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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Repose, 20x24 Oil on Canvas, after John Singer Sargent

Not For Sale

There are few paintings of mine that I won't sell, but this is one. I always loved this piece by John Singer Sargent, and I copied it in worshipful awe of his skills. 

Christmas was eventful and I was sick. I didn't realize I was allergic to our tree. When it dawned on me that might be a possibility I looked it up and the Christmas Tree Association has warnings, saying you should wash your tree before bringing it inside. We tossed it after everyone went home, then left the next day for Anna Maria Island, and I had a quick recovery--so much so that I was playing baseball by late afternoon! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

"Blue Heron" 12x12", SOLD

This is my third time painting this scene and each painting is very different than the others.  My latest effort is here:

Painted with a palette knife and a technique I have developed which i like to call Color Weaving.  It gives lots of texture to the painting.

The second effort was several years ago, a small 5x7" in a vaguely abstract style.

The first time I painted this bird was many years ago in pastel....................

It is very interesting to see which direction you painting goes over the years. I recently read about a man who took a photo of his daughter every week of her life.  Now he has a unique record. I think I will take a cue from him and  paint this again in a few years.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Teapot Lamps, teacup lamp, repurposed lamp, home decor, lighting, shabby chic decor, Throwing a little light on the subject.......

In the past few months, I started a new little project, which I wanted to share with you today.  Hope you enjoy them.

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I am making lamps from new and vintage teapots, cups and saucers.

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Each one is unique and one of a kind.  They will never be duplicated.

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This is actually a family project with my husband, my sone and my daughter-in-law.  Family makes it special and all the more fun.

This is our display, ready to go in a local vintage store.

I have shown you just a sampling of the adorable one of a kind lamps .  To view them all click here:

As special as these are, we can make them even more special, by making a lamp just for you.  If you have a few pieces of your wedding china, or maybe your grandmother's, or just something you love, we can make a custom lamp just for you.  Contact me through this blog, or my Etsy store.

Have a fun day today!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Not Elegant, but Definitely Fun

In August someone shared a video of Karlyn Holman demonstrating how to use the "Elegant Writer" calligraphy marker made by  Speedball. Karlyn is a fantastic artist and creates demos for Cheap Joes Art Stuff - a widely popular store for artists' supplies frequented by the Pieces of 8 if we are in their neighborhood  -  Asheville, Boone or Charlotte, NC! (They once loaded us up with some free supplies because they asked if we were there to paint - of course we were - but they meant to paint in their class that people had paid for. We can be so naive. And appreciative!)

Anyway, the artist was so good, as was the video, that I decided to give these markers a try. They come in sets of four or you can buy them individually. I bought one, the 1.3 mm tip and started drawing with it at one of our Pieces of 8 weekly meetings at Ralph's Art Supply. We were drawing cups! The magic of this marker is that if you wet what you've drawn with it, it oozes (yes it oozes) all kinds of marvelous colors. Totally beautiful blues, pinks and greens. That makes it awful and totally non-elegant if you worked hours on some beautiful calligraphy piece only to splash a drop of water on it. But, if as in the video, you wanted to wet it, then all kinds of FUN happens.

I love all the little squiggles happening on their own and the pretty mauve and blue shadows.

I made three more small  8x10s using the pen and wetting my paper afterwards. I realized why they were popular with people who make those pre-painted brightly colored journals. Stored the pen away with my colored pencils for journaling and got on with other things.

But, thinking they would be fun for the Pieces of 8 to experiment with in 2016 (we like to experiment but we call it a "challenge"), I ordered sets through Ralph's Art Supply that I was going to give them all today at our annual Christmas party. Which, unfortunately, I had to miss due to a bad cold. So, this is their notice, sets are waiting for you.  

Hope you will all have FUN experimenting. Here's is what I learned...

First of all, they only run when first "activated" by painting over them with water. Once a spot has spread, it doesn't spread again. It's really great for creating a background by painting around your object. Here's the start of one after activating, at the end I've put the final version of this in. (I deliberately left the center of the flowers blank so that I could put some pure yellow in and draw the stamens with a marker that doesn't bleed.)

You can sprinkle salt into any wet area for a grainy effect - shown above.
Then there's the fact that you can lightly spray your piece to get all sorts of lovely "bleeds" running every which way, especially if you tip and turn your paper.

