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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hydrangea, 6x6 Oil by Carmen Beecher

I think this piece is what inspired me to paint a large floral painting (my "Dragonflower"). This hydrangea was like painting a big bouquet on a small canvas, and it was a lot harder than I expected. I have been very busy on my projects for our December Christmas Sale, but at some point I want to paint another large floral painting.

For those of you who have been asking about our annual Christmas Sale, it will be December 7. We will have many new creative surprises this year, and as usual, our original art at very affordable prices. Save the date!

Posted by Carmen

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dragonflower, 20x20 Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher

I have posted so many small paintings in my blog and my Etsy shop, and I suddenly got the urge to paint something big and flowery. I have taken lots of pictures of my Cereus blooms, which are supposed to ultimately become Dragonfruit, but mine fall short of that achievement.

I like the glow of light coming through the flowers. I got the background by mixing Pthalo Green and Alizarin Crimson, and I like the intensity of that, but I seem to wear Pthalo Green for days. It seems to have mysterious properties enabling it to jump all over me and my clothes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WILD AND WACKY WEDNESDAY, Painting on Sale, "Pumpkin and Bittersweet" 6x8" Oil

Today I am featuring a little oil still life that should fit right into your house this time of the year.

Purchase Here
49 minus 10 rebate
Originally priced at $80.00, this little gem is currently on sale at $49.00  For TODAY ONLY when you purchase, I will send you back at $10.00 rebate!

Growning up in Ohio, pumkins, bittersweet,  hay rides, and apple cider could mean only one thing....fall and Thanksgiving were on the way.  I loved that time of year, and yearn today for sound of fallen leaves crunching under my feet and that special fall smell in the air.  In those days, everyone would rake the leaves into a large pile and all the kids would leap into them.  When the fun was over, it was time to burn the leaves and toast marshmellows.  What a great time we had.

Maybe this painting will bring a little of the magical time into your home this fall.  

Don't forget, when you purchase, you must state WILD AND WACKY on the order to receive the $10.00 rebate.  That's because, this offer is only for readers of my blog and it's the only way I will know you saw it here.  Offer expires at midnight EDT 9/25/2013.


Monday, September 23, 2013

"BFF" by Carol Schiff

I just returned from a few weeks in the mountains of western North Carolina. We have an October trip planned, to take in the beautiful fall colors, which I am really anticipating. Until then, I will have to be satisfied with our Florida type of tree. They have a beauty of their own....not really big leaves or bright colors, but graceful palms and huge live oaks draped in Spanish moss and with limbs that seem to be a mile long.

Purchase here
225 + shipping

These don't have Spanish moss, but I was taken by their entwined limbs, like they are giving each other a hug and will be best friends forever.

I painted this with a palette knife and I used a technique I call "color weaving".  It gives me lots of texture and I can get really subtle color changes.  I have a nice wide molding in a dark wood tone that I will use to frame this one.  I think it will make it pop off the wall!

I hope to get many photos of fall color in the mountains next month....it's my favorite time of the year!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Big Hair 80s, Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher

I painted this for the Daily Paintworks "Paint Yourself Young" challenge. Remember the 80s? Large hair, mall bangs, big shoulder pads? In deciding what to paint, it was a tossup between this and one of me at age five, with a bandaid on my head, standing in front of a reclining pig.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WILD AND WACKY WEDNESDAY, "A Perfect Summer Day" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" oil

When I see this painting, I always picture myself on a porch swing with a cool glass of lemonade and a good book.

Click here to purchase
$75 + shipping
What more could I ask for...sunlight, a bicycle, lots of flowers and plants and a beautiful view.  Heaven!

But, summer is almost gone and it's time for this painting to leave too.  Originally priced at $95.00 and marked down to $75.00, it's a bargain.  Today is Wild and Wacky Wednesday which means that today only, when you purchase this painting, I will immediately refund you $10.00 bringing your cost down to $65.00.  Now, that's  bargain!

To get the discount, you must write "Wild and Wacky Wednesday" on your order.  This offer expires at midnight Sept. 18, 2013.


Monday, September 16, 2013

My Nautilus Collage: Art, Poetry, and Memory

by Fay Picardi

As many of you already know, The Pieces of Eight has one member who is both an established poet and an aspiring artist. That member is me, Fay Picardi. I feel very honored to be a member of this group of creative, talented, and supportive women. And now the time has come that I must venture forth to do my first post.

Here goes!

For years I have been fascinated by the Chambered Nautilus or nautilus pompilius (I had to look that one up). My first introduction to this mollusk was in my English class when I was a Junior in high school. The poem was The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes. During my quite extensive stint as an American Literature teacher, I found and used as a prop for explaining the imagery in this poem to my students. It was a center cut pearl shell left somewhere in the world by a nautilus, beautiful in its iridescence. I would have it still, decades later, if it had not cracked and I had not thrown it away, promising myself I would buy another. As with many things we try to duplicate, I was never able to find one that was a perfect replacement. For years now I have been treasuring instead a tear-out from a magazine which looks as close to the original as I have been able to find, even though it does not have the tiny passageways by which the nautilus moved from chamber to chamber.

