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

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Wildlife Refuge, Florida Landscape 8x10

This is a scene from the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, which is a very diverse spot to visit. It has jungle-like trails, marshes and the Cape Canaveral Seashore. This marsh is on the Blackpoint Wildlife Drive, a popular spot for birders. 


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Shirley Temple Goes to the Royal Wedding, Papier Mache Doll

I saw a paper mâché doll on a children's craft site and I was inspired to make one of my own. A toilet paper roll and a styrofoam ball are the basis for this. I found the hair and the fascinator in a craft supply store. When I was done, the name popped into my head. 


Sunday, February 28, 2021

February Challenge for Valentine's Day: Love

The challenge for this month is to use the word "Love" in whatever decorative way we choose.

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 Carmen's Entry:
I decided that in these strange and dangerous times that I would put a message in my "Love."

carmen beecher.com

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Kathy's Entries

I had my sketchbook handy during a slow time at the Robot Love exhibit and doodled a few ideas and have just been using those to play around with different media. But, more importantly, to force myself to use my new laptop and all the newest versions of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
Just a few ideas for our challenge...

First one I tried watercolor with Elegant Writer Pen

Second try with Micron Pen and Markers

Third try with my CS6 Adobe Illustrator (it's going to be hard to give it up!)

Fourth try, channeling Peter Max in the newest CC version of Illustrator
playing with it's new gradient options.


Jean's Idea

Tried my hand at Procreate. This was fun to play with the pen tool?
Hug the one you love!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Challenge for January 2021:CMYK

 The challenge for the Pieces of 8 for January of 2021 is "CMYK" suggested by member Jean Thomas. Jean left that wide open to interpretation so here are the results!

Kathy's response to the challenge:

Small 6x7 inch mixed media (postage stamp, micron pen, colored pencil, watercolor) 
on 140 lb hahnemuele sample paper from Ralph's Art Supply.

Small 6x7 inch mixed media (postage stamp, micron pen, colored pencil, watercolor) 
on 140 lb hahnemuele sample paper from Ralph's Art Supply.

10x10 inch acrylic on wood board

I had a little fun just playing with only three colors and black in each painting above. 

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Carmen's response to the challenge:

I used one of my paintings as the background, then cut out letters over it. This was all done in Photoshop. I spent two weeks in ICU at Holmes Regional Hospital and the nurses were amazing. I resolved then to do something for them, so today I finally felt good enough to make this banner on the computer.


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Jean's response
Lately I've been doing small sketchbook watercolors, and did a series of fish. 
I looked at this one and thought, "cyan, magenta, yellow, and black."
With a graphic arts background, this format is very familiar to me. That is what makes everything in print, "full color!"
He's not any type of fish, just a CMYK fish!

Thursday, January 7, 2021


A Quick Post of Recent Work 
by Fay Picardi

Several of you have expressed an interest in finding out about the recent class I took on Comic Poetry with David Laskey, a former student of mine at McLean High School. Portfolio: http://www.laskycomics.com/ Comics and Art for sale: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaskyArt 

Wikipedia defines Comic Poetry as a hybrid creative form that combines aspects of comics and poetry. It draws from the syntax of comics, images, panels, speech balloons, and so on, in order to produce a literary or artistic experience akin to that of traditional poetry.

In other words, almost anything goes. Try googling “Comic poetry definition” and then go to “images.”

Well, if you are like me, you are still confused. David made it really easy to understand, so I will share some of the examples and assignments he gave us.

With David’s direction, we did several exercises using either a simple traditional poetry or an original poem which we wrote. Start easy. David supplied stimulating inspirational visuals and further explanation about them.

The whales sleep standing up for about two hours at a time. They then surface and resume their lives until it is time to sleep again.

The first original poem I tried to make into a comic poem was based on the photo and an article about sleeping whales.

I had a lot of fun doing this one. It gave me some practice with water colors as well. It reads either across the top and bottom or up and down within the panels.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Challenge for December: Joy to the World

 Joy to the World

Our Pieces of Eight Challenge for December was to paint something that gives us joy!

