Saturday, January 31, 2015

All 30 Paintings

All 30 Paintings from the Challenge!
All 6x6" oil.
Will be auctioned on Ebay starting next week.

Sharpened skills and explored new subjects.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Parrotlet Head

Parrotlet Head, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Last painting, #30 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!  Whoot!  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tourist Town

Tourist Town, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Accidental Wipe-out

First time I painted this... while fumbling around in the dark for my glasses, placed my hand on it, smearing it to smithereens.  Didn't like it much anyway... repainted and learned a lot about pushing, taking away, and completely changing the composition.  Finally got it to a stage where I can tolerate looking at it.

#28 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shell Seeker

Shell Seeker, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion
#27 of 30/30

Just Beachy

I know I'm lucky living in Florida!  Especially with all the cold and snow warnings up north right now.  Had my fill of living upstate NY driving and sliding on icy roads.  Do miss painting snow though, but sand is a happy replacement.

And the beaches here are filled with paint-able models!  Having fun experimenting with figurative work during this 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  But SO glad it's almost over!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Palm Study

Palm Study, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion
#26 of 30/30

Darn Palms

One of the most difficult trees to paint, at least in my opinion... are palms!  This is a study in preparation for teaching my classes this week.
 Painted the purple palms on linen about a year ago, so the paint was dry.
Started with broken color in the sky, dark to light, warm to cool.  Then blended with soft brush.  Got so carried away with painting, these are the only progress shots I managed to take.

Only four more to go for Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Girl in Pink Skirt

Girl in Pink Skirt, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion
#25 of 30/30
A Struggle!

Wiped this and started over, was almost ready to give up, but glad I pushed through.  Took twice as long as most of these little paintings.

Painful progress report:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Patch of Sun

Patch of Sun, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion

#24 of 30/30

Bougainvillea is actually not a flower but brightly colored, papery bracts that surround a tiny white, insignificant flower.  This branch was cut from a gigantic bush in our Floridian yard.  Filled with thorns, it's known to snag and scratch folks riding by on lawnmowers.

The colors are amazing but difficult to paint!  Have never been happy with the results... even after trying every pink and red in my paintbox.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Blue and Tangerine

Blue and Tangerine, 6x6" oil, Diane Mannion
23 of 30/30

Painting in Punta Gorda

Painted along with my students yesterday in Punta Gorda VAC.  Had this one roughed in but finished later.  Beginners to advanced in my class, working in watercolor, acrylic, and oil.  

Showed a few contemporary artist's work on my iPad and pointed out various working methods and techniques.  Colley Whisson and Daniel Keys for brushwork and style.  Joseph Raffael's watercolors for working methods and scale.  Charles Reid for watercolor technique.  My list of favorites is endless...  

Explained how still life painting is great practice for everything else, from landscapes to figurative... it's all about the color and values flowing through the composition.  Almost doesn't matter what the subject is!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Murcot Tangerine

Murcot Tangerine, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion

#22 of 30/30

Afternoon Demo

Started this in my class yesterday afternoon as a demo and finished later.  Same set up as yesterday's watercolor, different viewpoint.  Yesterday's watercolor was a Dailypaintworks FB Pick of the Day!

Only seven more paintings to go for Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Hooray!  Lots of experiments with subject matter and techniques.  Looking forward to working larger next month.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

First Tangerine

First Tangerine, 6x6" watercolor, ©Diane Mannion
#21 of 30/30
First Tangerine Picked From Our Tree
This was yesterday's watercolor class demo painted from a still life set up.  Was only able to get it to the half way point because I was busy teaching my talented students.  Hope they realize the importance of drawing and painting from life!   There's so much more to "see" and discover than what is captured by the camera.

We started off with thumbnails and I explained how to visually move things around for the sake of composition.  Because of my square format, had to pull the rose and tangerine into the frame, instead of rendering the set up exactly as it was.  Explained that this is a painting, not an exercise in exact draftsmanship.
This is as far as I was able to get during class, but good example of how I build up layers of glazing, working in small patches at a time.

 Happy to discover my good camera still works, except for the LCD screen which I can live without because I can see through the viewfinder!  At least I'll still be able to photograph my artwork.  Puts off a big purchase for awhile longer.

#21 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Flowers on Vintage Tablecloth

Flowers on Vintage Tablecloth, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion
#20 of 30/30
Playing with Light and Patterns

This is #20 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!  Made it this far, the rest should be easy.  I always say "Never again!" but always gain a lot from these experiences.  This is my fifth time!

Have focused on figurative paintings for this challenge and working from old photos with the goal of working up enough small studies for larger works.  Gave myself a break today and painted a small still life... also from photo reference painted from my iPad.  Really pleased with this one... would love to see it 6'x6' instead.

