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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Flower Painting, Floral Still Life, "Jar Full of Sunshine" by Carol Schiff, 10x10x.75" Oil

I'm still in flower mode, so I hope you enjoy today's flower painting

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It seems the longer this winter drags on, the more I want to paint flowers...especially orange and yellow flowers! Have heart, winter will soon disappear!

It is already spring here in Florida.  Yesterday I went to Sebastian Inlet State Park for a little summer jump start.

To finish off the day, we had lunch on a big deck at Sebastian Beach Inn, only steps away from the waves.  P*E*R*F*E*C*T

Enjoy the day....spring will soon be here, and don't forget to pin my flower painting!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tiny Dancer, 8x10 Original OIl Painting by Carmen Beecher

$199.00, Click to Purchase
While in San Miguel de Allende I got to witness a big Aztec festival, with scores of people in bright costumes and huge feather headdresses. They were dancing in the streets, celebrating their conversion to Christianity. So many people dancing in unison, wearing bright colors and glittering outfits presented quite a wonderful sight, but this little girl was my favorite, trying to keep up with the grownups.

Here are some of the adults in their costumes. I was so lucky to be town that day!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Storms can be very scary...when you are driving, when the sky is full of lightening,when the wind gets crazy, when that loud house-shaking thunder fills the air.

But, I love to paint storm clouds, the bigger and blacker, the better!  It gives me a chance to throw paint around and get wild!

Pin It!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bajio Mountains of San Miguel

Carmen and I saw very different sides of the wonderful Mexican city of San Miguel.  While she was a city dweller navigating the cobble stone streets and tiny sidewalks, I resided outside the town on a little farm overlooking the Bajio Mountains.  The elevation of San Miguel was quite an adjustment for me...dry and cool.  So dry in fact that most of the farmlands surrounding the mountains were various shades of brown and gold at this time of year.  But I was engaged in studying the psychology of color so the "local" tones did not stop me from interpreting the countryside from a feeling side.

Here I am sketching out two different scenes from our front porch.  One is 6 x 12 on board, the other is a 6 x 6 canvas wrapped board.

I did the under paintings in acrylic while still in San Miguel and brought them home to finish up in oil. See the blue house to the far left of the composition?  It was such a happy color that I could not resist letting it literally color my entire view of the beautiful area.

6" x 6" oil
Bajio Mountains

6" x 12" Bajio Panoramic 

And here's the panoramic view front out our front door scanning to the right and beyond of the blue hacienda next door.  The fields were either dried husks or land being plowed up to ready for planting.  Scrub trees often marked the property lines between haciendas and several times we stopped the car to let sheep or cattle cross from one field to the next.  Bright yellow blossoms were the most vibrant natural color along the highway but I never did find out the name of its weed-like plant.  The jacarandas were within days of bursting forth.

So these pieces came out warm and cool, dry and verdant, brown and green...a melange of contrasts just like the country.

Monday, March 17, 2014

San Miguel Morning, 8x6 Oil on Canvas

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It seems as though I've been gone forever. First we went to Virginia, then my sister and I flew to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. There we got to experience the beauty of the city and the company of lovely people. Cindy was there also, but we didn't get to see each other, alas.

San Miguel hides many wonders behind its weathered walls and ornate old doors. Its architecture is influenced by the Spaniards, who were influenced by the Moors, so those doors frequently hide a beautiful courtyard decorated with tiles, fountains, and flowers. On my first morning there I looked down upon such a courtyard and saw this little bird posing in the warm light. I only got one painting done while there, but I did fill my journal pages.

Rooftop Garden
What's Behind Door No. 4?

The music was unbelievable. This page from my journal represents the music we heard, two different nights, completely different from each other. The music at Mi Casa was so beautiful that it reached deep into the soul.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Duck Painting, Wildlife Painting, "Just Hanging Out" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" oil

I found this little girl duck at Nantahala Outdoor Center, in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just hanging out on a rock in the river.

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 She seemed quite content!  Pretty surprising when you see what was going on 50 yards down the river...

International Kayak competition!  The ducks were not annoyed.........

This setting seems to suit the painting a little more.

