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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is that John Wayne behind the Mesa?

I have been experimenting again and this time with acrylics and gels. It all sounds very scientific and complicated but it is simple and fun. All you have to do is spread a gel onto a painting surface and then see what happens.
I wanted to try some earth tones and just started spreading some thinned acrylic paints on the canvas. I let them drip and follow the crevices made by the gel, using my brush as little as possible. As it started to take shape it reminded me of a Southwest desert scene. That is what makes this so much fun, you don't know what you will create.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wonderful Resource for Artists...

There is a great resource for artists at http://www.morguefile.com/. There are landscapes, bridges, models, animals, flowers, insects, just about anything you are looking for and with no copyright issues; the photographers are sharing their work. It's a lot of fun to just go on the site and search for things.

I especially enjoy the beautiful pictures of birds since I don't have anything close to the equipment or skill to take good pictures of them but I like to draw them. The first image above is one of my favorites and the first that I’ve experimented with. It, like many other wonderful images in the Morgue, is by photographer and IT professional Scott Liddell. You can learn more about Scott on his blog at http://www.scottliddell.com or view his wonderful photography at http://www.scottliddell.net. I took Scott's image into Illustrator, made a modified vector trace of it and then enhanced that view in Photoshop (the second image above).

There are no copyright issues when using images from this site. But when you use images from www.morguefile.com be sure to scroll down to read who the photographer is and if they want to be notified if you use their images. Scott did, and so I did.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FIT Gardens Visit, Part II

More on our FIT Gardens excursion...
Mary and Carmen both took up positions in the courtyard, set up and actually painted. Occasionally students stopped and chatted with our painters. Tour groups went through on a regular basis. While they worked, Denette, Carol and I wandered around taking more pictures of the little schoolhouse, and found interesting flowers, like the wild ginger shown here.
It's nice to see so much interest in the college and the gardens. If you've never been there and want to check it out, the entrance is on Babcock Street just a few miles south of downtown Melbourne. There is no admission, and it's open to the public from dawn til dusk. Free parking is available near the covered bridge - watch for the red painted markings indicating non-student parking for the Ruth Funk Center and the Botanical Gardens.

FIT Gardens Visit, Part I

On Monday, five of the Pieces of 8 still in town went on a photo shooting excursion at the beautiful, local FIT Gardens. The light was somewhat elusive down in the jungle like landscape, but when we caught it, it really highlighted the gorgeous plants along the paths. There are giant ferns that look like they've been there since prehistoric times, philodendrons, hibiscus, palms, and more. And the wildlife...(besides us) were lizards, fish, turtles, and birds. We followed small streams, meandered paths, watched the fish in the ponds, traversed little bridges, enjoyed the lovely court yard and were amazed at the frequency of student tour groups. Attached are a few photos to give an idea of the day and the location. Part II, to follow, shows Mary and Carmen who actually broke out their paints for a little plein air painting and a few more pictures from the day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An artist's work is never done.

Our group decided to do some Plein Air painting before the weather got too hot to be outdoors. Phillis lives right across the canal from a rowing training camp. Rowers from all over the world come there to train, including Olympic athletes. So, being patriotic, caring, supportive women we thought we would do some judging along with our painting, show our young men some support and let them know they are appreciated and appreciated they were.  Let's just say not much flora or fauna got painted that day.

Oh my!!
A small causality, Kathy realizes you cannot look through binoculars, hold up your sign and paint at the same time.

A grateful audience shows it's appreciation

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Girl, In Anticipation, 16x20

A little step back into the 17th Century? This is an illustration for a book, and I'm not at liberty to say any more than that right now. Stay tuned...

Posted by Carmen Beecher

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shady Spot

Hard to believe I turned my back to the water, but I liked this inviting shady little place. It only needs a hammock.

Posted by Carmen Beecher                                                                                         Purchase Here

Plein Air Painting at Gleason Park

On Monday, almost all of the Pieces of 8 gathered at Gleason Park in Indian Harbor Beach for a morning of Plein Air painting. The weather was beautiful and the park ended up being a busy but peaceful place to paint. We were surrounded by ibis, ducks, sea gulls, even a lovely heron and a large snapping turtle. People were jogging, walking dogs, pushing strollers and in general really enjoying this beautiful setting.

At first we each looked around for a nice view and a shady spot to set up. Carmen chose a mottled path, Mary took possession of a gazebo where two white ducks were kind enough to pose, Cindy, Phillis and Denette took up positions around the lake. I walked around with my camera. Plein Air is a challenge but we all enjoyed the day and plan to do it again soon.

I'll leave it to individuals to post their final works.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Still Lifes From the Attic

Most of the time The Pieces of Eight meet in the attic of one of the buildings in historic Old Town Melbourne. It is a wonderful place to paint with lots of room to spread out. We often set up a still life to paint and watch as eight very different versions of the same set up emerge across the room. It is so much fun to take a break, step back, and see how everyone has handled the subject matter. I never fail to be amazed at how each individual adds her own magic. Our paintings are as diverse as our personalities. Above are two of the first paintings that I created in the attic. I named the one on the left "White Pitcher" and you guessed it, the one on the right is named "Red Vase" Such an imagination! The Pieces painted outside today in Gleason Park in Indian Harbour Beach. I did not finish my painting while on site but will finish it soon at home. When it is finished, I will post it and try to give it a really mysterious title.

Phillis Holland

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I have been looking at lots of different types of art lately. Collage of course, which I really am intrigued by, and some very non-traditional art which doesn't necessarily use paint but all kinds of different materials. I saw some wonderful painted figures with great dresses made out of shredded paper in an art magazine. They were so unique and whimsical I just had to try one.
My granddaughter loves Marilyn Monroe so I thought I would do a homage to Marilyn combining collage and a newspaper skirt. I had just the photo to do this. I also had an article about her and decided to use that for the collage background. If you look closely at the collage you will see that everything pertains to her and there are even some old photos included in the background. I photocopied the old photo, mounted it on card stock and then cut it out. I glued it on to the collage and then did the skirt. I only used paint on her lips and shoes. I decided to use a silver frame with an Art Deco feel for the finishing touch. My granddaughter loved it and so did I. 
Donna Vines