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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Painting Challenge #2, Pieces of 8 Group Challenge "Travel"

This is our second group challenge.  The topic this month is "Travel".

Our group members travel to all corners of the world, on a regular basis.  Sometimes, we only have one or two in town for our weekly get together, so "travel" seemed like a good subject for us to explore.

Kathy Garvey

"Wing-powered bicycle - if only I could travel like this!"

Mixed media - watercolor and polymer clay  - 9x12


Carol Schiff

Last summer I traveled to Ohio to visit my home town and attend a "cousins reunion".  Many things had changed in the 55 years I have been gone, but the old train station remains the same.

Wauseon Depot
11x14 Oil

Moroccan Mint by Cindy Michaud
10 x 10, oil on board

I recently spent two weeks in Marrakech where hot mint tea was a constant.  The Moroccans drink it really sweet and always from a glass, not a cup.  Where ever we were it was quite a ritual to be served.

Donna Vines

No matter where you go nothing says travel like a road trip.  Imagine tooling along the highways and byways with all you need for a comfy stay trailing behind you.

This 6x12 collage was done from old luggage stickers from the days when traveling was a real journey of the heart and the spirit.


One of my favorite places I've ever visited is Venice. Its ancient beauty is the stuff of dreams. The only vehicles are boats, including fire, trash, buses, and commuter vehicles. Where else do you see office workers carrying briefcases and standing in a gondola?

The Gondolier, 8x10 Oil
by Carmen Beecher

For this challenge, I have chosen a collage I finished several weeks ago after several decades of leaving it untouched. The recollection of the view of PalmaMajorca from the water in the 1960s has always been a delight for me. It is another delicious morsel from my past. I painted it first in acrylics many years ago and recently used collage to complete the town and village portions of it. The cathedral is actually high Spanish Gothic, but I remember it much more simply. As a presence dominating the town which was little more than a village then. The actual little village around the bend from the town had a deserted rocky inlet of clear cold azure water, the brace of which made everything else fade into the background. Just writing about the area whets my appetite to return.

Fay Picardi


by Mary Warnick

                                                      Painting of Teddy White, Jamaica

Our first cruise was a Panama Canal trip.  On the way home we stopped at Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
By this time I was shopped out, but my husband still wanted to see the shops.  I decided to walk in the opposite direction, despite the fact that I had taken no money with me.  I was approached with offers to braid my hair, take me to the falls, etc.  which I turned down.  I stopped to take some pictures and was approached by a man about my age with dreadlocks and a warm smile.  He asked if I would like to see his little community.  I told him I had no money. which he had trouble believing, but I finally convinced him.  He took me down a flight of steps and pointed out various parts of life in the little group he was a part of.  He also told his friends I had no money, but "let her take your picture anyway".  I had a delightful time with Teddy White and took pictures of him with his art work.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mountain Landscape Painting, Misty Mountain Morning, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, 6x12" Oil Landscape

Mornings in Carolina are so special.

purchase here

One of my favorite ways to start the day, is sipping my coffee on the deck, while the morning mist burns off.  It is so peaceful....as if I am alone in the world.  Sounds are muted and I feel protected.

 The Cherokee named it Nantahala, which means "land of the mid day sun".

Enjoy your day!

Carol Schiff

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tea Time

I love teapots.  I have no idea why but I just do.  I have a teapot collection and when my grandchildren were younger we would have tea parties.  They would dress in slips, scarfs, hats, high heels and beads from the play trunk and we would have a proper afternoon tea complete with little sandwiches, cookies or cupcakes.
This 11x14 collage is of one of my favorite teapots.  I used so many different colorful, textured papers to make the pot standout. There are even pieces of a cookbook page hidden in the pieces.
Donna Vines

Tea Time

Friday, May 26, 2017

Barn Painting, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, Rustic Painting, Scenic Landscape, 9x12x.75" sold

I am spending time in the mountains and have said goodbye to the tropical scenes, for now.


I have been reviewing Wolf Kahn's body of work and it seemed to mesh nicely with the subject matter here.  He is such a master.  His sense of color is unrivaled!

I tried to take a few hints from him.

Be prepared to see a few more barns and rural scenes in the next few weeks.

Have a colorful day!

Painting Up Sticks

Sometimes I work so hard on a painting
that my poor brain needs a break...but my hands
want to keep moving.  Times like that I tend to default to an
easy paint project that keeps my brushes moving while my 
brain goes on autopilot.  Here's a task for just that time.

