Thursday, March 30, 2017

Busy Beach

Busy Beach, plein air sketch, 4x8" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Shady Studio

Don't want anyone to think I've been slacking off by not posting as often, but I'm busy with eight commissions.  And will be taking a workshop this weekend with Dan Thompson, portrait drawing, promise a full report!

So my blog contribution for today is another little sketch painted during a studio break.  Found a blissful spot on a dune by the edge of a quiet path to the beach with high real estate value… SHADE.
This large gopher turtle crawled right under my tripod.
Messy thumbnail sketch and view

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Boca Pass

Boca Pass, 4x8" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Quick sketch at Boca Grande Pass yesterday near the Light House.  Have a few small linen panels I want to use up, much happier with larger sizes.  Picked a bad spot in the sun and didn't bring an umbrella.  Note to self… get out earlier!

Used an old, favorite paintbox box, 6x8" Alla Prima Pochade… a work of art!  Holds paints, short brushes, medium, and panels in one tidy space.  Love to pop it in a bag and go paint. 

And as long as I'm writing about art supplies, another favorite, my new watercolor box! 
Pocket Palette by, is about the size of a business card!  It has empty pans (held in with magnets) which I fill with tube watercolors of my choice.  I use a Pentel water brush (water is in the handle) and a small Moleskine sketchbook.  Small enough to carry with me always.  Perfect for stealth painting!!!
Paintbox ready to go with thumbnail sketch created with Pocket Palette and Pentel water brush.

Thumbnail sketch,  on hot press paper Moleskine

Finished sketch still on paintbox

Links to a few of my favorite things!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Judy and Lucy, 24x34", oil, ©Diane Mannion 2016

Commissioned Posthumous Painting

Someone just asked about this painting and I realized I had never posted it, so here it is a year later.

This was a special commission, sensitive portrait of someone's sister who had recently passed.

The project was to use the client's photograph and not make many changes.  I had suggested a window looking out to the ocean or a plant on the shelf, but this was the sister's favorite spot and was asked not to change it.

Judy's book was open in the photograph, I closed it, end of story… and put her name on the spine.  I emphasized the wet footprints of Judy and the dog which were drying and disappearing on the right side.  And did not notice until later that the white pillow behind her looked like angel wings.  

Really sad but hopefully my painting has brought comfort to the family and that this young woman is forever in her favorite spot.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Off Port Clyde Again

Off Port Clyde Again, 18x24" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Recent commission based on an earlier painting.  

While sketching on a dock in Maine, I watched this jewel of a boat sail off in a brisk wind across Port Clyde Harbor.  Followed it along with my zoom lens, snapping reference photos, hoping they'd be useful for future work. 

My client requested more information about the sailboat, so I Googled it.  Typed "small sailboat Maine" in images.  Looked at several hundred!  The classic Herreshoff 12 daysailer looked quite similar.  After viewing several hundred more images, a teal colored hull popped out… EUREKA!!!

Not only had I found the type of boat, but it turned out to be the very one I had photographed that day in Maine!  AMELIA, a Paine 14, owned and built by Chuck Paine.  I immediately sent him an email and a photo.   He replied right away... "That is indeed me sailing my boat, Amelia!" 

Chuck Paine is a yacht builder and also a very fine artist!  

It's alway a good idea to keep a camera handy!  This boat would not have stayed still long enough even for a quick study.  The landscape is based on studies painted on the dock in Port Clyde.  And when I visit there again, my new friend, Chuck Paine has promised me a tour of his studio!

Many of my paintings are available at the Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, Florida. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Girl with Sea Blue Hair

Girl with Sea Blue Hair, 15x17" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Portrait of Rachael who's almost 13!  We went to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens and both of us wore the same parrot earrings, perfect accessory for visiting those colorful birds.

This painting was a struggle because of the blue hair which was fading back to blond.  Pulled out every tube of blue and found ultramarine mixed with burnt umber came closest.

Record of my struggle:

Lots of changes!  Decided early on that the arm was needed, first pose was too stiff… that elbow added lots of character. 
(Pardon the canvas wave, it's not stretched yet, just taped to a board which I'll mount it to later). 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Windy Sunday

Windy Sunday, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Sunday Painters

Painted with Jane Sither and Kathleen Crane near the Boca Grande Lighthouse while fierce winds kept us hunkered down.

My painting, Windy Sunday is a view on the west side looking north.  The beach has eroded about five feet down. There once was a great view of the lighthouse from this spot, now only the top shows. Steps are missing on the foreground structure...  now a perfect perch for crows.

This is how my painting looked fresh from the beach.  Above image is after polishing and tinkering in the studio.  Had painted with sunglasses the whole time, felt the painting needed more contrast, details, and people for scale.  I'm not a plein air purist (one who doesn't retouch later).  I'll do whatever it takes to make a painting work!  

Jane Sither, Me, and Kathleen Crane holding her lovely watercolor!

 My view
Wanted to add the woman reading, but will have to wait until another painting!
 Jane and her wonderful lighthouse!
At times, the sky was speckled with tiny birds we thought might be swallows.