Sunday, August 21, 2016


WATER PEOPLE, 20x16" oil, Diane Mannion


I'm thrilled and honored to announce my painting, WATER PEOPLE will be traveling with the 

Opening September 8th at the Muscarelle Museum, Williamsburg VA.
Then traveling to:
Academy Art Museum, Easton MD
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St Michaels, MD
Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville, GA
Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona MN
Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic CT

Monday, August 15, 2016


CLEARING, 20x20" oil, Diane Mannion

Clear Vision

Another painting revision!  This one has a long history, first titled Her Beach after three revisions.  I had said three strikes and you're out, but here we go again.

My choices now were:
1. Slash and burn.
2. Hang facing wall.
3. Paint over as if I didn't care what happened.

Went with #3 and learned a lot.  Is it better?  Clearly!  At least to me.

Felt I didn't have much to lose, so painted over everything except parts of the hair (which is about all I really liked).  Removed sunglasses, turned head and added beach equipment in foreground.  Wanted painterly brushstrokes, not highly rendered.  Gave the character a tan to increase value difference from background.

 One of the original versions, Her Beach.  
Too much going on.  I really liked the little groups of people but they took away from the main character.  Different feeling, different day.  It was painful painting over them, but they may reappear in future paintings one group at a time.  Left the group under the white umbrella but "hazed" over to push back.

Beach Lady, 6x8" oil study.  
Painted quickly with gusto.  Love the brushwork.  Realized I wanted more guts like this in the larger version.

Here's the link to original version, HER BEACH, three strikes you're out, and lots of suffering.

Solved many problems with this painting.  Tremendous learning experience.
But this is it!  CLEARING is clearly the LAST revision… (NOT!)
SUMMER READING, 20x20" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Saturday, August 13, 2016

New Blue Tube

New Blue Tube, 20x20" oil, Diane Mannion

Fear of Change

This painting hung around in my studio for awhile, I loved the background and the tube but not the character.  Fear kept me from making the changes needed to save the good parts. 

One of my critics didn't like the character either.  At first I couldn't see what was wrong, but after living with the painting I slowly began to see it.  Sometimes, time needs to pass to see a work with fresh eyes.  I moved it from room to room, placed it where I could see from a distance, held it up to mirrors, stood on my head, etc.

When someone thinks a change should be made, I don't do it for them... I have to remain true to my work.  This time, I DID come into agreement with my critic... but not always.

I had three choices:
1. Destroy the painting.
2. Use original as study and paint new version.
3. Keep good parts and make changes on the original.

Number 3 was my choice... if it didn't work I could always revert to number 1 or 2!

Blue Tube, original stage.  Did not like the character's face or hat or neck.
Placed a patch over the part I wanted to change and studied it for awhile.

The original boy was a character from my imagination, so I imagined another character, this time a girl.  Her hair and head rotation solved many problems.  Took courage to tackle this painting again and I'm glad I did.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Not Megan

Girl in the Garden, 8x10" oil, Diane Mannion

Not Megan

The last of the three fifteen minutes sketches of Megan from life last week.  Attempted to make the model NOT look like Megan and placed the scene outside rather than an interior view.

Sketch which is the underpainting.  Gessoed wood panel, rubbed lightly with linseed oil just before sketching with brush and red iron oxide, thinned and rubbed off areas with Gamsol. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Figure Study

The Art Book, 10x8"oil study, Diane Mannion

Go Figure!

Instead of painting at Manasota Key with the Englewood Painters, we had a unusual early morning rainstorm (almost like clockwork, rainy season storms are most often in the late afternoon), so I had to paint in the studio instead.  My model, Megan posed for three fifteen minute studies last time here, so I decided to work on this one.  

I suffer from exploding head syndrome!  Happens when I start a figure at the head and suddenly can't get the feet to stay in the canvas, or the top of the head bleeds off the top, a violent handicap.

My first attempt had the feet leaking off the bottom so I wiped it off.  Second attempt, I forced the figure to stay inside the frame, but the feet still looked too big.  Easy fix because I only worked in one color, red iron oxide until I got it right.
 Second attempt, but feet still too large.

I reached the block-in stage with this painting by painting on top of the oxide sketch.  Could noodle and polish but this is an exercise in putting down color and values and leaving them and I like the way it works... go figure!

Listened to PleinAir Podcast featuring Quang Ho interviewed by Eric Rhoads while working on this.  Fabulous interview!  Great inspiration, especially while pushing my brush.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Portrait Practice

Window Seat, 11x14" oil, Diane Mannion

Portrait Practice

Started painting this from life and finished later from photo reference.  Megan's a wonderful model and I have enough reference material to keep me busy for awhile.  A lot of these photos will be for figure reference and will not look like the model at all.

Actually attempted to make this NOT look like the model but Megan shined through anyway.  John said even if it were on a milk carton you'd know who it was.

Painted in alla prima style with large brushstrokes until a tiny brush got stuck in my hand and I noodled a bit, especially around the eyes.  Attempted to work with the cool north window light and the warm interior lamp light by showing cool highlights on window side and warm shadows on dark side of her face and hair.  I loved painting the hair, especially the one long strand in the front that captured the light and the shorter one over her eyebrow.

Practice practice...