For some reason painted sticks are all the rage now.  Just check out Pinterest (if you can open).  Or try a google search.  I am always coming home from a hike with interesting sticks (and stones) in my pockets so I decided that the next time I needed a low-impact job I would paint some sticks.

plain old sticks...but I did
learn that the wider the diameter, the easier to work with

some of the bark will flip off easily, some will need urging; 
where it won't budge just ease the transition with sandpaper

start going wild....I began really carefully attending to edges but soon
found that it really didn't matter.  I used acrylic paint but found my
leftover or sample wall paints really easy to put on; again, the skinny
sticks were a bit hard to add much decoration to

My grands are still a tad young to be trying this but I think it might be fun to do with kids, you could even do a hiking stick to use later on.  Other ideas are to "plant" in a potted plant for color, put in the garden as a marker or pile up in a glass jar just because.  I did it mostly for mental relaxation but here is what I ended up with:

poised in a kenyan they almost look like dancers

simple colors that might end up in my flower bed

these are my favorite

curtain call for the afternoon

So this gives me just one more reason to gather sticks, and I'm hunting some fatter ones so I can go crazy with designs.  Most likely these will end up in the garden as temporary decor while waiting for the flowers to bloom.  And the fact that they probably won't last will give me another reason to experiment again next spring.  

Whether you do this to make an orchid support, to entertain some young ones or just to occupy your hands have fun.  There's no way to go wrong!


Open for Business

I can't resist another painting share from Marrakech  
where I enjoyed the vibrant colors as well as the cultural
differences.  Outside the Medina (the old city) stores looked
very European, but it was the shops inside the walls that
caught my painter's eye.

I had plenty of time waiting in airports to play with some sketches and was anxious to try them out first in watercolor when I got home.  This was a daily scene on the way back to our riad and I loved that the weavings exposure to the elements seemed not to bother anyone (except maybe me).

I then took a 12 x 9 canvas and laid down a first pass keeping the paint very thin and drip-y.  I wanted to see if the drips left to dry added something of interest to this vignette.  I played around with the walls and shadows for quite a bit...I think I was anxious to get into the colors and patterns but afraid I would abandon the hard work around them if I jumped in too soon. Like waiting for desert.

I decided to preserve most of the drips, there was no other way to let you know that the street was pitted and uneven without distracting from the blankets.  And I wanted you to be more intrigued by the shadow of the person coming down the street than interested in the road.

When I finally did get into the weavings I enjoyed them like a bowl of ice cream, slowly working my way around the light and shadow and trying to get just enough suggestive pattern that you would know they were all unique.

"Open for Business," 12 x 9, oil on canvas

I like this piece.  I like the lines and minimal composition as well as the limited color.  I think it also
captures a feel for shopping outside the darker souks.  I was sorry to be done when I finished.

If you have been to this fascinating city and are interested in the art send me an e-mail (art@cindymichaud.com) as I will soon deliver them to the Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery, in Crossnore, NC.  

Traveling in Living COLOR,

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Art and Fashion

Several  months ago, I was contacted by an Israeli fashion designer, Assaf Pelleg.  He was designing his 2017 Spring/Summer Line, and wanted to use one of my paintings in his work.  I agreed to work with him, and we found two of my artworks that were of interest to him.

For several months, I heard nothing!  Then, suddenly, an email with the completed designs.

I am thrilled with the results!  

This is the fun part of what I do.  I sometimes struggle for days, over a specific artwork.  Just this week, I have worked on a piece for 3 days, and scrapped it this morning!  Then there are the boring hours, after hours, of internet work.  Taking photos, editing them, posting them.  Sometimes it seems the reward, is not enough to justify the effort. 

 But then, one day, a painting effortlessly falls off my brush, or a student sends me his power point presentation about how he was influenced by my art, or someone on the other side of the world, likes my work enough to place it in his collection.

That is the payoff!

Thanks for reading my blog today!

Carol Schiff

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Workshop with Elio

Twice a year I travel to Amelia Island, FL to attend a 3 day workshop with Elio Comacho.   Elio is a wonderful instructor, and it is always a hard working, but fun few days. 

He has a fabulous color sense and brushwork, and is very knowledgeable in all art related subjects, from art history, to technical aspects of paints and brushes.

I love the colors he chose in this three hour demo above.  He always does a large demo, usually 36x48", which is a highlight of the workshop. Please click on the picture to enlarge it and see the brushwork and color changes.

This painting and the one below are mine, from the workshop. 

Elio spent a year working only with  the color yellow, another with green, blue etc.  He did set ups to challenge us.  This one was green and blue.  The theory is, you will learn to see all the nuances of color when you paint objects that are the same hue, but different temperatures and saturation.

I don't think my workshop paintings are really showing any improvement for me, but I do feel improvement when I paint at home.  His instructions jump into my head, and I find I am much more critical of my finished pieces.  That has to be a good result!

I am already booked for his November 2017 workshop in Fernandina Beach.  Want to join us?

Carol Schiff

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mountain View

It is getting to be that time of year again.  No matter where you live you try to get away for a week or so in the summer.  If you live in the mountains you may think of the seashore.  If you live near the ocean like I do, you dream of the mountains.
This little 5x7 oil is a vista in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful and magical places I have ever been to.
Donna Vines

Mountain View

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A day at the beach is always a good thing.

Stop and smell the salt spray with these seascape paintings.



A day at the beach is always a good thing.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Spring is really here!!

