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

Monday, December 30, 2013

Solace, 6x8 Original Oil Painting

This is a painting of a mood. What is she thinking? Is she lonely? Or does she have the urge to cross that ocean and have an adventure? Maybe she is just thanking God for her blessings.

posted by Carmen Beecher

Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of the Year Passion Vine

by Kathy Garvey

Passion vines are one of my favorite plants and I've gathered about eight varieties over the past few years. (There are at least 500 of them.) I have one that's a magnificent red with a distinct crown and tends to bloom very rarely. It was in bloom this month! To wrap up the year, I'm playing with my images of it in Photoshop. Here are two before and afters.

Before: One of my red passion vines - I don't remember its name but it blooms very rarely.
After: I like adding brushes and filters to my photos in Photoshop.
Before: The crowns on passion vines are other-worldly!
After: Celebrating the beauty by repeating it.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! May you enjoy all the things you are passionate about!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wildlife painting, Daily Painting, "Mr Mallard" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

We spend a lot of time in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and usually the streams and rivers are full of ducks and Canadian geese. I found this Mallard in the beautiful park at Cherokee, NC.

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If you are an artist, buying many frames, you may like this tip.  Ask your favorite framer to make you standard size frames from his "end pieces" of moldings.  Often these are thrown away and my framer is happy to have a chance to use them.  As a result, he sells them very inexpensively, attracting more business from artists.  A win, win situation.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dog Painting, "A Face to Die For" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

Years ago, I collected commissions for pet portraits.  Eventually, I tired of painting from what were usually very bad images and drifted in other directions.  Every once in a while, I will see a puppy or kitten that I want to paint.....like this one.

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I couldn't resist that little face, or, the sunlight that was pouring in behind.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We Are Very, Very Merry!

As creatives we depend on the encouragement and stimulation we get from other artists.  The Pieces of 8 have been meeting regularly for 7 years offering each other new ideas, sharing techniques, collaborating on shows and laughing...a lot!  We are each just enough the same that we work and travel rather seamlessly; yet we each differ enough to provide diversity in thought and growth.  It's a gift to have this much compatibility and support amongst a group of women.

But oh how we love an audience!  Your applause, support and encouragement over the years has meant a lot to all of us.  The fact that you hang our work in your home or buy it to gift, the idea that you read this blog, and the words of compliment you post in response to our sharing...all of this fans the flames of our creativity.  We are grateful and humbled by that.  So we join together in taking a moment to wish you the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years.
L to R: Fay Picardi, Denette Schweikert, Carmen Beecher, Mary Warnick, Kathy Garvey, Carol Schiff, Cindy Michaud and Donna Vines

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Robot Ornaments for Christmas

by Kathy Garvey

I love robots and after our Annual Pieces of 8 Christmas Show, I dedicated some time to create a few in Adobe Illustrator. I modeled them after three of my (soon to be ten) grandchildren. Illustrator is a joy to create with. While I love watercolor and acrylic, Illustrator let's me draw with dashed lines and make perfect circles and experiment rapidly with color. It also let's me "undo" back to the beginning of my creation if I need to.

Since the three robots were modeled after Josie (3), Leo (3) and Max (6), I asked them for feedback. And I got it! Josie wanted her robot's heart to have a rainbow in it. Leo wanted some part of his robot to have a rainbow in it also. (They're twins. Do they think alike or just mimic each other?) And Max wanted his to have a bandoleer like Chewbacca in Star Wars. I love their input and the changes were super easy to make in Illustrator. Below are my three new robots.

Just for fun, I'm experimenting with printing them out as Christmas tree ornaments. I had to make a few changes so they'd look ready for Christmas. And that's the joy of working digitally - endless variations. Below are the ornament versions.

I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with these precious little ones and hoping the ornaments turn out well enough to hang on their tree.  (Note: If you click on the image, it will make it larger in a new window. If you right click in that window, you will see a Save Image option. If anyone would like to make an ornament with them, just save the image. Then open it from where you saved it and click print. Assembly instructions are on the print.)

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sultry, 6x8 Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher


This all started with a tube of gold paint from Ralph's Art Supply in Melbourne. Gold suggests "exotic" so I painted this and invented her costume and jewelry. This was so much fun that I am going to do some more of these. 

Carmen Beecher

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Coconut Palm Painting, "Going Coconuts" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

A few years ago we visited Sanibel Island.  It is such a beautiful place with the beaches and beautiful foliage.  Most of the island is a nature reserve and the people who live there have gone to great lengths to protect the natural beauty.

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This is a companion to a piece I did last year.

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I think they make an interesting pair!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raffle winner!!

The lucky winner of the raffle was Kim Zelna of Melbourne.  When I emailed her to tell her she had won, she replied that she was really surprised and very happy.  I stopped by today to deliver her gift basket and as you can see she was not the only one who was excited, in fact her furry friend was so excited that posing was out of the question and Kim was very gracious to let me snap this photo and post it

Kim Zelna

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by and made the day so much fun.  For many of us this is the only chance we get to chat with old and new friends.  Your input and support is so important to all of us.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Small Seascape, Palette Knife Painting, "Florida Surf" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

We had a fantastic 5th Annual Christmas Art Sale over the weekend.  Thanks to all the wonderful people from Melbourne, FL and surrounding area, who stopped by to shop, visit, and enjoy hand made goodies.  We were truly blessed and Santa will be delivering lots of original art under trees this year.  It is so wonderful when your community supports your efforts!

To spread the joy, I have entered a 25% off coupon on my Etsy site for paintings in my "MAKE ME AN OFFER" section.  That's 25% off the already reduced price!  Just enter CHRISTMAS25 on your order for the additional  reduction.  Good only in the "MAKE ME AN OFFER" section.

I love to walk on the beach and I also love to paint the scenes I find there.  So, when I walk, it is always with camera in hand.

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 I almost always start with a brush...but some paintings demand a knife.  This one demanded a knife.  I like the effect as the surf was choppy on this day and the knife helps to depict that.

Do your paintings evolve despite your best intentions?  It may not be the painting I envisioned  when I started but I always enjoy the process and MOST of the time, the results



Friday, December 6, 2013



Share some home made cookies and a drink while you shop.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


        Since November 27, it's been hustle, hustle, hustle. Thanksgiving is over, today is the last day of Hanukkah, and there are only 20 more days for Santa to get ready for Christmas. What an exciting time of year!
         Speaking of exciting. The Pieces of Eight will be having our annual art sale on Saturday, December 7 from 9-4. at the home of Carol Schiff. Please do come.
          Below is the birdhouse which I created for the sale. For grass, I have substituted quotes birds from well known poems. My favorites is the one by e e cummings. "I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing, than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
          I hope to see you Saturday.
                                                                  Fay Picardi

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From poured to collaged

No matter how you like your art - Maybe on the rocks? Seascapes, roaring rivers;  A tall one? Mountains, flamingos;  An old fashioned? Anything from Archs to Zebras;  Poured? Ahh, lava lamps on canvas.
Come sate your thirst Saturday.  We have something for everyone.
Donna Vines

Poured and rubbed painting, very cosmic

Tea Collage