words to complete it. An illustration may tell a story with images. An illustration may be more concerned with telling... rather than showing. Usually, the words come first. An illustration is a group effort between publisher, client, and artist.
I'm also an illustrator and writer, although I've always had a duel career in fine art, so it's a subject I think about often. Somehow, a few of these snippets leaned towards illustrations... especially if Mrs Butterworth was involved.
But the painting of Mrs Butterworth came before the words. The story was created after the character started yapping her fool head off.
In writing the old saying is "Show, don't tell." By showing the story in words, the reader can experience the situation and visualize it imaginatively, giving the scene a sense of verisimilitude (love that word!) which makes it real or brings it to life. If the writer tells the story, not much is left for the reader to experience or add. (Sheesh... thank you for your patience if you've read this far. No, you haven't slipped into an English Lit site).
If we translate the verbal definition of show and tell into the visual world... the difference between fine art and illustration becomes clear. Fine art leaves a lot for the viewer to think about. It's a visual language. The viewer can bring their own translation and words are not necessary. The fine artist shows... but does not need to tell.
So I'm not telling you a thing about this little Red Ink Snippet. Just something I found in an antique shop. I'm attracted to shiny things and I like red. And it does relate to yesterday's blue pencils and writing. But is it an illustration or a painting?
Diane Mannion, Blue Pencils, Snippet #13, 3.5 x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Working in a Series
The small size of these paintings is allowing me to create a series at a rapid speed. By imposing a loose set of rules, such as scale and size of objects (a horizontal landscape would not fit in), I set my own limits for these 30 snippets... and thought I was in control.
A lot of glass, candy! Some flowers. Still mostly concerned with light, color, and reflections. But some things happened that were not planned.
A few objects have taken on a life of their own... Mrs Butterworth and the soon to be introduced, Mr Planter Peanut. A few more figurative glass pieces may also join the party. It's as though the subjects are telling me what to do.
So how does my Blue Pencils Snippet fit in? Pencils are creative tools, drawing, writing, counting, making lists. But these blue pencils have a lot of meaning for me. They belonged to my father who encouraged me to draw and write. A small connection to the past.
But I'll keep them out of Mrs Butterworth's reach. Would hate to see her teeth marks on them.
Diane Mannion, Blue and White Vase, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, Snippet #12
Can't paint bougainvillea without permanent rose or Rembrant transparent red medium! And John can't cut the grass without getting scratched by bougainvillea thorns. Everything in Florida either scratches, bites, or stings. Danger in paradise!
Had two wipe-outs today... it happens. Fortunately, painted this one ahead. It's #12 of the January 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.
Diane Mannion, Red and Yellow, Snippet # 11, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Painting at this tiny scale forces the eye to focus on details. But because of the limited size, these details must be simplified... at least for the style I'm painting in. Still attempting to paint loose, but controlled at the same time. It's a challenge not to be too detailed, only putting down necessary information for the visual effect I'm after.
These little paintings are done in one session, wet into wet, or alla prima and take between an hour to two hours. I paint slow but deliberate, making the most of each brushstroke. Each loaded brush is only good for three strokes at the most. Then paint is pulled off the bristles and remixed keeping the colors clean. Edges are sometimes refined, sharpened, or blurred with a clean brush, pulling in the background paint, or painting over it with thicker paint. Once in a while, I'll scrape down an area with a palette knife and start over to get it right.
Some of this technical information might be difficult to process if you don't also have a brush in your hand. The more you paint the better you'll get! There are more ways than one to push paint around.
There may be an opening left in my Punta Gorda, Florida workshop which starts next Tuesday.
My Wednesday, Ringling Englewood class is full, but another starts up soon.
Contact the art centers for more information.
Hope to paint with you soon!
Diane Mannion, Small Bouquet, Snippet #10, 3.5 x2.5" oil on linen/mounted
Third of the Way There
Tenth painting and tenth day of the Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, two thirds of the month to go! These little paintings take lots of patience, but are a good way to practice composition and everything else.
Lots of cropping and adjusting to fit the subject in such a tiny space gracefully. Haven't been doing any sketches before hand because they are so small... just indicate placement with a few dots and dashes and hang things on from there.
Will be posting much larger paintings in February, I promise!
Diane Mannion, Marigold and Amber, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippets #9, 9/30.
Flowers and Glass
Everyone thinks I'm painting flowers and glass... but actually these little studies are simply an excuse to play with light and color. Glass has a fabulous range of luminosity and reflections, like water... it's one of my favorite things to paint. And flowers, while also translucent if the light's hitting them just right are a great subject to play with brushwork and color.
*I'm delighted with the response I'm getting for these tiny gems! Thank you for your comments.
I have two workshops all mediums/levels starting next week! Here are the sign-up links:
Diane Mannion, Marigold and Violet, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippet #8
Still Life Object Hunting
Found a few good objects to paint today while antiquing in Arcadia. So many shops, so much to see... could only get through half of them before I couldn't look at another thing.
