* Carmen Beecher * Carol Schiff * Denette Schweikert * Donna Vines * Mary Warnick * Kathy Garvey *Fay Picardi * Jean Thomas

Monday, September 17, 2018

Custom Jean Jacket

Most readers know I am pretty much game
to paint on anything.  A little personal, colorful touch
always customizes things I think...why not?
So it is no surprise that I would gussy up a blue jean jacket 
sooner or later.

Recently I read an Alisa Burke blog where she painted the back of a jean jacket with her classic flower doodles.  I was smitten!  As much as I loved her finished "statement jacket" I do not paint in her style and it would be a poor imitation if I tried.  But that didn't stop me from giving it a go with my own design.  Just in case you want to try I'll outline my general steps here.  Read her notes and/or check around on-line for other tips.

I washed my jacket in hot water and dried it partially in the dryer (no dryer sheets)finishing on a hanger. This removes the sizing and here after you should wash it in the cold cycle.

I like to make sketches of what I want so I doodled in my sketchbook with a rough outline of the shape of the jacket back.  I even made notes as to possible colors.

I liked this idea so now I laid out the jacket back to scale on a piece of paper and drew the design once again.  This sounds like a lot of work but it is really easy and the layout changes a lot when you start gauging it by more exact sizing.

Now I was ready to get serious and transfer these guidelines to my jacket.  I pinned in some old cloth just in case the paint came through (it didn't) because I didn't want it to mar the front side.  I made my lines with a white sharpie paint pen which may or may not wash out.  Making some additional design and placement changes I was now looking at this:

The jar beside the pen is "Fabric Painting Medium" of which there are several brands.  I chose to mix it with acrylic paint to 1) help the paint stay wet and spreadable and 2) provide some softness to an otherwise plastic-y paint to make it more comfy to wear and wash.  It is not mandatory but advisable.  Check Michaels for this brand (Americana) or on-line for Liquetex.

Now the real fun and great experimentation.  Keep in mind that your plans will morph and change as color is added....I know mine did and I consider it all for the better.

I knew I wanted a pink sky, blue and green mountains, green trees and a blue river....now to make it all come together. Slowly but surely I began painting the parts I was most color-choice confident of, knowing I would have to make the following colors tie in and repeat as the design took shape.  At this stage I began to slow down and make choices more carefully as I desired some "still places" as well as some funky design areas.

Leaving bits of the blue jean material uncovered gave it a real 3D look for some reason.  I like also that it ties it together as opposed to looking like the whole back was a different piece.  The area at the top, on the neck sash, got a little design element added and I hope the flowers at the bottom waist section give the idea that there is another field of flowers in front of the trees.  After 24hours of dry time "heat set" by ironing both sides with a dry (no steam) iron on medium low.  Put a sheet over the paint side while ironing.

Not bad for a first (and final) try, huh?  But additional ideas for designs come to mind...almost any theme lends itself for a motif; maybe even a mixed-up patchwork of painted designs.

"The Mountains Are Calling..."
blue jean jacket, original, acrylic

We have lots of summer concerts where I live.  The kind where you pack up a picnic and chairs and listen to live music on the lawn.  They start in daylight but as the sun sets over the mountains there is a little chill in the air that begs for a light jacket....I do think I have the perfect one now.  See you outside.


p.s. if you have any questions just let me know, art@cindymichaud.com.  It was really a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Floral Painting, Flower Painting, Rose Painting, Small Oil Painting, Daily Painting, 8x8x1.5" Oil SOLD

My favorite rose painting.

I was pleased with this one.


Roses have always been difficult for me.  This time I tried to channel Elio.  I was determined not to describe each petal,  I did my best to remember the softness and translucency of a rose petal.  I wanted to pop the colors, but, not too much.  Finally, I made myself stop!

