Friday, August 24, 2012

Charlotte Harbor

Diane Mannion, Charlotte Harbor, 6x6" oil

      Had an to hour wait yesterday...  so I pulled into a park next to the harbor and did a quick, note taking study.  The best view was from my car seat, so this is an auto-painting.  Had lunch, sipped mango juice, and painted with my small pochade paintbox propped on a towel between the front seats.  Luxury.  
      No, it's not a shark fin.  A dolphin swam right in front of me!  The water's shallow here and I'm pretty sure she was playing with a newborn.  Dolphins gently poke the babies with their noses and push them around in shallow water teaching them to swim and surface for air.  A beautiful sight! 
      Used limited palette, red, yellow, blue, and white.  Took snapshots and made notes in my visual memory bank.  
      Below is how the "start" or underpainting looked before I fiddled and polished.  The snapshot does not show all the fabulous colors that were actually there.  Left most of the color notes as I saw them.  Good example why it's important to paint from life. I'll add the reference photo so you can see how the camera darkens shadows and flattens things.
Reference Snapshot.  No, that's not a gator near the mangroves, just floating weeds.  
Here's the "start" or underpainting.  Very productive auto-painting/lunch hour!  And I didn't spill anything, just a few bread crumbs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rusty Roof

Diane Mannion, Rusty Roof, 6x8" oil

      On the way home from Arcadia, Florida, which is almost in the middle of the state, this great old house was on the side of a busy highway.  Had to stop and snap a few reference photos.  There were two main reasons why I didn't paint this en plein air.  1. Busy highway, trucks going 65 a few feet behind me.  2. A big dog.  And when I looked across the highway, a man was holding back two more.    
      What I liked about this ramshackled residence was the care someone took to prop up a tender, young hibiscus tree blooming with pink flowers at the edge of the driveway.  The place has seen quite a few hurricanes, especially hurricane Charley that ripped across the state destroying everything in its path.  The roof is wind warped and rusted but still there!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tiny Teacup, Snippet #18

Diane Mannion, Tiny Teacup, Snippet #19, 2.5x3.5" oil on linen

      Last teacup (I promise) for the Weekly Challenge at Daily Paintworks.  Previous two were purple/orange, red/green, and this one is blue/yellow.  With this one, used an orange leaning cadmium yellow deep and a purple leaning ultramarine blue... so there's also a purple/yellow effect of the complementary colors.  Again, painted from life, white teacup and background.  
      Made the two inch tall teacup myself!  Applause please.  Great for tea, saki, or expresso.  When not a painter, I'm a potter, but have been too busy painting to pot.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tiny Teacup, Snippet #17

Diane Mannion, Tiny Teacup, Snippet #18, 2.5x3.5" oil on linen

      Second entry into this week's Challenge at Daily Paintworks.  Yesterday (previous post) used only orange, purple, and white.  Painted same "white" setup, white teacup, background and base from life again.  This time used only red, green, and white.  Interesting that red and green make brown, who knew.  "Jazzed" this one up by adding extra touches of green and red at the end.  Tomorrow, the last of the complementary colors will be yellow and blue, bet I'll get lots of greens.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tiny Teacup, Snippet #16

Diane Mannion, Tiny Teacup, Snippet #17, 2.5x3.5"oil on linen
      First entry into this week's Challenge at Daily Paintworks... I'm planning on painting  two more.  I used ONLY orange, purple, and white for this painting.  The teacup and background were white in my setup, which I painted from life.  I'm interested in seeing how the exact same subject will look painted in just red and green, then in blue and yellow.  I haven't followed the challenge exactly according the Layne Cook's directions.  Ended up taking the exercise in a slightly different direction but used the same basic principles.
      For this rendering, I thought of purple as my dark/cool color, and orange as my light/warm color.  When opposite compliments are mixed, they become muted.  When purple is next to orange it will vibrate, especially if purple is made to be lighter than orange.  Same thing happens with all complementary colors. 
      To take this exercise to another level, it would be interesting to also allow black in the mixture.  These principals are covered at great length in a book Carol Marine recommended: THE YIN/YANG OF PAINTING, Zhang and Woolley.
      Forgot to mention:  Made the teacup myself... it's only about two inches tall, great for expresso or saki.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Orange Hibiscus, Snippet #16

