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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

ATLANTIC SUNRISE, 6x8" Daily Painting

Although I do not live on the beach, I am very close, so it is easy to jump in my car with a cup of coffee and a camera.  That is just what I did on this morning.

$90 + 10

It is my favorite time of day at the beach.  Very few people, maybe an occasional fisherman, just me and the surf and the birds.  The surf is usually quiet, as though it is still sleeping too, and the birds are very busy, running around looking for breakfast.

Of course, when the sun finally breaks over the horizon, it is glorious.

I hope that you will remember this post on your next vacation to the sea, and you will take the opportunity to share a very special moment with nature.  I know you will not regret it!


Friday, March 29, 2013


Yesterday my fellow Pieces of 8 and artist extraordinaire, Carol Schiff and I spent a few hours trying an acrylics technique we had never tried before called pouring. It is very messy, totally unpredictable and great fun.
The hardest part of the process is to pick the colors you want to use. We choose a metallic (because we are girls and love shiny objects), red, black, white and at the last minute some blue. We spread out our newspaper, filled little paper cups with paint and pouring liquid, donned our plastic gloves (a must!!) and took a deep breath. We started pouring different colors in different places onto our canvases then started moving the canvas slowly back and forth, up and down and just watched as patterns formed and colors blended into each other.
It was amazing to watch as the paint moved at glacial speed sometimes dripping off of the canvas onto the newspaper or puddling in one corner. Pouring has the same fascination as watching a lava lamp, it transfixes you and there is lots of oohhing and ahhing.
Once the first canvas was finally covered I used a stick to draw lines down the whole length of the canvas then raked a wide tooth comb threw the lines as if I was making marbleized paper. I left the other canvas as is .
I love the way they came out!!! Enjoy.


An Illustrated Pear: Pattern and Pattern Maker

I invested in the Adobe CS6 Creative Suite via the Creative Cloud last August and have been spending my spare time trying to learn the new software. First, I love it. Second, the Creative Cloud is a really nice way to use the software and the only way I can afford it anymore. Third, I'm not limited, I can use any of the many tools available but for now, I'm concentrating on Illustrator because vector is my favorite look.

For study purposes, i.e. working through a topic, I've been using a pear shape. So, this was my first, a simple pear, to work through creating simple patterns. I have to have checks and swirls so those were created first. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)
Took that into Photoshop to add more patterns and textures.
However, the new Illustrator CS6 has a really fun pattern maker, and using that lets you do even more exciting things. Below is an example.

Two patterns created from the above look like this.

I am really loving this software. More pears coming soon. Hope to start teaching it again in May.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Courtney in Paris" by Carol Schiff

Still working with a few head studies to practice skin tones, as well as features.  On this one, I tried very hard to capture a likeness as well as the proper skin tones.

$80 + 10

She has that beautiful ivory skin, full of blues, lavenders and peaches.

It took several tries to capture her cute upturned nose just right.

I have not done portraits for many years and find that I am enjoying the challenge this week.  It's always good to push yourself now and then.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Creating at the Guild

The Pieces of 8 met for our weekly painting session at the Guild. This time we were joined by Carmen's beautiful and talented sister. We're about to start our summer get aways and Phillis has moved to Georgia. Below, in order of appearance, Mary watercoloring a sailboat, Kathy's watercolor and ink of a heron, Denette's oil of beach umbrellas, Carmen's sister zendoodling, Cindy working on her acrylic saint series, and Carmen's oil of a spoonbill.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Snails, Flowers and Friends in the Everglades

Just had to add a few of my pictures of snails, flowers and friends from our recent Everglades trip. It was fantastic! This was the only time I've been to the Everglades when the weather was cool and the mosquitoes were almost zero! It's not the best time for capturing images of the Liguus Tree Snails as they are usually sleeping through the dry season in some comfortable crook of a tree and not moving around. But, I did locate a few (about 12) and have included some of their pictures below.

 The above snail was crawling on the ground. Cindy spotted him as I was focusing on the trees. To find one on the ground, alive, and moving around during the dry season is unusual.

It was also a great time for finding thistles and tiny little wild flowers.

I am so grateful to have friends willing to travel to the Everglades and even camp two nights there. (See how close they are to that huge alligator!) Thank you,  Carmen and Cindy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Everglades

Carmen's Journal

We slept soundly in our little tent, all wrapped up like mummies. Below, Cindy and Kathy in the Mangrove Forest.
Kathy, Cindy

Is this a baby Blue Heron? He's so cute.
posted by Carmen

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ever Amazing Everglades

Ever since Kathy returned from her "artist in residency" last summer in the Everglades I have wanted to go down. A chance to plein aire paint, see the park and spend some time with friends recently presented itself and I grabbed the chance to go.  Sooooo, intrepid women that we are Carmen, Kathy and I loaded up our tent, our paints, our gumption with a bit of food and headed out on our road trip.

We were not disappointed, when we weren't laughing we were learning new things, and after we learned we painted.  Despite the fact that we arrived to discover there was no electricity and no water at the campsite, we perserved and became very resourceful.  Here is part of our story in photos:

The wildlife was spectacular...and as Kathy promised, staying inside the park made it all up close and personal.  This was only a sample of the animals we got to observe...and it being mating season we got in on a little more unusual activity courtesy of the 'gators!

We did a lot of photography so readers can expect some everglades-themed paintings soon!
Cindy (L) and Carmen (R) put in some hours painting plein aire.  Here we are seated by the lake that abutted our campground at Long Pine Key.
Kathy even spotted some of her beloved Linguus Snails that she has been studying.
Back at the campsite Carmen and I found time to work on our travel journals filled with sketches, watercolor and special momentos of the memorable time we spent together in the
Everglades National Park.  Stay tuned for art work from this trip.

Cindy Michaud
see more at: www.cindymichaudart.blogspot.com

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tulips and Sunflower, 8x6" by Carol Schiff

It may not feel like it where you live, but winter is on it's last legs and soon spring flowers will be bursting out of the ground.  Tulips are one of those flowers that mean spring to me.

$90 + 6.50

Living in Florida, most of the tulips I see these days are in the florist shop.  Some years, I get lucky, and visit North Carolina when they are blooming.

These came from the grocery store.  Lately, I have been coming home with more flowers than food which tends to upset my husband.   I tell him flowers are edible, but he is not impressed with my knowledge.

Tulips are so elegant.  They remind me of ballet dancers with their graceful poses.  Like most things so beautiful, they don't last as long as I would like.