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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Abstract Seascape Painting, Small Oil Painting, Tropical Ocean 8x8x1.5"

Fresh off a trip to the Florida Keys, I returned inspired by the gorgeous water colors. I started a new series I call "Coral Reef". This is the first piece of the series entitled "Wakes".
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 I was captivated with the colors of the sea as we rode out to the coral reef.

The boat wake followed us out seven miles from shore.

It was my first trip to the keys in many years, and a had forgotten the lure of the tropical beauty.

Thanks for viewing my blog today

Carol Schiff

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I am having a sale in my Etsy shop, and I want to use words like "HUGE," "PRICES SLASHED," and "NOT SOLD IN ANY STORES," but all you really need to hear is the magical: "FREE SHIPPING." Those are the words that always make me jump to attention. Not only that, but I am discounting all original art 20%.

The sale starts November 20th and ends December 20th. Just remember 20-20-20, the dates and 20%. These are one-of-a-kind paintings and you can shop in your jammies and avoid the crowds.


Photoshopping a Silver Spring Camellia

by Kathy Garvey

I just got back from a few days in the wonderful cabins at Silver Spring State Park near Ocala, Florida. I love walking in a park and then coming back and playing with my photos in Photoshop. This is the journey of one photo. The process took about two hours.

A lone camellia in bloom in one of the gardens near where you take the glass bottom boats captured my attention. It wasn't til I got home and looked at it on my laptop that I noticed the little bug. I love bugs, so this is the first photo I decided to play with. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)

My first attempt just did what I usually do; crop, play with filters, and add custom patterns to different areas.

Then I decided to crop more and be a little more creative by adding some custom brushes and of course more filters and a few borders.

Next, I experimented with adjusting and softening the colors.

And then I tried colorizing the results. I liked these two colors.
It's a long way from the original, but the one below, which merges the two colorized versions with a gradient mask, is my favorite.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dolphin Painting, Wildlife Painting, Small Oil Painting, Daily Painting, 6x8" Original Oil

This was a fun painting for me.  Maybe it's the subject matter, but I smiled the whole time.

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 Last summer, we spent a few days in Key Largo, with our grandson.  The one thing he was really looking forward to was swimming with the dolphins.  He loved every minute of it and later told me he had met a life long goal by doing so.  (He was 13).

While I was watching, I snapped this shot of one of the dolphins, and have had it on my list of subjects to paint for months.

Sometimes, many times, I find myself putting off certain subjects, afraid that I am not accomplished enough to do them justice.  Such was the case here.

I am happy I finally gave it a try, and was pleased with the results.  I will have to push myself more in the future, when I find myself backing off a subject that I am unfamiliar with.

Hope you have a great day!

 Carol Schiff

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Impressionist Fruit Still Life, Daily Painting, Small Oil Painting, 8x10x1.5" Oil on Gallery Wrap Canvas

In a blatant attempt to get away from flower paintings, today I am posting a still life of fruit,

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225. + shipping
 I have been accused of having to many grayed down hues in my art, so recently, I an trying to focus on more vibrant color....no more pasty pastels!

 I would like to report, that my tube of white paint is lasting longer, but it is too soon to tell.

Regardless, I am pleasently surprised with the color I achieved here, so hopefully I am on the right track.

Thanks for reading my blog today, and a special thank you to all who have supported my art and my blog with their purchases.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Memories of the Whitewater Grannies

This is the tenth anniversary of the first Pieces of Eight artists' retreat, when we went to Carol Schiff's home in North Carolina. The highlight of the trip for Denette, Donna, Carol and me was our whitewater rafting adventure in the Nantahala River. We had some trepidation at first, but soon became confident and--truth be told--smug. We had a great time until we hit something called The Slot, which is a little waterfall that eats rafts. I saw Donna fly by me and reached out to catch her, not realizing I too was airborne. We were rescued by a kindly man in a boat we had earlier complained about going too slow! Shame on us! As we met again on the shore, Donna said, "We have bonded over a near-death experience!"
Below are our Before and After photos. Notice we have no helmets? Safety precautions were sadly lacking but we were clueless.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Packing up the studio!

Moving Sale!!

25% Off original paintings

Many of you have asked about my moving sale.  After 40+ years of living on the Florida coast, we are pulling up roots and moving to the mountains of western North Carolina.  From the Atlantic to the Blue Ridge!

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It is both exciting and frightening.  Leaving family and friends behind is heartbreaking, but the mountains are calling us.  It's now or never and we decided on now!  

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As a result, I am trying to drastically reduce my inventory.  Thank you dear readers, for your support of my art in the past, and your response to my sale.  The results are heartwarming!  