Diane Mannion, Orange Hibiscus, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen SOLD
      Picked this hibiscus at a friend's house while wandering around their garden before dinner.  Checked out the chickens... they're laying eggs now!   And the rooster's crowing, at least until any neighbors complain.  The parrots were busy chewing new toys.  Had a lovely evening!   Got home early enough to paint the hibiscus before it wilted.  They stay fresh one day whether or not they're put in water.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Water Lilies Study

Diane Mannion, Water Lilies Study, 6x6" oil

      One hour study for a larger painting using only red, yellow, blue, and white.  Set a timer and forced myself to stop.  Then allowed another half hour to fiddle.  This is part of a large project I'm working on that's top secret.  TOO EXCITING!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Morning Thunder

Diane Mannion, Morning Thunder, 6x6" oil

      At sunrise these clouds were over the roof.  Snapped reference photos, no way I would paint outside with lightning.  Spent the morning with a sixty pound poodle on my lap shaking and drooling who hates lightning more than I do.  Was difficult to hold the paintbrush steady without both of us jumping once in a while. SOLD
      Here's a photo of my setup.  Old iBook with photo reference, my plein air paintbox (6x8" Alla Prima Pochade... great for painting inside or out), a few brushes, linseed oil medium, and Gamsol with lid on.  Kept colors down to red, yellow, blue, and white.  Oh, and some magenta on the underpainting rubbed on and wiped off.  I like to see spots of this color show through in the final painting, unfortunately most of it was buried on this one.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Diane Mannion, FRISKY, 6x6"oil

      Man and friend playing at the beach near Stump Pass across from Palm Island.  The waves were the wake kicked up by boats heading out to the Gulf.  We kayaked out to this blissful spot along the intercoastal, took a short break and skirted along the beach on the way back.  Paddled right over a manatee!  Watched it's huge tail miss my kayak by inches as it glided away in the crystal, clear water.
      When we pulled our kayaks up where folks were sunbathing, they had no idea where we had come from.  John said loud enough for them to hear, "We'll stop here for lunch, then head back to Fort Myers."  (At least fifty miles farther than we had actually come from just around the bend.)  Bet we fooled a few tourists.
      This wasn't all just fun and games.  Artists have to spend lots of time doing research and absorbing visual memory data.  Tough life watching everything through artist's eyes.  How we suffer for our art!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Venice Beach, Snippet #15

Diane Mannion, Venice Beach Snippet #15, 2.5x3.5""oil on linen
      There are days when it's difficult to post a daily painting because other, larger works are in progress.  Another Snippet comes to the rescue.  This started as a thumbnail sketch, conveniently sized as an ACEO or a miniature painting.  I have a stack this size prepared with linen mounted on panels.  Have been putting some on the eBay auction and they have done well enough for me to afford a few more tubes of paint!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Fig

Diane Mannion, First Fig, 6x6"oil
      First fig off of our first fig tree!  Immortalized!  Had to pick it before the raccoons did.  Tree was only about a foot tall in the Spring, now in August about four, still in a flower pot and has half a dozen figs on it.
      We consider this our "winter" down here in steamy, mid-August SW Florida, because we spend most of the day in air-conditioning as Northerners would be inside with the furnace roaring in winter.  Couldn't get out early enough to paint this morning when it's cool, right after sunrise to 9am, and we've been having lots of thunderstorms.  
      Never visit a fabulous artist's website at midnight and get too inspired to sleep!   
Marc R Hanson, visit his blog and check out the 4 (4!!!!) a day painting marathon in April '09.  And is nocturnes!  Sigh......

