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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sealight, 20x10 Oil on Canvas

I originally thought I'd get two paintings out of one wave, because I was using square canvases. I painted the one on the right at home, then did the one on the left at our Pieces of 8 Holiday Sale. When I got home I saw that the two were perfect for a diptych, so I matched them up by adjusting the crest of the wave and the color.

This will be exhibited at the Art & Antique Studio in January, when I will be the featured artist for the month. The opening of the show will be on First Friday, January 4th. The theme is "Highland to Island," with my paintings from the Smoky Mountains as well as my Florida scenes. Hope to see you there!

 - Carmen Beecher

Friday, December 14, 2012

A year of bugs

I love bugs. (If you hate bugs, do NOT look further.) And just this week I found the most amazing bug in my yard. After deciding to post him, I took a look at the wonderful bugs I've had to work with (in Photoshop and Illustrator) this past year and decided to post a few of them here because they are so cool. But the last, the most recent is the coolest ever!

A lady bug...

Two lubber grass hoppers - making love on the porch of the Loop Road Education Center...
A red box elder nymph on the wall of my house was very inspiring...
A monarch newly hatched at Brookgreen Garden's Butterfly Garden in South Carolina...

White peacock butterflies from the Everglades...

A gulf fritillary caterpillar eating my passion vines...

A lady bug in the fall in La Plata, Maryland...

And the coolest of all - those are really his own designs - (is it a leaf hopper?) found on an orchid tree in my yard just this week. Click to see the beautiful patterns nature gifted him with.
Can't wait to find what he is and photograph more of them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thank you, thank you!

We had a wonderfully fun and successful day on Saturday, December 8th for our third annual Holiday Sale thanks to all of our friends and family and blog followers who were able to attend. We all enjoyed meeting everyone and will soon announce the name of the person who won the beautiful basket - as soon as they return our message!

Our painting time today was mostly spent discussing what things we can do to make it more fun, more comfortable and more inviting next year. Input is truly welcome!

Our hand made black and white mix and match earrings were a big success. We still have a few pairs left and they'll be relocating over to the beautiful Alla Prima Styling Group at 1540 Highland Ave, Melbourne, Florida for anyone who needs more.

Just a snapshot of some of the wonderful works that were on sale on Saturday. Many have now taken up residency in private homes.

Our own Carmen Beecher demonstrated oil painting during the day. This fabulous sea scape will be part of her upcoming opening exhibit at the Art and Antique Studio Gallery on Highland Avenue in January. (It's just down the street from Alla Prima, and across the street from Ralph's Art Supply!)

A few Saturday visitors to our show.
And now that all the work is over, we need to get back to some serious painting! Hope I'll be able to post some works in progress from everyone after Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just 2 days until Pieces of Eight Sale!

White Peaches in oil, and Pineapple in watercolor are 2 small paintings of mine that will be available for sale on Saturday.  Both are framed and ready for hanging.  There will also be some larger paintings and unframed, matted watercolors in various standard sizes.    I am also offering some used art supplies and art books at bargain prices.  Come join our group for a fun day!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Keep the Date, December Eight

We are all busy getting ready and setting up this week for our sale and hoping the weather is gorgeous and the visitors are numerous. Here's a peak at what will be at my table. Hope to meet our blog followers at 3532 Samuel Place in Melbourne. Show time is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Click on the image for a larger view.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Come Visit my Poetry Corner on Dec. 8

 For the first time, I will be participating in the Pieces of Eight's annual Holiday Art Sale taking place at Carol Schiff's house on Saturday, December 8th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, 3532 Samuel Place, Melbourne, Florida.
     I encourage you to come by Carol's. You'll love the variety and quality of the items available, and get some of your Holiday shopping completed with unique and beautiful creations.

And please come visit my display - Fay's Poetry Corner!
Free copies of  surprise poems by well known poets!
Participate in the limerick contest!
Look through the Stone's scrolls and find your favorite(s)!
Hear Dylan Thomas reading A Child's Christmas in Wales!
Page through Nana's Sunday Dance, poems by Fay Picardi,
and The Stones Speak,a collaboration between Cindy Michaud, artist and myself. Learn how to order them for yourself!

Don't forget the date! December 8!
I look forward to meeting you there!
                   Fay Picardi

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Add a little whimsy...

