Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Off Port Clyde

Off Port Clyde, 16x20" oil, Diane Mannion

Maine Last Summer

This delightful sailboat swept across Port Clyde Harbor while I was painting on the dock.  Dropped my paintbrush and focused the zoom lens.  Was able to capture only about 30% percent of the information I needed, although the boat's details were captured, the rest had to be made up.  Left out harbor traffic and there was a lot!

Turquoise hull, sleek and shiny brightwork varnished to perfection!  And the way the captain expertly handled stiff currents and winds dancing across the harbor like a butterfly, deftly avoiding lobster boats, kayaks, and the tangle of tourist's buzzing motorboats... stole my heart!  

This painting will be one of my submissions into the American Society of Marine Artists competition. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Her Beach

Her Beach, 20x20" oil, Diane Mannion REVISED (third version)

Alizarin and Viridian

Have often avoided viridian because I've seen so many horrible, livid greens created by beginning artists in my classes.  I've always warned them to avoid it until they can mix yellow and blue, toned down with pink, sienna, or yellow ochre to make a more natural green. 

But lately, I've allowed viridian back on my palette and have been pleased with the neutral mauves it makes with alizarin crimson.  Useful for flesh tones, and with burnt sienna or black added for shadow areas.  Cadmium red light and yellow ochre for light flesh, toned down with the shadow mixtures.

One of these days, I need to get around to making those color charts! 

Alizarin and viridian make purple... what a surprise.
******Made a few revisions, here's the old version:
 Original first version, didn't like color of sand.
Added more sunlight on sand, enlarged blanket, simplified background, and added reflected light to HER.  When is a painting finished, anyway?  After listening to my respected critics and looking at the thing for several days... decided these changes would make a good painting even better.  Sometimes, it takes guts, at least for me, to change what is "good enough" to something a bit better.
Second version... a lot bothered me about sand color and blanket.  Finally pulled out some plein air beach studies to check sand color.  Should be called Three Strikes and You're Out!  Happiest with third version above and will let it be!  Time to move on to something else.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Katie's Yard

Katie's Yard, 14x18" oil, Diane Mannion

Russian Technique

Worked on Russian oil painting technique this weekend during Katie Dobson Cundiff's two day backyard floral workshop.  Katie demonstrated by painting and showing some of her floral paintings done under the influence of working with Ovanes Berberian.  Even though Katie's work was already amazing, her results of studying with this Russian artist were spectacular!

Artists painted floral still lifes set up on tables under trees and next to a pond.  First day weather was challenging with the sunlight going in and out.  Heavy storms on the second day caused me to stay home, but Katie reported that all went well anyway.  Artists painted under overhangs by the pool and watched her demo in the studio.

Even with only one day in this workshop, I learned a lot:  

Palette setup, paint mixing, wash underpaintings, brushwork (using larger brushes... yikes, missed my #2s), brushwork strokes (no scrubbing or petting!), medium recipes. And all with the emphasis on color creating values.  COLOR CREATING VALUES, while leaving white out until last.  Ouch.
Stage of painting when I left Katie's first day.  Spent most of my time hovering in the background painting the landscape which is where I'm most comfortable, too much of a chicken to tackle the flowers with this new technique.
Spent many hours more in the studio trying to adhere to the Russian method which is SO unlike how I usually paint.  That little blue and white vase was tough...almost caused nosebleeds to get it right.  I know a lot of this new information will eventually trickle into my own style and help it grow.  Artists have to keep growing, if we stop learning and experimenting... we're finished.

Katie Dobson Cundiff's workshop was a joy and well worth taking!  I treasure all I've learned.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Artists Acres Light

Artists Acres Light, 9x12" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Magical Place

Perfect weather, slight breeze, surrounded by artists pampered with snacks and water delivered on trays.  Fine music playing in the background.  

Artists Acres is an old Floridian estate with large pond, tall trees with orchids, lots of interesting cabins and sheds, paths, all maintained by Todd and Mary Tracy... inspiration galore.

Then an art show where I was honored with a First Place Ribbon granted by judge Jenny Berry.  Lisa Rector Swift won Second Place and People's Choice Award.  Susan Bunce Ritter won third for her painting of the other side of this shed!

Then... wine cheese and dinner served in the screened Perch which overlooks the pond.  Thanks to the ART ALLIANCE OF LEMON BAY for organizing the Annual Paintout.  

And many thanks to Mary and Todd Tracy, heirs of famous artist Lois Bartlett Tracy's estate, for opening the grounds for the artists to paint yesterday.
My painting spot

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Snooks, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Snooks Haven

Peace River Painters were all over the place at Snooks Haven in Venice yesterday.  Wonderful painting with so many friends and getting together afterwards to talk about our paintings.  It's how we learn, gather tips and suggestions no matter what level we are with our work.

Visiting Connecticut artist, Beverly A. Schirmeier inspired us with her beautiful pastel painting.  A few of us, myself included are dusting off the old pastel boxes because of Beverly.
Pastel by Beverly A Schirmeier
This is the spot both Beverly and I painted from, interesting to see two different romantic interpretations.
This photo of me starting my masterpiece was on FB this morning, thanks to Peace
River Painters.

