Friday, September 30, 2011

Chef John Again

Diane Mannion, CHEF JOHN AGAIN, 8x6" oil
      Another view of Chef John who posed at the Venice Portrait studio again.  Yesterday, I painted a cowgirl yogi and today, a yogi chef.  In real life, John's a yoga instructor.  And for dinner he cooked a mean shrimp scampi! 
      Worked with lots of thick paint, putting strokes down and letting them be.  Painting the hat was like icing a cake.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cowgirl Yogi

Diane Mannion, COWGIRL YOGI, 10x8" oil
Yes, we have cowgirls in Florida, and ones that do yoga also.  This woman posed for three hours in a half-lotus position at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center portrait studio.  What a treat!  The lovely yogi woman was calm and cool while we suffered and sighed, moaned and groaned while slinging brushes and paint.  All in a hard day's morning for a group of enthusiastic artists.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Diane Mannion, LIONEL, 6x6" oil
      Another one of my talented Artist Bootcamp students.  I've always wanted to paint my students and this time I will!  Already have all of them at the first stage, at least for this class.  And I hope to paint students from the past that I still have photos of.
      Ran out of prepared panels so painted this one on top of an old plein air painting I didn't like anymore.  None of the old painting shows through in the finished stage, even though I usually like to save some of the original colors, but it caused me to use thicker paint strokes which is a good thing.  Here's the first stage sketched in burnt umber over a pond in Englewood:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Diane Mannion, JOAN, 6x6" oil
      Signs of Fall in Florida, instead of colorful leaves, there's the colorful license plates on snowbird's cars heading down here for the winter.  And shiny new faces filling up classes at the art centers.  This is one of my students doing an excellent job surviving my Artist's Bootcamp in Punta Gorda. 
      I used bright red as an underpainting, really makes the color snap.  This week's challenge at Daily Paintworks, posted by Ann Feldman, suggests using a vibrant color for the background... great fun!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chef John

Diane Mannion, CHEF JOHN, 10x8" oil
      We had a great time at the Venice Visual Arts Center portrait studio today.  Chef John posed in his chef's outfit complete with soup ladle and his classic, extra sharp Sabatier knife.  He said the old fashioned chef's hats aren't used much anymore.  But I wanted the "Mickey in the Night Kitchen" look, so I made the hat the night before.  He'll be back again next Friday, hope to see you all there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Stroke At A Time

Diane Mannion, One Stroke At A Time, 18x24" oil
      Have been working on this for a couple of days and I promise you... the colors don't look anything like this.  It's very difficult to photograph a wet painting, especially with so many dark colors.  When this dries, I'll try to get a better shot.  Meanwhile, consider it stage 3 and below are the first two:
stage 1, ultramarine blue sketch
stage 2, worked on background

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Have Cake and Ate It Too

Diane Mannion, LAST CUPCAKE, 6x6" oil
Had my Artist's Bootcamp paint cupcakes today.  Oh, how I make them suffer.  But after finishing their masterpieces, I let them finish the cupcakes.  All except one which I took home and painted immediately before it was consumed.  Really have a wonderful group this session, even though they complain a lot about having tired fingers and artist's cramps.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Diane Mannion, AVOCADO, 6x6" oil
      Our friend has a thirty foot avocado tree and has a hard time selling or even giving away all the fruit.  One of the benefits of living in Florida!  Sliced this one to paint for the Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge.  
      Painted directly from life, I thought the challenge interesting enough to do a demo.  Click the image below for larger view:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Woman With Colors 2

Diane Mannion, WOMAN WITH COLORS 2, 12x9" pastel
      It's been awhile since I worked in pastels.  This is the same model that posed last week for the Venice Art Center portrait studio.  The first, posted a few days ago, was in oil.  Getting ready for a pastel portrait show in October... this is the last in a group of seven I'll be exhibiting with two other artists.  More about the show later.
      My oil portrait, FLORIDA COWBOY, 24x18" oil, won a ribbon in the Englewood Art Center show this afternoon!  I'll be teaching a portrait workshop there next month, which I'll announce later, also (so many details, so little time). 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Morning Palm

Diane Mannion, MORNING PALM, 6x6" oil
      Some mornings, it's too beautiful to think about walking the dogs, going to the gym, or even painting.  Just happy to look across the street and see the sun rise behind the neighbors house.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cowboy Boots

Diane Mannion, COWBOY BOOTS, 10x8" oil
Step-Pop passed away this summer in San Antonio, Texas and my husband inherited his boots.  Andrew Wyeth's SEA BOOTS and TRODEN WEED paintings, (also had to do a western theme painting for the art center) was the motivation and inspiration for COWBOY BOOTS.  I didn't want the painting to be too somber, Step-Pop was always full of energy and good humor.  A happy man that led a brave and adventurous life.
Cowboy Boots, value study/underpainting
  Egads!!! What was I thinking using quinacridone magenta for a value study?   Made four puddles of paint from dark to white and used four brushes.
      Sometimes, when painting a landscape I use magenta as an underpainting.   It shows through the green trees and everything else... little spots of magenta accents unify and give energy to the final painting.  But this value study got out of hand.  Used thicker paint with a lot of white.  To use this as an underpainting, I either have to wait for it to dry (no patience) or blot most of it off.  I've read that old telephone book pages work great for this.  
   Blotting with phone book pages worked great.  Was able to finish the painting right away.
      This monochromatic value study was my entry for the weekly challenge by Liz Wiltzen at Daily Paintworks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Up Early