Turn the corner and smile.... Glimpse some unexpected color... Give a boost to your creative energy

Yard art is capable of providing all of the above...and even more! Why not add some whimsy to your garden...we're taking ourselves much too seriously these days. Put some color back into your life! Sometimes I think we artists believe that if we are not painting something serious and meaningful, that is is of little value. A grin and a giggle are of great value in my book and I intend to share a few more of those with my art and its attitude this coming year. Will you join me?

Flower art is just one of the more whimisical items available for sale at the PIECES OF 8 Annual Holiday Show and Sale on December 8 from 9 am until 4 pm. At just $25.00 per structure you will want to plant your own blooming garden as well as pick up several for gifts. No two flowers alike!


So far I have had the delight of teaching three workshops on how to make these crazy pieces of yard art. If you think you'd like to try your hand at building your own garden, come to our show
and sign up with me to receive notice of upcoming classes. It's an opportunity to "play," it's a no-fail way to tickle your creative juices. Absolutely no prior art experience necessary. Hope to see you there!

Saturday December 8, from 9 am until 4 pm, refreshments, free raffle for gift basket, gifts and more

3532 Samuel Place Melbourne Florida for more info call 321-604-1647

Cindy Michaud


Sunday, November 25, 2012

As I was going through some old photographs I came across a hand colored black and white photo I had painted several years ago. I haven't used this medium for awhile and I really enjoyed looking at the picture and thinking about the whole hand coloring process.

Hand painting photos is a slow, gradual build up of color that takes a long time and is not appealing to most artists. It involves developing the photograph, using special oil paints, cotton balls, cotton tipped sticks and special colored pencils. You have to add the color then wipe it off many times before the build up is dark enough to be seen. I got involved in it because I love the subtle color of the old hand tinted photographs and post cards from the early 1900's.
This photograph was taken at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Ma. and since I will be there again for Thanksgiving maybe it is time for some new photos using old techniques. Now if I can just stay on that cold and windy beach for enough time to get some good shots.

Good Harbor Beach - Gloucester MA

Friday, November 23, 2012


If you live in or around Melbourne, Florida, you don't want to miss  PIECES OF EIGHT ANNUAL HOLIDAY SALE AND ALL AROUND GOOD TIME!   The last time we had a sale, it was so much fun.....even Google Earth showed up!!

Yes, that's us out there in the drive way having a great time.  We are 9 talented ladies with a lot to offer including, poetry,scarfs, pillows, earrings,  original paintings, cards, pottery, and much more.  Each year we do a group project to fund our annual trip to the mountains.  Last time we published a cook book featuring recipes we tested on our trip and artwork from each of us.  It was such a hit we had to re-order several times and still get requests for copies.  

We put our heads together to come up with the perfect product to offer this year.  Eventually we settled on hand crafted earrings.  We have been working together the entire year on this project and did we have fun!

Just to make it even more unusal....WE PACKAGED THEM INDIVIDUALLY allowing you to 
MIX or MATCH designs.

Don't forget to REGISTER for the FREE GIFT BASKET and enjoy yourself with refreshments.

I want to show you just a few of the paintings I will have at my table.....at a very special, one day only SALE PRICE.

Thistle Love

Hunkered Down

Cindy Grows Tomatoes

Did I mention the date???  
Saturday, December 8th


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Carmen Beecher
Carol Schiff
Cindy Michaud
Denette Schweikert
Donna Vines
Fay Picard
Kathy Garvey
Phillis Holland
Mary Warnick

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

       Berni's Garden

We spent two months in Colorado Springs, Colorado this summer.  We were very fortunate to be able to stay in our friends, the Egge's, beautiful home while they were spending time traveling to Alaska and Canada. Berni and Geoff are quite the gardeners.  Their yard is beautiful and full of flowers and fruit trees.  Berni also has amazing collections of things that she has gathered from all over the world.  The tin rooster in the painting is one of the many tin items from her tin collection.  This 8"x10" oil painting is from a photograph that I took in Berni's back yard.  There were so many beautiful things to photograph.  So don't be surprise to see more paintings from Berni's back yard.  Our son and his family also live in Colorado Springs. So we were able to have many wonderful and exciting adventures with them over the summer without being under their feet all the time.  It was great to be able to spend time with them during the day then return to the sanctuary of the Egge's home at night.  What generous friends the Egge's are.  Thank you Berni and Geoff for sharing your beautiful home with us and making our dream summer possible.
Phillis Holland

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Maine Wave, 8x10 Oil by Carmen Beecher

This is an original oil painting on canvas board, and will be on sale at the Pieces of 8 Studio Sale on December 8.  This was from a walk on the very path where Winslow Homer painted in Prouts Neck, Maine.