You can carefully go over fine areas with a thin brush to keep them from spreading later. This is vital if you want to keep areas for pure color later. And I love how the colors that run are perfect for leaves!
And that's another great thing, you can paint or color over them. I've used gouache for all of these, but watercolor, acrylic, inks, colored pencils and markers will all work.
And you can go back and add new areas and bleed them. (Here I went back and added some background leaves with a Micron and others with the Elegant Writer. Then I sprayed water on it to get all the little spreading splotches.)
Or, in my case, where I want detail to not get all fun and wonky, I use a Micron pen over top. They don't bleed - ever! Below, the final centers on the lilies were drawn with a Micron pen.
Here's a link to that inspiring video if you've got 25 minutes to spare.

And my dear Pieces - I missed you all greatly today! Hope to see you all before next year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Daily Landscape Painting, "A Little Bit Country" 6x8 Oil SOLD

I have had this image in my files for several years.  Each time I tried to paint it, I failed.But, I kept the image on my memory stick, always nagging me, like waving a red flag at a bull.

This time I was happy with the results.  It's is not a particularly difficult scene.  I don't know what caused me so much trouble.  All I know is that every nine or 10 months or so, I would give it a try and then wipe it off.

The attraction was the strong light in the mid-ground and the back lighting on the fence.  I am happy to finally delete this from my "things to paint" list.

Have you ever had this experience with a specific scene?  If so, how did you overcome the challenge?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Floral with Melon Still Life, 14x18x.75" Oil

Today's art is a workshop painting.  I recently attended a 4-day workshp with one of my favorite artists, Elio Camacho.  Elio is as good as an instructor as he is as an artist.  I would be hard pressed to find another instructor with as much knowledge and one who gave me as much individual attention.  Maybe he thought I need the attention more than others....just kidding.  Everyone in the class got lots of instruction tailored to their individual needs.

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This is my second Elio workshop and I have already signed up for another.  I need constant reinforcement to actually put his techniques in practice.

Elio is not an internet artists, but you can find his work on Pinterest.  He doesn't allow photos taken of him that expose his face.  You will see lots of images of him at the easel, always from behind.

He lives in the Bay area, but travels to Florida in the Spring and Fall of each year to do workshops in several locations here.  Workshop information is available on his website here.  If you decide to go, you will have a real treat ahead of you, as he is also a very interesting person with a wonderful sense of humor.  Enjoy!

Have a great day!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Silver Sandals, 20x24 Oil on Canvas by Carmen Beecher


I painted this a few years ago, when my daughter was getting ready for my sister's wedding. Painting a mural and having Thanksgiving has made my painting time negligible, so I went to the past for this one. What a jolly good time we had at the wedding, which was in beautiful Middleburg, Virginia.

Speaking of Middleburg, they have a wonderful annual Shakespeare festival, "Shakespeare in the Burg," and next year's date is April 2-3. Click here for details:



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Small Seascape, "Celebrating Blue" by Carol Schiff, 6x8" Oil SOLD

I worked this small seascape with a knife, trying to mimic the action of the waves with my strokes.

I usually work from images on my computer, but this time the image was in my head.  I tried to fill the canvas with shades of blues and greens, and also to suggest a little of the beach.

I feel I captured the spirit of the waves rushing to shore, and I must say, it was a most enjoyable experience.  I plan to try this technique again.

Thank you for reading my blog today.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Daily Painting, Seagull Painting, "The Three Stooges" by Carol Schiff, 6x8 Oil, SOLD

The three birds in today's daily painting look a little goofy to me.  Maybe they are hungry, or maybe they are plotting against another, but I just don't trust them.

 They remind me of my childhood and the notorious "Three Stooges", Larry, Moe and Curly.
You remember them don't you?  They were always getting into trouble.

They are looking at a fourth seagull....not in this painting, and I don't think it is in a friendly manner!  I hope to do a second painting of this group, including the fourth member.

The reference photo was shared from Shelley Smart at her wonderful blog here.  Shelley is a fantastic photographer and generous too.  She gave me permission to use her image years ago.  I hope you will visit her interesting blog, "A Year at the Beach", where she recorded the activity on the beach every day.




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Small Floral Still Life. Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Flower Painting, 9x12x.75" Oil

Still playing catch up!  In retrospect, it was probably not a good idea to be out of state three months, attend a 4 day workshop and accept almost 20 commissions just weeks before the holidays.

So although I am painting every day, I am struggling to find new works that I can show on my blog at this time.

I did manage to do this one:

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 I really enjoyed painting something that I wanted to paint, and I think it shows.  Free and easy strokes and a touch of whimsy.

The holidays are almost here.  I are you getting that slightly franic feeling that I have?  Time to take a deep breath and decide just what is important and what it not.