Diane Mannion, UP EARLY, 8x6" oil

      This magnificent sky caused me to rush back inside and grab a camera!  Took lots of reference photos.  Changed roof line on neighbors house from flat to high pitched to make room for a lighted window.  Light's always on early across the street.
      My Artist Bootcamp Workshop started in Punta Gorda today with a good group of talented artists. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Manatee Zone

Diane Mannion, Manatee Zone, 6x6 oil

      Another gorgeous day on the Intercoastal Waterway near Manasota Key.  This sailboater didn't have to slow down too much for the "minimum wake" manatee zone because it was already puttering along nice and slow.  For sailboaters especially, it's the journey that counts as much as the destination.  No need for high speed, take it easy and enjoy the ride.
      Sometimes, I feel the same way about daily paintings... whether it takes an hour or four, the pleasure is in the act of painting.  And it's an added bonus if the results look good.  If not, well it's just practice for the next one.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Woman With Colors

Diane Mannion, Woman With Colors, 8x6" oil

      Venice Art Center's portrait studio started the new season yesterday with this beautiful model.  Painted this on top of a half finished plein air landscape turned sideways.  I liked the colors (the reds are an underpainting, and the light yellow and blue above her head are the sky and the Gulf's horizon.  The scene was in Boca Grande, some palm trees show on the left.)  Pleased with how the colors gave the portrait personality and spirit, the background took on a new meaning and I'm glad I didn't paint it out.  Also left the thickly painted brushstrokes alone without much blending... pushing technique.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Shark's Tooth Hunter

Diane Mannion, Shark's Tooth Hunter, 6x6" oil
      A familiar sight on Venice area beaches... the perfect shark's tooth hunters form!  John was much happier posing for this than the Piggly Wiggly Tee position from yesterday's post!  Shark's teeth, FOSSIL shark's teeth... to make that perfectly clear, are shiny and black.  Some are three or four inches long!  But those are not easy to find.  A good day at the beach means having your pockets filled with twenty or thirty, quarter to half inch teeth.  Three-quarters is a real find.  And then, remembering to remove them from your shorts pockets before the laundry is done.  Have fished jars of these things out of the washing machine, one of the perils of the Floridian life style.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Piggly Wiggly Tee

      Diane Mannion, Piggly Wiggly Tee, 6x6" oil
My entry for the Paint Your Pig Challenge by Carol Marine at Daily Paintworks.  The only pig I could find around here, except for a chewed up dog toy, was a Piggly Wiggly shirt John brought back from a supermarket in Georgia.  He wasn't too thrilled about modeling it this morning... and it shows.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Old Iron

Diane Mannion, Old Iron, 4x6" oil

David and Carol Marine lost their home in the Texas fires.  David created the Daily Paintworks site, and Carol is a fabulous artist.  Artist friends are rallying around them and have set up a fund for their needs.  Please follow the link below to help out.  Thanks.

      My daily painting, Old Iron, is an antique my husband and I found in Maine over ten years ago.  We had just given most of our antiques to our daughters and moved to Florida.  But the colors on this iron attracted us like a bug to a windshield.  At first we said, NO!  But weakened and lugged the heavy thing home.  It has since performed remarkably well as a doorstop.  And recently as a still life object to torture my students with (I make them sit in a circle and play spin the iron... and have them draw it from every angle). 
      The odd little tank near the handle once contained and explosive liquid used to heat it with.  And some poor soul's fingers wore spots of paint off the handle.  Have never used it to iron, in fact there's no need to iron in Florida... just step outside and the humidity drops the wrinkles.  Wish it worked for skin.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Salt Jar

Diane Mannion, Salt Jar, 6x4 oil
      For fun and practice, painted this jar in 291 strokes.  The drawing was painted using ultramarine blue thinned with linseed oil....and was NOT included in the strokes count.  Only used a dab of linseed oil as a medium, and paint directly from the tubes.  No mineral spirits used at all.  Tried to lay the paint on thick with a minimal amount of blending.
      This is excellent practice for brushwork.  Used number 4 and 2 bristles only.  And aimed for less than three stokes for each loaded brush.  Wiping (pulled paint off with paper towel and linseed oil) and changing color often.
      My palette colors were a warm and cool of the primaries:
Cad yellow pale, cad yellow dark, Winsor red, permanent alizarin, ultramarine blue, and
cobalt blue hue.  And titanium white.  All Gamblin or Winsor & Newton artists quality paints.  (Just a reminder to my students... stay away from student grade paints!) I also like many other brands, artist quality of course.
  Video Demo: The Salty Jar

Friday, September 2, 2011

Foul Weather Pants

Diane Mannion, Foul Weather Pants, 8x6" oil
      Study of man from my painting, Bait Boat (post before last).  Still in love with those yellow pants!  There's something about his stance and the way he's looking out to sea that fascinates me.  When I enlarged my photo in Photoshop, I discovered he's wearing orange work gloves, what a treat.  Made my first video demo while painting this!  All future videos can only get better.  Watch FOUL WEATHER PANTS here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pond Mermaid

Diane Mannion, Pond Mermaid, 8x10" oil

      This charming mermaid was in the Koi Pond, at Selby Gardens, Sarasota Florida. Another rainy day here, perfect for catching up on studio paintings and getting ready for upcoming shows.