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Boca Beach Patrol

Diane Mannion, Boca Beach Patrol, 6x6"oil

      Common sight along local shores, a Great Blue Heron strutting at the water's edge.  Many have lost their fear of people and are especially fond of fishermen who toss them a shrimp or two.  This one was on the beach at Boca Grande one morning and didn't appreciate the pointed stare of my leashed dog.  The heron froze in place pretending to be a stick.  But once his bird-brain decided we weren't a threat and had no shrimp to offer... continued on his measured, orderly pace.  SOLD

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cardinal Red Ink

Diane Mannion, Cardinal Red Ink, 6x6" oil
      Found this gem of an antique ink bottle in Arcadia, Florida on my recent still life object search.  It's only about an inch and a quarter wide.  Didn't put the lettering on, wanted to leave it as a colorful sketch, but it reads: "Sanford's Penit Cardinal Red, Fountain Pen Ink."  
      Today's painting, done in alla prima style (all at once, wet into wet) is another experiment.  Isn't every painting an experiment?  Pushed color... letting the thalo blue under-drawing show through, allowing the blue to vibrate with the reds.  
      Blue is usually perceived as a darker value color than red.  When blue is painted lighter in value than red, it vibrates!  It's an optical thing I learned in art school, one of the Joseph Albers theories.  Works with other colors also, red and green for instance.  Hardly any blending, strokes put on thick and left alone.  Speedy quick experiment and I'm happy with it. 

"If one says 'red' - the name of color - and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different." (Josef Albers)      
Found this quote on Robert Genn's site. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Diane Mannion,  BOTTLE, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen
Snippet Series #14
Quick study of an antique bottle I found after a day of exploring the 24 antique shops in Arcadia, Florida.  I'll paint this one a few more times!  Sold
Wrote the following as an answer to an artist friend's question.  I'm posting it here because it may be useful to others just starting out.


Or just a few things I know about putting work online.

      An artist friend asked me a very good question:  How do I put my work online, advertise, sell and collect the funds?  In other words, how do I create an online presence and business.  I’m far from an expert, but have been online since 2008, so I know a few things.  I also know what I’m not doing (things on my to-do list) and will mention those.  All the information is out there, but a simple list might help someone just venturing into this world start off a little easier.  I'll include links at the end of this post.

1.  Photograph your artwork!  Learn how to photograph your artwork, crop and adjust it with Photoshop or some other digital software.  Photoshop Elements 10 works well and is not as expensive as the professional Photoshop.  I take photos with my digital camera or use a scanner for the small paintings. 
      I archive (number and save in a file) the images at full size jpg.  Then I create a web size copy of the image.  To do this I save the image at 300dpi with the longest side at 2 inches.  There are other ways to create a web size, but I won't go into it because this has worked for me.  (If someone wants to reproduce your web image... it's only 2 inches so it will look awful if they want to steal it and make a poster.)

2.  Start a blog!!!  This is one of the most important things you can do!  It's free.  It can be the home of your online world.   I love!
      In 2008, my daughters said, "Mom, you need a blog."  Couldn't think of a reason why.  One lazy Sunday afternoon I visited just to check it out.  Pushed a few buttons and in minutes... I WAS A BLOGGER!  It's a great place to archive my work, keep track of my paintings and let my mother and daughters see what I paint.  We live far away from each other, New York, California, Texas and Florida and it's a great way to keep in touch.
      At the same time I became aware of the many daily painters online.  The blog became an incentive and motivation to join the movement.  Since, 2008 I've posted 690 paintings!  I can see the improvement in my work year by year and it's all on my blog, archived!
      My blog has become an important part of my work and also of my teaching as a place to share some of my techniques.  My blog address is on every email signature, business card, and linked to all my other online sites.  It goes into Facebook automatically, so I don't have to deal with it directly.  Also linked my blog to networked blogs.
            I link my blog to everything I can.  It's a visual history of my work... even if it's just my Mom and daughters who visit.