To celebrate, I decided to post some favorite reference photos.  When I think of spring, I think of flowers.......enjoy!  Feel free to use these images for your own paintings.

Passion Flower from my friends yard.

Birthday roses.

Roadside Wildflowers
Sunflower and Tulips

Apple Blossoms

Okay!  I'm motivated!  Get ready, get set,  PAINT!!

Hope you have a very flowery day!

Carol Schiff

Monday, May 15, 2017

Animal Farm

I don't paint many animals and most of the ones I have painted are ones I know, I don't know why this is, animals are very interesting to paint and beautiful to look at. It maybe that I spend lot of time trying to capture the human form or that I love landscapes so much I just want to do those. When I look at my listings I see so many landscapes, still lives, abstracts, collages but not many living creatures.
Here are a few I have done.

Donna Vines
I painted my bother in law Michael's cats Rocky and Rambo for him.  Rocky was the friendlier.  He would inch his way over to you if you stayed long enough.


Argilla Road Rooster
The chickens and roosters I knew from a small farm on Argilla Road in Ipswich were really free range chickens.  They had the use of the yard, the fields and the road.  They spent a lot of time crossing that road and that is where I became acquainted with them.


Rambo was the more aloof of the two but he was always very busy guarding Michael's shoes.  He did a great job of it because Michael never had a shoe stolen while he had Rambo.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Old English Sheepdog Painting, Pet Portrait, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, 8x8x1.5" Oil by CarolSchiffStudio

I always loved a good shaggy dog story...so naturally I had to paint this one.

purchase here
 I found it a little difficult to get the sketching correct as this guy is all fur.  Thanks to my friend, Ted Fuhrer, for allowing me to use another of his fine photographic images.

I put a few impasto details in the face.

This image is also avaiable as a giclee print in several sizes here.

Thanks for reading my blog today.


Celeste, Graphite Drawing on Paper, 8x10 by Carmen Beecher

I've been so busy on a big project with songwriter Bobby Braddock that I have had no time for new items to post. I did manage to find some time to do this drawing and had fun with the hair. 


Friday, May 12, 2017

No Place to Hang Art??

I'm traveling this week in Marrakech, Morocco.
There is no doubt in my mind that I will be tempted
to bring back art in a variety of forms.  I've had to get creative
lately in finding new places to hang my acquisitions
so I thought I would share some ideas which
might help you open up new spots.

The most common reason (or excuse) I hear for not buying new art is the lack of wall space.  Oh come on, do you rotate your pieces (yes, it demands storage room but art can slide under the bed)?  Do you give away pieces you have grown tired of (or out grown)?  Have you tried to find new and innovative places for art?

I am never insulted when someone "confesses" they have hung my work in their bathroom...or the laundry room.  In my life those are two of the most visited rooms and I love gazing upon something beautiful while I "do my business." 

Here is my guest bath, look in the mirror and you will see
a collaged pair of birds by Carmen Beecher in addition to the sculpture by Lisa Joerling
 and the Virginia Greene fiber art; not seen is the painting on opposite wall

That room also has a 3D piece over the toilet as well as one in front of it and two paintings on the wall just over the tissue.  I packed a lot of art into a tiny room...and I love going in to view it all.

I've got art in all the normal places of a bedroom but found I could squeeze in a tiny piece by Margaret Dyer between my bed and lamp table.  It's the last thing I see when turning out the light.

Now how adorable is your closet?  Mine is not huge but I love the explosion of color and art I get
by giving it a little extra attention:

a painting of mine, a framed saying, a pottery earring holder, a felted hat
and a way to hang up colorful beads and necklaces

We even believe in art on our porch.  Weather exposed areas demand special attention but notice two original pieces here, the quilt square  by Heidi Fisher and the bird house.  The opposing wall holds some really cool iron work we picked up which just gets a better patina with age.

And don't forget the motor home if you have one.  Shouldn't it be just as personal and art-filled as your land base? Here's a peek into our Airstream:

over the radio by Lisa MacDonald Pottery,
 (I regret not having current photos of the lovely wall hangings by Virginia Green 
as well as a cool painting by Cheri Glover )

And don't forget your yard and garden...plenty of space for original creations to hang and breathe.  This great sculpture by Paul Glover greets me every day after work and never fails to give me a grin.

Have I mentioned the interior walls of garages?  the storage room or tool shed?  door panels?  kitchen cabinets or refrigerator walls?  And while I would gladly hang my collected pieces floor to ceiling, my husband doesn't share that esthetic, so believe me, we haven't even begun to reach "crowded" status.

Look around.  Pay attention to where your eyes light when you are in different places and spaces of your environment.  Do you see something beautiful and creative?  Why not?

So be careful, the next person who points out something in my studio that they would buy "if they only had wall space" might get a home visit from yours truly carrying a hammer, a nail AND the art.

Back soon...looking forward to sharing my treasures...and maybe where I put them!

Hanging Colorfully,