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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Derek Gores Workshop

Hello everyone, I have been away for awhile but hopefully I am semi-back and after the holidays will be back in full force. 
I was fortunate enough to be in one of Derek Gore's workshops recently. He is a local Melbourne collage artist with a national reputation. If you have not seen his work go to derekgores.com and see just how talented he is.
Most of the students were doing portraits but I was trying a play on The Twelve Days of Christmas, A Partridge in a Pear Tree. The pears would actually be the tree. Well it didn't exactly work out as I had hoped but I learned what not to do and how to better get where I wanted to go, which is the real purpose of a workshop, or so I kept telling myself. So, my pear tree looked more like a pear (prayer) wheel. (get it).
Here is a photo of the very beginning of my first attempt. I have already changed direction and have scraped off some of the canvas.

 and some of the other students work, a portrait

and a landscape

I will not show you my end result because it was very bizarre, very un Pear Treeish but the workshop was great fun and I am ready to give it another try.
see you soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kathy's Birdie

The highlight of every Christmas season is our Pieces of 8 celebration. There's nothing like receiving gifts from creative people, and I was so delighted with Kathy Garvey's creation, above, I had to post it. Not only is the little bird beautiful, but it is holding a teeny version of the painting I did at our Studio Sale. We are always amazed at the things Kathy comes up with!
posted by Carmen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Me and My Shadow, 8x10

I painted this little darling at the Studio Tour and Sale Saturday, in which the Pieces of Eight participate every year. It was a great day, good weather, nice people, and a good time was had by all.

Posted by Carmen

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get 'em While they're HOT!!

HOT off the press that is....this Saturday, Dec 4 marks the debut of "The Artist's Palate," a limited edition, full-color cookbook produced by the artists of Pieces of 8.  A visual delight, this little gem sells for only $9.00 and, if you can part with it, makes a wonderful gift.  All recipes have been tested and tasted by the members on their annual painting retreats.  Only 100 are available so the "early birds" will reap the ....(worms?).

We will be part of the Greater Melbourne Studio Tour from 9 to 4 and our location is 3532 Samuel Place in North Melbourne (or #2 on the map found at www.facebook.com/#!/GreaterMelbourneStudioTour). ALSO on hand will be some great art (all sizes, prices and media), ceramics, polymer treats for the tree and a raffle to win some assorted nifty items.  Kick-off off the season with this fun tour...be unique: buy original!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Life got in the way

hello to anyone that has come to my blog. I apoligize for my lack of entries but for several months I have had some personal problems to deal with.  I am hoping to resume my painting and my blog and post some enties very soon.
thanks again. Donna

Friday, November 19, 2010


Living on the coast of Florida is a mixed blessing.  Most days, I am thankful to be here.  Summer is gone, but I look forward to warm days and low humidity.  Quite often the best time to spend time at the beach.

Purchase here

Rubber Ducky, 6x6

We found this little ducky by the river, subjected it to intense photography, then set it free.
Posted by Carmen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Qiang-huang in Action

Thought I'd share some photos from the  workshop this weekend. We were all enriched by the learning experience as well as getting to know Qiang.


One of the three demos Qiang painted.

Monday, November 8, 2010

qiang-huang, a daily painter: "Demo at Melbourne 1"

qiang-huang, a daily painter: "Demo at Melbourne 1": "I am at the airport of Melbourne FL waiting for my flight back to Austin. The workshop went so well and I really love this small Floridian c..."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Happy Place, 5x7

After our first cold day in North Carolina, the weather got better and better. We were drawn to the river, where there was beauty at every turn. Donna took this picture of me comfortably ensconced on a rock, painting happily. Thanks to Cindy, I had a very appropriate-looking hat.
posted by Carmen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Road to NoWhere

This painting makes me very cold...it was the first day out for plein air and while the sun was bright and beautiful there was a wicked wind out that whipped around this corner and froze my fingers as I tried to paint.  Standing in one place with an easel does not burn very many calories and the longer I stood, the colder I got!  Finally, when I had enough of the backlighting down and the shadow patterns outlined I cried "uncle" and packed it in.  Had to finish it in the studio where I warmed up with an appropriate beverage.  This road really leads to a nice deadend and is perfect for early morning dog-walking.  It's 7 x 5 in oil. 
Cindy Michaud      http://www.cindymichaud.com/

