Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mrs Butterworth and Friends

Mrs Butterworth and Friends, 20x20" oil, Diane Mannion

Slow Painting

After finishing field study landscapes in a few hours, it's difficult making the transition to studio work where time moves in slow motion.  Large studio paintings can take days, weeks or months to finish.  

Other techniques come into play.  Slow painting allows glazing, wet over dry, wet into wet, scraping, and making endless changes.  The problem is losing patience and calling it finished before it's well... done or polished.
Also my critic friends' opinions!  Thought this painting was finished until suggestions were made to push it a bit farther and define a few spots more carefully.  A painting has to please more than me! Writers want their novels read, composers want their music heard, and I want my paintings seen not just by me.  I am also my toughest critic.

Mrs Butterworth and Friends went through many changes!  Worked outside, inside, and from imagination trying to wrestle this one into a painting that works.  Flowers and glass were the most fun but  orchestrating the backlit arrangement to form dynamic and cohesive patterns was the most difficult.  Varied the paint application from thin to thick, creamy and buttery.  Sweet! 
The first stage felt too boxed in and needed something else going on in the foreground.  Easy to see how many changes I made, and I'm glad I did.  Also glad I listened to my critics.
 Found the vintage Mrs Butterworth and her sake bottle buddy in an antique shop.  They've been hanging around my studio for years waiting for me to paint them (and may have to wait a few more years for me to paint them again). 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gulf Exercise

Gulf Exercise, 8x10"oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Surf painting is the most difficult subject for me!  Started with a thumbnail sketch but still could not lock in the pattern I wanted.  Made color notes and watched waves repeating more or less the same movement and tried to memorize the shapes.  There must be a dozen paintings underneath this two hour sketch.  
Have painted on this beach many times over the years and still find it impossible to capture the sheer brilliance of the Gulf.  Not giving up though!  It's a beautiful challenge.

Hopefully taking a workshop with master marine artists Don Demers and Mary Erickson this winter.  So to get ready, it's back to watching Don's video, THE ART OF THE WAVE for the millionth time, dusting off my E John Robinson's books (The Seascape Painters Problem Book, and Paint the Sea in Oils), and will stare longingly at Winslow Homer and Joaquin Sorolla's seascapes.

A great group of Peace River Painters gathered on the beach this morning despite the nippy-for-Florida weather.  Actually had to scrape FROST off my windshield and turn the (gasp) heat on!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sandlin House

Sandlin House, 8x10" oil, plein air, Diane Mannion

Punta Gorda Historic District

The Sandlin house, 1890's overlooks Charlotte Harbor on West Retta Esplanade at Harvey Street.  James Sandlin came to Punta Gorda on the first train in 1886.  In 1909, his daughter burned to death on the porch when a gas fueled iron malfunctioned which may be why the house is thought to be haunted.

My painting spot in the shade
The View
Notan style thumbnail sketch to "see" dark and light pattern
First stage on pre-toned yellow background
Color block-in stage

Painted on morning of Peace River Painters first annual and fabulously successful Quickpaint... I was the judge!  More photos and report on the Peace River Painters site. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Garden Shelf

Garden Shelf, 18x24" oil, Diane Mannion

Making Changes

It's important to have artist friends with eagle eyes because sometimes I'm so close to my work I can't see it anymore.  This painting is a revision of the last painting for 2015, Garden Horse. 

One of my personal critics reacted to the horse's head like a scene out of the Godfather where a horse's head was found in bed.  And another critic friend said it wasn't my best idea of something to paint.  Sometimes, I'm so anxious to paint that I grab the first thing handy. 

First version with dreaded horse's head.
Horse head blocked out and copper pot added.

 Glad I showed the stage below to one of my critics who saw something I simply DID NOT SEE.  Oh!  The horror!
Can you spot it?
Pig face!!!
 Learned a lot with this painting.  Four, six, or eight eyeballs are better than two.  And it's all right to make changes if it  makes a better painting.  Didn't really like that horse's head anyway.

Had started this painting outside, then worked from photos which didn't help much, then clipped flowers and brought flower pots into the studio.... but where that pig came from I'll never know. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Temp

The Temp, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion

Boca Grande

First painting of the year!  Temptation Restaurant, affectionately known as The Temp, Boca Grande, Florida.  Located across the street from the Hughes Gallery where I'm honored to be represented!