Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mannion Paints Banyan

Mannion Paints Banyan, 9x12" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Banyan Street, Boca Grande

Started this as a plein air and finished later in studio.  Banyan Street's a real challenge to paint.  Will try again soon.  Lots of tourists stopped and took each other's photos by the trees.  I also became a tourist attraction with long golf carts from hotels stopping to cheer me on. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Marina Ugly

Marina Ugly, 6x6" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Weird but Fun

It was a gray and drizzling morning when some brave Peace River Painters showed up, with permission to paint at this marina which I've renamed, Marina Ugly.  Locally known as the place where old boats go to die.

 Years ago, my husband and I pulled in by boat to explore and thinking my small poodle might want to stretch his legs, we stepped out on a rickety dock and were immediately surrounded by hissing, hump-backed feral cats.  No need for junk yard dogs here!

The marina has lots of character (and characters that live on seedy, barely floating boats).  Boats are crammed everywhere, helter-skelter, balanced on fragile stilts leaning precariously at impossible angles.  No trespassing signs are posted on every fence and post.  It's a refreshing change from the glitzy glamor of most Floridian marinas.

We set up and painted for an hour or so when a creature from Marina Ugly lagoon chased us away, snarling, "G--D---Artists!"  We moved out of her way while this "behemoth in a bathing suit"* flashed us and had another resident back his smoke belching pickup in our direction.  Needless to say, we won't be inviting these folks to our parties.

Most of us left with unfinished paintings to finish in the cozy comfort of our studios.  Another unforgettable plein air experience!
 Margaret Egli painting at Marina Ugly
Margaret had forgotten her easel so some artists found a chunk of debris that worked perfectly.
*"behemoth in a bathing suit" - Sharon's words, ha!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chadwick Boats

Chadwick Boats, 6x6" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion


Sometimes, if I simply aim for a sketch... I end up with something better.  Happy with this one painted under the open hatch of my car.  Nothing better than going home with two in the box before noon.  If I hit all the lights right, the beach and this area is only about six minutes from my house.  Darn wonderful.  Painted with the Heatstrokes this week.

Painted in Ding Darling, Sanibel today.  Can't wait to write the amazing report!  Instead of six minutes from my house... 4 hours round trip but was so worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

It's a Shore Thing

It's a Shore Thing, 6x6" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Englewood Beach

Painted with my summer plein air group, the Heatstrokes, membership... myself and any other artist I can coax outside.  There's always a spot of shade or a breeze near the water.   This one was painted in the shade of my beach chair awning only a few feet from the surf.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Snagged One

Snagged One, 6x6" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Back to Caspersen

Quick little sketch at the beach this week.  Love how clouds cast purple shadows in the water.  This fisherman caught something large, could have been a shark or a rock.  Line snapped and he moved on.  Sometimes people just appear on the scene while I'm painting.  Had started with simple study of rocks and surf but couldn't resist his red shirt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Caspersen Rocks

Caspersen Rocks, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Back Again

Started this yesterday with the Peace River Painters and SRQ Artists.  This morning, I went back to the same spot again on Caspersen Beach to add a few finishing touches.  
This is how it looked yesterday... wanted to add more without overworking.  Photo ref didn't give me enough information.  So spent an hour or so adding finishing touches on location.  I wanted to do more but will save that for a larger version.  Happy with composition and glad I went back to the same spot.  Really pleased with results!
Easel setup yesterday with all-important thumbnail sketch.
 Thumbnail sketches help me visualize values and composition.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tulip #2

Tulip #2, 6x6" oil, Diane Mannion

Spring Into Action Challenge

Second exercise for the dailypaintworks challenge I'm hosting this week.  Fun trying the same subject in a different medium.  One hour sketch/block-in and one hour to polish and finish.

Here's the link to the challenges... all are free and anyone can join.  Archived challenges are a great way to learn how to paint for beginners to advanced.  Great practice for learning, a wealth of tips and free education.  Join us!  CLICK HERE.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tulip #1

Tulip 1, 6.5x6.5" watercolor, Diane Mannion

I'm hosting another Challenge for Dailypaintworks!  Get your brushes ready and join the fun!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pinecraft Park, Sarasota

Pinecraft Park, Sarasota, 5x7" watercolor, plein air, Diane Mannion

The Company of Artists

Drove to Sarasota this morning to paint with the Light Chasers.  Artists were scattered all along the edge of Phillipi Creek while cloud shadows drifted across the landscape.  Gentle Amish folk strolled by in dresses and bonnets, and quietly peeked over our shoulders watching us paint.

Behind me, children in a playground tested their lung capacities, shrieking and shouting.  But that noise faded once I moved my brush, focusing on the view.  Artists stopped to chat once in awhile, comparing notes and news.  Splendid way to paint... in the company of artists.

Actually, I didn't feel like painting at all.  Happens sometimes.  So instead of painting with oils,  sketched with watercolor.  But once started, and lost in the moment, the boundaries of mediums disappeared.  Scribbled with pencil and let the watercolor flow on top.  The boat and two people appeared later, just in time to paint them in.  Two people appeared on the path in the distance while a few birds flew overhead. 

Happy with this one.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Pineapple, 6x6" watercolor, Diane Mannion


It's a good idea to switch mediums once in a while... cross-training.  While oil's my main medium, watercolor's a refreshing change of pace, especially as a lightweight backup for plein air painting.  Everything I need fits in a small bag, great for travel and spontaneous sketching.

This pineapple went though many stages.  A first I liked it, then hated, then gave it a passing grade.  Salvaged it by pushing values, but some of the darks became opaque and lost the vibrant transparency that I love about watercolor.  Liked it more when I added the red bits.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Boca House

Boca House, 6x6" oil, Diane Mannion

1 Hour Quick Study

Fabulous house across from Boca Grande Art Alliance.  Shock of blue sky against terracotta chimney pot and white roof!   

Painted fast using Gamblin's Fastmatte White along with my regular colors.  Can't paint bougainvillea without Permanent Rose!

I'll have three paintings in the BGAA Member Show, April 9-12 2015.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ponce Park

Ponce Park, 6x6" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Punta Gorda Demo

Started as a demo this gorgeous April morning in Ponce de Leon Park, Punta Gorda.  Delightful teaching landscape painting outside instead of in a classroom!   The orange umbrella showed up later and had to be added in!  The couple sitting on the right stayed in the same spot for a long time talking, perfect models.  Added the red hat for dramatic effect.

Next week's the last class for this season, taking time off to paint, write, paint and paint... and will be posting here often.  

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Boca Gate Again

Boca Gate Again, 5x7" watercolor sketch, Diane Mannion

Boca Grande

Found a cool parking spot on a quiet street to sketch...  away from tourists and other prying eyes.  Sometimes, I just want to paint alone.  Can understand why Jamie Wyeth likes to paint inside of a box.  Boca was swarming with folks visiting for Easter.

 I like my thumbnail sketch more than the watercolor.
First stage painted with ultramarine blue, then started applying local colors.
Didn't erase my pencil lines because I like their energy.  I only paint on one side of my sketchbook pages so they can be removed, matted, framed and sold. 
Boca Gate, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion
Painted this one last year.