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Old Schulls Mill Road, NC

Painting en plein air always sounds so romantic: surrounded by nature, painting the scenery.  While that is not always the case, this 6 x 8 painting is a result from one of those gorgeous, perfect, fall days in the most lovely spot surrounded by fellow painters (and a fly fisherman or two).  We camped out just off of Old Schulls Mill Road next to the Watagua River in Foscoe, NC and painted to our hearts content.
I came home to add a touch or two...but not many, part of the joy of outdoor painting is capturing the elements allaprima (all in one take) and leaving evidence of the time fleeting.  Not overworking is something I am constantly working on.  The time riverside flew by and when someone noticed we had almost worked through our lunch break we were all surprised. 

I can almost feel the cooler fall temps looking at this piece...makes me want to travel the bend in the road and see where it takes me.

Cindy Michaud

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Seven Devils, North Carolina

This photo comes with a story, of course. We were on a mountaintop in the town of Seven Devils, staying in Cindy's condo. The night we arrived she had a strange and convoluted dream in which she had many problems, and in the dream her mother comforted her by saying, "Don't worry, dear. You have good Carmen." So, for the week, I was Good Carmen, hence the halo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Freezing Cold and Oh So Happy

My first painting from the Pieces of 8 retreat in North Carolina was of Denette, sitting there in the wind, just as cold as I was, painting away. In the background is Grandfather Mountain, the beautiful view from Cindy's place. Speaking of Cindy, I cannot thank her enough for her hospitality and generosity. This annual week of recharging our batteries is always fun, always productive, and the camaraderie is the best part. My face hurts from laughing!
Posted by Carmen

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Pieces

Welcome to Kathy Garvey and Phillis Holland....brand new pieces...of 8!
Pictured here in Linville, NC on the annual Pieces Plein Aire Retreat they are busy getting inducted in the rules and rituals of the esteemed painting gang.

Look forward to new work, new ideas and new enthusiam brought on by these gals...as well as a formal intro including their "creds' soon.

Right now, they (and we) are too busy having a wine time, oops, I mean a fine time in the mountains of Seven (now eight) Devils, NC.

The Pieces of Eight
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010


MUSHROOMS......a triptych from a recent hike in the mountains.  We intentionally went in search of mushrooms...all of a sudden it seemed they were everywhere!  Such a variety of sizes and shapes and colors.  They begged to be painted so I had a little fun tucking them in the darks and lights of the board I had prepared...just like the forest floor.  Admittedly these seem to float around, not grow, but that's the fantasy of it.  Three pieces can hang as two or all together as one!

BY THE WAY.....drum roll! Two NEW "pieces" are making our puzzle complete and we will introduce them soon.  Such talent as you cannot imagine, these two ladies fill in gaps amongst us and promise to nudge us all in new directions and challenges.  Both are headed up to the mountains with us for their grand initiation (which involves whatever we can think of to tease them) and upon return we will do the great reveal of their work and credentials.  Stay tuned for some new work and lots of stimulation.

Cindy Michaud
see more at http://www.cindymichaud.com/

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Accident

While painting a mountain scene several weeks ago, I was trying to capture the stark difference between the lights and darks I was seeing. I could not seem to get that feeling from the colors that were on the canvas. Out of sheer frustration I scraped the whole painting and strangely liked what was left. I started building on that using a palette knife instead of a brush  to push some of the paint around. I really liked the feeling I was getting from doing this and ended up with this moody mountain scene

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I am a member of the online co-operative advertising group, DAILY PAINTER ORIGINALS, and this month our first ad came out in  AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR magazine.  The ad features four of our members, and none of them are me.  In November, however, our group will have a full page ad that features my painting above, along with several others.  I had to crop the painting into a square format for the ad.  It is the annual AAC Small Works edition which I am very excited about.  It has been a very positive experience for me to belong to this wonderful group of artists from around the world.  Working as an artist is a lonely job and having such a fine group to discuss marketing and technique with make it a little less solitary. 