(I usually have hung it sideways with the words "evolved thinking" vertical instead of horizontal.)

With the above photo's image burnt into my mind and the inspiration of the last verse of Holme's poem, The Chambered Nautilus, which I post below, I decided I must try to create a nautilus of my own. I must try to capture the feel of the movement from chamber to chamber and the final hallelujah the last line.

Here's my effort! I have made changes from my original plan. I did not print the words of the poem on the ridges of the shell. I did not make the ridges black. I was not able to make each section a wholly independent work of art. But I am very satisfied with the result. I do believe there is a hallelujah in there somewhere!

The Chambered Nautilus
By Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. 1809–1894 Oliver Wendell Holmes

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

   Sails the unshadowed main,—

   The venturous bark that flings

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings

In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,

   And coral reefs lie bare,

Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

   Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

   And every chambered cell,

Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,

As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

   Before thee lies revealed,—

Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil

   That spread his lustrous coil;

   Still, as the spiral grew,

He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

   Built up its idle door,

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

   Child of the wandering sea,

   Cast from her lap, forlorn!

From thy dead lips a clearer note is born

Than ever Triton blew from wreath├Ęd horn!

   While on mine ear it rings,

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

   As the swift seasons roll!

   Leave thy low-vaulted past!

Let each new temple, nobler than the last,

Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

   Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stormy skies

I have lived near the ocean my entire life, I am really very lucky. I have also traveled a lot and seen many beautiful skies but the skies in Florida are special. The colors are unlike any I have seen before. When the weather is good the oranges, blues, reds and purples just saturate the sky before sunset. Also as beautiful but oh so fierce are the skies when a storm is coming. I took a few photos with my phone on the way home the other night as a storm was brewing and I just had to paint it.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I love Morguefile.com!

I love the web! There are so many great resources for artists! I could spend all day being inspired by the graphic designers and illustrators on behance.net, or looking at wonderful watercolors and creative doodles on pinterest. One of my favorite places to visit is morguefile.com where photographers post pictures that anyone can use for inspiration.

As an example, a few weeks ago I was building some new brushes in Photoshop and testing out some others. I made this playful graphic. I had placed a little tiny bird brush in it and it was obvious the design needed something more substantial.

I searched morguefile.com for beautiful little birds and found this truly precious one by "rezdora70."

Notice in the capture above that when you find an image you like, you can see the photographer's information, file size, how often the file has been downloaded and what if any restrictions there are on the photo - usually none - other than you can't use it standalone. If you decide you want it, you just have to click the very obvious button that reads "Download Image."

After downloading, I opened the image in Photoshop, flipped it horizontally, desaturated and applied a few favorite filters. He fit right in and completed the image. Thank you, rezdora70!

Sometimes I download beautiful birds I find on the site with plans to work them into something later. This little black capped chickadee by a photographer called "AcrylicArtist" was one of them.

My original thumbnail sketch was just some random designs on a large square under this cute bird's feet. After downloading, I just viewed this image on my monitor and started sketching with a micron pen on watercolor paper. When I doodled a worm as one of the designs in the square beneath him, I felt I needed something else that lived underground. I searched morguefile.com again for a little field mouse and found this adorable one by "xandert."

Here's the pen and ink so far, thanks to both AcrylicArtist and Xandert! .
I am so thankful that there is such a wonderful and free resource for artists. Keep morguefile.com in mind when you're looking for photo resources that you don't have of your own. It's very inspiring, easy to use, and a great place for sharing. The photographers ask nothing, except maybe to be notified if you are so inclined. Click here to check it out: http://www.morguefile.com/.

Friday, September 6, 2013

City Girl, 9x12 Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher

I was Riding the Ducks when I spotted this young girl, striding with great purpose down the sidewalk in Seattle. I love the whole scene: the perky girl, the hanging plant, the reflection in the door. Too bad you couldn't see the Duck. Oh, perhaps I should explain. The Ducks are amphibious landing vehicles from World War II, and they have been redone for the enjoyment of tourists.
We got on board in the city, went a few blocks and over a bridge to the water and promptly drove in. It was a hoot. Our guide and driver, Flip Dover, was absolutely hilarious--both educational and entertaining.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Painting on Sale, Beau Gateau et les Petits, Wild and Wacky Wednesday at Carol Schiff Studio, 6x8" oil

Another Wednesday, another painting on sale for a super price today only.

Beau Gateau et les Petits, French for beautiful small cake, is just that.  A small cake directed from the bakery and good enough to eat.

Purchase here
56. + shipping
Painted with palette knife and brush and sitting on my favorite pottery plate, it glows like the little star it is.

As with all my Wild and Wacky Wednesday's, this painting is already on sale.  Originally offered at $95.00 and now marked down to $55.98, it is already a deal.  Now here is the wild and wacky part.....if you purchase it today, I will send you a $10.00 refund!  Your order must show a purchase date of Wednesday Sept. 3, 2013.  To receive the rebate, simply write  Wild and Wacky Wednesday on your order.  I will immediately send  a $10.00 rebate to your account.  Don't let this little gem get away.