Making skeleton funeral fans

paper cut outs and the wooden fan
Parts for the fan.
the pretty side of the fan
Venus being blown across the sea by the North wind.
the advertising side of the fan "keep looking beautiful" with a pirate skull
The advertising side.

I’m having a lot of fun making funeral fans to take to the Holiday Show this year! I thought the Birth of Venus was an appropriate image for this first one. She’s getting blown to shore by the North Wind. If you were stuck in church in the heat with no AC, you’d probably love to have a skelly fan to cool yourself off with, right?

Back in the day, churches would sell advertising on the backs of their paper fans. I made up my own for this one.

I’ll have ten altogether. Hope you can make it to the show!

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Skeleton art masks available

So a few weeks ago I made up some skeleton art masks in time for the Yart Sale at my friend’s house. I made ten of them, to be exact. I have three left.

skeleton art mask with elastic bands, copper wire nose piece and featuring skelly dancer no. 8
Skelly Dancer No. 8 skeleton art mask
skeleton art mask with blue skelly dancers, elastic bands, copper nose piece
Blue Skelly Dancers skeleton art mask
skeleton art mask, open, with elastic bands and copper nose wire
Last One to Ludington Buys the Ice Cream at House of Flavors skeleton art mask

They’re made from cotton and inkjet-printable fabric. I sew plastic-coated copper wire in the top seam so you can adjust the fit around your nose. You can wash them in cold water without detergent, line dry, and use a hot iron (no steam) to touch them up. Each one takes about a half hour to an hour to do. I’ve had a request to make the kind that you can put a reusable filter in, so the next batch will have pockets in the back.

Let me know if you’d like something different in the way of skeleton art on these. Any of my art work (including landscapes) could make an eye-catching art mask!

Right now these three are in my shop but I’ll have a bunch of them at the Holiday Artsie Craftsie Show coming up October 3 & 4, 2020. To get reminders about this and other events, sign up for my newsletter in the menu.

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The key to Yart sale success

Laurie tapes a sign to Craig's chest during our successful yart sale last weekend.

If you want to get people to come to your yart sale, you have to give them a sign. About 30 of them, actually.

Laurie Carey, who hosted the sale on her front lawn, is an absolute genius about making signs that draw people in. These were hot pink, stenciled with the days, times and address and with huge black arrows on them pointing the way. We put them at every major intersection leading into town and they did a great job bringing people in to the sale!

All weekend long, people would come up and say to us, “The signs were awesome!” I swear, Laurie ought to teach a class because she sure knows how to host a sale.

We all sold a ton of art, met a lot of new fans, and had a great time doing it. Best Yart Sale ever! Let’s do it again next year!

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Getting Reacquainted, pastel portrait by Marie Marfia

This is a portrait painting I did to remember a recent visit by my daughter, her wife and their baby. It was magical to have them all out to the house and spend time with them.

For a reference I used a picture that my daughter took of me on the floor in the living room, chatting with Maeve. There’s another picture of hers that I want to use, too.

It’s nice to have a reference that I didn’t set up myself for a change. I am always so self-conscious when I’m doing the picture taking. This is a nice composition. The figures are loose and relaxed. I like the way the light is outlining our heads and faces. I tried not to overwork the faces, but it’s easy to get carried away. Just means I need more practice!

Here’s the time-lapse:

Here’s the final:

Getting Reacquainted, 11x11" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.
Getting Reacquainted, 11×11″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. NFS.
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Two portraits finally get a forever home

I recently heard from someone whose portrait I’d done a few years back when I was in the middle of my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project. She wanted to know if that portrait and the one I’d done of her husband were still available to purchase.

I was pretty sure they were. I’d enjoyed making them, especially because of the furry hat and beard in one of the reference photos. (I have a weakness for furry hats and beards.) And sure enough, I found them in my flat file.

I mean, I make paintings because it’s fun and challenging and therapeutic, but I always love it when they find a home. Portraits especially. No one wants to live in a flat file all their life, right?

Here they are:

Portrait No. 38, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia, sold.
Portrait No. 39, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia, sold.

Below is a picture of how they’re displayed in her home.

Home at last!

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days Project. Find out more about having me create a portrait for you or someone you love.

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My Covid art was featured in The Freshwater Reporter!

