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




Yesterday, I went to a nursery with my neighbor and brought home some lovely plants to add to my garden. Here are my evening journal pages. Gouache and watercolor.

A Touch of Lavender

Lavender Fern with Jasmine.jpg
Lavender Fern with Jasmine – Cynthia Maniglia

Botanical illustration turned expressionistic, mixed media artwork. Inspired by nature and my recent trip to Selby Gardens (

I plucked some Pinata Lavender (also known as Jagged Lavender and Fern Lavender) plus a few Jasmine leaves from my garden to use as my reference for this piece. Here you can see the different steps …
Step 1 – pencil and watercolor
Step 2 – more watercolor to add shapes and define the background, with actual leaves used to stamp onto the paper (Fabriano 140 lb. cold-pressed)
Step 3 – dip pen and green ink details added for interest
Step 4 – final touches of yellow ochre watercolor to warm up the piece

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Actual botanical illustration requires close observation (often under a microscope) and attention to detail – an arduous labor of love for the disciplined and willing student. I worked without the microscope and suddenly realized that I could more easily render my subject if I had started making the image much larger, larger than life. For now, I will go hunting for a proper magnifying glass.

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.


WP_20160821_001.jpgMy sweetie and I went to the grocery store this morning, and when I got in the car, he handed this to me. “Did you see this?” I said, “Yes.” “Do you know where it came from?” I said, “I do.” It’s the flower from a grass-like plant near our garage. We did our grocery shopping, and this afternoon, when I went out to the garden to paint, I brought the little sprig from the plant by the garage with me.


I painted a little pattern, using watercolor in my sketchbook. After dinner, I took the sketchbook up to my studio in the loft to paint some more details and darken it up a bit.WP_20160821_032.jpg

Enjoying the process and wanting to explore some more, I drew the same subject in pencil in a smaller sketchbook …WP_20160821_036.jpg

And then I reworked it so it looked like this …WP_20160821_047.jpg

It feels fulfilling to have sketchbooks open to these two pages, and I look forward to seeing them when I go up there again tomorrow. WP_20160821_044.jpg

This is why I love to draw and paint. This is why I love art. The pictures say something words just can not express. And it happens just like this …

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


Pot of Cactus

Micron Brush black ink and watercolor – Cynthia Maniglia

A quick sketch and paint after dinner and before it got dark while sitting outside on the patio. Today I did a lot of weeding outside. Sweated a lot. I also took a nice long walk. Always good to find time to draw and paint, makes my day feel more complete.