Monday, January 30, 2012

Beachy Monday

Diane Mannion, BEACHY MONDAY, 8x10" oil
An artist's life is tough!  Another morning painting at the beach with my beach buddy.  Cool and breezy enough to keep a lot of folks away.  After painting all morning, it's usually our habit to have lunch at the shade pavilion while looking at our paintings, leaning against a railing or table across from us.  We give each other gentle suggestions and praise.  Today, I mostly praised my friend's work until a gust of wind blew her painting face down, covering it with sand.  She said it could be brushed off when the paint dried, and left it face up on the floor near the table.  Later, a family walked by and I noticed a teenage boy step right on it with his flip flop.  I yelled "HEY!  That's a wet painting!"  He apologized, saying he thought it was a tile.  My friend's gorgeous seascape showed the scars of a typical day at the beach with real sand and authentic flip flop tracks on the bottom edge.  An artist's life is tough.
Buy here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Crossword Puzzle

Diane Mannion, CROSSWORD PUZZLE, 6x6"oil
Another day at the beach here in sunny SW Florida.  So much to paint!  This is my entry for the Dailypaint Works Seated Figure ChallengeBuy Now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On The Way To The Beach

Diane Mannion, On The Way To The Beach, 6x6" oil
This started out as a demo for my painting class yesterday.  The palm had a building behind it and was totally in the shade.   Sometimes, it's difficult to teach and paint at the same time.  Told my class it was a wipe-out.  I have many levels of paintings...  keeper, show quality, sale, auction, gift, blogable, and finally wipe-out.  But I just couldn't wipe off several hours of work so I created another level... experimental.  Worked from memory and transformed my near wipe-out to at least a gift quality or blogable.  Buy now.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gulf Man

Diane Mannion, GULF MAN, 6x6" oil
An exercise for my class tomorrow, the figure in the landscape... will have students paint from black and white snapshots and make up the color from imagination and memory.  This study reminds me of Henry Hensche's Mud Heads from the Cape Cod School of Art.  Hensche had students paint outside in the sun and really push color! Sold.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ten Minute Challenge 2012

Diane Mannion, TEN MINUTE CHALLENGE 2012, 10x8" oil
This is a repeat of the Daily Paintworks Challenge which I painted in February, 2011.  Each jar is painted in TEN minutes!  The difference with this painting is the size of the brush.  2011... #2.  2012...#6!  A number two bristle is about a quarter of an inch wide... and a number six is about a half inch.  Some jars were painted inside and some outside lighting was, but it's the same little jar I painted last year.  And I'll post this one in the Carol Marine's new Ten Minute Challenge Again.  Here's last year's version:
Diane Mannion, Ten Minute Jars 2011, 10x8" oil
Great exercise!  Took a little longer last year to add the lettering.  2011 is crisper because of the smaller brush, but 2012 is more painterly and less of an illustration.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Street Music

Diane Mannion, STREET MUSIC, 6x6" oil
Found a shady spot outside the Melange Gallery (252 Tampa Ave West) in Venice, Florida this morning.  Painted this demo while listening to music and watching folks stroll through the Saturday morning Farmer's Market. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Color Is That Tangerine?

Counter painting of tangerine on breadbox under florescent lights.  Set up my plein air equipment in the kitchen this morning to do an "interior landscape."  Also painted this for the Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grab Bag Demo

Diane Mannion, Grab Bag Demo, 6x6" oil
      I have a wonderful group of students at the VAC, Punta Gorda, FL on Tuesdays!  A few take drawing in the morning and then paint along with the afternoon painting class where most work in oils or acrylics.  Today's project for both classes was a grab bag of still life objects to arrange on their tables along with a piece of striped fabric.  
      I decided to paint a demo and hold it up after each stage, but one student wanted to see how I started a painting.  Suddenly, most of the class was standing behind me while I stained the white canvas with yellow ochre.  I drew a few lines indicating where my objects would be, then chased everyone back to do the same.
      After doing the rounds around the room, checking on each painting and making suggestions, I went back to my panel and blocked in all the "local" colors, painting the dark values first.  Held that stage up and helped the students catch up.
      This stage by stage process went on for the afternoon.  I painted and made the "rounds" coaching and cheering.  Many interesting paintings were created in an industrious few hours.    
      But the most satisfying part of the day was learning from my students.  A couple are natural talents and have strong, colorful styles.  I learn a lot from them.  Sometimes, I feel the most I can do with these students is give them "permission" to carry on! 


