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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Timely Idea for Christmas...

I feel so fortunate to have been attending the Annual Unique Boutique in Hollywood, Maryland several years ago and meeting up with Bill and Sue Cassidy. They had a wonderful booth displaying not only gorgeous photographs of birds, butterflies and flowers, but they also sold ceramic tiles featuring their works.  The tiles were  of excellent quality and their photos looked stunning printed to them. We talked and then corresponded and I was excited to find out that Bill and Sue not only sell their tiles through their website but that they are willing and able to print tiles for fellow artists.

Since then, I have ordered many tiles. All arrive with the same detail and color of the originals. Below is a photo of half of my most recent order - two tiles each of five designs.

I've tested them with a steaming tea kettle right off the stove and they truly stand up to the heat. My tiles will be available when the Pieces of 8 hold their yet to be determined annual pre-Christmas sale. But if you are interested in any of the beautiful designs Sue and Bill have on there web site Teachers with Cameras, pay it a visit. Their birds, flowers and butterflies are the work of two truly wonderful photographers/artists. If you want to feature your own designs on their beautiful tiles, click on their link titled "Photo Products" and scroll down for more information. They make wonderful Christmas gifts.

And if you're traveling anywhere near the DC area in November, this years Unique Boutique in Hollywood, MD is on November 10th and 11th. Bill and Sue will be there, as will my very talented sister, bead artist Liz Printz and about 30 other juried artisans.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just the Four of Us Having some Fun

The Pieces of 8 were down to just four this past Monday. We still had fun. Mary worked on a very ambitious family portrait in watercolor. Carmen and Denette made quite wonderful and colorful collages. I started an acrylic "tile" for my future blue and yellow kitchen redux.

For our traveling fellows... we miss you! And we're all making plans for our North Carolina retreat in September!  

Altered Book Exhibit at DeGroodt ends soon! 

And if anyone didn't get to the Palm Bay DeGroodt Altered Book exhibition for the month of July, here's a picture of the display. The Pieces of 8 were well represented by myself with a book on Ireland in the upper left corner, Cindy's wonderful little illustrated poetry book on the left on the second shelf from the top, and Fay's exotic Queen Elizabeth - the one with the lovely collar on the right side of the second shelf from the bottom.

Other local artists participating were Alice Ahrens, Kaye Boggs, Witha Lacuesta, Janet McIlvaine, Jeanne Painter Johnson, Paula Steere, Helen Wheatley and Katren Yrekes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sandals Redux

Before I left for England I posted a pair of sandals I had been working on.  They were just a pair of black rubber sandals laying in the sand but I was really intrigued by the shape, color, contrast and texture of the photo. 
That unfinished painting was sitting on my easel when I got back and I thought it would be a good place to start to get into the swing of painting again.  I have to confess I had a hard time with it.  It was dull and had no life and just wasn't interesting anymore. I couldn't seem to capture any of the real charm I had seen.  I spoke to my mentor and fellow painter Carol Schiff and she reminded me that I had to stop being so literal, punch it up a little put in interesting colors add some contrast, add some texture...so I did.  I am happy with the final results and hope you like it too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pieces of 8 Piece and Paint

Summer is always hit or miss whether we all get together in Mary Warnick's lovely studio or just some of us make it. The time together is always so much fun and so productive. Yesterday there were just five of us and my lovely and talented niece Isabel joined us for the morning. Some painted, some collaged. (We all enjoyed a delicious giant mango procured in the Everglades over the weekend.) It's so inspiring to see what everyone is working on. And I have to admit that painting with the Pieces is the only time I really paint so I'm so grateful to be a member of this wonderful group.

I've put together a collection of images from the day so the traveling Pieces can see what they're missing. And we're missing them! Hello to Donna, Cindy, Denette, and Phillis! (If you're counting, that does make nine. The Pieces of 8 now officially number nine with the addition of Fay this year!)

Clockwise from lower left: Carol oil paints a sheep inspired by one of Donna's photos from her trip to England with an inset of the almost finished image. Isabel water coloring what looks very much like the dragon fruit we encountered in the Everglades with inset. My acrylic doodling of a butterfly. Mary sketching a family portrait before attempting it in watercolor. Fay collaging a nautilus. And in the center, Carmen working on a new collage of a spoonbill. Inset shows the clever text she manages to fit into her images.

Friday, July 13, 2012

  Mountain Vista
Several weeks ago at our Monday painting session I decided to paint a mountain scene.  We are headed to Colorado for several months and I thought that I would practice on mountains in anticipation of painting Pikes Peak and other Colorado vistas.  Since I did not have any photos with me I flipped through an art magazine that was in the painting studio.  I found a picture of a painting that I thought would be a good place to start. So this is really a painting of a painting.  Not something that I usually do but I thought it would be a fun exercise.  One of my goals was to slap the paint on and leave it alone.  I actually finished this 8x10 in one painting sessions which is another thing that I rarely do. It was really fun and I like leaving the brush stroke looking nice and fresh.  I am now curious to see how big a challenge Pikes Peak will be.  I hope to paint outside straight from nature as often as possible.  We are going to be in Colorado Springs and as all of you probably know it was the site of horrible fires this past week.  So I am hoping that enough of the surrounding area will still be paintable.  It is so sad when wonderful places are destroyed.  But I bet there is still plenty of beauty and splendor to be enjoyed.
Phillis Hollalnd

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spoonbill Collage, 10x10

I rendered this same guy in oil, and I thought he would make a nice collage. Mixing colors on a palette and mixing them in scraps of paper are two different things. Sometimes the values are determined by the text or designs I find. In the outspread wing I was just stumped until I used red-on-white text, which gave me just the value I wanted.
posted by Carmen

Friday, July 6, 2012


Lately I have been painting flowers.  There are so many beautiful species in Florida, I wonder how I will ever find time to work on all of them.  Here is a sample of one that I recently completed.  It is a Watercolor on a quarter sheet of paper.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Home again

I am home from my sisters trip to England. The whole trip was great but I had a chance to experience something really unique that I just have to share.  The small town our friend Annie lives in is called Haworth. It is famous for 3 things; the wild and beautiful moors where it is situated, being the home of the Bronte sisters and it's annual 1940's week-end.
I have lovely photos of the moors and even photos of the church and graveyard where the Brontes are buried but best of all I have many wonderful photos and memories of  being transported back in time to the England of WWII.  The charm of it is how wonderfully everyone gets into the spirit of that time. People dress in everything from service uniforms to "land girls" ( the girls who were sent to the countryside to work on farms) to fancy ladies in fox stoles. Everything is authentic including nylons with seams, jeeps, posters and just about everything anyone has on.

Doesn't this gentleman look like the real thing.

Here are some smartly dressed ladies talking to a soldier.

Here are a few "land girls" enjoying a jitterbug at the town picnic.