Yes, I like this one.....and I hope you do too.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

I love flowers and those that grow outside the confines of a tightly orchestrated garden are my favorite.   I guess I fantasize the "rebel" aspect of wild flowers over those that are cultivated and hybrid-ated and pushed so close to perfection that any individual personality becomes lost in the translation.  My friend Barbara grows flowers and every year is a new revelation as to what and where the colors will root and thrive.  No two springs or summers have ever been alike.  

These cosmos appeared almost as an afterthought...they were spread out in a field that was designated for vegetables.  They danced in the wind and I was totally smitten.  

I started this piece with transparent acrylics that work almost like watercolors.  They flow and drip and stain without the plastic-y feel that most acrylics have.  I simply wanted to make my hand dance like the blooms did the day I captured them by photo.

I put this away for a few days and then returned to it with oils.

12 x 9 on canvas

Apparently cosmos are edible and easy to grow.  I wouldn't know.  But I do know that the pink ones are stunning against a backdrop of green. The "love flower" certainly seduces.

...and just like that (snap) summer is almost over?! 

Feeling Pink,

Monday, September 3, 2018

Slowing Down at the Finish Line

I'm trying hard to practice a fast, energetic start.
The kind where bravery and confidence just
pour out onto the canvas and the paint oozes enthusiasm for
the subject at hand.  BUT such
a beginning requires a careful, thoughtful finish, 
a very critical eye and a lot of patience.  
As I said: I'm trying!

30" x 24" oil on canvas

I was fairly certain this piece was finished.  But how does one know?  Perhaps I was tired of it.
It's hard to tell but when you are left with a "something's not right" feeling it's best to stop work and take a loooong break.

Staring at it at this stage I made a specific list of "to-do's" needed.  The scene was fairly believable and after some lightening (see first illustration) and color enhancement, I was just plain stumped.  But again....that gut feeling....

I had to be away from the studio for about four days so put it out of my mind...or so I thought.  Apparently my subconscience was working overtime as one night I woke right up with a possible solution: lighten up the foreground trees.  I could hardly wait to get back to the easel and experiment.

"Lay Me Down Like a River Tonight"

Subtle, very subtle.  The rationale that came to me slowly is that when we view a scene from life that is back lit we still see plenty of colors in the foreground.  They are darker than the directly lit areas but it is the camera that forces those objects to appear almost black.  It just didn't "read" properly in my mind.  While I had wet paint I cranked up some of the colorations in the lightest areas, organized a few limbs and did some pruning.  

detail close up showing texture and color

For the record there is no black per se on this piece.  I mix the darkest areas (as opposed to using the color black) so they are more interesting...but again, sometimes in a reproduced photo on a blog, the darks read black.

Whew boy....this is not to say that I might not find something that needs correcting next week.  A fresh eye is the best way to spot what's needed after spending such intensive time on one piece. In fact, I recently added a little glitz to the painting I shared last week before popping it in a frame.  

So when people ask how long it takes to make a painting, do they really want to hear about those hours spent in self-critique or the nights my asleep-brain grapples with a problem?  Probably not.

Slow and Easy,

Friday, August 31, 2018

The August Challenge, Paint on Black

The challenge this month is more simple than previous ones: 
do a piece of art on a black background.

I actually love painting on black and wonder why I do not do so more often. There is a bit of an adjustment as any color will be heightened in intensity when used on a black background.  But the good news is that you have a "magic eraser" - a tube of black paint.  I start my black art with acrylic and finish with oil.
Mint Tea, 10 x 10, sold

Sweet Tea, 7 x 5, available

It's fun to see how many places you can leave the black canvas as part of the painting...maybe that is the "magic brush" part.  Cindy Michaud   -  questions? art@cindymichaud.com


One of my favorite paintings is Van Gogh's The Starry Night. Not a unique choice, but certainly an explosive one. When I originally saw time lapse photos of the Perseid Meteor Shower,  I could not erase Van Gogh's painting from my mind.