Again... my good camera died, so this is an iPhone shot.  Will replace image later with better technology.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Summer Visit

Summer Visit, 6x6" oil, @Diane Mannion
#19 of 30/30

My good camera stopped working today, hopefully it's just the battery... sigh.  This is an iPhone shot, just doesn't capture the details.   

Revisiting old snapshots and doing quick studies to see if there's anything I want to work up later.  Figurative studies have become the theme of my Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  There's a wealth of old family visit photos I've always wanted to do something with.  This one is Rachael when she was about five... about five years ago.  Now I wish I'd taken a lot more photos!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Beach Reader

Beach Reader, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion
#18 of 30/30
Painting Over

Painted this quick study (it's a weekend and family calls!) over an old painting I rejected.  Used lots of thick paint (reading about Van Gogh may have influenced this).

Here's the old painting I turned upside-down during the first, sketch stage.  It was a rose that didn't make it.  Qiang Huang says... "Flowers can't be painted, only suggested."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Under the Parrot Tree

Under the Parrot Tree, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Small Study

 #17 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days. 

Using these small paintings as studies for future works.  Going through photo files and finding a wealth of images that I just wasn't ready to tackle a few years ago.  Feel like my technique is allowing me to create paintings that would not have been possible at the time I took these snapshots.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Demo

Another Demo, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Classroom Study

I admit I don't do my best work while teaching, but I like this demo better than the last.  Doing a demo means losing focus because I'm busy running around the room helping students.  
 My value study which I finished later from iPhone photo.

Went from thumbnail sketches to working on final surface.  We painted from life, everyone had their own set up.  Challenge today was for students to paint with blue only, a value study focusing on the dark, light, and composition.  

Painting under neon classroom light is the worst situation, but if something can be accomplished under this condition, the rest will be easy. 

One student, an absolute beginner, had never sketched from life.  She said, "It's like I never saw this before."  She jumped up and began looking at the paintings hanging in the room.  "Never noticed this before... how the darks and lights work," she said, pointing to an ear on a portrait.  (This is what makes teaching worth while!  Opening someone's eyes!)

I like to tell my class... "If I can show you how to see... I can teach you to paint." 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Apple Demo

Apple Demo, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Class Sketch

Taught watercolor in the morning, then oil in the afternoon.  Same setup, two mediums.  This counts as two paintings for the 30/30!  Making my own rules.

Delightful group of artists today!  Started off with thumbnail sketches and worked out composition before hitting the final paper or canvas.   Always amazed at how many artists have never painted from life!  

Apple Demo Watercolor, 6x6" hot press paper, ©Diane Mannion

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Smokin', 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Went to an antique car show recently and snapped a ton of photos... this was actually a gorgeous red Caddy, don't ask me the year.  But it looked boring simply parked on the side of the road.  

Wanted to add mystery and ambiance of the historical period when this Caddy owned the road.  The painting's story "happened" while I worked.  Thought of a dog running along side, houselights in background, headlight beam was a last minute idea... of course they would have been shining.  
Driver would be wearing a classy hat and smoking.  Is this a painting or an illustration?  Doesn't  matter, I'm happy with it.

This is #13 of the 30/30 Challenge!

Contact VAC Punta Gorda and Ringling Englewood for my teaching schedule. Classes start this week.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Spinning, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Pushing Technique

 Number 12 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge... my theme, experimenting with techniques.  Have gone through old reference photos taken years ago when my painting style was much tighter, so I had no idea how to approach these subjects.  

Now that I am allowing myself to paint faster and looser... a whole new style is evolving.  This would not have happened if I wasn't pushing myself to paint and explore each day of this challenge.  So bravo... THANKS, Leslie!  Although stressful, 30/30 is a valuable experience.  

1. Underpainting with red iron oxide.
2. Background brushed in.
3.  Characters defined.
4.  Finishing touches.  Stopped before overworking.

Contact VAC Punta Gorda and Ringling Englewood for my teaching schedule. Classes start this week.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Catch Anything?

 Catch Anything? 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Painting Progression

Here's a step by step demonstration.  I don't always work this way, but because my classes start next week, thought it would be a good idea to slow down and record how I created this painting as a mini lesson for my students.

