Collaborative acrylic painting

Collaboration

This piece was a collaborative effort between myself and another local artist, Linda Sandow. There is an art show coming up at our local art center for February called “Duets” and the idea is for artists to work together on a single piece. 

On the Saturday after Christmas, Linda brought a 12×24″ canvas over to my studio downtown (still there for a few weeks, yet) and, listening to instrumental music and chatting (with masks on), we went to work with acrylic paint, brushes and a palette knife.

It took about two hours from start to finish. Here’s the photo reference we used:

Here’s the photo reference we used:

photo reference for the collaborative painting
Photo of an alley in downtown Ludington, taken in January 2020.

We chose this photo because Linda wanted to do some moodier versions of downtown and liked the idea of using pictures of alleys and backs of buildings–places that are off the beaten path. 

For the painting we used mirror images of the same photo, one on each side of the canvas. Linda had a palette knife and I dug out a couple of brushes and after dividing the canvas right down the middle, we jumped in.

Here’s the time-lapse:

When I saw the time-lapse, I was struck by how differently we approached the work. I painted from the outside in and Linda painted from the inside out. I loved watching her lay on color like icing on a cake, working from light to dark. Such a great contrast to how I worked, sketching in all the shapes first and then going from darkest dark to lightest light, matching values and hues. 

She started giggling toward the end and I asked her what was so funny and she said, “I’m done!” What a great way to signal the end of a painting!

I’m so grateful that Linda agreed to work with me on this. I admire her fearlessness and playfulness and her exuberance! Painting with her was just the pick me up I needed after this year. 

Even though the subject is an alley at night, a typically dreary location, in this piece it is lit up like a Christmas tree and beauty is reflected on every surface. I love how it came together and I really enjoyed sharing this with Linda. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

It’s made me feel more inspired to paint subjects that are hidden and overlooked in the new year and see how I might transform them into something beautiful. And then to see how they transform me.

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new studio

Progress on my studio

Thanks to my lovely husband, Steve, my she-shed/studio/woman-cave is all wired up and we are now in the process of insulating the walls and ceiling. Woohoo! We’ve come a long way already!

Who says you can’t get good help these days? And he works for love!

Next we will be putting up the walls and then a floor and I can start moving my stuff! I’m thinking about a gas wall furnace, too, so it’ll be toasty in the wintertime, but until that happens a couple of space heaters will work just fine.

dogs in the studio
Of course, we’ve had to have the inspectors in to look everything over. They approve!

The walls are gonna be slat boards. I found a ton of them on Craigslist, used, but in great shape. Slat walls are really cool because you can literally cover them with hooks and then you can hang everything everywhere. Hurray! No more clothespins!

Slat walls for the studio.

And Steve came up with a brilliant plan for the ceiling which involves thin sheets of metal that we can get for practically nothing from the local newspaper office.

As usual, I’m of two minds about the new space. For one thing, it feels like I’ve been waiting all my life for this. Growing up in a large family meant that space was tight for everyone and resources were limited. Since I was little I’ve always dreamed about a big castle where I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Steve and I used to daydream about the perfect home/studio combination. “We’ll have a house with a turret on each end,” we’d say, because we each wanted our own private place to make stuff.

But life intervened, as it does. We had kids and a mortgage and all the turret building time got used for other things. No regrets! It’s been a grand adventure so far with more to come.

I’ve been making do with the spaces available to me since we moved back to Michigan in 2016. There was the Makers Market space on the main drag first, which was pretty awesome, not least because I was working adjacent to a lot of creative and crafty people every day. And I’ve enjoyed my various spaces at 307 S. James Street since I’ve been there. Combining creative space with retail has been a learning experience, for sure. I just never knew who was going to walk through the door there. Sometimes it was someone friendly and sometimes it was someone who’d clearly made a mistake. I never did open up my flat black gallery after all that work we did on it, but it’s okay. Everyone’s had to make sacrifices in 2020. Mine haven’t been more than I can handle, certainly, and I feel lucky to have gotten off so lightly compared to so many others.

In a few more weeks I’m going to start a new chapter in my arty art life and I’m feeling by turns gleeful and a little bit freaked by the whole thing. Like I said, two minds. That’s my m.o.

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prints cards on sale

My X-mas sale is finished!

