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!

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