Monday, December 31, 2012

1 American Lotus

Diane Mannion, 1 American Lotus, 8x10" oil on linen
      American Lotus...this pond is located near the Jacaranda Library in Venice, Florida and it's so thick with these plants not a bit of water shows.  John thought it looked like a scene from another planet.   The colors and shapes of the seed pods are incredible! 
      This is the first painting for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  I know, I painted it on December 31... but my blog has to be posted the day before for things to show up on the daily painting groups I belong to.  Thought I would get a head start on the New Year and work up a couple of paintings.  Ha!  Note to self... choose less complex subjects for this challenge.  Painting with a theme in mind is part of the challenge... my theme is flowers and to make it even harder on myself... all 8x10" horizontals!  Will be a tough thirty days, I'm also working on a large painting commission and teaching!  And painting with a plein air group and two portrait groups.  I'll be able to find flowers easily while painting plein air, and for portraits, well maybe a flower in the hair or background.  SOLD

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Diane Mannion, JADE PLANT, 8x10" oil on linen

      Last painting for 2012... and it's the 170th.  Last year I made it to 200, but this year painted a lot more larger size paintings so I don't feel too bad.  Here's the demo for this one:
 Stage 1
It's the one on the bottom left... working on one sheet of linen taped to a board.  Will cut the paintings apart later and mount them.  Started Jade Plant with a transparent underpainting and then sketched out the location and composition with my new, handy-dandy Colour Shapers (find them at Jerry's or Blick).  Nice thing about this technique is no extra paint to muddy things up at this stage, removing paint instead of adding it.
Stage 2
Added darks and wiped off lights with Gamsol and paper towels.
 Stage 3
Worked with opaque paints (using white and opaque colors).  Signed it!  It's not an ego thing (maybe just a little)... but I like to scratch the signature with my meat skewer stick and it only works when the paint's wet.  Finished the bottom right and scratched it in before the painting's finished!  So now I know I HAVE to finish it!
Tinkered all over, finished jade plant which is the star of the show.  Played with light and broken color, an impressionist technique.  Polished the pansy, too.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Venice Model

Diane Mannion, VENICE MODEL, 8x6" oil
      Painted this model last week at the Venice Art Center portrait studio.  She took less breaks than we did in the two and a half hour session!
     I'm doing a January 30 Day Painting Challenge with Leslie Saeta and many other artists across the country.  Follow the link and sign up!  Great way to start the New Year! SOLD

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Blue Bird

Diane Mannion, BLUE BIRD, 8x10" oil on linen
      Scene from my SW Florida garden today... growing subjects to paint for the new year.  This blue bird planter is near the canary cage where my canaries sing all day.  I'd rather sweep bird feathers than shovel snow, but may have frost tonight so shutters will be closed to keep the birds cozy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Silver Bird

Diane Mannion, Silver Bird, 8x10" oil on linen

   M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S !

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Diane Mannion, RICK, 8x6" oil

      Painted and partied at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center this morning.  Rick was a fabulous model who got back into the perfect position after every break.  Was great painting along with such a talented group!  And the Christmas party lunch was delicious... just one more cookie, please!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Cactus

Diane Mannion, Christmas Cactus, 8x10" oil on linen

      Played with a few new Rosemary brushes that just arrived from England!  Rosemary also sent a chocolate surprise which disappeared immediately.   
      Experimented with Gamblin's Chromatic Black, new on my palette.  Found it useful for toning down colors, interesting... transparent, bluish black.  Didn't seem to deaden colors like the more opaque Ivory Black.  John discovered somewhere online that the paint was called Ivory because it was once made from burnt elephant tusks, who knew!  I hardly ever have black on my palette, mix my own from red, blue, and yellow, but will continue working with Chromatic Black to explore new color possibilities.
      Pushed this painting in a more impressionistic direction than I usually work.  I'm happy with a few bits here and there, mostly the last few brushstrokes... deftly applied by my lovely Rosemary brush!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stepping Back In Time

Diane Mannion, Stepping Back In Time, 24x18" oil on linen

      Yes, Rachael had a blue streak in her hair and also chose her own outfit... seven year olds, what a riot!  Loved the contrast of a whimsical child and the old, historic place.  
Stage 1: Loose drawing with charcoal and burnt sienna on linen.
Stage 2: Transparent colors, unusually wild.  Just wanted to get rid of white and design color patterns.
Stage 3:  Settled into painting which took about a week.  Most fun and fastest were the sneakers!   Finished painting above.  

