Monday, April 30, 2012

Mahogany Woman

Diane Mannion, Mahogany Woman, 20x16" oil  Sold

This painting won the Bowles Portrait award at the Punta Gorda Art Center this year, and now another major award:

I’m still floating on an inflated ego after winning a top prize this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida! 

My painting, Mahogany Woman won the FINE ART CONNOISSEUR MAGAZINE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE at the Eileen Corse Gallery.  The premier juried exhibition for the Woman Painters of the Southeast.  WPSE is a group created by Eileen Corse to help women painters in the SE region gain recognition.  And thanks to WPSE I am honored and grateful!

I’m awestruck to be in the winning circle along with KatieDobson Cundiff who also took a top prize.  Katie is in my Light Chasers Plein Air Painters of the Sun Coast group and we are proud to have had five of our artists represented in this show. 

WPSE promotes and strengthens the links between women artists.   I felt this beautiful and warm camaraderie at the gallery opening Saturday night!  The room was filled with artists that I had known for years only by name through Facebook and blogs.  Nametags jumped out at me… “I know you!”  To look them in the eyes and actually pat them on the shoulder was very moving to me.  Technology is great but nothing takes the place of a personal encounter.

WPSE has created a circle of women artists that will continue to encourage and educate other artists regardless of gender, age, or skill level.  The enthusiasm and love for painting in this group is contagious and will be far reaching.  As a group, we are strengthened and will have more opportunity for recognition outside of this region.  Move over Southwest… Southeast is gaining.

I’ve always been uneasy about belonging to any group that excludes another, but after tossing so many art magazines across the room that only had token female artists represented… I see the need!  It’s the sad state of female representation throughout art history.  Pick up any textbook and do a count.  But groups like WPSE intend to do something about this.

Thanks again to Eileen Corse. 

And I’d like to thank a few other women artist friends that have helped me reach this point.  There are many more, but these few have touched me deeply… Mary Erickson, Eileen Wright, Sally Christansen, and Terry Mason.  Thank you.
 Eileen Corse, judge Barbara Flowers, Diane Mannion

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Neglected Vanda

Diane Mannion, NEGLECTED VANDA,6x8" oil
John won this vanda orchid at a store opening party three years ago.  It hangs in the grapefruit tree most of the year, forgotten and neglected, until I notice it's ready to bloom again.... then it gets a place of honor in the lani.  The flowers stay in bloom for a couple of months, almost like having a plastic flower.  
Another speedy painting racing against time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Laughing Gulls

Diane Mannion, LAUGHING GULLS, 6x8" oil
I noticed some laughing gulls (yes, the ones with the black head are called laughing gulls!) flying over a bush with yellow leaves.  The wind was strong,  they hovered in place like they were attached to the bush with strings.  They floated like kites... a beautiful sight which went on for several minutes.  I painted three birds here, but there were about a dozen, laughing gulls and other types, all taking turns in line to hover over the same bush.  There may have been a swarm of insects hatching... but I like to think they were just playing with the wind.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Boogie Boarder

Diane Mannion, BOOGIE BOARDER, 6x8" oil
This one took far longer than I had hoped!  Started with the ten minute kitchen timer sketch, then did a thirty minute block in.  Wanted to dash it off fast, it looked simple enough, but took most of the day.  Wish I could paint faster.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday Beachcomber

Diane Mannion, SUNDAY BEACHCOMBER, 8x6" oil
Small study for a larger painting.  Blustery weather down here in Florida whipping up the waves!  Worked from reference photo of John searching for shark's teeth.  Was captivated by the strong shadow on his shirt, the angle of the waves and the rhythm of his stance.  Set the timer for this sketch and took photos of the sketch and block in stages below:
10 minutes for sketch on "used" linen with OMS.
30 minutes for color block in... 
Then 30 more to fiddle and finish to the final above.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Garden Frog

Diane Mannion, GARDEN FROG, 8x6" oil
In an effort to loosen up and paint faster, I picked a complicated subject which forced me to simplify.  Only had a short time to paint today... pushed that brush fast.  I'm pleased with the magenta drawing showing through in the asparagus plant leaves.  This is another "found" still life from the artist's garden I posted yesterday. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Artist's Garden 1

Diane Mannion, AN ARTIST'S GARDEN 1, 8x10" oil
Visited an artist's garden this weekend.  Old Florida atmosphere on the Intercoastal Waterway.  A lovely place to paint!  This is an exterior landscape still life.  Found the most beautiful things to paint were "found still life" arrangements.  A cloudy day but the sun broke through here and there and made things sparkle and shine. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boca Grande, April

Diane Mannion, BOCA GRANDE, APRIL, 6x8" oil

Painted at the edge of the Gulf this morning.   Plein air landscapes capture more than an image...  memories are etched with each brushstroke:

Cool breeze.  A man was fishing.  Another tossed a toy while his black lab swam out to fetch it over and over.  Sailboats on the horizon,  small fishing boats zipped along gleaming in the sun.  Just a few walkers on the beach, season is almost over.  Little dog sniffed my ankle while a woman complimented my work.