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Today I am posting a few of my favorites that are still available.  With the upcoming holidays, .
it's the perfect time to get a head start on your gift list or your wish list.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lemons Redoux

This week I was in a collage frame of mind.  I wanted to start using some of the wonderful papers I have been hoarding but to start off slowly because it has been awhile.  Going through completed, started, half done and never to be finished projects I  found this great little photo of a painting I had done of lemons.  What would it be like to have an oil painting, a photo and a collage of the same subject??? Well here are the results.
The top is the completed collage, then a detail and lastly the collage with the photo on top.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Abstract Giclee Print, Daily Painting, Teal and Green Abstract

I have been in an experimental mood lately.  My oils have been gathering dust as I pour acrylics and alcohol inks.

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This piece is done on yupo paper, which really isn't paper at all, but a  very slick plastic type of surface favored by watercolorists.  It is an alcohol ink piece.

The original is not available, but I am offering this as a giclee print in several sizes.

We are in the process of moving and my mind seems scattered these days.  I will try to continue to post during the process, but please bare with me.  Eventually, we will be settled and my posts will become more regular.

Have a great day!

Carol Schiff

Ghost Ship, 20x20 Oil on Canvas by Carmen Beecher

After Florida was hit with Hurricane Irma, this sailboat was found washed up on Melbourne Beach. Authorities eventually discovered that the boat came all the way from Key West, hundreds of miles away. Aboard, oddly enough, were two mannequins, a large velvet rose, and a sign that declared, "beatings will continue until morale improves." 


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

As artists, we experiment all the time when we create. If you are reading this, you, as a creative person, try new things as well. I love experimenting with new and different media. Just remember the fun of it isn't trying to create the next big masterpiece. It's to have fun, stretch where you might not have gone before, and try to improve on your craft.

This fish was an experiment with the Elegant Writer, normally used as a lettering pen. 
My friend and fellow artist, Kathy Garvey enlightened me on how they work.
Draw it, wet it, then spray with water and the pigment becomes more permanent. Wow! It achieves a certain inky look and the color you see comes from the pen.

Jean Thomas

Pieces of Eight Group Challenge #7 "Experiment"

Experiment?  That's my middle name and I am always up to something outside the world of painting. My latest experiments have involved making natural dyes and trying to coax color from vegetables, leaves and spices.  As one thing leads to another I stumbled into eco-printing both on silk and on paper.  Here are my latest experiments on paper.

You see solidago, geranium leaves, maple leaves, hydrangea petals and marigold.  For more info check out my blog at:

  Cindy Experiment Michaud

This painting was a real experiment for me.  I wanted to paint a sunset, wildlife and marsh, but could not find a reference image  that I liked.

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Then I remebered a workshop I took, many years ago from Fritz vanEeden.  Fritz is an artist of international aclaim.  Among his many talents is his ability to paint images that he pulled from his mind's eye.

I gave it a try!


I started with the direction of the sky and clouds and then laid in the  wetlands below.

I have to admit, I did use a photo reference for the heron.  I just could not visualize all those body parts!

All in all, I was happy the day's efforts, and hopefully, this technique will come in handy in the future.

Carol Schiff

I really like getting away from oil for awhile and trying new techniques.  I usually do a collage or even a pouring but I have discovered an entirely new medium, alcohol inks.  I love the "lava lamp" effect they have.  I think with some experimentation I could control the flow of the inks better and use different mediums to display them.  Right now I am using yupo paper and tiles.  The inks do so much better on a smooth surface.
Here are two tiles I did with similar color palettes. 

This one is very loose.  Notice all the spotting, this is from spraying alcohol on the paint.

This one is more controlled.  I tried putting down the alcohol and pouring in that area then moving slowly around the tile.  This reminds me of a landscape with a sky, mountain, trees and a lake.

Donna Vines

 Mantilla, 5x7
I have been experimenting with transferring images using liquid medium. I painted the background with gold craft color, then transferred the images onto the paper. Most of the morning glory--or is it a Victrola?--is pen and ink. 
Windmill, 6x8

The windmill is transferred onto paper coated in copper paint. I drew the tulips in pen and ink.

Carmen Beecher


For our Experiment challenge, I wanted to try a watercolor technique where you apply a layer of plastic wrap to the wet colors and remove it after it dries. I like a more controlled style, so this was a real challenge for me. Since the effect reminds me of underbrush, I used the technique for creating backgrounds for a those tiny little chrysalises you find hidden in vines. 

Laying the plastic on for pupa # 5 below

Results after it dries

Thought I'd try lots of layers and colors for #6 (mistake!)
Below are the final paintings. The first two went fairly quickly. But the final four were time consuming.
Painted in order left to right, top to bottom. Pupa 01-06. Each has that number of times I applied paint with plastic wrap. Click the image for a larger view.