Friday, December 14, 2012


Diane Mannion, BECKY, 10x8" oil

      Becky posed for us today at the Venice Art Center Portrait group.  Lovely model!  Wish we had longer than two and a half hours, seemed to fly while painting... but for poor Becky it must have seemed forever.  Not easy sitting still!
      Finally finished a large painting today, just in time to enter the Portrait Society Members Only competition.  I'll post it tomorrow along with a few in-progress photos.  Too many deadlines this time of the year for major shows.  Has thrown me completely off posting a daily painting, even though I've been pushing the brush day and night.  Larger paintings take a lot longer, at least for me.  Wish I could paint faster.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Diane Mannion, AJ, 6x6"oil

      Arrived a few minutes late to Venice portrait studio today, so painted a small one.  I'm always amazed at the amount of talented artists in one room!  Excellent model and terrific painter, AJ sacrificed his painting time to sit still for us.  Two and half hours flies by for painters, but must seem like forever to the model.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tis the Season Again

Diane Mannion, Tis the Season Again, 6x6" oil

      Another demonstration for a painting class while helping students (and myself) loosen up.  Experimented with various techniques.
      Posted this painting at stage 2 and decided it needed more work.  It still could use more work... but time to move on to the next one.  Lesson learned... don't worry it to death.
    Stage 1
Stage 2 

      And here's a timed ten minute jar study.  Single color, single color and white, two colors and white, three colors and white:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peruvian Lily

Diane Mannion, Peruvian Lily, 6x6" oil

      Started as a class demo teaching artists how to paint glass, and finished later at home.  Used baby food jars so each artist could set up their own arrangement.  Glass is not easy... told everyone to just focus on the shapes inside the glass, the values, and put stokes down, then leave them.  "Forget you're painting glass."  This was extra difficult because I also gave them a flower.  Flowers are another technique, but thought it would distract them from the glass enough to let accidents happen. 
      It's a wonderful thing when I see some students GET IT!  Somehow, my instructions, however bizarre... get through.  One student struggled for an hour on a jar and it was so so.  Then he did a ten minute jar with a timer and GOT IT!  Timers force focus... rushing to beat the clock eliminates the brush from worrying over unnecessary details.  (I should listen to my own teaching.)
     Painting techniques are theory and formulas, but it takes practice... like learning to play the piano or violin... to GET IT!   Another student said, "I'm just a beginner"... and would not listen to any suggestions, kept a closed mind, so I had to leave it at that.  Sad.  The urge, the obsession to learn about the art and craft of painting has to be there... and has to be there always.  An artist is always evolving, growing, pushing through to new levels.  The learner's mind... an artist is always a student.  (And as I've said before... how boring would it be if we thought we knew it all.)
      I watch other students work though visual problems and come up with imaginative resolutions that are brilliant.  Sometimes quirky, sometimes wonky, but always a wonder!  The joy of teaching!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Poinsettia in Sun

Diane Mannion, Poinsettia in Sun, 6x6" oil

      Poinsettia's glowing reds celebrate the warmth and joy of the holiday season.
      Forty-two degrees here in SW Florida this morning!  Good day to stay home and paint, but any day is a good day when painting's involved.  And Black Friday, that hideous tradition, is another reason to keep the car in the garage and double up on turkey sandwiches.  "Pass the stuffing, please."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Poinsettia

Diane Mannion, Thanksgiving Poinsettia, 6x6" oil

Thanksgiving thanks and love to all my friends and family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Diane Mannion, Poinsettia, 6x6" oil

      Instead of cut flowers, found this potted plant.  Should last for a few more paintings, although I don't know if my patience will... flowers are tough to paint. 
      Good news today!  Three of my paintings were accepted into the Randy Higbee Gallery, 6x6" show in California. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Diane Mannion, SOPHIE, 12x9" oil on linen

      Great place to paint on a cloudy afternoon -Portrait Studio at the Venice Art Center, surrounded by many extremely talented artists!  Arrived a bit late... had a long distance view and didn't bring binoculars, so did the best I could.  This young model posed for the first time ever and did a professional job of holding still, her shiny red lipstick added a dramatic touch.  
      Painted on Senso, clear gesso coated linen. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Morning Beach Light

Diane Mannion, Morning Beach Light, 8x10" oil
Buy here. 
      Another demo while teaching "how to start a painting."  First a thin wash of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna was painted over the entire canvas, then with OMS (odorless mineral spirits or Gamsol) and paper towel... the composition was suggested by wiping out lights.  More dark blue and sienna added where dark masses would be.  Finally,  everything was "blurred" with a paper towel suggesting atmosphere. Took about ten minutes or less for this stage. 