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Wall Mural, 12x9 feet, "River of Dreams" by Carmen Beecher

This was a pretty exhausting project, but at least I had a peaceful place to rest. I was still in my working clothes, so not exactly a fashion plate, but very happy with my completed mural.

The mural is in the soon-to-be-cafe in River Run Christian Church on Croton Road in Melbourne. "River of Dreams" is appropriate, because our Church dreams big and accomplishes wonderful things, like Thanksgiving dinners for the needy, our backpack program that sends food home on weekends for children in need, an active Food Pantry, and much more. River Run Christian Church rocks, and I'm not just talking about the music!


Friday, November 20, 2015

Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Wildlife Painting, Bird Art, 6x8" Robin in Oil, SOLD

When I was a kid growing up in northern Ohio, I always anxiously awaited the return of robins, knowing winter was gone when they came.  I wondered where they spent the winters....now I know....North Carolina!

   Well, anyway, that is where this bird spent the winter and where my photographer friend, Ted Fuhrer snapped an image of him.  Thanks for allowing me to use it, Ted.

I really like this in a chunky black frame!

Thanks for reading my blog today.  I hope you see a robin in your tree.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


The three Z's, Zack, Ziggy and Zeus. Contact me by leaving a comment if you are interested in having a portrait of your pet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Daily Painting, Small Flower Painting, Small Oil Painting, " Picket Fence" by Carol Schiff, 6x12x.75" Oil

Every once in a while I find a small piece of "the way things used to be"........you know what I mean?  In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we often pass a charming white house, surrounded by a white picket fence.  It is obviously the house of a gardner.  When I saw it this summer, with a beautiful display of flowers bordering the fence, I asked my husband to stop so that I could hop out of the car and take a photo.
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  Somebody remind me not to paint  with such dark backgrounds!  Although, I love the way the painting shows in life, it is impossible to photograph it without glare.

Regardless, I was happy with the painting and thrilled to find this beautiful setting and reminder of the slower, more peaceful life in small town America that I remember from my youth.

Thank you for viewing my blog today.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Fall Sunrise, Oil Painting on Canvas, 20x20 Seascape by Carmen Beecher

A square seascape! Who'd a thunk it? This is from Kathy Garvey's beautiful photo of the sunrise on the Space Coast. 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Dog Portrait, Daily Painting, "Ruby's Nap". 16x20x1.5 Oil on Canvas, SOLD

Well, here I am posting another dog portrait.  There is good reason for that.  I have been working on several commissions for the same gentleman.  He loves his dogs and wanted oils of them.

This is Ruby, enjoying a little shut eye on the porch.  We all love to do that, right?

I loved this image and had a great time painting it.

Have a great day today and thanks for readking my blog.!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

An Invitation to a Unique Book Launching November 6!

Thanks, Cindy, for your enthusiastic and entertaining post about my new book and the launching party to celebrate it. To have the Pieces producing such intriguing and varied representations of Simonetta Vespucci for my upcoming book launching party is so excitingThe evening promises to be an extraordinary gathering of artists, writers and fun-loving followers. I can't wait! I hope you each can come! Bring friends, hubbies, other family!
 If you have read Cindy's post published on October 23rd about my book, you know now why I have not produced much art in the last year or so. My head and heart have been concentrated on Miss Vespucci. And I must say, I am very glad she is finally ready for her debut.

Please check out the following! And don't forget, since the Pieces are not having their annual Christmas sale this year, what better gift is there to give than an autographed book or an iconic image of Venus.
See you at the party! Fay

                                     Simonetta by Fay Picardi 

 An Invitation to a Unique Book Launching Party!
Come to Simonetta's launching party at the awesome, edgy Derek Gores Gallery at 587 Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne on November 6th from 5:30 to 7:30.  The Pieces of Eight will debut their interpretive representations of Simonetta Vespucci. Author Fay Picardi and her mystery guest will give a short reading at 6:30. The gallery is currently hosting an extraordinary exhibit by fashion photographer Michael Giragosian. As always, Derek's own internationally known works will be on display in this urban chic contemporary gallery which is home to the Not Quite right Comedy Improv Troupe. This event is attracting art lovers from as far away as Washington and New York.
Don't miss this exciting happening!!! 

Fay Picardi’s book, Simonetta, published by Burnt Umber Press is available at the launching or by e-mail at SimonettaV@earthlink.net. through Nov. 6 for a special price of $10 plus shipping, if applicable. Also available on Amazon.com and www.createspace.com/5321329. Learn more about Simonetta at faypicardi.weebly.com. or facebook.com/thesimonettastory.