Thursday, May 28, 2015

Boca Wall Cherubs

Boca Wall Cherubs, 8x10" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Boca Grande Wall Ornaments

Started on location Memorial Day weekend.  Painted from the back of my car under the shade of the hatchback and everything was honky-dory until a huge, shiny SUV parked right in front of me.  Didn't block my view but the glare from it's back window shot sun darts into my eyes every time I looked up.  Had my sunhat pulled down over my nose.  

Cut the session short and was ready to wipe it out when I got back home.  My husband liked something about it, so I finished in the studio.  Glad I did.

Disappearing time, so many of these old places are bull-dozed for new mega mansions.  At one time these cherubs must have been the height of fashion and good taste.  I like how the dying leaf says it all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Iron Ox

Iron Ox, 8x10" oil, plein air/studio, ©Diane Mannion

Fisherman's Village

Painted with the Peace River Painters in Punta Gorda.  So much detail on this shrimp boat, I only got half-way on location and finished it later in studio.
Here's how it looked on location, photo thanks to Sharon:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jacaranda Pond

Jacaranda Pond, 2015, 8x10" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

American Lotus, 5th Year!

Painted with Light Chasers and Peace River Painters this morning, while bullfrogs croaked and a gater drifted nearby. 
Last year... 2014.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Roseate Spoonbills

 Roseate Spoonbills, 9x12" oil, Diane Mannion

Ding Darling, Sanibel

Finally got to see a flock of the elusive roseate spoonbills at Ding Darling, Sanibel!  They flew off  minutes after I arrived.  My first sighting after living in Florida for over twenty years.

Painted with the Peace River Painters, Lee County Plein Air Artists, and Suncoast Plein Air.

My plein air study evolved into studio painting with major struggle:

This painting was first a plein air study that I decided to paint on top of to add the birds... mistake.  Should have kept the plein air study and started a new painting.  After looking at my photo of the first version, decided I liked it much more, but it's lost under layers of paint.

So, lesson learned.  Keep plein air sketches and studies as they are.  Something vital happens while painting on location that can never be duplicated with photo reference in the studio.
Plein air study forever lost under several layers of paint and many wipeouts.
Another version under the final painting.  It was important to illustrate the Spoonbills... but they took over the painting here.  Wiped out a few more times.

This is how they looked that day, off in the distance.  Folks were lined up with huge cameras lenses snapping away.

Painting conditions were difficult, breezy with spotted clouds.  It was a four hour drive, so I didn't want to go back to work on location again.  When I showed my husband the original plein air painting, he said... "You drove four hours for that?"  But I was determined to celebrate my sighting of the Roseate Spoonbills, thus the many, many wipeouts.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Punta Gorda History Park

Punta Gorda History Park, 8x10" oil/linen, plein air, Diane Mannion

History Park Again

Delightful morning painting with the Peace River Painters!  Also present, members of the Monday Morning Painters, the Heatstrokes, the No-Name Painters... and a member of a Fort Myers group! Even though it was almost 90, everyone found a cool spot in the shade and there were no complaints ... only about a sudden shower from some lawn sprinklers.

Two more of my History Park paintings, both oil, plein air from 2013.
 Trabue House on left, same as above.
Cigar Makers Cottage

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ken and Grandkids

Ken and Grandkids, 10x8" oil on linen panel, Diane Mannion

Sun Struck!

Was setting up for a garden commission in Aiken, SC when I caught my cousin and his grandkids struck by the sun.  "Freeze!" I yelled, aiming my camera.  Sometimes, the light's just right.  Another tiny portrait, caricatures really, because of the small size.  Nothing cuter than a six year old with front tooth missing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Back to the Beach

Back to the Beach, 8x10" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Venice Dunes

Back to a favorite painting spot!  There are thousands of compositions just waiting to be painted here.  Ants, a gusty breeze, and heat (almost 90, again) made it a challenge.  Difficult to paint after 10, but worth the effort starting early.  I think this one is darn good! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Two Harleys

Two Harleys, 9x12" oil on linen panel, ©Diane Mannion

Good Friends

Portrait of my friends, Julie and Joan...on their Harley with Harley, their African Gray parrot.  Promised to paint this as a wedding present, glad it's finished before their first anniversary!  

At such a tiny scale, it's simply a caricature of my friends, they're actually much more beautiful than this shows. Told them, that if they hated it... I'd paint their house, instead.  We'll see.

