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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mountain Scene by Mary Warnick

The lesson for my watercolor class this week was painting evergreen trees.  The class worked from a couple of mountain paintings of mine, photographs or their imagination and memory.

My demo, which is the painting displayed, was from memory with a bit of artistic license.  The Pieces of 8  have spent many happy getaways at the second homes of Carol and Cindy in the North Carolina mountains.

I started with the sky, then washed in the mountains.  While that dried I added the light green in the foreground.  Next was watching paint dry, so I went around and critiqued the students beginnings.
Adding the trees, flowers and a little barn for fun completed the painting.

The class enjoyed the session, and hope you will enjoy this post.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Little Photo Trek on Memorial Day

by Kathy Garvey

On Memorial Day Monday there were just three Pieces, Carmen, Mary and myself. We met at Oars and Paddles Park  in Indian Harbor Beach to take photos. We then trekked our way across Mather's Bridge. Boat traffic was heavy so before we got to the center the bridge master let us know we had to either scoot back to the beginning or skitter across quickly. We crossed. 

On the other side we walked along and took more photos. Beautiful area. Lovely pictures. One of the things I loved the best were the Royal Poinciana trees in bloom. They reminded me of another day way back in 1966 when I was an exchange student to the Philippines. During our pre-destination tour (before the over 100 of us students would be distributed to our respective islands), we were taken to the Manila American Cemetery. Beautiful huge green lawns of rolling fields were shaded by hundreds of Royal Poinciana, all in bloom. It was the first time I'd seen them. And beneath them, row on row, field on field of white crosses overwhelmed this then seventeen year old with the cost of war.  
I took this photo in 1966 of one small section of the Manila American Cemetery using my Dad's old Viceroy camera
for the first time. It's faded and dark but if you click on it to enlarge it, you can make out the Poincianas
in the foreground
and just one small section of the crosses in the background.

We three continued walking and taking photos while dodging heavy bike and automobile traffic. After another wait for boat traffic we crossed back over the bridge. It was WAY TOO HOT to continue! Our morning ended early with a fast dash to Doubles Beachside which, fortunately for us, was open by 10:30 a.m. on Memorial Day for cold sodas, lunch and frozen yogurt!

Of ninety two photos taken, twenty one were moved to a working folder for potential use and seven is the number I actually played with in Photoshop.  It is just play, not everything turns out like I want it to, but below are my before and afters. Click on any image to enlarge it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Horse Painting, Small Oil Painting, Daily Painting, "Buckskin Mare" by Carol Schiff, 8x10.1.5" Oil

I had a request for another horse painting,  I have not done many of them, but I also enjoy them.  It started with a ride through the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, where I found several horses grazing.  The buckskin was particularly friendly, coming up to the fence to great us and posing for several photographs.

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I found it difficult to mix the correct color of this animal, but finally was happy with the results.  I used a palette knife in the background of this small oil painting,  to create the texture of the grasses in the meadow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Meerkat Lookout, 6x6 Oil on Canvas Panel by Carmen Beecher

Meerkats are just adorable little animals. They are so busy. I wish I could channel my inner meerkat, I'd get a lot more done.

This mama was vigilantly watching for danger, which does not exist in the loving environs of the Brevard Zoo. She had a bunch of little fuzzy round babies that dashed in and out of the holes in their tunnel complex, then would break for lunch by scrambling up the hill to nurse enthusiastically. So cute!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pretty in Pink, 6x6 Original OIl Painting by Carmen Beecher

Kathy Garvey and I made a trek to the zoo and had a lovely time photographing all the wildlife. As you can see, some flamingos were brighter in color than others, but they were all beautiful.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Wildlife Painting, Daily Painting, "Great Blue Heron" by Carol Schiff, 11x14x1.5" Oil

It's always tricky trying to do a wildlife painting.  The tricky part is getting that perfect photo to work from.  With this daily painting, I got lucky!

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My group, Pieces of Eight, was touring Sebastian, Fl.  On the way home we made a quick stop at the riverside park in Grant looking for wildlife and other scenes.  I was out on the fishing dock and this beautiful Great Blue Heron was standing there on the railing, interested in stealing a fish from the fishermen.  He held his ground when I inched closer, and closer.  I got several good close-up shots.  This was my favorite pose.


I painted this in oil with palette knife and brush, on 11x14x1.5" gallery wrap canvas.  The sides are painted black.  I just love the substantial feel of gallery wrap canvases. If you are interested in a wildlife painting for your home, perhaps you will consider this one.

Thank you for reading my blog today.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Original Mixed Media, 8x10" Mixed Media, "Nature" by Carol Schiff

Today I am featuring something quite different for me.  Last summer I was able to take a workshop from the fabulous Carol Nelson.  I was so curious and fascinated by her work.  Carol did not disappoint!

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We have several fun filled days, learning new techniques and searching for oddities to use as materials.  Carol has been known to find her supplies in ditches on more than one occasion.  Being the ultimate creative artist, she finds possibilities in items you and I throw away daily.

It was a wonderful, fun workshop and I came home excited about a new world of possibilities.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Abstract Landscape, Daily Painting, "Fire in the Sky" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil

Whenever I feel the need to push my art, I turn to abstract.  This time,  I wanted some representation in the piece.
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 I started with an old reference photo and worked hard to bring movement and heat to the piece.



I really enjoyed working on this piece...I hope you enjoy it too!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Timed Challenge: 37 Minutes to Complete a Painting

by Kathy Garvey

Five of the Pieces of 8 met at the Guild this morning to work at another challenge presented by fellow member Carmen Beecher. This time it was to paint a simple set-up in only 37 minutes. We took at least that long just to get set up! 

