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Skeleton window art

the final skeleton art window painting
This means you! Final window art over my office.

Ever since I moved into my space at the back of 307 S. James St. I’ve been meaning to put something in the window that overlooks the office where I work. The truth is I like to take naps in there every once in a while and it makes me feel a little too exposed to lay on the floor on a yoga mat and know that anyone walking by the window can see me snoring in there. I could have just hung up a curtain but why settle for fabric when I can make something awesome instead? So naturally I decided to make some skeleton window art.

It took a little longer than I hoped and this was because I had to order more leading strips and paint colors directly from the manufacturer (Plaid Gallery Glass) and their cheapest shipping option turns out to be very slooooooooow. But oh well. I was busy doing other things, if you recall. It got delivered eventually and then the whole project was finished up quickly after that.

Step 1: Make a sketch

sketch
I changed the bottom line to “for the skeleton army” because it’s closer to the original. Also I didn’t want it to seem like I was being a money grubbing jerk.

First I needed a design for the window. I settled on the classic Uncle Sam army recruiting poster as a starting point. Not hard to convert to a skeleton version. If anyone is interested in doing the same thing for themselves, just let me know and I’ll send you a scalable pdf file that you can use as a template.

Step 2: Convert to scalable vector art

template

This is what my template looks like. I have the colors on separate layers in Adobe Illustrator. It took about 16 letter-size pages which I then taped together.

Once I printed out the template I taped it up to the back side of the window and then started putting leading strips on the front side of the window, cementing them in place with a drop of liquid leading.

Step 3: Do the fiddly bits

I made the skull, hand, stars and lettering separately on clear plastic sleeves using the liquid leading. That’s because they were too detailed to do using the leading strips on a vertical surface. You can bend the strips into large, simple shapes but anything smaller and they don’t hold the curves. They peel off the glass when my back is turned and it’s frustrating as hell.

making a skeleton art window painting
I am using an exacto knife to trim away the little blobs of dried liquid leading that I used to anchor the strips. See my office through the window? I have plans for later on next spring, so stay tuned. All I’ll say right now is it’s not going to be white when I’m done with it.
skeleton art window painting
Here he is with the head, hand and lettering on the window. See all the little blobs of trimmed off liquid leading on the sill? The floor was covered with them by the end.

Step 4: Decide on a background

The next question was what to do with the background? It needed to cover the whole window, but the original Uncle Sam poster was just plain white. I wanted something kind of gothic. So I ended up using radiating stripes in purple and lilac.

skeleton art painted window
Here’s where I had to stop because I ran out of leading strips. Also, I needed more colors to finish than what I had in my studio.

Step 5: Break up the big shapes

I’m breaking up the big shapes in order to be able to apply the paint and not have the weight of it cause it to drip down the window. This meant there were a lot of places to dab the liquid leading and subsequently a lot more trimming to do.

Step 6: Fill in the rest of the color

Finally filling in the colors! This is the fun part and it goes pretty quickly, although my right shoulder needed a long soak in the tub after I was done. The guy that appears at the end was asking whether I liked the idea of food trucks parked on Filer St. next summer. I said I was all for more food choices in town ;).

Step 7: Enjoy my cool window art!

So this is it! This is my Uncle Skelly Wants You for the Skeleton Army window. What do you think? Pretty cool? I think so, too. And best of all, I can nap in peace!

skeleton art window
I Want You for the Skeleton Army painted glass window, 34″x34″, by Marie Marfia, ©2019.
detail of skeleton window art
Detail, I Want You for the Skeleton Army window art by Marie Marfia
looking down the hall from skelly window art
Detail, I Want You for the Skeleton Army window art by Marie Marfia

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pastel painting of the ludington lighthouse in late fall

Ludington Lighthouse, pastel painting of a late fall scene by Marie Marfia

Another painting of the beach in Ludington, Michigan. Love snow fence as an element in a painting! It’s so bright and lively in an otherwise pretty dull colored seascape. Some people don’t care for the red slash but I just love the splash of color!

Time-lapse of Ludington Lighthouse.
Ludington Lighthouse, 7×5″ pastel painting of a late fall beach in Ludington, Michigan. Available $145.

Here are the studies I made of this painting. Each is 3.5×2.5″.

study of the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 1.
Study for the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 2.
study for the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 3.

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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pastel painting of the Lake Michigan shoreline with snow and clouds

Ludington Lighthouse, pastel painting of a lake scene by Marie Marfia

November Clouds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $200.

Here’s a piece that I just completed today. I have been getting out to see Lake Michigan whenever I can now that I live so close. I hope to have a series of these kinds of paintings, the dunes covered in snow and the sky peaking through the clouds, by next spring.

