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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Daily Painting, Shell Still Life, "Queen Conch" by Carol Schiff, 8x10" Oil

I found this Queen Conch shell on the beach during a trip to the Abaco Islands.  The Abaco Islands are a small, but beautiful chain of quaint islands off the shore of Florida.  Easy to travel to and with all beautiful unspoiled beaches, great fishing and diving and just plain relaxing.  They are not on the tourist route, which is an added bonus.

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I placed it in an east facing window one morning, and got a remarkable glow as the sun shone through the shell.  It seemed to be on fire and I tried to capture that beauty here.

Maybe not quite as nice as a trip to the islands, but a close second!   Every time I see it, I can feel sand between my toes.



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fruit Still Life, Kitchen Decor, "Breakfast Berries" by Carol Schiff, 8x8" Oil

I love bacon and eggs, but some days, I crave a big bowl of berries.  That is what I was thinking about when I painted this fruit still life.

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We are so fortunate to have wonderful fresh produce available year round in our markets.  I know local is better, but given the choice of blueberries  one month of the year, or all year, I know what I will choose.

In this set up, I piled them high in my favorite pottery berry bowl.  I took it all to my Monday morning painting group and set it under the spotlight.  We all painted the same set up and it is always fun to view the setting from another view and to see how others paint it.  On some days simple is better!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Daily Painting, Rose Painting, "Plantation Roses" by Carol Schiff, 12x12x1.5" Oil

This daily painting is a result of my trip to Laura Plantation in southern Louisiana last summer.  Laura Plantation was just beautiful and I found these roses climbing a picket fence.  As lovely as it was, I felt a dark cloud hung over the place as the spirit of slaves were in the air.  The tiny slave cabins could not be ignored, nor the fact that the grounds were maintained by them also.

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In spite of that, it was an interesting tour and very informative too.  The staff were well educated in the plantations history and gave us much insight into life on the plantation.

Laura Plantation is a Creole plantation and not what you expect when the word "plantation" comes into your mind.  No big white house with huge pillars but a modest Louisiana home.  The big white house we all think of is from "American Plantations", which we also visited.  It was just what we had expected, but I found it very strange that "slaves" were hardly mentioned during our tour there.

All in all, it was an interesting and informative day and I highly recommend the trip.  Here is a link to Laura Plantation's website:  http://www.lauraplantation.com


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Flower Painting, "Geranium Joy" by Carol Schiff 8x10" Oil

What could be cheerier on a dreary day that a bright red flower painting?  Geraniums are always a favorite in my home.  This one is painted on stretched canvas and looks fantastic in a bold black frame.

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This will brighten up even the darkest, most boring corner of your home.

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Once again, my goal was to keep my colors clean and bright and my strokes simple and bold. I think I achieved my goals in this flower painting


Monday, April 21, 2014

Wildlife Painting, Daily Painting, "Two Black Ducks" by Carol Schff, 6x8" Oil

A client wanted a large commissioned piece of her family's pet ducks.  There were lots of ducks...and they all were black.

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 I did this small study of two of the ducks....feeling my way around and trying to decide how to do the larger piece.

The client was happy with the study and I proceeded with the commissioned piece which is shown below.  The reference photo had dark ducks and dark background.  She also wanted to include two ducks that had gone to ducky heaven.  Below is the finished palette knife piece.

Hope your day is just ducky!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Abstract Painting, Contemporary Art, "Texture" by Carol Schiff, 16x20" Mixed Media

I was looking at my blogger statistics recently, and noticed that I will be celebrating my 7th year of writing this blog in two weeks!  How did that happen?

To celebrate, I thought I would re-post my most popular painting.  I was shocked to see that two of my works had many, many, more views than the others.  In fact, they had two or three times the amount of views than the 3rd place painting.  They are two completely different pieces of work and even weirder...neither have sold!