What did I discover from the experiment? I like it as a very light background. (As in I like the first two.) The more chaotic it got (I applied more and more layers of paint and plastic wrap in heavier colors as I progressed through the series) the more I was out of my element! I really struggled to make the last two into anything I could live with. It is a very good technique, however, for creating the look of underbrush! Once I master it, I might try using it for paintings of the Liguus tree snails I love so much!

Kathy Garvey
for more watercolors, visit my Etsy shop

As artists, we experiment all the time when we create. If you are reading this, you, as a creative person, try new things as well. I love experimenting with new and different media. Just remember the fun of it isn't trying to create the next big masterpiece. It's to have fun, stretch where you might not have gone before, and try to improve on your craft.

This fish was an experiment with the Elegant Writer, normally used as a lettering pen. 
My friend and fellow artist, Kathy Garvey enlightened me on how they work.
Draw it, wet it, then spray with water and the pigment becomes more permanent. Wow! It achieves a certain inky look and the color you see comes from the pen.

Jean Thomas

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creative Collaborations
by Fay Picardi

One of my favorite ways to create is collaboratively.  As both an artist and a poet, I delight in exploring the myriad of possibilities for combining disciplines.  Case in point is The Transformations project of several years back where 13 artists and 13 poets worked together to inspire each other and produce new works for a museum show and book at the Foosaner Art Museum.  

This current collaboration is of another type.  Let me explain. The whole concept started when I was given an exceptional work of art by my sister. Originally a gift from her to my mother, the large pot shown below is an early piece by Paul Chaleff, a world renowned ceramicist and teacher whose works are in major museums.

This piece is extraordinary on its own. Perhaps I should have left it that way. However, I started on this adventure by deciding that it needed “a little something.” A few Bird of Paradise leaves???

But, NO. I wanted something unique and colorful. Something worthy of being called ART, too. 

Kathy Garvey, a fellow Pieces of 8 whom I had met working on Transformations, came to the rescue and volunteered to help me! Kathy suggested we design and print fabric leaves at Spoonflower. (Spoonflower prints fabric for artists, designers and fabricators all over the world.)  Plus, she had created artificial butterflies for florists, so she knew the tools and techniques needed. Great!

I wanted the leaves to be spectacular (of course)! Also I wanted them to coordinate with the other beautiful artworks in the room, so I sent Kathy some inspiration pictures and a color chart.

Kathy took these ideas and photos of three of my favorite paintings in the room (Hot Horizon and Evening Glow by George Snyder, and L'eau de Nil by Denette Schweikert), put them into Adobe Illustrator and built some swatches from all the colors.

Then, Kathy started filling her sketchbooks with some early ideas for our leaves.

She did a color test for my approval…shown below with notes.

Next, Kathy tested our idea by creating some leaves in her favorite colors, printing them at Spoonflower and assembling them. Her production sheet and finished leaves are below.

Beautiful! Now we just had to come up with something that worked for my living space!

After much deliberation, Kathy presented some "cartoons" of banana like leaves with each one representing a different artist involved in the project; poetry for me, cutouts from the paintings by Denette for her, stripes for George, and a few critters for herself.

The designs were perfect! Kathy worked up one of the cartoons in Illustrator in full color and we used Photoshop to play other color options. Below is the test production sheet we had printed. 

Next, we each cut, stitched up several prototypes and discussed the colors that would work.

Kathy created the remaining three leaves, the largest, based on my input. They are shown below so that you can see some of the details. Mine is on the top with a Nautilus and lines from my poetry. Denette's is in the middle with details from her paintings and Kathy's is on the bottom with a snail, butterfly and bug. Touches of George Snyder's colors and composition can be seen throughout.

Below is the fabric printed by Spoonflower to their sumptuous fake suede. 

Now, for my part: cut, back, sew, turn, arrange!

I first cut the fabric,

                                                      then the lining.

To finish, I sewed, clipped, turned and finished the leaves. After, I wired and covered the stems.

Finally, I arranged the leaves in Paul Chaleff’s pot.

Et, voila! Our collaborative artistic masterpieces in a master ceramist's pot.
I love them both!
Thank you, Kathy!

Another of my favorite collaborations was the publication, The Stones Speak. This work presented Cindy Michaud's artwork along with my poems. Kathy did the extraordinary layout and design for this book. She also edited and formatted my chapbook, Nana's Sunday Dance, and my novel, Simonetta. Without Kathy Garvey (on Etsy, on Spoonflower), none of these works would have come to fruition! No wonder I like collaboration! Thanks again, Kathy.