3.  Paypal!  Set up an account.  It's a safe way to deal with collecting funds if you sell something.  Really wonderful to get an email from them saying someone has added funds to your account.  Sometimes, that's the first way I find out a painting has sold.  And nothing gets shipped until the funds are there.  I don't accept checks online.  Paypal links to any artist store you set up or to your blog or website.  It's wonderful.  The directions are easy and clear. 
4.  Online Groups
            I belong to a few online artists groups.  I really never know which one a client has discovered my work in or which link causes a sale.  Some artists don't belong to any and that's also fine.
            Daily Paintworks is fabulous!  Can't say enough good things about it, so please go and visit.  It's a wonderful site for learning, selling, motivation, and artist camaraderie.  Right now, it's open to all artists and not expensive.
            Contemporary Fine Arts International, has daily painting groups for states and subjects.  Good for marketing.  Juried.
            Daily Painters Gallery.  Was just accepted into this group and I'm very proud!  It's the oldest and most established group.  Juried.

5.  eBay and Etsy
            Just started putting a few tiny paintings on eBay in the last few weeks.  I've already sold and shipped several... one to Russia!  Found eBay auctions really easy to use!  Some wonderful artists use eBay as their only online store and don't belong to any of the above groups.  But I think it helps to get exposure wherever you can.  Again, everything is linked back to my blog.
            I haven't tried an Etsy store yet, but a lot of artists use it.

6. WEBSITE!   
            It's important!  It establishes and verifies your online presence as an artist.  It's also connected to my blog and most everything else.  I use Fine Art Studio Online, FASO.  It's your online portfolio and business card.  FASO has a monthly competition, Boldbrush, well worth entering for exposure and who knows, maybe even win.

7.  Things To-Do List
            Make a client email and address list
            Make an ebook
            Make a Blurb book
            Write a newsletter
            Listen to Blog Talk Radio: Artists Helping Artists (Fabulous archived programs to learn from!)
            Enter artist magazine competitions.
            Enter art society competitions

            Artists Helping Artists 
            DailyPainters Gallery

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Song of India

Diane Mannion, Song of India, 6x6" oil
      Found a scrawny little plant at a nursery on the damaged goods table after hurricane Charley swept through our area, August 13, 2004.  This plant, called the Song of India (love the name!) has survived many years under my neglectful care... one of the few I haven't managed to kill.  It's now huge and a thing of beauty!  This painting is of a cutting I'm starting for a friend.
         My new painting umbrella came today and I was all set to try it out in the backyard and paint the cutting.  It's mid-August Florida, high noon, and I couldn't see with sweat dripping in my eyes, so had to finish inside.  Will take the umbrella out early in the morning to test it when it's cooler.  
      I had the painting umbrella type that sticks into the ground which was really great unless you wanted to paint at the beach (wouldn't hold up in soft sand), or in an urban setting (couldn't plant it in concrete or asphalt).  I had unfortunately left it leaning on a palm tree where it disappeared when I went back for it later.  So my new one is the EasyL umbrella.  It attaches to my tripod leg so I can paint anywhere!   (And I'll attach it to myself so I won't leave it anywhere, either.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home Depot Flowers

Diane Mannion, Home Depot Flowers, 6x6" oil
      While John's sorting through the lumber and nails at Home Depot, my favorite place to hang out is in the garden department.  Found these flowers one sunny morning.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Diane Mannion, EPAZOTE, 3.5x2.5" oil on linen
Snippet Series #13
      OK.  What was I thinking?  What fun it would be to paint a tin can on a tin box?  And not use any black paint?  The grays were mixed with red, yellow, blue and white.  This can came with others inside of a box of spices and herbs that my daughter gave us for Christmas a few years ago.  And I've been posting paintings everyday with her in mind.  She's working on a film half way around the world and reading my blog makes her feel less homesick.  
      Epazote is sometimes called pigweed or Mexican tea, an herb used in Mexican and Caribbean cooking.  Sometimes used for medicinal purposes to ward off the effects of eating beans.  SOLD