Very exciting! A big thank you to publisher and editor Pat Stinson, who wrote about my artistic coping skills during the pandemic. It’s nice to be noticed! Here’s the article:

I'm at the bottom of the page! Skeletons! Art! Pandemic! Awesomeness!
If you can’t read this because it’s too small, email me and I’ll happily type it up for you. Seriously, I totally will.

The Freshwater Reporter is printed 16 times a year and features local news and events with a positive vibe. I confess that I have a weakness for start up publications, having gone through it myself in a previous life, and I’ve been advertising my studio and gallery in The Freshwater Reporter since they first began putting themselves out there. You go!

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Pastels at Art on the Town Gallery in Pentwater

If you’re up my way, please be sure to stop by Art on the Town Gallery in downtown Pentwater, Michigan. It’s a lovely consignment art gallery with a lot of really nice work to enjoy, including some of my own paintings. Here’s a gallery of the originals I have there this year:

I also have cards and prints of my landscapes and skelly art there, too. Art on the Town features 29 members showing ceramics, fused glass, jewelry, sculpture, fiber art, photography and painting. Pentwater is a lovely little town on Lake Michigan, a beautiful day trip from Grand Rapids.

Click here to go to Art on the Town’s Facebook page.

If you go, be sure to bring a mask to wear inside the gallery. Many of the members are in the high risk category for Covid-19 and they volunteer to be there for shoppers and browsers. Nobody should have to die for their art.

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What I did on my Covid vacation – the wrap up

Kicked up my heels, What I did on my Covid vacation series
Kicked up my heels, What I did on my Covid vacation series

This series is officially done and 19 of the 20 paintings that I did for this project have been sold! So cool!

There were a few other benefits:

  • I got some practice wielding a paint brush and acrylic paint
  • I got to focus on something creative amid the pandemic
  • Lakeshore Food Club is getting a check for $250 (because what the heck! So close!)

Thanks to everyone who followed along with me and who purchased paintings. Woohoo! You’re all awesome.

FYI, I plan to continue painting more skeletons coping with life in 2020. There seems to be a lot of interest and I have more ideas to play around with. Want to see me tackle something specific? Send your suggestions and I’ll add them to my list…

I’ve also heard from some of you that you’d be interested in a picture book featuring this series. Another suggestion was a poster with all the Covid skelly pictures on it. I thought about doing a series of coasters because the square format just sort of begs for that treatment. What do you think? Any of these ideas sound good to you? Let me know!

Thanks again for your feedback and support!

All the skelly paintings have shipped! Watch your mailbox…
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20 in 20: What I did on my COVID vacation

Here we go!

covid vacation 20 in 20 supplies
How are you coping?
I’m bored out of my mind right now, like everyone else. So naturally I got to thinking about how a skeleton would deal with this “stay at home, do not pass go, do not collect $200” lifestyle. And I decided she’d do all the things that I’m doing–like exercising, reading, ordering take out–in an effort to stay sane and positive and be a good person. But for some reason, it’s funnier when someone who’s already dead is doing it instead of me. So I decided to make a painting cartoon journal out of it.

My ulterior motives…
… included finally, finally practicing using acrylics. Also, to sell a little art for a good cause (see below). And these are very little art. Each canvas is just 6×6″. Small enough that making one every day is fun and not overwhelming, yet big enough to be able to paint tiny bones without having to use a single filament brush.

They’re the perfect size for hanging in that tiny blank space on your wall or perhaps on a mini easel on the corner of your desk where you’ve always wanted a grim, yet curiously hilarious reminder of what it’s like to be living in the world right now.

20 Paintings in 20 Days: What I Did on My COVID Vacation
So here’s the deal. I’m going to be posting a painting a day for the next 20 days, starting with Monday, May 18, 2020. If you’re on my Bone Appetit email list (sign up is in the menu) you will get two emails per day. The first one will go out at noon and I’ll share the preview sketch. The second one will be at 9 pm, to show off the finished painting.

If you’d like to purchase a painting, email me or text me at 904-566-4473. I’m pricing them at $25 each and it’ll be first come, first serve starting with next Monday morning’s email. The price includes USPS first class shipping (gotta prop that org. up, too!). Half of all proceeds will go to my local food bank, Lakeshore Food Club, here in Ludington.

Keep track of my progress here.

FYI, I’ll be posting twice daily on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as well, but later, after I’ve emailed my list. Subscribers get first dibs, so sign up for the best chance to purchase!

Thanks for keeping me sane!

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