Boats docked, Bradenton Riverwalk

Acrylic on Canvas, by C. Maniglia

Petrea Bush by Garden Gate


Petrea bush at garden gate - acrylic by Cynthia Maniglia.jpg

Here it is, almost done. The Petrea (also know as “Queen’s Wreath”) bush and garden gate at Crowley Nursery & Garden in Sarasota, Florida. Acrylic painting, work in progress. Just need to put a few more finishing touches and sign. I love the color and atmosphere of this piece. It was fun to paint.

Sketch First, Then Paint

I’m glad I sketched this scene first (see my previous post). I’ve always wanted to sketch things out before painting them but never did. For my last two acrylic paintings, I’ve finally given this practice a go – and  I’m glad I’ve learned the advantages/benefits of doing this. Sketching first helps me work a few things in my mind and plan a little before putting brush to canvas.

In the past, sketching first seemed like an added layer “work” to me. I liked to approach a painting very spontaneously. After all, to me sketching was sketching – seemed to be more about lines and drawing – and painting was painting, freer and more about color. I don’t feel that way any more. Sketching is becoming more about tone, value, proportion, perspective, and color too as I add it onto the page.

As I approach a sketch, I think to myself that I am exploring the subject matter and I let that sense of exploration guide me. In my my mind, I’m thinking how would I handle that if I were painting it? What kind of shapes are these? Is this something I want to explore more in a painting? Now, I like to sketch first, then paint!

Finished and Signed ~ Acrylic Painting


Pink Flowering Bromeliad ~ acrylic on canvas by Cynthia Maniglia

Thank you for all of your feedback and “Likes” on my painting. After letting it sit, per the majority of comments, I decided the painting needed more definition and depth, as well as rearrangement of some of the leaves. Phthalo blue to the rescue! Plus a little lemon yellow here and there. I’m extremely happy with the outcome, as this painting reflects my love of plants and is the result of much time spent in the garden studying botanical life here in Florida. It also reflects over a year of watercolor painting, a medium many master artists used as a precursor to works in oil on canvas. I feel working in watercolor on large pieces of paper is too unwieldy for me, involves too much prep and needs costly framing to enjoy, so I prefer to work large on a stretched canvas surface. This is 19 1/2″ x 16″.

I’m thinking of adding a coat of vanish sealer on this. I’ve never used that before. Anyone have experience with it?

Thanks again to all those who chimed in with your thoughts!

Happy Valentine’s Day

After Gardening

Painting the backyard after gardening, Cynthia Maniglia.jpg

I’ve been thinking of signing up for a watercolor class at a local botanical garden, as well as volunteering there. After gardening in our own yard, I decided to sit down with a glass of water in the living room and paint what I saw looking out of the lanai and into the backyard. No need to go anywhere special to paint, I thought. It’s not where or what I paint, it’s how I paint it. This is done in watercolor with an expressionistic style. The colors evoke the feel of fall in Florida, for me. I used my Reeves travel pan set and the brush that came with it, although I find it best to use different brushes when painting. This was a good exercise in trying to shape a scene and composition using different kinds of brush strokes. A quick 15 minute exercise.

Autumn’s Yellow Mums

Autumn’s Yellow Mums in Newtown, PA ~ Micron black fine ink pen and watercolor

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and
autumn is a mosaic of them all.” ~ Stanley Horowitz.

A little postcard-sized page I did in my sketchbook
on the flight from Philadelphia to Tampa yesterday.

Florida Cordyline

Florida Cordyline - Sand Salt Moon | Cynthia Maniglia
Florida Cordyline – Sand Salt Moon | Cynthia Maniglia

Acrylic, finished and installed in our bathroom. 🙂

I worked from memory and a photo on my cell phone of the Cordyline plant that is in front of our house. I wished I had cut one of the leaves off the plant to take up to the studio so I could work from real life. Overall, I am pleased with how this turned out, though. The signature is actually green but photographs as if it is dark red! An optical illusion.

Persimmons – finished and signed

Persimmons – finished, signed acrylic painting – CYNTHIA MANIGLIA

I wanted to show you the finished Persimmons acrylic painting, now signed – as I photographed it today in daylight. It’s hanging in the hallway opposite the kitchen. I was thinking of putting some palm frond in the background, but I like how the fruit pops. To texturize the paint on the fruit’s skin, I used a paper towel and a lifting method that works wonders for watercolor – why not for acrylic, too? Painting with watercolors is a great learning ground to develop skills for when one turns to acrylics.

A fruit series might be a nice thing to do at this point. I can see maybe lemons in the same mode on a pink background … bananas on a purple background … and so forth.

A blank canvas stands in my studio. Today, at the Red Barn farmers’ market, and there’s a new tricolored potted bougainvillea plant along with an Angel’s Trumpet plant waiting to be painted.

Spend time in nature every day. It’s good for your soul.





Today, my neighbor brought over some gorgeous persimmons that she grew on her farm. So naturally, I had to paint them! OH, and they taste AMAZING.This isn’t done but I am excited about how it’s coming along. Acrylic. I painted this while listening to Brett Dennen and I am hooked on his music. Just downloaded some of his tunes for my MP3 player.

Creating the orange color of the berry was fun – I used yellow ochre, vermillion, and a touch of turquoise Bombay India ink mixed in with my acrylic paint.