By Allysar Hassan
As a little girl, Carmen Beecher would walk to the nearest drug store in Dundee, FL, put 25 cents on the counter and order a banana split. The druggist would take his apron off and cross the street to the nearest grocery store to purchase one banana just for her. This is the kind of thing you can do when you grow up in a small town that she deemed “boring.” With a desire to find different forms of entertainment, Carmen poured herself into filling notebook (after notebook) of drawings that would later inspire a lifelong passion to paint.
As a military wife, Carmen lived in Bermuda and the Azores before settling here on the Space Coast where she worked for Patrick Air Force Base for 31 years. She started in the graphic shop working on illustrations, murals and publishing comics until retiring and starting another full-time job that’s a little messier, more colorful and right from her sunroom.
Embracing Transition and Following Passion
Carmen believes that if you’re really an artist, it’s not what you do but it’s who you are— and she has embraced that philosophy wholeheartedly as she’s dived into pursuing her passion for her art.
“I’m retired, and I could be just goofing off but it’s just what I am. I love it. I want to get better…I don’t know if I’m trying to sell myself or other people but there is no other alternative,” she said.
Carmen said joining the artists’ guild was one of the best things she did for her art. There she met eight other women that came together to start a group called “Pieces of Eight.” They paint oil together and travel to their own artists’ retreats every year where inspiration and creativity is bouncing from canvas to canvas.
“We rev each other up. It’s a nice support group in every way—personal, business and art. I’m so fortunate,” Carmen said.
With driven determination, Carmen has even become a daily painter and joined many online affiliations where she and other artists share their art. She paints at least three paintings a week.
“There’s none of this, ‘Oh I’m not inspired today.’ It’s my job, and I do it. Producing so much work improves you and helps your art,” she said.
Realism vs. Impressionism
Carmen describes her work as a combination of realism and impressionism. She paints from photographs she’s taken from around the world and is attracted to ones with dramatic light and shadow.
“I try to convey the subject in a dramatic way, while telling myself not to overwork. An artist always needs someone to hit her over the head with a hammer to make her stop nitpicking when a painting is done. One artist said, ‘Don’t state. Indicate,’” she said.
Carmen said she is most inspired by nature, interesting looking people and birds.
“I’m in love with spoonbill birds. They’re the cross between pink and orange, and they’re so beautiful but they have a silly looking face,” she said.
Past and Present
Although Carmen’s resume boasts of published illustrations, comics and murals, there is one monumental moment of her career that stands out above them all. She received an email from the editor of International Artist Magazine asking her if she would like to be featured in the publication.
“That was a big moment for me because the quality of art in that magazine is amazing, and I was thrilled to be included,” she said.
Carmen is currently working on a large collage of torn paper into an apple, and of course, her daily paintings. Keep a lookout for her exhibit in January at the Art and Antique Studio in Melbourne, which will feature many of her daily paintings and larger pieces of work.
To learn more about Carmen, stay up-to-date on her future exhibits, and purchase her work visit carmenbeecher.com.