I suppose, I should wait for two weeks, but I have to act while I still like the idea, so here is the 2nd most popular  post:

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This is a view of a charming cottage and garden I found on a walk through Hyde Park in London.  The cottage was actually some type of park office and the grounds were incredible.

And here is the big winner..............................

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If you would like to read the original post, with a description of how this was painted, you will find it here:


Although I had painted a few small abstract type items, I consider this to be my first REAL abstract.  With 1138 views, it far out paced every other post!

So there is a big difference in the two paintings.  The only thing they have in common is that I painted them both and neither sold!  :)  Maybe, with time, this will become my MOST POPULAR POST!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Rooftop Flowers, 8x10 Floral Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher

This is the finished product from Monday's group session. I can't seem to stop painting San Miguel--it is like being there again, but without the Margaritas. 

I watched Jesus, the yard man, training bougainvillea up the wall, and the one in front of our villa had a trunk the size of a large tree. In the courtyard Jesus kept them tamed by nailing fishing line between two nails and weaving them in and out. I once asked a gardener how to best grow bougainvillea and he said, "With neglect." It's true. Put one in a vacant lot and see what happens.

In the Courtyard

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Bird Wings its way to Pillows

How postage stamp size ideas grow into something more with Photoshop and Spoonflower!

by Kathy Garvey
I sketched a lot of little birds on my recent trips to the Washington, D.C. area. On a snowy March 25th when it was too cold to be outside, I was especially taken with the little birds who would perch vertically in this funny little stance (the first little bird on the left page) and keep an eye out for their turn at the feeders. Sometimes they'd wait long periods like that for the squirrel to finish up. I played with this cute position in the doodles on the right page.

On March 26th and continuing over the next few days, I drew a little bird on 9x12 cold press watercolor paper with a black 005 micron pen based on the tiny rough in the upper right corner of my sketchbook.

Not sure which way to watercolor him, I scanned him into my computer when I got back home. On the 9th of April, I took the scanned image into Photoshop CS6 and played with it there for a few days. Below are some of the Photoshop color experiments.

This helped me decide I preferred the blues and greens over the reds and so on April 14th while at the Guild with my fellow Pieces of 8, I painted him in with watercolor.

The next day I thought the same little bird might work well printed to fabric. By moving my favorite of the Photoshoped birds (the green one) into an 18 x 18 inch file at 150 ppi (down from 300) and experimenting more with what the surrounding fabric might look like, I was able to design a pillow top.

Once I had the layout, I couldn't decide on colors - yes, too many options always gets me. Besides, one never knows how colors will print to paper, and fabric can be even more mysterious. But that's the joy of digital! Six different versions of the little bird later, each one was placed into a much larger Photoshop file of 54 inches wide by 36 inches tall (the size of Spoonflower's yard of Linen/Cotton Canvas). After saving it to jpeg and making sure it didn't exceed the 40 mb file size limit (it was only 23 mb) I was able to upload it to Spoonflower. 
Can't wait to see if my colors look good on fabric! I'm hoping that inspiring little vertical bird will have winged its way to at least six pillows in time for our next Annual Pieces of 8 Christmas Sale!

And, if the color is right, then even larger pillows may be in order based on more play with that same little tiny bird in Photoshop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Monday, Monday

I look so forward to Monday's when I'm in town because I get to meet with the rest of the Pieces of 8 - provided they are also in town. I don't think any of us realized our senior years would be so much busier (at least travel wise) than our junior years!

This Monday it was just Carmen, Mary and I again. But soon we were joined by Fay for a short while and at lunch we got a visit from Donna. We'll take what we can get!  Here's a few pictures from the day!

Mary, Carmen and Fay enjoying our time at the Guild

Carmen painting some bougainvillea from her Mexico trip

Fay doing some warm up exercises!

I watercolored in one of my bird drawings

Mary is continuing a large fractured watercolor of beautiful leaves

 I snapped a picture of the very talented Bill McCoy painting a still life in a far off space. No, he's not a member of the Pieces of 8, but he is an inspiration and the current Guild president who is often there on Mondays!