      Second layer, blocked in color masses starting witt sky and moving forward... sky, water, shadows, greens, and sand.  Connected shadow masses... the purple shadow moves along the dunes in an "s" shape.
      Final layer painted using warm tones to "push" the sunny sand patterns.  Used sesame seed size bits of red, yellow, OR blue in everything to tone it down and push colors in warm or cool directions.  For example, a blue sky puddle on the palette had a string of red, yellow, blue, or white added next to it...all in the value needed for the sky.  Used burnt sienna and ultramarine blue to tone down the greens.  Clouds and waves aren't white... yellow, red, and blue are added in tiny amounts.  I made the value of the sky darker to make the lights in the sand appear brighter. 

      Softened the horizon for it to recede, even if it's softened more than actually "seen."  Added highlights, sea oats, and sunstruck grasses last.  Sometimes used a palette knife for these but sparingly.

      Happy with this one! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Day at the Beach

Diane Mannion, Another Day at the Beach, 8x10" oil
      Ahh... another day at the beach teaching a class outside!  I'm getting selfish about teaching and also want to end up with a painting at the end of the session, even if it's just a start.  And students say it's a good learning experience for them to watch me paint.  So for each class I demo for a few minutes, walk around and nag students, then back to my painting.  I also encourage them to peek over my shoulder at anytime.  Then back to the studio for finishing touches and when classes meet again... we have an art show of our results.  This painting was started on Venice beach early in the morning, a three hour class on a perfect day.   Buy here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Potted Pansies

Diane Mannion, Potted Pansies, 8x10" oil
      Potted plants in moldy pots have always been a favorite subject of mine.  I hang around garden centers squinting at roses, staring at petunias, and lusting after hibiscus trees.  Shopkeepers always rush to help.  "Just looking," I say, waving them off.  Lately, I've been snapping photos when the sun strikes a flower just right... hooray for cellphone cameras!  I prefer painting from life, but nothing captures back-lit petals like a snapshot.  
     Potted Pansies was painted as an exercise from a digital photo.  The pansies are long gone but I think a few of the begonias are still alive somewhere in the garden.  Flowers might seem a simple subject but when the paint piles up it's not that easy.  The flowers above that I painted the fastest without overworking, I like the most.  My favorite is the white and purple pansy on the upper right. 
      I've been studying other artists who've tackled florals.  Michael Klein is a current obsession, purchased his videos and book, FLOWER PAINTING.
      This morning I came home with some new garden center subjects (victims?).  Want to grab my brushes and start... but first, it's Abolish-Studio-Clutter-Day!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Phillipi Estate Rose Garden

Diane Mannion, Phillipi Estate Rose Garden, 8x10" oil 

      Another dog rescue... painting I'm not happy with, rework or rescue later.  Or, "Can this painting be saved?"  Sometimes, there's a bit here and there I like but lots more I don't.  Rather than let it go, it's fun to paint over and see if it can be revitalized.
      First layer was painted outside the day hurricane Sandy was heading up the east coast of Florida.  Gusty winds, umbrella blew off, painted rapidly, took snapshots and left early.  Unfortunately, the reference photos were lost somewhere in digital land.  So this dog rescue is painted from memory and imagination.  
      Here's the original dog which I didn't like because the colors were too dark.  There was not enough difference in the forground, middle ground, and background values.  I'm only a slightly happier with the new dog which will not be rescued again.  Time to move on!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gusty Gulf Day

Diane Mannion, Gusty Gulf Day, 6x6" oil
      Weather was perfect when we set up our plein air easels early in the morning!  Had my Venice class meet in the dunes, much better than painting in a classroom.  We did our Notan sketches, black and white thumbnails indicating where the darks and lights would be, and a brief idea of composition.  We painted these plans with yellow ochre on our panels, then massed in general color areas which we smudged with a paper towel and lifted out lights.  We considered where our darkest darks and lightest lights would be.
      Just as we were applying the first thick juicy, final layer brushstrokes... my painting umbrella flew off.  (Fortunately, it was attached with an elastic cord and I only needed to haul it back.  Once again, my Artwork Essentials new improved umbrella proved it's worth by not taking my easel with it! I really recommend this umbrella, best I've ever used. Check it out on their site.) 
      We held onto our easels as sand stung our eyes.  We held on as long as we could applying a few more gutsy brush stokes as the blustery wind gusts blasted us and shook our panels.  The light, the clouds, everything changed in minutes!  We took snapshots and left to finish in the comfort of our studios.  After all, we had collected color notes and enough sand in our paint to create sincere impressions of the morning!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