But then Carmen started the clock! The pictures below capture the event. (Sorry that they are a little blurry. I had turned off my flash to capture something and forgot to turn it back on.) Click on any image to enlarge.

 Drop your brushes!

Time to critique!

Castaway point Plein Air Painting 10 x 8

You know how challenged yet determined I am by "plein air" work. So last Monday was a great boost for my progress as our Pieces of 8 gang accepted Carmen's challenge to spend a morning at Castaway Point bringing only 4 tubes of paint: our choice of a red, a blue, a yellow and white.

So I packed my permanent rose, my cad lemon yellow, a cobalt blue and the permalba white and set off to tackle the challenge.

Isn't this the most perfect place to spend the morning?  We were blessed with a cool breeze; equally important was the presence of bathrooms and several covered picnic tables.  I chose this spot in the shade after scouting the area and taking lots of photos.

Of course the challenge was to test our color mixing ability so I started off by making a palette of colors so I would not have to stop and think about what I needed.  I was pleased with the four hues of what I brought...they made very nice colors to work with.

Down to business....and I was actually enjoying the process.  I still have difficulty limiting my scope...afterall there is 360 degrees of beauty to choose from and only 10" of paper.  I often find myself "losing my place" when there is so much foliage.  At one point I averted frustration by just agreeing to make a lovely piece from what I saw, adjusting whatever I needed to in the name of good composition, not exacting replication.

Here is a beginning pass of the area I was painting.  The best part, again, was that I was truly happy doing this.  I worked some more before I became aware of my painting buds loading their cars!  That meant time had flown and I needed to pack up.  An old trick I use (being a cheapskate) is to mix all the non-savable colors on my palette into one surprise color.  It always produces some hue of gray which often turns out very lovely.  Ah, too late I discover that this bonus color is the exact tone I needed for the merky water!

Lunch was great at the harbor closer to town but I couldn't wait to get back to my studio and touch up the painting.  Here is the final result.

 Castaway Point Challenge

Castaway Point Challenge, 8 x 10, oil on linen paper

I'll let you know when it is dry, signed, mounted and ready to frame.  The fact that I maintained an excited attitude from start to finish is great progress for my plein air process....and I think the results are not too shabby!  

Colorfully yours,

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Copycat! Copycat! Copychianti! by Fay Picardi

 While visiting the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida several months ago, I was drawn to a very simple abstract collage by Robert Motherwell entitled Focknik, No. 2. The name itself is interesting enough. Focknik, despite its strange and evocative sound, is actually an eating establishment in Amsterdam, Holland. Until 1970, it was a manufacturer of fine liquors. Motherwell’s collage was created in 1958.

           Upon studying the work, I decided I handle the rigors of an homage. The following is my attempt to honor Mr. Motherwell’s work, or at least to duplicate it in some manner. I have taken the liberty of substituting the label from one of my favorite chianti’s, hence the title, After Motherwell’s Focknik No. 2, Picardi’s Damasco No 1. I am open to suggestions for a shorter, if not more apt title.

Morning Stack

How can anything that seems so simple be so hard.  Bowls are one of my favorite things.  I love their roundness, their color, their design, their shape, the way they feel....ahhh, they are just cute.  I thought I would set up several bowls and just paint away. 
First of all setting up several bowls and making them look interesting takes on a life of its own. Not everyone likes bowls or finds them endlessly fascinating, I know it's hard to believe but I have heard rumors and secondly you have to take lighting and composition into consideration. o.k. after several attempts, opinions, suggestions, changes and false starts this simple arrangement was agreed upon.
That was the easy part.  Round is hard!!! Their are lots of nooks and crannies to deal with, depth and shadow and lots of curves, oh dear. I had a lot of help with this painting and it is still not finished but I do love looking at it, not only because of the subject but because it reminds me that when I wanted to throw in the towel on this one I got a lot of  support to keep going.  thanks ladies.

Morning Stack

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Kayakers, 16x20 Original Oil Painting by Carmen Beecher

Paddling a kayak on the Olympic Peninsula Lake Crescent

Just finished this commission. I made a little slideshow of my work in progress. In retrospect I wish I had cropped it, but I'm now too lazy (busy) to redo it. To view the slideshow, which is very short, click on our Pieces of 8 Facebook page at right.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Daily Painting "Beach Patrol II by Carol Schiff, 6x8 art, Sea Gull painting

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I seem to be doing a lot of sea gull paintings lately.  I didn't plan it that way, it just happened.  This guy was on the beach close to my home, and didn't seem to care how many people were around.

Don't you think he looks rather determined?

I hope you get to the beach ,or whatever you like to do for relaxation, this weekend.

"The Challenge" posted by Mary Warnick

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I hope Carmen doesn't mind me giving her challenge to my students.  Since my class is in watercolors, and the paper serves as white, we used 3 colors.  I helped them choose the red, blue and yellow that would work best, then let them choose what to paint.  One of them copied a painting in a magazine, which was not in a limited palette and I loved her results, so instead of showing my work, I'm showing hers.
                                                          Marti's 3 color floral painting
The challenge was great fun with Carmen on Monday, and also in class later in the week.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Four Color Painting Challenge at Castaways Point Park

The Pieces of 8 who were in town met today at Castaways Point Park in Palm Bay for a painting challenge. The challenge, put out to us by Carmen, was to paint using only four colors. She commanded that we only bring four tubes of paint to the park!  It was a beautiful day in a lovely place and here are the pictures of how the five of us who were there met the challenge. You can click on any image to enlarge it.

Hard to believe we each only had four colors to work with. More challenges to come!