May you all be blessed with wonderful inspiring friends and a fantastic place to meet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Art Sale, Daily Painting, "The Kiss" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

Another WILD AND WACKY WEDNESDAY and another art sale!

Today's sale item is one of my favorite palette knife paintings, called "the Kiss"

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I had lots of fun with the knife, playing will complimentary colors and natural light.

Whomever purchases this painting will follow the link above and be asked to pay $95 plus shipping fees.  They should then write WILD AND WACKY SALE on their order.  This is the clue for me to immediately send their credit card or PayPal account a $20.00 rebate.

This offer expires April 17, 2014 at midnight PDT.

Don't let it get away!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Flower Painting, Floral Still Life, "Mixed Blessings" by Carol Schiff, 8x8x1.5 Oil

It's spring.....sigh!  The perfect time to paint flowers...........

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I don't know about you, but I was beginning to think that winter would never go away!  I now what you're thinking...."she lives in Florida???)  Well. true, but even in Florida we have seen day after day of piles of snow and cars sliding off the road, although it was on the nightly news.  We feel for those of you who had to suffer through it first hand and we are happy that it is gone.

So lets all celebrate a new beginning.

Hope you pin it!


Daily Painting, Small oil painting, "Room with A View" by Carol Schiff, 8x10x1.5" Oil

Strange name for a landscape.....maybe.  When I opened to door to my hotel room, this is the scene that pulled me across the room and on to the balcony........the perfect Florida beach scene, the glorious view we all hope for when we rent that room!  I knew the day would be good....and it was!

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I painted with on gallery wrap canvas with the sides painted, so no frame is required.
My challenge in this painting was to capture the beautiful jewel tones on the sea and suggest the strong tropical light.

I hope you have a "room with a view" on your next vacation!  Enjoy!


Flamingo Pool at the Zoo

Every Tuesday morning I teach a small watercolor class.  This flamingo painting was this week's demo.

Our Zoo is very special, and I love to paint the animals and birds who live there.

We are so happy to Kathy back in town from all her helping out the members of her large family.  Her blogs are always so interesting.

Hope you enjoy seeing this small painting from Tuesday.

Mary Warnick

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sailboat Painting, Small Oil Painting, "Swirl" by Carol Schiff, 10x8x.75" Oil

I had so much fun with this sailboat painting!  I have a photo of a sailboat regatta we watched several years ago.  It was quite breezy and the little boats were buzzing around like bees, trying to complete their course.

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 I wanted to really capture the feel of the day and the movement of the water and boats.  I started by applying texture to my blank canvas.

Then I attacked with a palette knife and plenty of thick paint,  trying to capture even more texture.

It was a perfect painting day...I danced around the studio in between strokes.  This little painting is at the top of the list in enjoyment and it still makes me smile when I see it!

Give it a try....and pin this if you like.


Colors of San Miguel

Since I am working on a larger painting, I have no artwork ready to post, so I will share some of my photos from San Miguel de Allende. Above are Aztec dancers having a big celebration of their conversion to Christianity. I painted "Tiny Dancer," posted on March 23rd, from one of my photos of this scene.

I love this photo because she makes me look tall. This is the lady who owns San Miguel Shoes, and she is always dressed up in a hat.

One night at the villa we had a fiesta with a Mariachi band, and they were wonderful. Six violinists as well as five other members. The younger men decorated their guitars with those big white apple stickers you get when you buy an Apple device. Tradition meets Tech.

San Miguel dates back to the 1500s, which is really old for the New World. Or any World. I love the ancient-looking buildings with their beautiful doors and windows, and inside you may find a beautiful courtyard with flowers and trees. It's the Spanish influence, which in turn was influenced by the Moors when they occupied Spain. It's one of the things that makes San Miguel so appealing to artists.

Posted by Carmen Beecher