Purchase here

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

She Sells Sea Shells

Sometimes a piece is just plain fun to execute....and "She Sells Sea Shells" was like eating peanuts: I had a hard time stopping!  This is actually two pieces on seperate cradled wood panels...they are now attached with leather ties and hang nicely as one piece.  The two could hang individually but again, making them work together was part of the fun.  A lot of time went into surface prep and after several coats of gesso this mixed media piece received water color, acrylic and graphite.  While I had a vague idea for the overall look when I started it, working on it was like doing a crossword puzzle...one completed shell would impact the layout of the next one and suddenly a splash of color seemed better suited for something else than what I had originally planned.  So it evolved and unfolded and changed and morphed which made it anything but boring to work on.
This is the top panel immediately below.  Once I decided it was finished I had to seal the graphite with fixative and then begin the process of varnishing the entire piece to protect it.  I chose a satin finish as sometimes the shine on a piece makes it look a little unreal to me.

Below it is the second panel, a close up, altho in reality the two panels are not the same size.  Once again I am thrilled to give the credit for teaching me this technique to Fran Hardy....only my work does not do hers justice! 
I'm already preparing some panels for another collection....I have a great assortment of mushroom photos I took while hiking this month.  So I suppose that with apologies to Fran I will find a way to continue to "tweak" this process and make it a bit more "Michaud" than "Hardy."

Cindy Michaud

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wine Time

I don't usually like the demos I do for my students, but this was an exception.  It was a study in using
analgalous colors, with a set up of fresh green grapes, and the bottle and glass.  I actually framed it and have it hanging in our dinette.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


When it is this hot for so long you start daydreaming about cooler places.  I tend to daydream about the mountains or Maine.  I love Maine because it is not one State but many with many states of mind.
This is my friend's house which is in a small town about an hour from Bangor. It isn't quite isolated but pretty close by modern standards. She has a river behind her house that you can swim in ( yes she has a rope on a tree limb), canoe or tube on without seeing anyone for quite awhile.  That is the love part. The hate part is that play season in Maine is so fleeting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Beach Treasures

I've been painting a series I call Beach Treasures, on metallic gold. They are all things I find on our beach here. Since our community is very good about beach cleanup, I have to be quick. What I have done so far is from nature, but I don't mind a shoe or a little shovel either. This Portuguese Man O' War was just a stroke of luck. Most people would beg to differ, but since I haven't ever stepped on one of the painful stinging tentacles, I can afford to appreciate its beauty.         - Carmen                                            BUY

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finding Myself

Look carefully: do you see me hiding in those panels to the left?  Hmmm, every artist it seems is on a search for self...what technique is truely "them." I don't even know how one discovers that...but I think I might be hiding in the two pieces here.  Why?  Because left to my own devices this is the piece I woke up to and went to bed with for the last several weeks.  I planned it just like I plan my parties: lots of good color, a specific traffic flow, little touches of surprise here and there and attention to detail.  The wild movement of color and the specific detail...opposites that make a Gemini happy as a clam...or a fern.
Fran Hardy is to be thanked for most of the layering technique.  The fact that it is all on wood panel is another suggestion of hers...but one that makes me happy as I love the feel of wood...both in my hands and under the brush, and beneath the pencil.  I'm working on other pieces and techniques and styles but, truth be told, i am jonesing to buy more panels and do something in orange with details (mushrooms maybe?) and then some figures and, and, and.......not fine, but fun and if I can find some buyers that it also speaks to then, who knows....maybe as old as I am I did find something of me....
Cindy Michaud

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When it's hot, hot, hot

It seems like Florida is not the only place that is hot, hot, hot this summer. Not only is the U.S. steaming but I saw photos of people in Moscow wearing masks because of the heat and fires around the city. It is strange out there.
In order to get my lethargic self going I decided to paint something cool and refreshing. Wella, the much maligned but always yummy watermelon.  I painted this with my palette knife not only to get more practice but so I could paint faster and eat up the unsuspecting subject.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Still Testing

Oh Oh, I see I better get moving.  My poor cheesecake has been painted, repainted and reknifed several times and is sadly looking like a blueberry jellyfish right now.  I am still in the planning, playing experimental stages of trying to find a good combination of techniques using my brushes and a knife and mixing and expanding my colors. I think I may be overthinking. 
Not thinking at all, I did redo my cupcakes and had great fun with those.  I think it was easy to use the palette knife because "frosting" the cupcake was so much like really frosting a cupcake.
Here is a before

And here is an after


I have been out of town and missed the incredible blueberry cheesecake.  To make myself  feel better I decided to post my own little sweet.  Although I cannot take credit for baking it (thank you , Publix) I can definately take credit for EATING it!  Purchase here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mary's Cheesecake, 5x7

This is my version of Mary's cheesecake. This is one time that I had no problem stopping painting; the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to eat it, so I did. Yum. Mary is a Baker Extraordinaire. --Carmen


Thursday, July 29, 2010

CheeseCake Paint Off!