Next Monday, Peace River Painters are meeting in the morning at Whiddens Marina in Boca Grande, one of the last remaining authentic spots frozen in time on Gasparilla Island.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Walkers, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Figures in Perspective... Yikes!

Painted with the Peace River Painters last Monday.  Someone mentioned that my figures were too short.  Originally, I had their heads on the horizon but as I painted them they got shorter and shorter.  Was trying to make the heads smaller and in doing so, kept adding more background blue from the harbor water.  I've read somewhere that if you keep the heads small, and almost no feet the figures will look more elegant. 

Most perspective instructions base the viewers (my eyes) level with the horizon... with the viewers feet on level ground.  In this case they were... but what if I were standing on a small hill would these figures be correct?  They could have been children or short people.  Also noticed people on the beach last week didn't have all their heads on the horizon. Will have to investigate this and report back later.  Tricky subject indeed!

If you want to learn everything there is about figures in perspective or other classic art information, I suggest the books by Andrew Loomis!!!  I downloaded FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT'S WORTH... here.  This master teacher of illustrators during the golden age of illustration wrote several books.  His family wants them to be free for artists and instructors, but I hope new editions will come out in print someday.  This page from his book that may help explain this "tricky" figure in perspective subject in a much clearer way than I would be able to:
Two color sketch using white, ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide. Kept his head on the horizon.!
 A few fast studies from snapshots taken last Monday.  Sure were a lot of portly walkers!

My not-so-portly friends and critics from the Peace River Painters with their heads both on the horizon and in the clouds!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wave Study

Wave Study, 9x12" oil, plein air

Practice Practice Practice

Painted this a few weeks ago.  So much of surf painting HAS to be from visual memory!  Nothing holds still, even the rocks change with the rising tides.  The challenge for me is to study repeated patterns, set them down... and leave them alone!  

Fascinating subject!  Gulf color changes so much with weather conditions, from blue gray to pale green and turquoise.  Purple cloud shadows, light blue sky reflections...

Colorful walkers, swimmers, sunbathers, fishermen, children playing.  Beach dogs and birds and boats.  Endless inspiration!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Wave Watcher and Pelican Off Jetty

Pelican Off Jetty, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion

Wipeouts Saved

Painted in Venice last week, with Tony D'Amico in the morning, then with Albert Handell in the afternoon!  Both of my paintings were wipeouts... but determined to make a record of both events, saved them back at the studio. 
Albert Handell taught a workshop for the North Port Art Center and I was invited to stop by when he gave a pastel demo at the Venice Jetty.  The students were enthusiastic and inspired by his teaching.
Wave Watcher, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion
This was my morning painting, wiped off and rescued later.  Painted next to Tony D'Amico, wonderful artist and friend who painted an amazing one hour study.
Tony D'Amico working miracles!
It can be disappointing painting outside only to return with miserable failures.  But all is not lost if sketches, notes, photos, and memories are enough to push fresh paint over the wipeouts!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Critter Cottage

Critter Cottage, 9x12" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Critter Cottage Creatures

Historic day!  After nine years of grooming my standard poodle, I decided to have her professionally groomed.  And while that was taking place, I was able to paint on the gorgeous grounds of the Critter Cottage.  Oh joy!  I'm much happier painting than grooming.

The grounds were filled with chickens, horses, a dozen pregnant sheep!!!, even an iguana (nasty, invasive creatures), an emu (large, flightless bird from Australia that resembles an ostrich), and peacocks that strutted their stuff. 
 Shadow, before
Shadow, after
Sheepish Grin
Pregnant sheep
 Bossy rooster
 chickens watching me paint by my car

 one of many horses and stalls
 Ugly iguana
Peacock roosting next to me while I painted.
Link here to the Critter Cottage

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Artists Acres Pond

Artists Acres Pond, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion

Sunday Morning Painting

Pleasant morning painting and chatting (art talk, of course) with an artist friend.  The pond was filled with fish, birds, and probably a gator or two.

The Tracy family who own Artists Acres grow their own tilapia (African freshwater fish) which they harvest along with fresh grown fruits and vegetables.  Todd and Mary were busy watering orchids and flowers, arranging rock walls, and painting cabins for artists to paint.  They were also repairing the roof of a shed that caved in when a tree came down from a tornado last week.  Another tree fell neatly between two cabins without damaging a thing.

Could not get this painting to work.  Wiped and scraped and painted over.  Here's how it looked before renovations.   Was not happy with color or values.  Green is the most difficult color to paint!
 Painted the same scene a few years ago and it turned out great!  That painting was "stolen" at an art exhibit because of an error on the price tag.  So I searched my blog, found a copy and attempted to plagiarize my own work for reference.
This was the "stolen" painting.  11x14" and I still like it a lot more!  Will have to go back on location and try again.  My doctored version from last Sunday is OK but not nearly as good.  Another difference is that there were no leaves on the cypress trees this time of the year.  And I only spent a few hours painting while the "stolen" painting took all day on location.
Cormorant drying its wings after swimming.
View from the easel