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Carmen Beecher’s Painting

Since having a health crisis in November, I have not been able to paint. My recovery will take a while, so I am posting one of my favorites from the 1990s, when I was doing magazine cover illustrations. Our dog starred in this one.



Kathy Garvey's Response to the Challenge:

I haven't painted this month because I am busy prepping all my tiny polymer clay robots for the Robot Love exhibit at the Foosenar Gallery starting January 16, 2021.  One of The Pieces of 8, Fay Picardi, encouraged me to contact the sponsoring group, about my several hundred "zip-robots" I've been making ever since my daughter took a temporary job as a baggage handler at the Melbourne Airport in 2018. So I sent them some photos. I was excited and surprised that they want all 250. (Thank you, Fay.) For more information on the Robot Love exhibit and events, check it out here at https://www.facebook.com/RobotLoveArt/.

Just a few of the miniature zip-robots I've been making this month. They are so fun to make that they bring me Joy!
Each one is inspired by a lost zipper pull recovered from our own MLB airport and doomed for the dustbin.


Donna Vines Response to the Challenge:

I have felt satisfaction, relief, happiness, pride and many other things when I have finished certain paintings but joy is a whole different feeling.  I think I have only felt that a few times and one of them is when I did a collage for my niece when she was expecting her first baby.  It had been a long, hard fought, painful and emotional battle for her and her husband but it was finally happening.  I wanted to do something for the baby's room and I had had some wonderful photos of our pet sheep with their lambs.  I smiled the whole time I worked on this little collage for Josiah.

Lucy and Max
for Josiah


Jean's response to the challenge:
For the holidays, I tried a different creative approach. These are origami and not quite origami trees I made for 
Christmas cards. It all starts with a square, with folds and cuts. I ended up making an entire forest!

Happy New Year! Let’s hope 2021 will have more joy for us!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Challenge for November: Hyper-realistic Painting

 The goal of the Pieces of 8 challenge for November is to paint something hyper-realistic. And oh, there are so many definitions of what that could mean! Is it something that looks totally real, like you could pick it up off the paper? Or something that looks real but has an added dimension? As the term has many definitions, it's up to each artist to determine what "hyper-realistic" means to them and paint accordingly. 

Carmen Beecher's Challenge Entry

Glass and it's shadows and reflections are always a challenge!

Kathy Garvey's Challenge Entry

I totally love, follow and admire the works of great hyper-realistic artists like Marcello Barenghi. Accomplishing that level of realism eludes me. But, I'm practicing for this challenge. Here's my progress so far...

First attempt: I tried to recreate my eraser in my sketchbook
(before I realized I had zero interest in hand drawing text).

Second attempt: That's a real Oak leaf on right top. A real pond snail shell is on the left bottom.
My attempts at realism are opposite each. 

The results here make me realize I stop myself before going dark enough. Since this is watercolor, I need to be patient and add another 10 or so layers of color to match reality.  Patience is not a virtue of mine, but maybe, I'll keep at it for this challenge. If I improve, I'll post it below.



by Denette Schweikert

I painted this picture from a photograph I took while staying with my son and family in Atlanta.  Since I paint hyper-realistically anyway, this is my hyper-realistic painting. 


Donna Vines


Realism is so not my thing but I do have one painting that fits the category.  My brother-in-law has always had cats and when I was visiting once I took some photos of the majestic "Rocky".  I decided that I would surprise him with a portrait for his birthday.  He really treasured this painting not because I painted it but because he really loved Rocky.



Herb Series I

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to try watercolor again and especially with a collaged background. I used a special water paper ground to prepare the paper on which I had already collaged artificially aged pages from a book about the use of herbs in the Middle Ages. Quite an enlightening book. Now all I had to do was make some art, in this case, Basil.

Herb Series I by Fay Picardi

Well, this is it: the most realistic you are going to get from me. Not Surrealistic, hyper-realistic or even Photo-realistic, but lots of fun. I will be redoing this painting because the background is too light and the movement of the watercolor is not to my liking.