Boats docked, Bradenton Riverwalk

Acrylic on Canvas, by C. Maniglia

Bayside at Sunset

Bayside at Sunset by Cynthia Maniglia 2018
Acrylic on canvas, “Bayside at Sunset” – artist Cynthia Maniglia – 2018.

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

Meyer Lemon


Colored pencil and gouache.

Have you ever had a Meyer Lemon? How is it different from a “regular” lemon?”

Well, the Meyer Lemon is a seasonal, winter citrus available December through May here in Florida, and it is thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. Meyer lemons don’t have the same tang as regular lemons; they’re much sweeter. Their rinds have a spicy bergamot fragrance that resembles an herb or a spice.

Painting at Selby Gardens

Work in progress by the koi pond

The koi fish symbolizes good fortune, success, prosperity, longevity, courage,  ambition, and perseverance.




Koi in Pond ~ watercolor and watercolor pencils on 140 lb. cold-pressed paper


Perfect day for painting en plein air at Selby Gardens in Florida today! Not too hot, not too sunny. I could have stayed all day to create more. Isn’t this purple and pink flowering plant AMAZING? It’s my favorite one at the botanical gardens. A man watched me paint the koi and thought it was well done. “Oh, I can do better than this!” I said. He said he’s tried and couldn’t do it at all. Well, I tried not to pack too many art supplies when I went out today, thinking “Don’t work, play. You’re going on a little jaunt.” Trying not to sit too much, I did get in some walking and visited the rainforest garden, where they have these AWESOME Tarzan-would-swing-from vines.


I wish I lived right next door to the gardens; I’d be there every day! There are so many interesting things to see around every corner.

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