White Rose

Diane Mannion, White Rose, 6x6" oil
     "Paint a white rose using red, yellow, blue and white."  I believe in throwing my students into the deep in of the pool no matter what level they are!  After this project... everything else will seem easy.  I managed to get an ultramarine blue underpainting demo down in class but spent the rest of the time helping suffering artists.  Amazing results were achieved by a few!  I know how difficult this project is because I struggled a lot when I finished it later.  Pushed everyone to push their technique, including myself.  Remember, it's just practice for the next one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Birdhouse Shed

Diane Mannion, Birdhouse Shed, 8x10" oil

      Several artists painted in the Punta Gorda historic district this morning to benefit the art center.  Cool, misty, the sun never came out but this garden was so beautiful it didn't matter.  The garden shed's collection of bird houses was enchanting!  SOLD

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Richard, Venice Model

Diane Mannion, Richard,Venice Model, 10x8" oil

      A favorite way to spend Friday afternoon is painting at the Venice Art Center Portrait Studio.  Not only are the artists friendly and talented but the paintings produced in two and a half hours are incredible!  Painting from a live model is great training for any other subject.   Drawing skills are sharpened, portraits leave little leeway for mistakes.

      Proud to announce the award I won from Women Painters of the Southeast is now printed in 
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.  Here's a copy of the ad:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lemon and Lime

Diane Mannion, Lemon and Lime, 6x6" oil on linen

      Started this as a demo during a class I was teaching.  It's not easy talking and painting and helping other artists at the same time.  My demo paintings are usually not my best productions during class hours, so I've given myself the challenge of rescuing these dogs later in the studio.  I added more items, took out the shell, and attempted to make the space and lighting believable even though it was never set up like this.
Below is the "dog" stage of this one.  I'm much happier with the new, improved version!
Diane Mannion, Lemon and Lime Demo Stage, 6x8"
Diane Mannion, On A Clear Day She Can See Forever, 16x20" oil on linen
***Horn Tooting moment!!!  This painting won second place in the Punta Gorda Harvest of Art Show last night at the fabulous, Visual Arts Center!

Also.... please visit my FREE Art Tutorial at Daily Painters and leave a comment there.  It would help increase my fame quota and raise my stats!  Thanks!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fabulous Fifties Digs

Diane Mannion, Fabulous Fifties Digs, 6x6" plein air oil

      We painted vintage, Venice ranches near the art center when the early morning sky was still lemony-yellow.  Had my class set up easels in a parking lot near their cars because rain and wind threatened.  Open hatchback doors are perfect for auto-painting: a place in the shade,  a cushion to sit on for breaks, cooler handy for snacks, hot coffee in a thermos... luxurious plein air painting!
     GREAT NEWS!!!  My first Artbyte Tutorial, SECRETS OF THE UNDERWORLD is now available at Daily Paintworks!  It's FREE!  Did I mention, it's FREE?  Please check it out and let me know what you think. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Diane Mannion, MAC, 6x6" oil

      Fresh batch of shiny new artists in my class at the fabulous, Visual Art Center in Punta Gorda.  First lesson was A for Apple painting, tossed everyone a Mac (not the computer type)  and put them to work creating works in oils, watercolors, pastel, or acrylics.   This was my demo, started in class and tinkered with later.  And class homework: finish apple painting, eat the macintosh, and bring finished masterpieces back next week.  An apple a day makes artists healthy, wealthy (maybe), and wise... whether painted or consumed. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Green Egg

Diane Mannion, GREEN EGG, 5x7" oil

      Green egg!  Yes, there is such a thing... my friend, Julie gave me a green egg and it was delicious with ham.  Her chickens have been so productive it's hard to keep up with all the omelets, scrambled, and sunny-side ups.
      Difficult painting today with Frankenstorm worries.  Stay safe, all my northern friends and family!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Heidi's Hibiscus

