Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Simonetta Vespucci

Just last week a friend of mine and fellow Pieces of Eight,  Fay Picardi, had a book launch.  She has written a wonderful book about this beautiful, mysterious, elusive woman although she was really just a girl, dying at 22. 
Not much is known about her except she so inspired Botticelli he painted her several times most famously as Venus rising from the Sea.  He asked to be buried at her feet when he died.  She captivated the de' Medici's , half of Florence, was renowned for her beauty and kindness but still remains an elusive mystery.
All of our group did some kind of painting or collage for the launch, which was a lot of fun.  I did a  collage in encaustic wax.  I really wanted something ethereal and otherworldly.  I loved the effect, it did have that mysterious quality.
If anyone is interested in a really good read the book is titled Simonetta by Fay Picardi and is available on Amazon.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I attended a wonderful workshop with Elio Camacho, an artist from California, about a week ago.  One of his many strengths is color.  He creates the most beautiful colors I have ever seen.  One of my main objectives was to learn as much about color as I could and interestingly enough the first painting I did was in black and white.  I realized after watching his demo and listening to his comments as he painted that I really need to learn about value then color would follow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Marsh Scene

This is a painting of the Ipswich MA marshes  I did a few years ago.  I always loved the way the grasses turned as the weather got colder.  The trees around the marsh area would turn color, the sky would be bluer with less clouds and the grass would turn the most interesting shades of orange, yellow and brown.
This was painted on a 6x12" canvas, which is really small but it always had a panoramic feeling to it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Collage Day II

This is the end result of my Woodpecker from collage day.  I found some fun papers and of course deviated from the exact painting and photo but that seems to be a given when you are collaging.  It is easy to get distracted by different papers because of their textures or eye appeal. 



Monday, July 6, 2015

Collage Day

Thursday was my day to lead the group and I thought instead of painting it would be fun to do a collage.  We hadn't had a collage day in quite a while.  I have a basket of papers I use.  Some of the papers are tissue, some designer , some hand painted.  I even have pages from books in different languages, sheet music and odds and ends I have picked up along the way.  I only keep as many as will fit into my basket so I can carry everything I need in one container.
I brought in several photos, acrylic paints for the under paintings, brushes and the binding medium.  The panels I brought were small but because we were doing an under painting then the collage I thought we might need a few weeks to complete our projects.  Although we made a lot of progress we didn't quite finish so next week I will post photos of our final results.
When I got home I decided to keep collaging.  I wanted to finish my group project with the group so I looked around for something else.  I found a photo Kathy had given us awhile ago to paint and I decided to collage my little bird instead.
The first photo is the one Kathy gave us, the second is my under painting and the third is the start of my collage.
original photo

under painting

start of the collage

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Southern Accents Quilt show

This week I went to a wonderful quilt show at the Ruth Funk Textile Museum.  We are so lucky to have such a little gem of a museum here.  I am always amazed at the wondrous cornucopia of ideas brewing in an artists mind and the patience and love of craft it takes to bring these visions forth.
The varied ideas, colors, motifs, textures and use of materials were a pleasure.
Here are a few photos from that show.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This is a follow up of our last group post.  As you know Fay brought in some Masters for us to paint from.  I picked Van Gogh. I was happy with the shape and energy of the trees I painted but the color is just s so....dull.  I decided to paint the same scene with more vibrant colors.  This is the start, I may go even bolder...hmm.

Van Gogh trees

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


This painting is from a photo I took in Charleston S.C. a few years ago.  We were walking down a side street of small homes with even smaller yards very close to the road.  This house had a profusion of flowering bushes in the yard and just everywhere.  You could not see  the porch, the steps or most of the front of the house, I loved it.  I painted it in a very abstract manner because of the wonderful, chaotic effect it had.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pie in the eye day

Yesterday was Fay's birthday and she treated us all to pie and coffee at the Sweetie Pie bake shop before group.  When you start the day with pie you know it is going to be a good one.
It was Carmen's turn to lead us into something new and a good exercise it was.  It really gets your thought process flowing and forces you  to see things so they are not how you perceive them.  We all brought drawing materials, sketch pads, some photos and something to measure with.  After  you decided what you wanted to draw you turned the photo upside down and drew that way.  You couldn't just sketch either, you had to measure things in relation to each other.  By turning the photo upside down and eye is not an eye but a shape.

