Sunday, October 22, 2017

October Dust

Cool Morning, pastel, 5.5x8" field study, Diane Mannion

October Pastels!
Me!  Pasteling at Punta Gorda History Park with the Peace River Painters.
Thanks to Sharon Yarbrough for photo.

Limited myself to Canson Mi-Teintes, horizontal format 5.5x8" and mostly Nupastels for the Gail Sibley's How To Pastel October Challenge, 31 Pastels in 31 Days.  #31in31HTP.  

Found limitations extremely useful for field studies and sketching.  Was amazed at how much could be achieved with simple supplies!  My backpack was much lighter.

Never blended with fingers!!!
Once in awhile, used rubbing alcohol to blend underpainting or first pastel layer.  
 Blended with another pastel stick, or a bit of paper towel, or a synthetic brush.

Discovered how rapidly information could be gathered for future studio paintings.  Found it even faster than watercolor and gouache.  Was able to do about two studies in a morning and somedays three or four a day, so the challenge went quite fast.  Once the 31 mark was passed… didn't want to stop!  Will continue using pastel for small sketches and studies in the field.  And also watercolor and gouache, and oils of course.  Can't have enough fun!
30 of many more!
 Fishery Cottage, field study
 Angels from Greenwood Cemetery photo ref.
 Angels became a mini series in this challenge.
 Caspersen Beach, field study
 Surf study from ref
 Chadwick Boats.  Rain, sat under car hatch…auto painting!
 Chadwick Canal, ref and fantasy
 Super angel!
 Fishery View, field study
My setup, Moleskine thumbnail sketchbook, mini box of NuPastels
 Fishing for Gold, North Jetty, Nokomis with Lightchasers plein air.  Darn happy with this one!
 Caspersen again, water doesn't hold still!
 History Park, field study
 Caspersen, field study and photo ref
 Larry, from life, Venice Art Center

 North Jetty, field sketch and photo finish
 Used photo ref but mostly from imagination, Stump Pass
 Guardian Pastel Angel
 History Park, field study
 Tom, life study, Ringling model
 Caspersen, field study
 Happy with this study from an oil plein air I painted in Maine!
 Frank, from life, Venice Art Center
 Stump Pass, photo ref and imagination and visual memory
 Caspersen field study… hated it but like it a lot now.
 Quick field study, used that guys head to connect bottom to top of drawing.
 Figure drawing, Ringling Englewood model
 2 10 minute poses
 20 minute pose, sleepy model
20 minute pose… I like this one!  Less is more.
 Dunes on Venice Beach, Cool Morning… one of my favorites!
Fishery building.  Had to yell at a guy who parked in my view, twice!

So that's how the dust's flying in October… and it's not over yet.
Thanks for scrolling this far down!

Sunday, October 15, 2017


 Trees Grow in Brooklyn, oil, 6x8" 9/2017


Playing catch-up here on my long neglected blog!  Has been a hectic but creative time.

      My flight from Maine to Sarasota, Florida was cancelled at JFK because of hurricane Maria.  My daughter was able to pick me up and I had a delightful, unexpected visit with family in Brooklyn.  Thankful for the safe harbor during the storm!  Took two weeks to get a flight back home, unless it was an emergency, and it wasn't. 

Meanwhile in Englewood, Florida…  John, our 95 year old friend Angie, and our dog Shadow sailed through the hurricane without any damage except for one tree down and a torn screen door.  House isn't in a flood zone, far enough inland,  and with 16' elevation… almost a mountain.    Power stayed on!  

The painting above, Trees Grow in Brooklyn, was painted from my daughters kitchen window.  I loved this birds-eye view from the sixth floor.  

I had committed to the Strada Easel 30 Challenge, a painting a day from life, and also the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge led by Leslie Saeta of Artists Helping Artists.  Worked out well during my visit to Maine and Brooklyn, then finished back home in Florida.  Finished both at the same time.

I find these challenges useful for sharpening skills and motivation.  Now doing 31 pastels for Gail Sibley's How To Pastel blog and loving it! 