A father and his children pulled up in a golf cart.  While the children scampered on the beach, the father was having a loud conversation with another on his cell phone.  Couldn't help overhearing and had to smile.  "No... it's not child abuse.  You go to that yoga class with your mother like I told you!"  I was smiling because my husband was teaching that yoga class on the other side of town.  Later I asked my husband... "Did anyone show up with a child?"  He said, "Yes, a mother and a five year old boy.  He mostly stayed in the back of the room playing with something, couldn't tell what."

Nice feeling driving home with a fresh painting in my wet panel carrier.  And whenever I look at it in the future, the memories of that morning will be on instant replay.   This is why painting on location, direct painting is much more vital than working from photo reference!  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Venice Fisherman

Diane Mannion, VENICE FISHERMAN, 10x8" oil
Painted with the Venice Art Center portrait studio artists this afternoon for way less than three hours, counting breaks and because the model was late due to bridge opening.  Don't know why, but I paint much faster from life than from photos.  Talented group of artists there today!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dr Richard

Diane Mannion, DR RICHARD, 8x6"oil
      Another distinguished artist in my Heady Portrait class, Ringling's Englewood.  We all enjoyed his sharp mind and gentle personality and will miss him when he heads back north. 
       Used the Zorn palette on the background only here... really love how black, white, and yellow ochre make neutral green.  The rest of the portrait had every color on my palette thrown in... magenta, purple, permanent rose, Winsor red, ultramarine blue, etc. 
      For the two previous portraits posted, I used cadmium red light, black, yellow ochre, and ivory black.  Yesterday, Bonnie painted with the Zorn palette in class and used cadmium red, instead of cadmium red light.  It worked beautifully!  And Bonnie called it right... it's the Zen palette, not the Zorn.  Om...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Diane Mannion, BONNIE, 8x6" oil
Another Heady Portrait studio artist, Bonnie!  I used the Zorn palette again: cad red lt, yellow ochre, black, and white.  Sorely missed blues and purples and every other color.  Good exercise but can't wait to use a full palette again.  Bonnie has already gone back north for the season, which is a good thing... won't have to listen to her scream when she sees this.  I'll put it away, let it "age" and tinker with it again later.  There's still hope, Bonnie.  Everyone misses you!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Diane Mannion, PATTY, 8x6" oil
I had my Heady Portrait students pose for snapshots.  Printed them in black and white and had them do self-portraits.  Patty was doing a splendid job on her portrait last week even though it's not easy to paint teeth and smiles!  But her smile is so lovely, I didn't have her pose for a straight shot.  I painted this version today using the Zorn palette... Anders Zorn painted with cad red, black, yellow ochre, and white. Amazing how many colors and flesh tones can be achieved with those colors alone.  And it takes a lot of guess work out of which colors to choose.  This was also a popular palette for Sargent. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nokomis Beach Path

Diane Mannion, NOKOMIS BEACH PATH, 8x10" oil
Painted with the Light Chasers at Nokomis Beach this morning.  Artists were set up on the paths, fields, and the beach.  We took lots of breaks to check out all the wonderful paintings and chat with artist friends.  And if anyone found a Shade Buddy umbrella in a black case leaning against a tree, please let me know!  Urgh!!!  Drove home then back again and it was gone.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Diane Mannion, APPLES, 8x10" oil
      Painted as a demo in the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center session's last class today.  Although I often paint during class, some students wanted to just watch me paint and not work on their own projects.  Said they "understood" more by watching me paint now than if I had painted during the first class.  It's not easy painting with people looking over my shoulder but their positive comments helped.  And the classroom lighting is awful!  Set my portable Ottlite next to the apples for more dramatic cast shadows.  Resisted tinkering further and posting it "as is." 
( I noticed a line that looks like a wrinkle on my canvas... it's caused by the scanner and is not on the actual painting.  I'll photograph the painting and replace the image later.)