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Metal Detective

Diane Mannion,  Treasure Hunter, 6x6" oil
      A popular sport on Venice Beach!  Almost used the title John suggested, "Supplementing Social Security" which is probably closer to the truth.  This man passed by while I was painting but he was too far away to ask if he'd found anything.  And he wouldn't have heard me anyway, with those earphones wired to his detective device.  Noticed he wasn't carrying a bag of loot, but bet his pockets were filled with gold rings and diamond earrings.
      First time I painted on Ampersand Gessobord.  Took a while to adjust but like it a lot.  Very slick, might have been better to wait for underpainting to dry overnight to finish, but I like to finish the daily quota and piled the paint on thicker.  Brushstrokes stand up beautifully on it's slick surface for those last, dramatic finishing touches.  It's closer to working on fine portrait linen, which is also slicker than regular canvas. 
      I often make my own gesso boards using three layers of extra heavy gesso and let the brushstokes show for a rough effect.  Depending on what I'm painting, each surface has its place and I'll definitely add Ampersand Gessobord to my arsenal. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Amber and Lime

Diane Mannion, Amber and Lime, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen
Snippet Series #11

      What sparks a painting?  What catches my eye and makes me want to grab my brushes?  Yesterday, it was walking by an unusual word on a bag of fruit... Pluots.  Just had to do a painting with that title.  Today, it was the color of amber glass next to a slice of lime.  Visually delicious!  
      It can be the beauty of the Gulf, water reflections, people, objects, flowers, animals, just about anything...or simply color and light.  It's not what I paint but how I feel about it.  It's the visual spark that gets me started and then while painting, the process of discovering color, light, and shapes I never noticed before.  How light bounces around the subject, and color bleeds to the next object, transparency, translucent glass.  That's probably why I enjoy painting bottles, glass magnifies color's playfulness.  And the stars of  the show...  reflections and highlights!  
      Last night on eBay, one of my Snippets sold to a collector in Russia!  What fun!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Diane Mannion, PLUOT, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen

      Amazing things to paint can be found at Wally-World!  Bought a bag of pluots, a cross between plums and apricots.  Got out the ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson to mix a good purple, but when I cut the pluot open... it was a great excuse to use permanent rose, quinacridone magenta, and dioxazine purple.  My scanner doesn't pick up the range of darks on the shadow side of the pluot in this image. 
      Trivia: According to Wikipedia, the pluot was featured on 60 Minutes by Andy Rooney.   Sold

Friday, August 3, 2012

Charleston Beer Exchange

Diane Mannion, Charleston Beer Exchange, 3.5x2.5"oil on linen
Snippet Series #9

      Friends brought this beer back from Charleston, SC, one of my favorite cities.  The beer was delicious!  I understand they can have the bottle refilled on their next visit.  Can't wait.  
      Another Snippet, reorganizing my messy and seriously cluttered studio so only had time for a little one.  Moved things around and now I can paint near the north light windows.  The light is cool and steady all day, although there were a lot of clouds casting shadows on and off.  Sold

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Through Rose Colored Glasses

Diane Mannion, Through Rose Colored Glasses, 8x6"oil

      Painted with larger brushes, attempting to capture light and color with fewer strokes than my usual way of fiddling and fussing.  Painting a painting, not a rendering.  Letting go of my habitual illustrator's tendencies.
      I think there are "painter's paintings" and paintings that well, non-painters like.  "Gee, that's great, looks just like a photograph," some non-painters say, thinking it's a compliment.  But there comes a time when an artist wants to stretch the boundaries.  Push color, push light, push values... and let the brushstrokes show!  Painting from life, from reference, and from accumulated visual knowledge and memory.  And chasing the vision seen through rose colored glasses of the imagination.  And in my case, glasses smudged with layers of linseed oil.  SOLD

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Diane Mannion, CHERRIES, 6x8"oil
Quick study of cherries in a bowl on a scrap of heavy, floorcloth canvas.  This surface was much slicker than my usual surfaces, gesso, linen, or regular canvas, which caused me to use a much heavier application of paint.  Also attempted to leave strokes as they landed and not blend too much. If the bowl appears a tiny bit lopsided, it's because it was handmade on the wheel by me!