Here’s the time-lapse:

Here are the three small studies (4.5×3″) that I did before I started on the final.

Study No. 1
Study No. 2
Study No. 3

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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First Light, pastel painting of sunrise in Michigan

My dogs love wandering around in our “back forty” now. So many little critters to roust out of their beds! I like being out there, too. Especially on mornings like this, where the sun and the clouds combine to make a colorful layered palette in the sky–blue, purple, pink and gold. It’s just glorious.

First Light, 8×5″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $180.

Here’s the time-lapse for this painting:

Time lapse of First Light, pastel painting by Marie Marfia.

And here are the studies I did first. Each one is 4×2.5″ on sanded paper.

First Light study no. 1, red and purple underpainting.
First Light, study no. 2, red and yellow underpainting.
First Light study no. 3, blue and yellow underpainting.
First Light study no. 4, blue and aqua underpainting.

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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pastel painting of a winter scene

Heavy Snow, pastel painting of the first snow of the season

I know I’m probably going to get tired of it sooner than later, but for right now I’m really loving the snow!

Here’s a time-lapse of a pastel painting from this morning’s walk out in the back of our new place.

Heavy Snow, pastel painting time-lapse.

I’m busy painting a few originals to bring to Laurie Carey & Friends Holiday Artsie Craft Show that’s coming up in just about 10 days. This snowfall came at just the right time for me to make some new winter scenes.

Before I did the larger painting, I did four little studies using a different watercolor underpainting for each one. Then I picked the underpainting I liked best for the final. Here are the little studies, all 2.5 x 4″. Can you tell which study I used as a reference?

Heavy Snow, study no. 1
Heavy Snow, study no. 2
Heavy Snow, study no. 3
Heavy Snow, study no. 4
Heavy Snow, 5×8″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia ©2019. Available $180.

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Boom! time-lapse pastel painting of a tree in my back yard

Watch me work on Boom!

This is a pastel painting of a tree in my back yard. I should say, my new back yard.

I am really enjoying the changing scenery right now. You know what I like best? There’s so much space. I guess I didn’t realize how closed in I felt walking in the woods until I had a place to walk that’s a mix of wide open spaces and clusters of trees. I could wander around here all day. The dogs sure wouldn’t mind it.

It’s so beautiful that it’s really hard to make myself go in to my studio in the mornings. But go I must because that’s where all my pastels are!

And of course the biggest reason to go is I get to paint stuff like this! So, yes, it’s a compromise, but it’s worth it.

Man. I can’t wait to see how everything changes once the snow comes…

Boom! pastel painting of a tree in morning sun

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plank with a saying on it

I can sing the national anthem in 1:30

I know this because I’ve added planking to my morning routine and it takes me exactly a minute and thirty seconds to get to the end of the The Star Spangled Banner. To get to two minutes I have to sing it over again, up to “…were so gallantly streaming.”

This is all occurs in my head, mind you. I don’t sing it out loud because Steve is still asleep and he’d be cranky if I woke him up, no matter how patriotic I’m being.

Every time I do this I flash back to the days when I would tell my children to brush their teeth while humming the anthem. The dentist recommended two minute long brushing twice a day and I thought that having them sing a song they knew would be more fun than a timer.

I settled on the Star Spangled Banner because, a) it was a song they ought to know, and b) I was pretty sure the song was two minutes long.

I’d tell my kids to sing it “with reverence,” hoping if they sang it like a dirge it would be enough time for their teeth to get thoroughly clean.

It worked well enough, I guess, although now I bet they probably can’t sing the song at all unless they have a toothbrush in their mouths.

Funny how the things you do because you’re being a mother of invention come back to haunt you. Sorry, kids! I didn’t mean to make you associate the national anthem with dental hygiene for the rest of your lives! I should have done more research and found a different song! One that was longer and that you’d probably never hear again except in an elevator sometimes!

As for me and my morning planking, the anthem works to take my mind off the burning in my stomach muscles, so I’m sticking with it until and if I ever make it to 3 minutes of planking. And then I think I may switch to this one.

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Walking a new path

This morning I slipped on my old shoes, gathered up the dogs and stepped outside to wander around my new back yard. Steve and I moved last weekend to a house sitting on ten acres of what feels like park land. There are trees and deer and grass and It. Is. Awesome.

No one else around. The world is brand new. There are scenic vistas everywhere I look that just beg to be painted. So many maples! This fall will be gorgeous. And I can’t wait to see it in the winter.

I could get used to this.

I just wanted to share some pictures I took this morning, one or two of which are soon to be landscape paintings.

Take a break with me and just breathe for a while.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/CekKTbWtRp6yVrEo9

Photo from my new back yard.
Click to see more of my new back yard!
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