I will be demonstrating oil painting at the sale. We will have refreshments, a big drawing for a prize, and many gift items at affordable prices. There will be jewelry, books, paintings, pottery, art supplies, garden art and a poetry corner. Hours are 9 to 4. Address: 3532 Samuel Place, Melbourne. Watch for our signs with the Pieces of 8 logo.

You will be amazed at the variety of talents found within our group of accomplished women!

posted by Carmen Beecher

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pieces of Eight Holiday Sale

This year we are having our annual Holiday Art Sale on Saturday Dec. 8 (remember the 8's on the 8th).  You can expect anything from fine art, collage, pottery, pillows,  books of original poetry from our "Resident Muse", poet and writer Fay Picardi and this year's jewelry.  We made a fun collection of mix and match black and white earrings, that you can buy individually to make your own "pair".  We are a diverse group with lots of interests and ideas so come join us for some unique gift ideas for the holidays.

Here are a few things that I will be offering this year.

Geisha...8x8 collage

Rooster with attitude..5x7 oil

These are just a few of my offerings.  As we count down to the sale we will all be posting a sampling of just some of the treasures you can find on December 8.
See you there at 3532 Samuel Place, Melbourne Fl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This 8"x10" portrait is of my grand puppies who live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Top left to bottom are Otis, Mojo and Nestle.  We were fortunate to be able to spend two months in Colorado Springs this past summer visiting with our children, grand girls and grand puppies.  My last post was of our grand girls, Sara and Brynn playing on the beach while they visited us even earlier in the summer.  We have such  wonderful times sharing adventures with our family and their pets both in their home and ours. 
When I create a portrait, I like for it to be a time capsule of what was happening at the time.  So when I was deciding what to do with the background of this portrait, I thought that putting Pike's Peak in the background would give it a time and place. For those of you who do not know, Pike's Peak is the tallest peak around Colorado Springs coming in at a little over 14,000 feet.  While we were in Colorado Springs this summer we rode the Cog Railway to the top of the peak and back.  It was a wonderful trip that took about four hours round trip. It was 30 degrees colder at the top than at the railway station at the base of the peak. Brrrr! The views were incredibly beautiful.  If you are ever lucky enough to ride up to the top be sure to have a high altitude doughnut at the guest station.   They are very dense because of the altitude and very yummy.
Don't forget to keep making precious memories with your families.
Phillis Holland


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sketchbook Pages from Diana Gessler Journaling Class

I promised a view of our sketchbooks from Diana Gessler's fun Journaling Class and here it is. I put all of the pages together. I'm hoping that if you click on it, you can see more detail.

Diana gives directions in how she interprets the things around her when she's journaling. They're very specific in class but only as a guide to help you see what's around you and condense the information in a way that's fun and relaxing but keeps it all fresh for you. Below is a closer view of how each of us interpreted her view of Spanish Moss -- first from afar, then close up, then summing up the history of its name in a few words. For fun and interest she suggests adding borders and teaches how she draws a bee for her sketchbooks.
For more about Diana and her workshops, click on this link: Diana Gessler Workshops.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Three Pieces Have Fun at Diana Gessler's Workshop

Yesterday, myself, Carmen and Cindy had the joy of attending a wonderful journaling workshop in Cocoa Village conducted by the very talented teacher and artist, Diana Gessler.  Diana starts out by reminding everyone that this is a no stress class - and that's the truth. She has a lovely even pace but keeps the ideas and inspiration flowing. Her motto is summed up by the statement on her gift bags: "You are here for the joy and delight of your soul." 