My annual X-mas sale Friday, November 27 through Thursday, December 3, 2020 is officially over.

It’s the end of the line(s)

Please note: I will no longer offer cards and prints handmade in my studio. Cards and prints along with masks and canvas wraps and home decor and t-shirts and all that other swag will still be available, just not made by me personally. Instead, you can find everything in my Fine Art America shop (in the menu on the right).

Basically, I want more time to create original artwork. Making and packaging cards and prints takes time and energy, not to mention space. And, if you didn’t already know, I’m going to be moving soon and there just isn’t room for a big printer, plus all the paper and inks, envelopes, plastic sleeves, mats, foam core, etc., etc. in my new studio. But more about that later. Stay tuned!

Oh, all right, here’s a sneak preview of my soon-to-be-new digs being delivered by the great folks at Wanna Buy Sheds

Once I get it wired up and put some heat in there, it’ll be sweet! Promise I’ll post pictures as I go.

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Art Show wrap up, new pastel painting

To wrap up last month’s Art Show in three words, I’d use “breezy,” “grateful,” and “normal”. The weather was breezy both weekends, and the shoppers were grateful to be able to do something normal for a change.

Art show wrap up painting "A Little Bit of Normal" 8x8" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.
A little bit of normal, 8×8″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $250.

This is a pastel of my booth with some shoppers in it and their very patient doggy waiting in the front. He was a lot more interested in what was happening in front of him than behind. Since he’s facing the check out tent, maybe he was attracted by all the flapping tissue paper as we attempted to wrap up the more fragile items without everything flying away from us. It was sunny, yes, but also very windy! One of the perks of living near Lake Michigan is there’s almost always a breeze to be had.

All in all, it was a pretty successful couple of weekends. One of the things we heard over and over was how nice it was to do something “normal.” Normal in this case being an art show. So many events got cancelled this year, it was nice to have a show and put up signs and sell stuff. So I’m calling this piece “A Little Bit of Normal” because that’s what it meant to so many people.

Laurie says she’s done with art shows after this year, so I may have to stage one of my own. Stay tuned. I have some ideas about this and they involve a new studio space in my own front yard! It’s going to be so cool. I can’t wait.

Thanks for coming out and supporting us. It’s one of my favorite memories from this year so far.

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

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The Very Last Supper, Old (Dead) Masters show

Old (Dead) Masters show October 2020

Hey, now’s your chance to see my Old (Dead) Masters show up close and in person at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in October!

The timing for this show is too perfect! When I got a message from Ludington Area Center for the Arts saying they had a last minute cancellation and could I possibly bring in my Old (Dead) Masters paintings to display in the Performance Hall Lobby, I said yes, yes, yes!

I love this time of year. Of course, skeleton art is appropriate at any and all times of the year, in my opinion, but especially in October. It rocks!

This show features all the Old (Dead) Masters pieces that I have, each in a beautifully appropriate skull themed frame. You have to see them, they’re too cool!

So if you’re looking to get into that spooky skeleton mood this year–not that there’s anything not terrifying about 2020 so far, mind you–please make the trip to see my beautiful Old (Dead) Masters show. The art is fun and not too scary, so appropriate for all skeleton lovers, no matter their age. And it’s only up through October!

Bonus activity: see if you can correctly identify each of the famous artists/works that I parodied for each piece!

The details

Where:
Performance Hall Lobby, Ludington Area Center for the Arts, 107 S. Harrison St., Ludington, Michigan.

When:
Through October 2020

Hours:
Tuesday thru Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m

Parking everywhere, but there is some construction going on right now so you may have to get creative in your approach.

Happy Halloween!

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Artsie Craft Show returns!

Well, that was so much fun, we’re doing it again this next weekend! Come see us Saturday and Sunday, October 10-11, 2020 at 505 E. Melendy St., Ludington, Michigan. We’ll have some new items on display (I’m bringing Covid cards–thanks for the suggestion, Denise!) and the weather promises to be much more clement than it was before! Maybe in the 60’s!

Pictures from last weekend. Hope to see you there!

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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!

If you want to get news about events featuring my artwork, sign up for my Bone Appetite newsletter!

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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!

Sign up for my Bone Appetit or Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! Subscribers get special offers during the year, announcements about upcoming events, plus a peek into my process.

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