Oil painter, collage artist, writer, illustrator, and chaser of shiny objects. Ask me anything!

Carmen Beecher
Jun 8, 2018

I am a Florida native but have lived in many places in the United States as well as Bermuda and the Azores islands. I now live on the Space Coast of Florida, so you see that I have been a beach dweller most of my life. Many of my paintings are ocean scenes, because I find it endlessly fascinating, with its daily changes in movement, light, and colors. I paint everything from murals to miniatures, and when I want to work really hard I do a collage portrait.

My memoir, Crackers and Oranges, was written to preserve memories of my childhood in a quirky little town in Central Florida, and my children’s book, Dibble the Dragon, is a picture book about a confused little dragon. I love writing and art and I’ll never retire!




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Would you consider painting your full-time job or do you also work somewhere else?
Jun 11, 6:44PM EDT0

That's kind of a tricky question. I retired from a full-time government job and was able to devote all my time to painting after that, so my income doesn't depend on art. I slowed down my painting to do a big illustration job for a year, then did my book, "Dibble the Dragon," and I have two jobs I'm working on right now. I may have a little problem with over-commitment.  I work several hours each day to help my husband dig up our front lawn, which has an infestation of rain lilies! Those beautiful pink flowers have managed to kill our grass. Most of my friends my age who are not artists spend time traveling, shopping, and at book clubs. My friends who are artists can't stop making art.

Jun 12, 7:20AM EDT0
Does the location of where you live affect your creativity and the art you produce? How so?
Jun 11, 2:06PM EDT0

Yes, it does, partly because of being in a place that is becoming more and more supportive of a vibrant art scene. The best thing that ever happened to me was becoming part of a group of like-minded women and meeting weekly to paint together. We call it our therapy day. The beauty of my location is a big influence too, because I live across from the beach on the East Coast of Florida.

Last edited @ Jun 12, 7:01AM EDT.
Jun 12, 7:00AM EDT0
Do your writing skills come as an advantage since you can write about your own work at the same time?
Jun 10, 9:28PM EDT0

I suppose so, since I love to write about something I am passionate about.

Jun 11, 7:00AM EDT0
Do you paint only when you feel like it or do you do it all the time no matter your mood?
Jun 10, 6:40PM EDT0

My normal routine is to paint just like going to any other job. I work best in the morning, and I get on it as early as possible. Life does interfere, like right now when there are so many other things going on that I must deal with, like an illustration job that I'm doing. Becoming a "Daily Painter," doing several small paintings a week, has increased my tempo and my discipline.

Jun 11, 6:57AM EDT0
Did you do the illustrations on Dibble the Dragon?
Jun 10, 6:21PM EDT0

Yes, I did.

Jun 11, 6:51AM EDT0
Would you say that social media has helped a lot in promoting your work and generating sales of your art pieces?
Jun 10, 7:28AM EDT0

I'd say it has helped some, but I don't think I'm good enough at it! I find that I end up with more followers who are also artists, and that doesn't help sales. People who devote a huge block of time to social media are probably getting more sales than I am. When I post a painting on Etsy, I then put it on my blog. I connect my blog post to social media and my Facebook business page. Then I go paint something, because that's about all the computer promotion I can stand for the moment. If an artist is really social media-savvy, I think they can use it to generate sales and exposure.

Jun 10, 8:10AM EDT0
What are the materials you usually use to make a collage? How do you choose the subjects for your collages?
Jun 9, 11:51AM EDT0

The support for my collages is canvas. I tear or cut magazines that have good quality paper. Some people use Elmer's glue for fixing the paper to the canvas, but I like liquid medium. Most of my collages are of people, but I have done still life and birds as well. My favorites are black and white portraits. I do collage when I have a big block of time, because I am pretty slow. This one was a commission.

Jun 10, 8:03AM EDT0
What sort of mediums do you like to dabble with other than oil paint?
Jun 9, 8:19AM EDT0

Collage is my other favorite. It's messy and difficult, but I love it. I like watercolor for my sketch journal, which is my travel journal. I take it on trips, and it is the best way to jog my memory about an enjoyable travel experience. Here are a couple of pages from my North Captiva Island, Florida trip.