Mary's finished drawing.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Black and White Day

Yesterday was a herding cats day for the Pieces.  We had a few members that were away, some members joined in the paint-a-thon protest to save the old Mel High building from being torn down to make way for yet another apartment building and some members could only make a special lunch.  Phillis Holland was down visiting from Georgia and we had a really nice reunion lunch beachside.
It was my turn to present and I thought hand coloring some black and white photos would be fun.  It was just Carmen, Kathy and Kathy's 4 year old granddaughter Josie but what the heck Carmen and I forged ahead anyway.
Neither of us finished our photos but it was a very relaxing way to spend the morning.  For some reason the time flies by and you can really get into the zone when hand painting.  I wanted to share a blow up of an area of the photo I was working on.  It was a picture I had taken in Maine at a friend's house.  All of my photos are really old snapshots I took when I was doing a lot of hand painting.
We used special Marshall oils, cotton and Q-tips for applying.  This photo was a sepia tone.
I just love the colors and tone you can create with this process.  It was so relaxing when my next turn rolls around we are going to do it again.

unfinished hand painted photo

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Even though I am in sunny Florida, I cannot escape the cold breath of winter.  I get constant reports and updates of the bitter temperatures and mountains of snow.  I do not miss these things at all but there is still some beauty to be found that isn't stark white.
This hand colored photo of Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA was taken on a January day and captures the cold, raw feeling of the ocean in Winter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hand Colored Photos

Several years ago I did some hand colored black and white photos.  I had long been intrigued by the process, ever since I had seen some postcards and landscapes in an antique shop many years ago.  I read about the process and decided to try it. 
It is very time consuming and can be tedious but I loved the results.  These are photos of two subjects I did that were not landscapes or outdoor scenes.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cooling Off

With all the photos of snow and cold weather I thought it might me nice to look at something completely different.  I painted this a few years ago and always loved the universal stance people seem to take when they are in the water.  Somehow all that ocean and space in front of you makes you forget that there are lots of people all around you.  Standing in the water makes people seem more relaxed, more natural.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Here kitty

I was going through some of the photos I have taken of my paintings.  I am trying to be better at taking photos of my work and also trying to come up with a better way to take them. 
I came across this photo of a portrait on one of my brother-in-laws cats, Rocky.  He is very sweet and posed so nicely for me when I shot the photos to do his portrait.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Another cloudy day

Carol Schiff posted a wonderful sky painting yesterday. Coincidently that is what we did in group on Thursday, clouds and skies. Carmen gave a demonstration explaining her techniques and use of color and tone. She also told us about some other painters she had discovered on YouTube and how they went about their paintings. It was really interesting and so much fun to watch.
After the demo we set to work on creating our own paintings trying to use some of the tips Carmen gave us. I think the best suggestion she had was to experiment. Everyone approaches their canvas differently, depending on their style, what they see and want to convey. Even though I had several photos with me I decided to put them aside and just paint my whole canvas blue and then put in some clouds. I had no other plan. I just wanted to lay down some paint, mix some colors, try different approaches and see what happened.
After awhile the clouds seem to take shape and lead me in a certain direction. Some of the clouds wanted to stay light while other areas called to be darkened. Some of the canvas did not even want to be sky or clouds but ocean.  One little area demanded to be land!! It really was a great exercise in mixing, setting a mood and letting go.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Living in Florida really has sooo much going for it. Today it was a chilly 65 degrees LOL so I made a pot of tea to warm up these poor old bones. While I was sipping my tea I noticed my wonderful little hula lamp so I got one of my teapot paintings and put it next to my lamp and thought this says it all.

Baby it's cold outside