Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Squiggy the Grizzly

Squiggy the Grizzly, watercolor sketch, Diane Mannion

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

Had the privilege of visiting the Octagon Wildlife Sancturary with the Peace River Painters!  The experience of being so close to these amazing animals was overwhelming.   Most of us spent the time snapping photos, wandering around, dazed by these extraordinary creatures and their sad tales of survival.  It was almost impossible to paint.

Fran managed to started a half-sheet watercolor of a tiger, while John chose to paint a totem pole because unlike the animals... it held still!  I was only able to do one sketch of a grizzly.

All the animals were rescued from horrible situations.  Most were born in captivity and would not be able to survive in the wild.  They are pampered, well-fed and cared for by volunteers, and will continue to live a comfortable life!  Too many good things to report about this place here.   Please visit their website for more information.  Link is below.

Squiggy the Grizzly shares a huge cage, complete with swimming pool, with two rare Himalayan brown bears, Laverne and Shirley.  The three bears had been rescued from a facility where they were beaten with pipes.  Now fully recovered, I watched the two females play while the grizzly roamed around until feeding time.  Huge piles of meat (donated by food stores) was pushed through a pipe and greedily shared by a flock of vultures pecking through the cage screen.

Group shot of happy creatures.  The sloth does everything but poop while hanging upside-down!
Three tigers were rescued from someone's yard in Port Charlotte!  What were these people thinking?!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Go Figure

Go Figure, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Gesture Drawing

Had students take turns posing for 1, 2, and 3 minutes while we sketched each other.  Great gesture drawing practice!  Not enough time to get stuck on details.  The drawings were lively and loose.  The focus was simply capturing rhythm and action lines. 

Students used paper and pencil while I painted on canvas scraps:
Found it interesting when two sketches were on the same sheet that the figures seemed to relate to each other. 
Liked these two gestures the best.  Began to create a background.
Worked on the figures.  Not happy with this stage.
The final again.  Worth while, imaginative exercise... but time to let it go.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Arcadia Window

Arcadia Window, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion

Can This Painting Be Saved?

We all knew it would rain but not as sudden and heavy as it came down yesterday.  Most of the VAC Punta Gorda artists (Peace River Palette People) were painting under overhangs along Oak Street in Arcadia.  But that didn't protect us from wind and flooding up to our ankles.  Most fled... a few had lunch until the rain stopped and we could wade back into our cars.

Here's Weimin Mo waving... and a determined artist still painting (sorry I don't know her name).

The stage of my painting when I stopped on location.  Decided to remove the figure and make a few (a lot) of adjustments later.
 My wild thumbnail sketch.  Should have worked out the values more carefully!  Rushed in an effort to start painting right away.  Lesson learned... slow down.
The scene... looked SO much better in "real" life.  Photo reference was not much help back in the studio.  
When I was a young whippersnapper, I remember leafing through my mother's McCall magazines.  There was a feature titled, "Can This Marriage Be Saved?"  For some reason, I always think of this when I'm not happy with a painting.  CAN THIS PAINTING BE SAVED?

So why did I paint this scene in the first place?   The sunflowers caught my eye and the view through the corner window.  I also wanted to paint the reflections of the building across the street (not clear in this photo) AND... a selfie of me painting!!! What was I thinking?

Sometimes it's fun to plant yourself in front of an impossible scene and see how much IS possible.  

Was this painting saved? 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Artists Acres Fragment

Artists Acres Fragment, 8x8" oil, ©Diane Mannion
Dailypaintworks FB Pick of the Day!
My Square

About twenty-five artists each painted a square fragment from a large, digitally enhanced, reference photo.  They will all hang together like a patchwork quilt, an interesting mix of styles and techniques.  The framed, 3x4' creation will be sold to benefit the Art Alliance of Lemon Bay on Dearborne Street, Englewood. 

Fun project!  Forced me to paint something different than my usual subject and style.  Added the cat, figure, and gator from imagination (yes, there are gators in the pond!).  Also added purple and viridian to my palette, colors I don't always use.  They make a nice gray with a touch of orange and white.

I'll add a photo of the final, total project,  here later.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Morning Rocks!

Morning Rocks!  11x14" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Gulf Study

Experimented with wave patterns, light, and purple shadows early this morning.  Set up the easel and pushed paint around, letting myself react to what was in front of me.  Pure joy.

This is a moving study.  Light and shadows changed fast.  Locked the foreground shadow in and let it stay.  Gulf formed light greenish-yellow swells in a steady pattern breaking on the rocks.  Seascape painting is memory painting.  Look, watch, wait... remember... and paint.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Warm Mineral Springs, 2015

Warm Mineral Springs, 2015, 8x10" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Warm Mineral Springs, 2014 and 2015

 Warm Mineral Springs, 2014, 6x8" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion
Here's a link to the 2014 painting.  Warm Mineral Springs with some history.

Painted with the VAC Punta Gorda Plein Air Painters this morning in Northport at WMS.  About 30 enthusiastic artists surrounded the pond until almost noon.  