Jun 10, 7:57AM EDT0
Did you learn how to paint or do you believe you were born with artistic talent?
Jun 9, 8:00AM EDT0

I honestly believe it's a bit of both. I always loved to draw and I spent a lot of time doing it, because I lived in a small town where there was nothing to do. I lived with my grandmother and my sisters lived elsewhere, so I was basically an only child. I read books and drew pictures a lot. I got oil paints and painted for years before having a lesson, so I tend to paint what I see. That's not always good. When I started having classes I learned just how complex art really is, and I had a lot to learn. I'm still learning. I find workshops from good artists are the best way to get the information, and I wish I'd done them when I was young.

Jun 10, 7:48AM EDT0
How has the response been for "Dibble the dragon" ? What do you plan to write next?
Jun 9, 2:45AM EDT0

My best response has been the book being read to a toddler, and at the end he clapped and asked to have it read again. I have not made a big publicity effort, so sales have been less than stellar. Just like my art, I need to figure out the best way to publicize my book. With bookstores closing because of Amazon, it's a whole different ballgame these days. I have no plans for a new book. I want to get back into some serious painting this summer.

Last edited @ Jun 9, 6:56AM EDT.
Jun 9, 6:42AM EDT0
In your opinion, what is the most underrated form of art?
Jun 8, 11:28PM EDT0

Illustration! The best example is Norman Rockwell, who was derided for being overly sentimental in his work. He had a job to do and a deadline, and he turned out beautiful paintings of everyday people. His brushwork, seen in person, is gorgeous, and his work always evokes emotion. Isn't that what art is supposed to do?

Jun 9, 6:48AM EDT0
What other forms of art do you enjoy the most?
Jun 8, 1:33PM EDT0

I am awed by beautiful sculpture. Michaelangelo took an oddly shaped piece of marble and carved David--which, by the way, I'll be seeing in Florence in the Fall! How one would even plan a sculpture like that is beyond me.

Jun 9, 6:51AM EDT0
What has been the most elaborate piece of art you've created? How long did it take and what materials did you use?
Jun 8, 5:59AM EDT0

My Steve Jobs collage was very involved. I used torn magazines and Apple brochures to create a portrait. Here it is. I'm not good about keeping track of my time, but it probably took me two weeks.

Jun 8, 7:11AM EDT0
Who are some of the modern artists that you like? Which of them would you like to collaborate on a piece with?
Jun 8, 1:47AM EDT0

Richard Schmid, Carol Marine, Karin Jurick, Mark Boedges, Qiang Huang, and Elio Camacho are all wonderful artists. I think painting a landscape with the witty Richard Schmid would be fabulous.

Jun 8, 7:08AM EDT0
Which current art world trends are you following and how do you incorporate these trends into your work?
Jun 1, 12:41AM EDT0

I love different forms of collage, especially with mixed media, but every time I do a collage I end up covering the whole canvas with torn paper, and I can't seem to change my style. I embraced "Daily Painting" a few years ago, and that has helped me have a disciplined work schedule, except when I am busy on illustrations or other commissions.

Jun 2, 8:17AM EDT0
What is the message you want to send through your work and why is this message important to you?
May 30, 7:40PM EDT0

Love beauty, love life, and love each other. There is too much ugliness in the world. And yes, the arts ARE important and humanity greatly benefits from them.

May 31, 10:43AM EDT0
What work of art do you wish you owned?
May 30, 3:37PM EDT0

"Repose" by John Singer Sargent. I like it so much I painted myself a copy. Here it is.

May 31, 10:40AM EDT0
How can someone get in touch with you to buy one of your art pieces?
May 30, 3:30PM EDT0

You can see my work that's for sale on Etsy. 

I can also be contacted through my website, and also have a gallery there.

May 31, 10:39AM EDT0
What was the last art show you went to and how did you feel about it? Were you inspired by the work you saw?
May 30, 3:21PM EDT0

The last one I attended was our local Artworks Show in Melbourne, Florida. I liked the realism in Michiel Bullock's seascapes.

May 31, 10:34AM EDT0
What piece of artwork are you most proud of and what did the process of creating it involve?
May 30, 11:13AM EDT0

This is one of my favorites. I was sitting on a train leaving Venice, Italy and saw this man out the window, with the light shining on him.

May 31, 10:28AM EDT0
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