Enjoy your day!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Still Life Bottle Painting, "Fluer de Lis" by Carol Schiff, 6x18x1.5" Oil SOLD

I like to collect bottles, so, it is a natural for me to do a still life bottle painting.  I like the fluer de lis on the bottle as well as the bold gold color.


 Painting this bottle was a challenge for me, but photographing the results was even more frustrating.  Try as I might, I could not get the correct background color to show.  The image above is much too blue while the one below seems more accurate.

Thank you for viewing my still life bottle painting today and please feel free to pin it if you so desire.


Friday, March 7, 2014

March 3rd Painting at the Guild

by Kathy Garvey
I love painting with the Pieces of 8 at the Guild. It's something I look forward to all week. This week there were only four of us. (We joke that getting us all together is like herding cats!) I love to take pictures as we work just to document the start and finish of the few hours we get to really enjoy working together. The Guild was especially beautiful today with wonderful breezes blowing through.

I was dabbling with watercolors. I'm really trying to break away from my favorite color palette so this was just one more try. I don't know where it will go from here.

I like to scribble something first with a micron pen then add watercolor.
Donna and Carol were painting the same still life. It looks so difficult to me but they enjoy it and I love seeing their work in progress. Carol's will most likely be finished and available on Etsy before this post hits the web.
Carol's start at top left, in progress, and her stopping point when we broke for lunch is at bottom.

Donna takes a different view and a fun approach. Love her unique style!
Denette is a marvel. Some of you know that she has spent three years working hard to recover from the effects of a devastating stroke that robbed her of the ability to paint her incredible florals. (Please click on the link to her website at the right to see what I'm talking about.) But, with perseverance that would serve as inspiration to anyone, she has recovered her skills. Just look at that rose!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Continuing my Illustrator Experiment

by Kathy Garvey
I'm just starting to get my laptop back in working order and getting back to work on my Illustrator project posted about two weeks ago. This is a continuation of developing designs for tiles by starting with a line drawing in Adobe Illustrator and from there gradually creating symbols to place into a masked square for printing to tiles. I left off in the last post at the point where I had created the designs and filled them in with black and white gradients. The next step was to start playing with color. This is just my first version using colors.

It took about eight hours to get to this step. Once I colorized my symbols, I rebuilt the design.

When trying to build the next one, I realized I needed a few more symbols so I created a half flower and some half leaves.

Now, to experiment with placement. Built some smaller leaves.

The fun of symbols is you just drag them in and put them wherever you want. So while getting to the color version shown at the top of the page took many hours, each subsequent tile takes about 10 minutes and is just fun to play with. I went a little crazy with this one. Built a new bud and turned some new objects into symbols, too!

Going for a more subdued version!

I'm still working on the coloration and building new symbols. I don't have this to where I'm ready to have tiles printed. That's a big expense so I need a lot more time. Besides, there's so many more directions I can go easily from this point, I'm sure I haven't found my favorite versions yet.

An advantage to using symbols is that if I modify the colors, my design will modify automatically. For these I used my favorite colors - blues, greens and yellows. But, I realize today's popular color palettes are much different. (I'm so trying to like them.) My next step in this exercise is to experiment with changing the symbols to use the more fashionable colors like that turquoise, orange and pale green I'm seeing everywhere. That's a real challenge for me. Next post, maybe!

Monday, March 3, 2014

step by step

One of the important lessons I am relearning is that a painting does not just happen.  Most painters don't stand in front of their easels, start and complete that painting at one sitting.  Even people like myself who have painted before forget this.  We are so intent on what we are doing we forget to stop everyone once in awhile, stand away from our work, see what it looks like from a distance, how it will look to others when they first see it.  Another important step we forget is to take a break once in awhile, think about what we are trying to accomplish, turn your painting if you are having trouble, see it from a different angle.
These three photos are of one painting taken at different times.  It is sort of a progression to show what I started with, then walked away from and then came back to.  The last painting is the final one, I am happiest with it and like the colors and depth.

first pass

try number 2


maybe the final one???

Even after posting these photos I see some changes I would like to make.
Donna Vines