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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fun Day at Washington Grass Inn, Georgia

The Pieces of 8 dined and painted at the Washington Grass Inn in Georgia today. We had a whopping good time as was captured by our wonderful hostess Gloria Slaughter in the picture below. (You can learn more about Gloria's photography and wedding venues at http://www.gloriaslaughterphotography.com/.)

The grounds were fun to explore with cats, dogs, horses, barns, flowers, antiques, old buildings and unusual objects everywhere. It took us a while just to decide what to paint.

Below are a few pictures from the day. It was perfect!
This is Mary painting a watercolor.
 Denette and Phillis photographing all the neat things on the grounds.
 Cindy sketching in her journal.
 Carmen painting the barn.
 Phillis sketching in her journal.

If you want an affordable but really special lunch with soup, sandwich and dessert  - all created to perfection - and your anywhere near Greensboro, Georgia, gather up at least 6 people, get online to http://www.washingtongrassweddings.com/  and set up a date. We loved the place, the food, and Gloria.
Tomorrow we're boating on Lake Oconee! Hope the weather stays as perfect as it has been since we got here. We're loving Georgia!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Georgia on our Mind

Five of the Pieces of 8 are on our annual painting retreat. This year we are spending it near beautiful Greensboro, Georgia at the home of our former and now honorary member, Phillis Holland. Wow, is it gorgeous here! The weather has been sunny and breezy, the leaves are just starting to turn colors. We're surrounded by the amazing Lake Oconee.

Today we had the privilege to paint at the Ritz-Carlton. We arrived around 10 in the morning, spread out and all painted til lunch time. Then we spread out again and painted until we left at 4:00. The property is lovely and the staff superior. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to actually stay at the Ritz. Below are some pictures from the day. It was a great way to spend it.

This place is big!
 ..and beautiful
Cindy is just back from plein air painting in Italy so she had everything in her backpack and was set up in minutes!

 Mary disappeared from view and returned very shortly with a completed watercolor painted by the lake.
 Phillis started her journal.
 Another view of the lake
 They had some stunning late blooming azaleas that attracted the butterflies. (The many flowers - camelias, asters, pansies, roses and azaleas- gave me something to work with since I don't do landscapes.)
 Denette painting by the lake.
We are having an awesome time and only wish we could have Carol, Donna and Fay here to enjoy it with us.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our Patron Saint

Trying to get 8 women, 8 artists, to agree on anything very quickly is asking for trouble.  The saying about 'herding cats' is most applicable.  But there is one thing we all quickly ascribed to and that is the fact that our fellow painter, Denette, is worthy of sainthood.  From her stroke several years ago to her paintings today, she has shown nothing short of miraculous courage and determination.  No debate.
Here's Denette in all her Modigliani-esque glory depicted as the patron saint of those who are determined to reach a goal.  You can even see her altar icons in the upper corners which are trophies...signifying her goal met!  She's colorful, lively and looking towards an exciting future.

You can read the tribute to Denette as well as others in a special little book just published by one of our members, Cindy Michaud.  In Sainted & Painted, Stories of the Not Wholly Holy, Cindy has taken 12 real women who deserve, in her opinion, to be sainted. Not only has painted their portraits but she has written vignettes describing their modern miracles and why they should inspire us all.  Feel like lighting a candle yet? You will because reading these tributes makes one realize that we are surrounded by saints...that while relating to the cannonized saints of long ago may be difficult and foreign, this group of anointed women stand tall and proud when it comes to setting examples for living.

For just $12.99 you will meet Saint Jane of the Generous, Saint Kathy of the Courts, Saint Sharon of the Survivors and many more.  You will enjoy creative art and touching stories.  Order now here or by clicking on the title above.  

And oh, there is one other thing we all agreed on rather quickly: this book makes the perfect gift.  So take our collective word for it, order several and have fun sharing them for birthdays.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There Will Be Light, 6x6 Oil on Canvas by Carmen Beecher

Driving across South Florida one can actually see beautiful, condo-free ranchland and groves. It is especially dramatic when a storm is coming, and we experienced a doozy.

This is Old Florida to me. I can just picture those cowboys with long whips--the original "Florida Crackers," so named because they cracked those whips to herd cattle--riding across the pastureland. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Palette Knife Landscape, Tree Painting, "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.

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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!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Time to Visit the Zoo

By Kathy Garvey
Now that the weather is cooling off, it's time to visit our wonderful local zoo. It's a constant source of inspiration and a fun affordable place to visit, especially if you invest in a membership. I've been able to go early in the morning and walk the zoo when there are hardly any visitors. Sometimes you have to wait for the animals to be let out on exhibit, but it's worth the wait. On my last visit, the giraffes were all out, young and old alike and they are magnificent! Above is a photo from my last visit, modified a little in Photoshop. And below is series from prior visits, all created with both Photoshop and Illustrator.  From gators to flamingos there's something for everyone.

Abstract Sunrise Painting, by Carol Schiff, 14x18" Palette Knife Painting in Oil, " God's Glory"

We were driving through the fields of Georgia one morning, on one of our many journeys from Florida to North Carolina, when the sun burst over the horizon.  I was so happy I had my camera handy.

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Does it show that I had a ball painting this one?

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Maybe I went a little crazy with the colors.

Speaking of journeys, this is my second attempt at painting this image.  The first attempt was several years ago and is residing in Paris these days.

 It's a little more subdued.

Au Revoir


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tropical Landscape Painting, Florida Painting, "Florida Morning" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

I work up eary, grabbed a cup of coffee and my camera, and headed to Florida's intracoastal waterway.  In our area, it is the Indian River, and I arrived there just in time to see the sun break over the horizon.

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 When I had finished my photos, I drank my coffee and enjoyed that wonderful early morning atmosphere.  You know the one, where it seems that only you and maybe a few birds are up and around.  It is so still, the birds are starting to feed, and a small pod of dolphins are fishing off shore.  Heaven!

I am often asked where I find my small frames.  The answer is my favorite framer.  Apparently it is standard procedure for framers to throw away the end pieces of moldings.  My framer, who has a large following of artists, started using those end pieces to make  up small standard sized frames.  He always has a good selection and sells them for next to nothing.  Perfect for starving artists!

If you are in Melbourne, FL area, his store is Ridley's Frames on Palm Bay Road and Troutman Ave. in Palm Bay.  Stop in and load up on his treasures and tell him I sent you in :)

Happy Day!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Baby Rachel, 6x6 Graphite Drawing by Carmen Beecher

I did this drawing of my granddaughter years ago, and now she is studying Biomedical and Chemical Engineering at Vanderbilt. Time flies! This sweet little baby grew into a sweet, smart and accomplished grownup and we are all very proud of her.

posted by Carmen Beecher

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wild and Wacky Wednesday by Carol Schiff Studio

Another Wild and Wacky Wednesday and another very special price on an original oil painting.

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39.95 less 10.00 rebate
This adorable little radish is sitting on my kitchen window sill, light streaming in, and a  with a sweet shadow.  I always liked the brushwork on this piece.  Put it in a black frame and it will brighten that dreary corner of your kitchen and pop off the wall!

It's already a bargin at $39.95 as the original price was $59.95, but today only, you may purchase it with an additional saving of $10.00.  All you have to do to receive the rebate, is note "WILD AND WACKY" on the order.  If you don't do this, I will not know to send you the rebate, so that is very important.
Offer good through midnight October 2, 2013.