 View from Jana's Office, 5x8" watercolor/gouache
 Yummy Taco, 5x8" gouache.  Another kitchen window view.
 Prospect Park, 5x8"gouache.  Park bench view.  Fed ducks here when I was four.
 Water Song, 5x8" gouache.  On the next park bench, a Hasidic Jew sang prayers softly to the water for the hour I painted.  I feel blessed to have experienced it.  
 View from Redhook, 5x8" gouache.  Delightful watching sailboats on a Sunday morning!
My grandfather was a dock master here many years ago.
 Looking East, 5x8" gouache.  This light effect out the living room window was fleeting during sunset.  Painted from life and snapshot.  Love the different styles of architecture and neighborhoods.
Greenwood Cemetery, 5x8" gouache.  Huge contemporary bronze statue, strong emotional feel of grief.  Magnificent work of art.  This cemetery is alive with history and angels.  My daughter and I visited our ancestors… a moving walk.

Gouache tip:  It helps to "seal" the paper first with casein or acrylic.  The gouache above had an ochre casein underpainting which shows through and gives the work a harmonious feel.  It's a mid-value tone, so the darks and lights were easier to judge.  Another reason to seal the paper is it helps the gouache stay on top, rather than sinking in.  

It's a difficult medium at first but well worth getting to know.  It's possible to paint an terrible watercolor and save it with gouache.  Wonderful for sketchbook studies and travel.  All you need to get started are regular watercolors and one tube of white gouache.  Gouache can be rewet and reworked.  When it dries on the palette can be rewet and used again.  Can also be placed on a wet paper towel to keep it fresh while painting.  The only way to learn how to use it is by painting a lot!  Try 30 paintings… tip, keep them small!  

 Please Google James Gurney's knowledge of this medium!  

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Old Boats, oil, 6x8" Diane Mannion

Nanatuck 2017

What a creative week in Port Clyde, Maine!  Nanatuck's an artist's retreat organized by Mary Erickson and this was the second time I had the honor of joining.  I was surrounded by brilliant, energetic, and friendly Master artists.  Absorbed a wealth of inspiration and knowledge simply by peeking over a few busy shoulders.   Don Demers, Mary Erickson, Mark Fehlman, Robert Sloan, Neal Hughes, Daniel Ambrose, Jane Sither, Eielnne Basa… to name a few.

*Our group was deeply touched by meeting Helga, Andrew Wyeth's model!   Mark Fehlman gave me permission to use his FB photo.  "One of the highlights of our trip was having dinner with Helga of Andrew Wyeth fame.  She's a wonderful, energetic and creative soul."-Mark
Helga and Mark!

*Jane Sither and I visited the Olsen estate where Wyeth loved to work.  Heard the sounds… birds and wind whistling through the trees that he listened to while painting.  Felt sad Jane couldn't hear it also, but I could tell she felt the breeze and joy of the surroundings.  Jane's totally hearing-impaired, filled many notebooks sharing our adventure.
 Talented artist Jane Sither in front of Olsen house.  
 Olsen house window.  Guide inside allowing tourists to enter a few at a time.

*Went to the 100 Year Anniversary Andrew Wyeth Exhibition at the Farnsworth Museum, Rockland.
Wyeth had his eye on Jane Sither and me in front of the Farnsworth.
Jane and Me in Farnsworth garden.
Artists painting at sunrise!

*My Maine Sketches and Studies!
 Nanatuck Sunrise, 6x8" oil.
 Marshall Point Light, 5x7" oil
 Rocking Waves, 5x7" oil
 Maine Gator, 6x8" oil
Maine Splash, 5x7" oil
 Co-op Road, 6x8" oil
Nanatuck View, 6x8" limited palette
 Nanatuck View, 6x8" pastel
Nanatuck View, 6x8" watercolor/gouache
 Lobster Boat, Fog, 6x8" oil
Old Boats, 6x8" oil

My 30 sketches for September, there were more… but completed the Strada Easel 30 and the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge (Leslie Saeta) at the same time, ha!

Links to a few Nanatuck artists:

Mark Fehlman

Mary Erickson

Don Demers

Robert Simone

Neal Hughes

Daniel Ambrose

Eleinne Basa

Jane Sither

I know there were a few more artists, will post later.  And it was delightful meeting artist's partners, too!  Penny, Betsy, Anne!