OK, just to set the record straight, if the Pieces of 8 ever had a BAKE-Off, it would be a no-brainer: Mary (a home ec teacher in another life) would win hands down.  But a paint off?  All is fair...so when Mary brought a lucious, home baked, blueberry cheesecake to share for her birthday we all had to paint it.  Some of us did the piece, some did the entire cake, a few just indulged in sampling....but I painted (quickly!) and then ate....and soon wanted another piece!  Neither words nor pictures can do it justice but unless you get a real piece this painting will just have to do....We are spoiled rotten with all the goodies we have been using as "set ups."  Kind of hard to work up the same enthusiasm now for a still life of a pot or a bowl...sans edible treats!  Hopefully the others will reveal their efforts...but if you want to own this one go to http://www.cindymichaudart.etsy.com/ it will easily fit into a standard 5 x 7 frame and hang in your kitchen...or look for it at the "Sweetie Pie Bakery" opening soon in downtown Eau Gallie.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lesson learned

I am sure this has happened to all of us, that we have a photo we love looking at and and a painting from that photo we don't.  As much as I liked my photo I knew it was not a great photo but I loved looking at it, so why did I not like looking at the painting?  Why was I having such a hard time, why did I keep working on it when it had several things wrong with it and I didn't really know where to start to fix it, again?
 I finally showed the photo and painting to my friend and fellow 8 Carol Schiff.  We analyzed what I liked about the photo, what was interesting and what was the real focal point.  My painting was exactly like the photo but it was wishy washy, boring and nothing  stood out, there was no point of interest. What I really liked was the laundry hanging on the line, not what was going on anywhere else.  Carol had a great suggestion that I use my palette knife to bring out some of the contrast and texture (both which were sorely lacking) and that is what really started to excite me about the painting.  This is what I wanted to show and couldn't with just my brush.
This reinforced a simple but forgotten lesson for me especially when painting from photos.  Find your real point of interest, what excited you in the first place. Take artistic license, you don't have to paint exactly what you see, edit selectively. And, brushes are not your only tools.  Fingers, knives, cloth, paper anything you have around you can be used to help you get where you want to go with a painting.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cassadaga House, 5x7, Original Oil

Cassadaga is a well-known, quirky little town settled as a Spiritualist Camp. Folks flock here to get psychic readings, and it is a very quaint place, but this little rundown house caught my eye. It's such a typical depression-era Florida house, with a front porch and a rusty tin roof. This is the other side of Florida, quite different from South Beach, Disney or the Everglades.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


“Is this price firm?”

I am often asked as to the “appropriateness” of haggling, or bargaining, with an artist over the price. I’m sure there is a wide variety of opinions but, bravely, I’ll share mine. “Haggling” sounds awful, let’s refer to it as “making an offer.” And my feeling is: in most circumstances, done with discretion, it is perfectly acceptable to discuss price with an artist.

That being said, let me offer a few guidelines, again my opinions, as to how and where this might work. After all, today especially, the real price of anything is what a willing buyer and a willing seller agree upon.

Discretion = important skill. If you barge into a full booth and attempt to undercut a posted price where everyone and his brother is listening, I guarantee you no thinking artist will agree. On the other hand, after you have established a rapport with the artist by discussing his or her work, and no one is in hearing range, it is perfectly fine to say, “I love that piece but right now cash is a bit tight, would you take X for it today?” or “I have my eye on both pieces, they go so well together, if I bought both today would you be willing to take X for the pair?” Neither statement is offensive and both allow the artist to say “No, I can’t” with some dignity. By the same token it also allows them to make a counter offer professionally and with no fear of appearing to undercut previous buyers who came by and paid full price.

Frame removal=no big deal. Don’t go thinking you will get the price down by half if you refuse the frame! Trust me, artists do not pay retail for their frames and most do the labor themselves. And besides, removing the frame is more labor ($), then they have to protect the piece with boards (more $) and then they are stuck with a frame that goes with a certain piece. No money savings here.

End of weekend/month=possibilities. The party is over and all that stuff has to be packed up and carted back home. Sometimes this is the golden hour for bargain hunters. IF the piece you had your eye on still remains you may be able to get a small break since it will be one less piece that needs packing and since this is the time the artist tallies up what they did over the weekend and the bills they incurred. Not a sure bet but a possibility.