This year we were told, "No Swimming."  (We'd rather paint anyway and just as well, I picked up a nasty bug last year after swimming across.)   Meanwhile, crowds of folks waded or floated on noodles around and around in circles... chatting away in languages that sounded Slavic or Russian or Eastern European.
Painted on an old painting I didn't like anymore, Osprey Boathouse turned upside down.
 The view.  Left out the hideous pink chairs.
Waders wore colorful hats.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

'37 Dodge Pickup

'37 Dodge Pickup, 11x14" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion
3rd Annual Plein Air Paintout
Artists Acres

Happy this painting sold to the folks who own this gorgeous, vintage pickup!  Painted their gray tabby cat in later... perfect addition!

Fabulous day painting in Englewood yesterday.  Shiny auto, orange sign, turquoise building... didn't want to paint anything else!  Really pleased with how this painting turned out.

Many thanks to the Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay for organizing this event.  And much appreciation to Todd and Mary Tracy for sharing the private grounds of Artists Acres, former home of renowned artist, Lois Bartlett Tracy.
 Location shots

Friday, March 13, 2015

On the Other Hand

On the Other Hand, 6x6" oil/linen, ©Diane Mannion

Dailypaintworks Challenge!

I'm hosting a painting challenge at Dailypaintworks this week!  


This challenge was inspired by an ungraceful tumble I took at an art show last weekend. A collision between someone's large foot and my shin caused me to land like a sack of potatoes. Injured both my pride and drawing hand!

Thought it would be fun painting with my non-wounded hand. So I set up a simple still life and slapped the brushes around. It was interesting, but I'll be glad when the bandages come off.

So I dare you to paint with the opposite hand you usually use... no cheating! This really helps loosen up technique and makes you think about every stroke. Use lots of paint and let it be shaky and weird.

You may use my photo reference or set up something for yourself. The results may surprise you! (Or not.)

The challenges on Dailypaintworks are free and anyone can enter.  There's a world of great painting knowledge, ideas, and experiments collected in several years of weekly challenges.  Enter online or work on the suggested topics on your own.

Also check out the great challenges posted by Carol Marine who recently published a fabulous book on painting... DAILY PAINTING.

Here's a link to the site: Dailypaintworks.com.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Still Early

Still Early, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Favorite Spot

 Started early...  Manasota Beach was still quiet, the Gulf calm and a million shades of blue, but didn't take long before umbrellas sprouted and tourists angled for spots facing the sun. 

Painted with the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center Plein Air Painters this morning!  Enjoyed the company of so many talented and colorful artists.

Struggled with those darn palm trees.  So many colors, so much detail, difficult to keep them simple.  My favorite part was playing with the shadows on the path, and keeping them connected to the other shadow patterns across the painting.  

"If in doubt, blur it out... if everything else fails, use purple." - quoth me.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Catching Rays

Catching Rays, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Window Study

Started as demo for a class last week, finished later.  Ringling Englewood has windowsills the perfect height for painting still lifes, almost eye level.  But the sun moved fast late in the day, so iPhone snapshots came in handy for finishing.

Friday, March 6, 2015

March Beach Day

March Beach Day, 8x10" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Painting at Manasota Beach

Painted with the wonderful Englewood Plein Air Group yesterday!  Good thing we arrived early though, parking lots filled up fast and this uncrowded beach became packed with snowbirds.  The more snow up north, the more snowbirds we get down here.
Englewood Plein Air Painters (there's even a sketch of me painting!)

My setup
My palette, thumbnail sketch and painting
 One of my favorite marine artists, Roos Schuring  suggests putting paint on with a palette knife and then pushing it around with brushes.  I enjoyed experimenting with her technique in this painting.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Following in Her Footsteps

Following in Her Footsteps, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Wild Weekend

Honored by the Light Chasers as an Emerging Master during the Master Artist's Exhibition Gala at the Phillipi Estate Friday night.  Also sold my painting, Light Chasers!  Well over 200 "well-heeled" people viewed this stunning show.  Live music, fine wine and food, gorgeous art!
And on Saturday night, the Light Chaser's Paintout Gala Exhibition was attended by my guesstimate by at least 300 serious art lovers from Sarasota and surrounding area.  Folks were lined up to purchase paintings.

There was some pain with all the glory when Friday night a well-heeled woman with six inch metal stilettos stepped on my toe.  Had to limp outside before I splattered blood on everyone.  

Then on Saturday night, as I was about to step out and hand a gift card to Terry Mason (our fearless and fabulous leader)... a gentleman, also heading in that direction, tripped me when his foot collided with my shin.  Sent me down like a graceless bag of potatoes.  (Sure hope a video won't end up on Youtube!) Landed on my drawing hand and hip.  Hand's still sore but will be fine, hip might have been knocked into better alignment.  When I stood up and triumphantly raised both arms... everyone cheered... "Can't keep a good plein air painter down!"

Technical Info:  Following in Her Footsteps was painted over an old portrait I didn't like anymore (why waste a good painting surface?). 
Sketched with burnt sienna for sky and figure placement.
Worked from top to bottom painting background first and leaving "hole" for figures.
When underpainting was complete, I painted over everything again to punch those values!
Only a few spots of the portrait were left on the bottom left side... that purple color.