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Artwork by Sand Salt Moon’s Cynthia Maniglia

Botanical Escape


Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is located in Sarasota, and I recently visited there. I brought my camera along and captured many glorious photos to use as references for future artwork. However, one interesting delight I came away with was a desire to pursue the art of botanical illustration with a more trained eye. Selby Gardens offers courses that you can take to become a certified as a botanical illustrator. There’s a pen and ink course I’d like to take in December, but I’d have to rearrange my schedule and that might be difficult to do, so I decided to purchase a couple of books from about botanical illustration and a set of good colored pencils to use now, while I further my explorations along this avenue. In the meantime, I plan to pluck some samples from my garden and get started with supplies I have on hand. Many of the plants I saw at Selby Gardens grow right here on our property. DSC01518.JPGWell, we don’t have a waterfall and there are so many exotic plants culled from the tropics and subtropics at Selby Gardens that I’ve never seen before; it’s a good thing we got a full year membership and I can go back whenever I like. I plan to take along my watercolors, pens and pencils and get lost creating while sitting on a bench in the serene beauty of the gardens.DSC01480.jpg


The Garden Page – Art Journal

Art Journal | Garden Page | 9-28-16 | Sand Salt Moon.jpg
The Garden Page | Art Journal | Sand Salt Moon

This is something a little new to me, art journaling. It’s not so much compositionally focused, but more an exploration. This page was made using collage, watercolor, dip pen and ink, markers, and chalk paint. The three pots of herbs I painted from my imagination the other day, and the yellow flower bud in the right corner is from my garden. The garden, outdoors, and nature are a never-ending source of inspiration.

A Map of My Garden

FirstYearGarden 2016 with ID

I updated the map of my little garden with the names of the plants. The perspective for the pavers isn’t right … but it’s a pretty accurate representation of what I’ve got in this little garden that’s about 15′ x 15′ – give or take a bit. In my garden I have: two different types of purslane, marigolds that haven’t flowered yet (started from seed), a Plumbago shrub, purple Mexican Heather, Angelonia Serenita (a beautiful purple perennial), two sunflowers I started from seed that are fairly established and growing, a calamondin lime tree, a dwarf pomegranate tree, two ponytail palms, several varieties of cacti, and that’s not all. I only started this garden in May, and it’s already getting crowded! I am moving the pavers and getting more, and I am painting all the paves blue in the fall or late summer.

Here’s what it looks like in real life …

Florida Garden 2016.jpg


Have a seat in my garden

This afternoon, I painted outside, in my garden, an Allamanda bloom.

Here you can see the finished piece in my watercolor sketchbook ….Allamanda | Watercolor | Cynthia Maniglia | Sand Salt Moon.jpg

Below is a photo I took of the work in progress, before I darkened the background. You can see I signed it already! I thought I was finished. I liked the softness, but much prefer how it looks with the colors intensified.
These were photographed in natural daylight.

WP_20160723_054.jpgI didn’t know what I was going to paint today ~ all I knew was that I wanted to paint outside from life, and not from a photograph.

I started by painting this white resin chair, a warm up exercise exploring negative space and keeping the white of the page.Resin Chair - watercolor sketchbook Cynthia Maniglia | Sand Salt Moon.jpg

Even though the dimensions are a bit “wonky,” this says “summer” and “Florida” and “chair” to me. Won’t you sit down and join me in my garden?