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ravishing Radishes

Diane Mannion, RAVISHING RADISHES, 6x6" oil
These ravishing radishes caught my eye from across the store.  Shiny, wet, and vivid red, they beckoned me to paint them.  And I wasn't allowed to eat them until I did.  So this morning they posed before being consumed, even the leaves were tasty.  My canaries especially loved the greens.
1.And while I painted them from life (direct painting), I pretended to be giving a demo for my painting class.  Using yellow ochre thinned with linseed oil (no mineral spirits were used in this painting except for cleaning brushes later)... the canvas was painted and rubbed off leaving a thin layer of color.  Just one way to overcome "fear of the white blank canvas."  2.The drawing was done with ultramarine blue and a few lines to indicate placement and rhythm.  At this point, took a break and reheated a slice of pizza for brunch (only homemade pizza, of course).  
3.Then with a second cup of coffee and a fresh look at my drawing, made a few adjustments and blocked in the radish darks.  Squinted to simplify the shapes and shadow areas.  Noticed where the darks blended into each other for lost edges.  
4.Painted the greens, darks and middle value, noting where darkest darks and brightest lights were, also warm and cool colors.  
5.Then painted the far background, making up a tone because it was just a view of my messy studio.  Made the tone darker than it actually was to help the greens and radishes stand out. 
6. Painted the white cloth napkin the radishes were sitting on using white and a touch of cad yellow for lights.  Purples and warmer neutrals for shadows.
7. Added high lights on radishes and added the roots.  Punched up a few darks in the leaves and added final touches here and there.  Softened and blended a few spots such as the background radish to increase depth.  Took about an hour to paint and FORCED myself to stop and leave it at this stage.  Rather sketchy but it's a "demo" and not a polished painting.  But it IS a painting that looks like a painting and not a photo.  (It hurts when someone tells me my painting looks like a photo!  Only an artist would understand).
8. Scratched my signature in the upper right corner with my trusty meat skewer signing stick.  (A dowel sharpened in a pencil sharpener works well.  Some people sign with the end of their paintbrush.  This could be sharpened also but take care not to stab yourself while painting with it.)
9. Placed my panel on my scanner raised on four nickels on the corners, adjusted in Photoshop, and published the jpg here.
*If you made it this far in my demo... time to get off the computer and go paint!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Celery Barn

Diane Mannion, THE CELERY BARN, 6X6" oil
Painted with the PASC (Plein Air Painters Sun Coast) group yesterday at Towles Court, Sarasota, FL.  This wonderful and talented group of artists (myself included!) is having a show at The Celery Barn, March 15th.  
When I brought this painting home and touched it up, I noticed the slight "lean" to the left.  I think it must be the angle of my easel.  Also painted without my glasses, using only sunglasses.  I only added a few details (the "wonky" hand-lettered sign) and worked on the red Ti plant in the flower pot.  Both plants were on the porch when I started then moved outside when the gallery opened.  Left on on the porch but like the way the outside plant works here.  
Here's the flyer for the Light Chasers: Plein Air Painters of the Sun Coast:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Rose

Diane Mannion, WINTER ROSE, 6x6" oil
Gray, cloudy day here in SW Florida, so spent time practicing painting technique.  Sometimes, it's good to break out of your usual habits and attempt a different style.  "Slap it on thick and leave it alone.  Think warm and cool colors, dark and light values.  If in doubt blur it out and if all else fails... use purple."  These words from a class I taught yesterday were still spinning around in my head.  But sometimes, the best painting happens when the analytical side of the brains shuts up and lets the visual side play.  This painting is pure practice without worrying about creating a masterpiece (at least not every time).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter, Near Noon

Diane Mannion, WINTER, NEAR NOON, 6x8" oil
This was my second painting yesterday at Venice Beach, Florida.  An experiment and a "first" for me.  I painted with my sunglasses on!  And they weren't prescription glasses so I couldn't "see" the colors on the palette or my panel that clearly.  I have great far-sighted vision, but up-close, another story.  I think yesterday's painting, the previous post (Rose Petals on the Path) is better, BUT like my water and sky in this one.  It's a struggle, and remember... every painting is just practice for the next.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rose Petals on the Path