Why wouldn’t an artist bargain? Plenty of good reasons if you see it from their perspective. Most artists have mouths to feed and bills to pay, this is how they do it. Did you ask your plumber to charge less or if you could get a discount at the restaurant? Same idea. Realize too that the mark up on art is not that large. Consider materials, time, framing, labor, transportation and marketing….it all adds up.

Consider also that artists work very hard to enter the realm of increasing prices. Value is measured in price points, it’s a fact. Prices cannot be all over the map without discrediting the value. If you do get a “deal” be smart enough to keep that between you and the dealer. Just like some people like brands on their handbags and logos on their cars, many collectors aspire to have certain art on their walls…and as artists, we want to be that signature! Price, unfortunately, is another measure of worth. You’d be upset if what you paid top dollar for was suddenly sold at half that.

Keep in mind, this is only my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of my painting buddies in the Pieces of 8!
Cindy Michaud
this post also appears at www.cindymichaud.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heavy Sigh

With one friend in the mountains and another on her way to the mountains, I can't help but be drawn to paintings of mountain visits we took as a group over the past few years. This painting was done from a photograph taken on one of those wonderful visits. Childers Barn was just down the road and we all walked down and painted the barn from various angles one wonderful afternoon.  This painting happens to be from a photo I took walking back toward the house after another afternoon of Plein Air. I loved the way the barn was so dark against the beautiful green of the fields and mountains.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tea for One

It is good to be back in Florida away from the heat of Washington, D.C.!! I know it sounds strange but it does not seem as hot here as when you are in the city. I love Washington but it is hard to love anything at 103 degrees.
Finally, back to being with my friends, painting and talking together and getting my mind set back, I hope.
This is another little teapot I had painted earlier. It is from my collection and one I especially liked. You can brew tea for one and pour it from the little, fat pot into a big, fat cup. I had this long before big cups were popular and it always felt a bit decadent and indulgent to have such a big cup of tea.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I lift up mine eyes....

I'm a mountain gal, that's where I find beauty, solace, inspiration and refueling of strength.  And while I love the Appalachian Mountains, some westerners argue that they are merely hills.  So, for the sake of  Psalm 121 I will concede that point.  This is a simple illustration but strength from the hills doesn't need much explanation, either you get it or you don't.  Anyone who spends much time contemplating the mountains and their changing beauty will know that "He who watches over you will neither slumber nor sleep...."  This piece is not framed....yet, email me for prices.  This 9 x 12 piece is horizontal as the verse was divided between two pages of the ancient text.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Flying Mints, 5x7 Oil

Now that I'm so busy being a Daily Painter and getting involved in other projects, it is a major planning exercise to go on vacation. It's good to be back, but it takes an inordinate amount of time at the computer. It's a good thing I love my Mac.

I'm trying to catch up with the other Pieces of 8 in painting sweets, and some baked goods will appear on Monday when we meet to paint together, so get ready, ladies.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cafe Couple Re-Do

OK...better, no?  Got rid of that line going down between them, who knows? they may need all the help we can give them if this is a lover's quarrel.  This is now matted so that it can slide easily into a standard 10 x 8 frame.  You can purchase it in my shop at etsy by clicking on http://www.cindymichaudart.etsy.com/

I feel warmed up now to find a few more figures to portray...saw some darling children over the 4th...just don't know if they qualify as art that is "too sweet!"

Have a great July!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Cafe

It's been a while since I sat down to do some figures in pastel.  I always love imagining what the conversation is, good day or not-so-good, in love or just friends?  Unfortunately when I took this photo I could not eavedrop to answer those questions; they were speaking Italian, which is what they do in the cafes in Italy!  Now that I see the painting printed I have decided I do not like the blue/gold line going down between the couple...seems devisive.  So, back to the drawing board...I will completely rework the background and post again.   It is always interesting to see what a painting looks like in a photo...just another way to see errors that you cannot spot otherwise.  It's a 7 x 5 and will be matted to fit in a standard 10 x 8 frame.  Off to make some changes.....
Cindy Michaud

Monday, July 5, 2010


One of my latest daily paintings from a trip to the beach last week.  I couldn't pass up her long blond hair and the killer reflections in the water.

Purchase here