1.  Worked from a photo I took last summer.  This mother and child appeared next to me while I was painting on a dock in Osprey.  Asked permission to photograph them, although I snapped this one before they were aware of me taking photos.  Afterwards, it was all teeth and grins with nothing useful as painting material.   Painted with ultramarine blue on a gray mid-toned panel.  Worked on values and composition with careful drawing.
2.  Painted brightest light where the sun patterns were with white and Indian yellow.  Color is strongest when it comes closest in the scene, cooler and softer in the distance.
3.  Painted background and water.
4.  Painted clothing and a few shadows on flesh.
5.   Finished flesh areas in faces, expressions, and gestures... the most difficult but important part.
 Catch Anything? 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

This painting is #11 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  Last I heard, there are over a thousand artists painting along!  

Contact VAC Punta Gorda and Ringling Englewood for my teaching schedule. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Shark Watchers

Shark Watchers, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Mote Marine

Painting #10 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge... third of the way there!  Hooray! 

 This painting is close to my children's book illustrator style (as Diane Paterson), although I've always illustrated with watercolors.  Really happy with this one!  Fun mixing my "fine art world" with my illustration one.  Have always worked hard to keep both careers separate but sometimes wonder why.  
Stage one
Painted background first.

My classes start next week at Ringling Englewood (morning and afternoon on Wednesdays), and Punta Gorda VAC Friday mornings.   There're a few spots left... come join the fun!  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Woman with an Attitude

Woman with an Attitude, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Portrait Studio Study

Painted at the Venice Art Center's Portrait Studio this afternoon.  This model had wire glasses I didn't feel like painting, also changed her mouth to make her look more glamorous.  Lied a lot.  But good fun painting from life in the company of a gaggle of artists packed in elbow to elbow.

This is #9 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Big Pink Hat

Big Pink Hat, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Quick Study

Fast sketch this morning before racing off to Arcadia to judge an art show!  Captured this little girl on the Venice Pier during Christmas week.  Loved how the light lit up her hat.  May go back and do another more polished version. 

#8 of 30/30

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Girl with the Fly Earring

Girl with the Fly Earring, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Day 7 of 30/30!

Had lunch with Rachael and took a snapshot.  Loved the pattern of fingers beneath her chin.   I find it more difficult working from photo reference... and this took twice as long as usual.  Perhaps, it was because I know the model and wanted to capture a likeness.   A snapshot of a stranger is easier because I try to change their appearance on purpose.

Happy I captured this 10 year old's personality.  When I aim the camera at her, it's usually smirks and eye-rolls, but she was pretty understanding this time.

No matter how hard I try, can't paint ahead for this challenge.  It's my fifth 30/30.  Last challenge I managed to have a week's backup, not this time, must have been the holidays when there was no chance to prepare.  

When my 30/30 paintings are dry, I'll be auctioning them on Ebay... at least the ones I don't mind parting with.  And will give plenty of notices here about each auction.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Magic Painting Hat

The Magic Painting Hat, 6x6" oil, ©Diane Mannion
The Company of Artists

Every artist needs a painting friend!  Artists need artists, whether for a weekly or monthly paint-together.  Artists see things differently than... well... non-artists.  Trading ideas, techniques, favorite contemporary or historical artists, inspiration... or just plain art-talk.  Nobody understands artists like artists.

I look forward to painting with other artists, whatever level, there's always an energy field, a glow that lasts until the next time we paint together.  So my best advice is to join painting groups, plein air groups, art centers, take courses and workshops even if you're a pro and know-it-all.  Teach.

The studio can be a lonely place, although necessary... solitude reinforces focus.  But if that's the artist's only working condition... it can lead to stagnation and boredom.  

Listen to podcasts like Artists Helping Artists which has a tremendous archive.  Even the sound and thoughts of artists talking can help invigorate your artistic soul.  Play an artist's video or dvd while you're working, just to listen.

The artist wearing the magic hat in my painting is one of my favorite painting buddies!  We've painted together for years and have traded secrets and knowledge back and forth.  I owe her a lot, whether she knows it or not.  I'm thankful for the company of artists.

The Magic Painting Hat is #6 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I'm also thankful for the company of over eight hundred artists around the world that are pushing their brushes along with me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Orchid Tree

Orchid Tree, 6x6" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Worden's Farm

Yes!  Orchids grow on trees in Florida!  This tree's near a pond on Worden's Farm near Punta Gorda.

Hong Kong Orchid tree and my painting spot.
Orchids, close-up.
 Unusual Floridian weather, foggy and cloudy, but at least the conditions stayed the same all morning while about thirty VAC plein air artists painted away.  

Afterwards, we had a mini-show.   Christa and Audrey donated their works to Worden's Farm in appreciation of letting our group paint on the grounds.  Looking forward to painting here again on a sunny day!
 Our mini-show
Workers harvested sunflowers while we painted.

Today's painting is # 5 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

Will be auctioning my paintings on Ebay after they have a chance to dry.