Diane Mannion, ROSE PETALS ON THE PATH, 6x8" oil
Painted at Venice Beach this morning and wondered why rose petals were scattered along the path.  Must have been a wedding or some romantic rendezvous... very sweet.  The colors were spectacular in the dunes!  No camera could match what I could see with my eyes. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Yellow Truck

Diane Mannion, YELLOW TRUCK, 6x8" oil
Couldn't resist the bright yellow truck parked under purple awnings,  and the pinkish building for background.  Lots of color to play with here.  This was on the corner of Venice and Nokomis Ave, Venice, Fl.  Also, number 3 in my Venice Doorways series, a current counting project. 
      And a few words about the down-side of counting:
      I'm my own worst "boss."  Self-discipline is everything but sometimes we're too hard on ourselves and need to ease up.  Enough with the guilt about "not" doing enough!  We work darn hard and if we're not up to the count, so what... at least we're getting there, or working towards our goal.  Counting is only a tool to use like a scale to keep track of your weight.  Don't need to weigh yourself everyday, but when your clothes pinch, get back on it.  Felt bad yesterday about not finishing a painting to post, but it needed to "age" a bit and I'll finish eventually.
      Some of the daily painters have really loose techniques.  I don't mean sloppy or bad, most are really good.  Some artists can use a huge brush and dash off a painting in minutes, others work on small pieces.  But the process is part of the joy and if it takes longer to create the effect you want, so be it!  I love to fiddle and refine, does that mean it's too tight or overworked?  Sometimes, YES!  It's a balancing act.  For me, it's a constant battle between the "artist" and the "illustrator."  And counting works for me!  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Venice Portrait

Diane Mannion, VENICE PORTRAIT, 6x8" oil
Painted at the Venice Portrait Studio today, two hour sketch.  Great having all the snowbird artists back.  Didn't have my usual assortment of colors handy and didn't really like the  orange curtain behind the model but went with it anyway.  Sometimes, it's good to experiment and paint with different colors.  Every painting IS an experiment, after all.  Had fun with magenta and orange.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Diane Mannion, VENICE DOORWAY #1, oil, 8x10"
Diane Mannion, VENICE DOORWAY #2, oil on canvas, 8x6"

COUNTING COUNTS!  My first two paintings for 2012.  

My total since starting this blog in 2008 is 548 paintings!  Wish I had counted the ones painted before.  Counting my work and keeping an archive was first inspired by my artist friend, Mary Erickson when I visited her place in NC in 2008.  I was also motivated by the Daily Painting movement online.  Just a few of my favorites: Duane Keiser, Stephen Magsig, Carol Marine, and the magnificent... Julian Merrow-Smith.  Please Google these artists and check out their work!

I recently discovered another artist friend of mine is a Counter, too!  Terry Mason leads the plein air painting group in the Sarasota area, Light Chasers, Plein Air Painters Sun Coast.  Visit Light Chaser's FB page.
Here's what Terry Mason has to say about counting:

"I think counting is important.  And it has kept me from being discouraged.  A long time ago there was a paint out that Karen Hitt organized for an older age facility in Venice.  When I was there I was talking with Katie Dobson Cundiff.  She told me that a friend came over one day.  She was talking with her and her friend was encouraging her to enter a show.  Katie said she had a thousand paintings at her feet against the walls...everywhere.  She entered Paint The Town that year and won it all.  That story made me start counting.    So now I am approaching 800.  When I reach a thousand I will write Katie and thank her.  Another time I went to NC to stay at Mary Erickson's artist property with other artists.  Her studio was there.  On the back of her paintings were numbers....into the THREE thousands.   Both of these experiences helped me see I was progressing well and encouraged me to keep counting. So I do.  And each painting I write down what I learned.  And every 100 painting I review the last 100, cull them, toss some, and make goals for what I need to do for the next 100.  So that's how I use the counting to help me grow."-Terry Mason

Here's Terry's 150th painting for 2011!  CONGRATULATIONS, TERRY!
Terry Mason, EVERGLADES MUSIC, 16x20" oil
   "The everglades is never quiet.  It has it's own music.  And I painted what I heard." -Terry Mason

Please let me know if you are a Counter, too.  I'd like to write more about this later.  
Thanks, and Happy New Counting Year!  -Diane