Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Morning Field Study

 Morning Field Study, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Magnificent Morning

Set up early on Caspersen Beach, Venice.  Refreshing change from still life painting but difficult because nothing holds still!  Simply let loose and pushed paint around.  Much happier with this little study than the last location painting... a wipeout.  

Have a hard time narrowing my field of vision with such a vast panorama, have to force myself not to see what's happening out in left field.  I've always found the sight-size method inhibiting, but attempted to line things up with the curve in the sand and the rocks above. 

Wanted to record everything!  A million paintings happened right before my eyes with only a split second to note each one.   Tried to memorize types of waves and movements that happened over and over. 

Wanted to include a few figures fishing near the rocks, but that will have to wait for another painting. 
Morning office setup, yes... this is work!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Melon

The Melon, 11x14" oil, Diane Mannion

Making Changes

Thought I was finished with this until I looked at it the next morning (see stage "a" below).  It wasn't working, thought of adding butterflies or another bottle with sticks, anything to break up the teapot and box.  

During breakfast, after discussing the problem with fabulous gourmet cook John, he agreed the painting needed something else.  While he was slicing a melon he said... The Melon!   So, I painted the Chef's Choice.

Sketched melon slices on top of the painting, then wiped off paint with ear swabs and Gamsol to keep the new colors clean.  Here's the demo:
 a. Before change
 b. outlined area
 c. wiped off old paint with ear swabs and Gamsol
d. blocked in new colors... then fiddled with smaller brushes until finished

Don't know if this is the best painting I've ever done, but the melon was the best!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Light Play

Light Play, 11x14" oil, Diane Mannion

Interior Landscapes

Another still life painted from life in the studio... an interior landscape.   This one took a long time to set up.  Kept changing pots and flowers.  First arrangement had a clump of tiny yellow flowers in the green bowl on the left, but by the next morning they had wilted and shriveled.  Easily revived them for another painting.  

Had tiny white flowers in the amber glass bottle until I found a fresh bunch of alstroemeria at the market.  Just used one flower here, the rest are waiting for the next painting. 

The blue ribbon was added later and painted flat but wasn't working visually.  Scraped it off and repainted a twisted version which helped the composition by leading the eye in from the left.

Played with the flow of light, like water, across the painting.  Used plenty of Naples yellow which matched the color of the pot on the right.  Started with natural north light, but constantly passing clouds kept changing everything.  Finally closed the curtain and worked with a spotlight. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bluebird's Garden

Bluebird's Garden, 11x14" oil, Diane Mannion

Painting Minute by Minute

Set up this still life to have something to work on minute by minute over the past week.  It's not always possible to have large blocks of time without distractions. 

Painting from life, inside or out is a joy!  Working from photo reference, even when displayed on a monitor, seems like drudgery to me.  Having a still life set up and always available is one solution to keep the brush moving.  

I paint outside in two or three hour blocks of time before the light changes.  Painting inside, minute by minute over a few days gave me time to reconsider, change, and reflect on technique, color, values, and composition... the danger was in fiddling too much, over-working, and getting too tight.  

My goal here was to merge polished rendering with some of the spontaneous qualities of my plein air style.  Sometimes, elusive visual goals seem just out of reach, the problem is when to call it "finished" and stop.  Let this one stand as is and move on to the next. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chadwick Rooftops

 Chadwick Rooftops, 4x7"gouache, Diane Mannion

New Sketchbook

Had fun painting this morning at Chadwick Park, Englewood, with our group affectionately called... Englewood Plein Air Heads. 

 Have painted this view many times but wanted to focus on a small segment, instead.   First time with new Strathmore grey-toned sketchbook.  Wish the paper was heavier, tended to "potato chip" with the wet gouache.  But interesting working from a gray mid-value and love how the gouache is opaque enough to cover pencil lines and mistakes, not that I make any. 
Gouache addiction is getting stronger!  Love the stuff.  Wonder why I never used it before.  Have found a lot of technical information by watching Youtube videos of Robert and Jeff Watts (talented father and son).  Entertaining, instructive, and inspirational!