We spent the morning at Murdock's on their outdoor porch learning how to create borders, and fun text and how to observe and capture our surroundings with Diana's well practiced techniques.  Below, Cindy, who also attended Diana's Melbourne Beach journaling workshop, paints some borders.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and all did quick sketches of our top notch server, Nicole.She was a good sport and signed all our sketchbooks. (Nicole is also an artist - a 2005 graduate of the Miami New World School for the Arts.)

After lunch we wandered past Cara Mia, into the Porcher House, and spent some time sketching in and around the riverfront park. The day was finalized in Carolyn Seiler's beautiful gallery passing around everyone's journals for the day and signing them. (For more about Carolyn's gallery in Cocoa Village, click here: Carolyn Seiler and Friends.)

I'm pasting pictures of the day here and challenging Carmen and Cindy to send me pictures of their spreads so I can post all of them for everyone. Below, Diana (in pink hat) heads us out of the Porcher House.

For information about Diana or to talk with her about setting up a journaling class for your group, she can be contacted by clicking here: Diana's web site.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spacecoast Living features our Carmen!

This month's issue of Spacecoast Living features a wonderful article on our own Carmen Beecher. If you don't get this beautifully printed magazine all about our area of the world, you can read the article online by clicking here: Spacecoast Living.

Congratulations, Carmen on your beautiful work and some wonderful, well deserved publicity! And we think you are way beyond "extradordinary"!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Vineyard Bridge

I am having so much fun painting from my North Carolina photos.  This was a demo on Tuesday.  That lovely day we visited the Grandfather Vineyard.  This bridge was covered with grapevines, and loaded with grapes.
When we tired of painting and and picture taking, we retired to the patio and enjoyed a couple of bottles of wine.  Such a delight!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Passion for Passion Vines

There's no doubt I have a passion for Passion Vines. I especially love Incarnata, the beautiful purple one with curly tendrils that grows wild here in Florida shown below.
But over the past few years I've been planting other varieties and I currently have six of the seven in bloom. Below is Lady Margaret, a beautiful red one that I bought as a skinny little four inch sprout several years ago that now takes up half the fence in the yard and must have over 100 blooms at a time.
Here's a little view of the others. Below is the latest to show itself: Vitifolia. After that is Sweet Sunrise, followed by Cerulea and then Jara.

These flowers are an artist's dream. I haven't taken on the challenge of painting one yet. But below is an example of "Jara" all done up with filters, brushes and a little text in Photoshop CS6.
I have loads of photos if any artists out there want some to paint or to play with in Photoshop just let me know which variety and I'll send you high res.  And watch for affordable prints at our upcoming Pieces of 8 pre-Christmas sale on December 8th in West Melbourne.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Elk Falls Path

The Pieces of 8 had a wonderful time at Cindy's condo in NC in Sept.
This little painting was created from one of the many photos I took while we were there as a demo when I was teaching a class this morning.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Visit from Carmencita

One of the nice things about staying at Cindy's place in North Carolina is her colorful servant, Carmencita Suarez. Carmencita's specialty is Las Bisquitas, delivered with verve and plenty of butter. They are also known as Pocos Ataques del Corazon Redondos, or Little Round Heart Attacks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pathway to Art

Original Oil, 5x7

This is the plein air painting I did on Grandfather Mountain. The wee figure at the top of the path is Mary, who was painting a vista of the mountains.
In spite of the clouds hanging over the mountain that day, we had a wonderful time and never got rained on. What an exhilarating place!
posted by Carmen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Homage to Clarice Cliff

The Pieces are just back from their yearly "art retreat" full of new ideas and enthusiasm. We saw weavers, painters, potters and wonderful art that has no description, it is just art. The museum in Boone was small but very interesting, especially the exhibit of Polish artists who seemed to have such a unique outlook. We also had the chance to visit a local oil painter Kevin Beck. He was very gracious and spent lots of time showing us his work and art studio.
After being home for a few days, unpacking and finishing up a few oils I had started before I left I felt like doing something different. I decided to do some experimenting with acrylics and also to take out my collage materials again and maybe try some mixed media.
I found this little collage I had done awhile ago as a homage to Clarice Cliff a wonderful English ceramic artist from the Arts and Crafts movement. Clarice was known for her Tea Pots and innovative china patterns and designs.
I love the childlike simplicity of her designs and her use of colors. I feel like playing more than painting and I think Clarice is good inspiration.