Artists that paint still lifes (at least in my case) look at objects while mentally attempting to visualize how they would fit in a still life setup. The plethora of shiny, weird, old and dusty, beautiful or simply interesting objects in this town is overwhelming. Arcadia is a still life artist's dream!
Held up endless glass bottles and vases to the light imagining how they would look on canvas. Stared at teacups and teapots until nervous shopkeepers began to worry.
"May I help you?" they asked. "Wish you could," I answered.
My catch of the day included a green glass sake bottle in the shape of a samurai... perfect companion for Mrs Butterworth. Also a bear shaped strawberry jelly jar (pink lid, had to have it). A little blue glass bird. An empty lavender perfume bottle with the word Poison on it. A set of old wooden children's alphabet blocks (great to share with my students). And a pale blue linen table cloth with napkins that would be fabulous to paint!
Mr Planter Peanut arrived today although he was not expected until Thursday! He was waiting at the door when I got home. Looks mighty handsome standing next to Mrs Butterworth and the samurai.
Diane Mannion, MRS BUTTERWORTH'S DATE, 3.5"x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippet #6, #6/30 Paintings in 30 Days.
MRS BUTTERWORTH'S DATE
Mrs B informed me her name is spelled, Butterworth... not Buttersworth as I had been spelling it. Ack! Artists aren't good with spelling or math. Sorry all.
And her first name is Joy! Who knew?
"Mrs B... would you tilt your head up a bit, please?" I asked, squinting to sketch her angles and curves. "And please stop wiggling."
Mrs Butterworth was totally distracted this morning, constantly looking down at her cell phone and texting. (How she manages to do that without thumbs is astonishing, a task I find difficult even with thumbs.)
During a break, she appeared both crazed and reflective at the same time.
"So what's up?" I asked.
"Think I'm in love," she said. Her chubby cheeks shined, her eyes sparkled.
"Really?" I asked, in disbelief. Aside from a night in the slammer, she'd been in my studio for years. "Where'd you meet him?"
"Online," she said, nervously checking her cell again, invisible thumbs twitching.
"How... interesting," I said.
"He's on his way across the E Bay right now," she said. "Wants to meet me for breakfast at IHOP."
I've heard of mail-order brides, but grooms? "What's his name?" I asked.
"Planter," she said, tilting at a dangerous angle and sparkling with joy (or as joyful as this surly Joy could possibly be). "His name is Mr. Planter Peanut."
"Hope you don't have a peanut allergy," I said.
She rolled her eyes (or lack thereof) and turned to face the wall.
Will be taking a break from Mrs B while she gets her hair and nails done for the big date. But she'll return soon... hopefully with her new beau in tow. Heard he's cobalt blue, can't wait to paint him!
Diane Mannion, MRS BUTTERSWORTH, AGAIN, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippet Series #5, and #5 of 30/30 Challenge.
MUG SHOT, PROFILE
Mrs Buttersworth was cranky after spending the night in lock-up. Back in the studio as she sparkled under the lights... not even a glimmer of a smile. And not a word of thanks. You'd think she'd at be grateful after I bailed her out of the slammer!
Rather than staring directly at her gloomy face, I had her stand sideways for a profile view. Much better than staring at her beady eyes... or lack thereof. Despite her stiff sense of suffering and foul disposition, she actually posed rather well, held still without wobbling or tipping over.
The painting's quite good, I think (although an artist's never sure about that). It may not end up as a profile on a nickel, but it's not bad... not bad at all. Flattered her much more than she deserved.
And she actually agreed to pose one more time... after I held the recycling bin over her head.
Diane Mannion, MRS BUTTERSWORTH, 3.5"x2.5"oil on linen/mounted
Mrs Buttersworth was arrested early this morning after an altercation with an artist for allegedly stealing a scene. Carted off by authorities, she'll spend the night behind bars in solitary confinement. If she swears to behave, she'll spend two days doing artistic service for the viewing public.
"Caused me a lot of grief," said the frazzled, bleary-eyed artist. "But I'm willing to give her another chance if she'll hold still long enough without flipping her lid."
There will be two more Mrs Butterworth paintings, Snippets #5, and 6... maybe.
Diane Mannion, LAST ONE! 3.5x2.5" oil on linen/mounted, 2014 Snippet #3
My first three posts for Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge work nicely together as a group. Glad my chocolate painting (and eating) frenzy's over! Next group will be three views of an empty maple syrup jar... so there won't be any snacking temptation. Wonder if I can hold the brush steady enough to paint while on the treadmill.
The 30/30 Challenge has been like a party online with lots of artists contacting each other, both newbies and oldies. Happy 30/30 Everyone! And thanks to Leslie for causing this artistic event to happen again.
I'm painting smaller here because I have some other self-imposed deadlines to create larger works. Hopefully, these little guys won't take longer than a few hours (yes, I paint slowly) so I'll have the rest of the day to play with enormous brushes and push around great piles of paint.