Harbor Secrets, 20x24"oil, ©Diane Mannion
Studio Painting Progression
With over a thousand plein air paintings done on location since 2008, I've got plenty of reference material and visual memory to work from while doing studio work. This painting used several of these influences. While painting outside alla prima, or wet into wet and completing a study in a few hours, studio paintings can take weeks or months to complete.
Many years ago, I snapped photos of waders in Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda who were looking at bottom-dwelling marine life during a guided tour in Ponce de Leon Park. Armed with nets and buckets, both children and adults delighted in their discoveries of tiny fish, crabs, and other assorted mysterious creatures.
There was something compelling about one photo of a father and daughter that I kept looking back at. I used their position and stance but changed the background and foreground. Painted the same environment in the harbor like a stage set and isolated them from the group of about fifteen others.
As usual, when I use random photos for reference, I change the appearance of the characters to protect their identities.
A. First sketch was painted on an 14x11" canvas panel. When I have left-over paint on my palette, I smear it on panels to improve the surface and to give it interesting color and texture. Wanted to give the characters more "space," so redrew them on a larger canvas.
B. Figures redrawn same size but with more "breathing room" and also to better illustrate the harbor setting. Used burnt sienna and ultramarine blue thinned with Gamsol. Painted sky with added white, red, and yellow.
C. Blocked in background and foreground. Let colors remain "darker" than they should be so lights will show up later. And as my talented artist friend, Christa said recently: "To get light, you've got to have dark!"
D. Worked on figures.
E. Added details. Defined water patterns, added sparkles. Saved leaves on foreground mangrove tree for last.
* These easel shots appear darker than the final painting because they were shot inside with iPhone. The final painting above was photographed outside with my trusty old Nikon, so the values are closer.
Many of my paintings are available through the Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, Florida.