Technical notes:  Limited palette!  Used ONLY ultramarine blue, red iron oxide, and white.  Just a touch of cad red on the parrot's and bike's tails.  And a few glints of cad orange on a light and near windshield.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ringling Rose Garden

Ringling Rose Garden, 8x10" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Ringling Museum

Painted at the Ringling Museum Rose Garden with a hardy group of Peace River Painters.  I was first to arrive and met an official rose garden pruner, who puttered about snipping roses beyond their prime and tenderly inspected each plant... not an easy job with 1200 plants to care for.

The 27,225 square foot, rose garden, was completed in 1913 by Mable Ringling.  After falling into disrepair it was lovingly restored by volunteers led by horticulturalist, Ron Mallory.  It's now one of the most outstanding rose gardens in the nation.
I couldn't find a shady spot, so stood in the sun (almost 90!) for two hours, not too bad with large hat and shirt.  Experimented with a car sunscreen to shade my canvas and palette.  Will be traveling this summer by air and don't want to bring my painting umbrella, so this should work fine.  But did have to hang onto it when the wind kicked in!  Was time to leave, anyway.  Finished details on statue later.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sharky's Fin

Sharky's Fin, 9x12" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Light Show

While painting this scene in Venice, some cloud shadows created a dramatic, but fleeting light show!  Noticed right away that it would strengthen my composition.  Had to paint the effect mostly from memory, but think I caught it.
This is the early, primitive stage my painting was before the cloud shadows happened.  Darkening the foreground and adding the dramatic slash of light towards Sharky's was a happy accident that made the painting come alive for me!  Love the new fins on top of Sharky's.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beach Morning

Beach Morning, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion.

Two Day Plein Air

Went back to Venice Beach this morning to finish this painting.  There are certain colors that no camera can capture.  Happy with this one!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dunes Towards Two Sisters

Dunes, Towards Two Sisters, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Venice Dunes

Brilliant morning painting in the dunes near Sharky's in Venice.  Another red, yellow, blue, and white limited palette, but used red iron oxide for sketching and underpainting.  I like how a touch of the red oxide tones down greens.

Middle of May and easy to see season's over here, only a handful of people on the beach, sweet relief.  While snowbirds have headed north, a couple of crows circled and landed nearby searching for nesting material. The same crows visited me this morning again, will remember to bring a few crackers tomorrow.  They'll have starring roles in future paintings, loved the shock of black against the sand, and their bird shadows as they flew overhead.  

Got a good start on another painting this morning and will go back to finish it early.  

Location shot (I love my job!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fire Hydrant

Fire Hydrant, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Punta Gorda Historic District

Always a pleasure painting with the Peace River Painters!   Yesterday in Punta Gorda about ten artists were scattered about Gilchrist Park.  

Afterwards, when we lined up our paintings to compare, an artist commented that my fire hydrant was too bright.  He was right... will darken it later.  I got carried away with the spot of red and how it became a pivot point in my composition.  But yes, will tone it down.

Fire Hydrant was painted with a limited palette suggested by Lori Putnam.  Cadmium yellow medium, pyrol red, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.  Follow the link to her blog article at the end of this post. 

I always use these three colors but prefer to work with a split primary palette of a warm and cool color of each primary.  And I usually use red iron oxide to start with.  But Fire Hydrant is a "pure" RYB limited palette.  No black or gray, except what I mix with three primaries.  

I find reaching back to the basic primary colors is the backbone of any painting.  Just think about it, everything is red, yellow, and blue!  Even a sheet of white paper or a cloud.  There's a little red, yellow, and blue in everything!

I painted from the back of my car under the raised hatchback door.  My favorite place, a rolling studio with everything handy, even a spot for my poodle, Shadow to nap while I paint.  Stopped at MickyD's for an egg McMuffin to share but she refused, forcing me to eat the whole thing.  If a dog won't eat 
it... should we be worried?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rusty Rabbit

Rusty Rabbit, 9x12" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion
Aiken SC Garden 

Garden commission painted on location in beautiful and historic Aiken SC.  So much eye candy, so little time to paint, but pleased with this one.  Wonderful way to spend an afternoon, painting with pleasant company, wine and cheese, and a well-mannered pooch.
Progress shot

Friday, May 1, 2015

Aiken Horse Track

Aiken Horse Track, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion
Aiken SC

Spent a few days visiting family in Aiken, SC, an historic town filled with gardens and horses.  

This painting was a demo and private lesson for a cousin.  Hope he'll pick up his brushes again after years of not painting.  If I can inspire a student enough to paint on their own... then I know I've done my job.

Wonderful painting while horses flew around the track!