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 1889

My Inspiration: A Perseid Meteor Shower
Time Lapse Photo 


Perseid: Homage to Van Gogh
Mixed media collage on black paper 5x8

I had fun with this challenge. After I was happy with my composition, I played around with the photo and increased the contrast before I posted it. 
Fay Picardi


I almost always paint on a black surface.  At first, I had difficulty starting with such a dark support, but it is now second nature to me.


Purchase here

There are always tiny areas of black, showing through the other colors, which helps to intensify
the hues.

Carol Schiff


I so enjoyed the "half-face" challenge that I used the same technique that I used on that one to paint my picture on black.

 #Me Too

This is my homage to the #MeToo Movement. Her experience has broken her into little pieces and given her a haunted look, but she will gather strength from knowing that she is not alone. The sheer force and energy of her fellow victims are bringing about change. Predators, beware!


Doing this challenge reminded me that I had not painted on black for awhile, just for a change.  I had almost forgotten how dramatic the effect could be and how much your colors were affected by such a dark background. 

Even though this is not a photo of an overcast day, I could not seem to get the sky or ocean light enough.  If I really wanted to be as light as the photo I would have had to use a pallet knife to add layers of lighter color.
This was a painting I did about a year ago.  Look at how thick the paint is to add lighter color and highlights.



By Jean Thomas

I created a gel print on black paper a month or so, ago. This uses a gel plate and you roll acrylic paint on it and add shapes or draw into it. Then you lay a sheet of paper on it. It is like a mono-print without the press.(Look up gel prints on YouTube to see the technique.)  I was going through the prints and this one grabbed my attention. It had potential, but it needed something. Added the blackbird and a bit more color. Voila! 


When Denette suggested painting on black for the August Challenge, I remembered a one day workshop I attended several years ago with the delightful and talented Kaye Shannon on painting with watercolor crayons on black canvas.  Her paintings were beautiful and I tried her methods for awhile, then moved on to other things.  Well, time to try again.  It was more difficult than I remembered, but I kept going.

I was having trouble getting what I wanted with the crayons alone, so I added some watercolor inks and Arches liquid watercolor paper.

Mary Warnick

 Pink and Palm
I made a lot of mistakes when I painted this. I put black oil rather than acrylic for the background so it took forever to dry. Then I had to put a heavy layer of pink and green oil colors and then let it dry. A week later I started to add to the rest of the colors. I like it. However, the surface is bumpy, which I don't like. Oh well. 
Denette Schweikert
Kathy Garvey
I love to paint on black, but this month I have a little too much on my plate so the 12 x 16 inch acrylic I started on a gallery wrapped canvas is still not finished. I'm posting it below at it's current stage and if I magically get it painted before the deadline, I'll update this entry.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

California Landscape, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, 11x14x1.5" , "Off PCH" by Carol Schiff Studio

My good friend, and excellent photographer, Ted Fuhrer,  has done it again, supplying me with so many inspiring images to paint from.  On of the many places he has lived was the coastal region of California.

Purchase here
225 + shipping 
Ted, I hope you think I did justice to your work.

I am always in awe of the western coast of our country.  Living on the east coast is great, and I am so blessed to be here. We have gentle surf, warm water, island music.... But to me, the west coast is larger than life.  So rugged, so big, a constant test to exist there. The boulders are larger than houses, the mountain streams are full of rushing rapids. The pioneer spirit is still alive there.  I cannpt wait to visit again.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Flower Painting, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Expressionist Art, Print on Canvas

I went to Biltmore Gardens a few weeks ago, and the conservatory was bursting with tulips, daffodil, hyacinth and other spring favorites.  I was so inspired!

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This one one of three paintings I did with this color combination, a favorite of the Biltmore gardeners.

Living in Florida for 40 years, I'm am enjoying my first spring in the Blue Ridge Mountains, seeing many of the flowers I remember as a child.  I am excited to see even more as the season turns to summer.  Have my fingers crossed that I will find lilac in my neighborhood.

More to come.....thanks for ready my blog today.

Carol Schiff