Diane Mannion, Heidi's Hibiscus, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen
        Artist friend, Heidi picked this flower outside the art center while we were arranging bottles, shells, and fruit to paint.  Another Snippet Series painting, I think it's number 25, but the list was lost when my computer burned out. 
        Had to replace computer... going through technological nightmare trying to restore lost files.  At least I had an outside backup, although it will take awhile to get everything back in place.  Four years of high definition copies of almost 800 paintings.  And all my writing and teaching notes...  And now my cell phone stopped working.  Sigh.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lichee Black Tea

Diane Mannion, Lichee Black Tea, 10x8" oil on linen

      This might look a bit familiar if you check my last post!  The more I looked at the painting at that stage, the more I wished I had done.  So, rather than rubbing it out, I reworked it... a free feeling of not having anything to lose.  I took more chances adding and changing and am MUCH happier with it!  
      Many years ago, when I was working in watercolor, I did a still life by adding objects as I went along.  Without any plan but filling the space in a visually pleasing way, I painted one object and then another without ever setting everything up together.  This painting happened in the same way and I think I'll continue playing with this system.  Letting the still life grow piece by piece organically... an all natural, organically grown still life!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Red, Yellow, and Blue

Diane Mannion,  Red, Yellow, and Blue, 10x8" oil on linen

      Started this demo for a painting class I'm teaching in Venice and finished it later.  Set up the still life and had students paint from life.   Good practice for working on technique and training the eye.   
      "Remember, it's only red, yellow, blue... and white," I kept repeating.  All mixed together, they make neutrals... warm and cool grays.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Brilliant Morning

Diane Mannion, Brilliant Morning, 8x10" oil on linen
Painted during the Golden Hour... right after sunrise this morning.  
This is what the first layer, the underpainting looked like.
Not a bad place to start the day!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Greenhouse Jungle

Diane Mannion, Greenhouse Jungle, 8x10 oil on linen

      It's impossible to reproduce the heady scent of orchids blooming in the Selby Gardens Greenhouse in Sarasota, Fl.  No, didn't set my easel up there, but have wandered through often, wishing I could.  Photo reference had to do.
      Started this painting during Dreama Tolle Perry's workshop last weekend in Jacksonville at the Eileen Corse Gallery.  Only had time to block in the underpainting.  Scratched my name on the bottom left with my handy-dandy meat skewer stick while the paint was still wet.  Much easier than painting it with a brush!  
      Home again, I took the painting to show during a class I was teaching in the Venice Art Center.  Dropped it face down on the floor... still a few scratches on the bottom left corner that I left for dramatic effect.
      Then I took this painting to work on during a demo at Ringling's Englewood open house on Saturday.  Kind of difficult to paint and talk at the same time, but did drop in some lights.
      Finally, this morning... was able to finish it!  I'm pleased with the way I was able to play with the light flickering on the orchids and leaves.  It's still a rough sketch, left it the way it developed on top of an (unfortunately) dry underpainting.  I prefer to work in alla prima style, wet into wet, but this time wasn't able to.  Can't wait to try it again, gradually working in the new techniques I learned at Dreama's workshop.
      My excuse for not finishing it sooner and not posting all week:  WORKED ON MY FIRST ARTBYTE TUTORIAL FOR DAILY PAINTWORKS!!!  As soon as it's posted I'll let everyone know.  Really proud of this honor.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dreama's Workshop 1

Diane Mannion, Dreama's Workshop 1, 8x10" oil

      This is a workshop painting.  Although everyone used Dreama's photo reference, each painting expressed the personality of the artist.

            "Why are you taking Dreama's workshop?" someone asked me.  "She doesn't paint like you at all."
            DreamaTolle Perry's workshops are usually booked full a year in advance.  An artist friend asked me to find someone to take her place in last weekend's workshop at the Eileen Corse Gallery.  I thought, well why not me?  And my husband said, "You should do it."  So, packed my paints and drove almost six hours up to Jacksonville.
            I follow Dreama's blog and have listened to her on Artists Helping Artists where her sparkling personality and lively sense of humor always shines through.  I admire and respect her paintings, especially her brilliant colors and playful designs and compositions.  I knew I was in for a treat and would enjoy the three days painting along with her and a many other artists.  But what I didn't know was how much I would learn.  And I thought I knew everything!
            So in answer to my friend's question... Even though I don't paint like Dreama, I do paint with oils.  I can't wait to assimilate the gems of information I learned about technique and color into my future paintings.  But there was something else...  this workshop was a booster shot of inspiration!  Dreama's love and joy for painting and her ability to share that gift with other artists is exceptional.  "Paint what you love," she said.   "Enjoy the process and that joy will shine through in your work."