landscape painting with mustard field under a gray sky

That’s the Mustard

landscape painting with mustard field under a gray sky

That’s the Mustard, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia

That’s the Mustard

Clearly I need more practice at this! I watched a video about blending, which I didn’t really need to do any for this painting of a field of mustard that’s on my way to work (or home, depending). I was drawn to paint the field because it glows yellow green right now and I wanted to capture that. I don’t think I did, really, so I tried it a couple of times with pastels and still not really there for me. Oh well. I’ll keep plugging away at it. Maybe when I look at it again tomorrow it will seem better than it does today. This happens to me a lot.

In other news

Hey, at least I’ve licked my picture hanging system problem! Actually, Steve was once again a really big help. He wields all the tools with consummate skill, I must say.

We spent part of the weekend and yesterday putting up electrical conduit. I’m going to suspend the art in the James Street Gallery from it using picture hanging wire, braces and STAS picture hooks. Sweet!

A big thank you to my friend Liz for giving me the idea to do it this way. It’s saving me a ton of money and it’s going to look pretty cool.


If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

Share
red wing blackbird silhouette painting

So it begins!

New project!

This summer I’ve decided I want to learn to paint with acrylics. So, as I’ve done before here and here, I’m committing to painting a small acrylic painting every day for the next 100 days. At the end of that time I hope to be more comfortable painting in acrylic and to have a bunch of work to show for my efforts.

Unlike my previous projects, I don’t entirely know what I’ll be concentrating on as far as subject matter goes. Right now I figure I’ll paint whatever subject appeals to me in the moment, concentrating on technique and composition rather than say, landscapes or portraits.

Today’s painting is based on a video tutorial that I watched this morning. The tutorial was about making a dark to light background and featured a bird and some branches in silhouette. It used just two colors—black and white—to make it easier for a novice (that would be me!) to get the hang of blending and simple enough that I would have a nice painting at the end.

I was inspired by the idea of a bird and also the graduated background. But of course I had to mix it up a little bit. Two colors? Nah. How about four?

See, I love to get up before the sun and watch it coloring the sky orange and gold and shining through the trees, so I decided to make my background reflect the color of the sky from this morning. So I needed red and yellow for that. For the bird I picked a red winged blackbird because they have so much personality and they’re everywhere around here. Plus, they have lovely red and yellow epaulettes on their shoulders, so I thought that would be perfect with my peachy background.

Here’s today’s effort:

red wing blackbird silhouette painting

001 Red Winged Blackbird, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Fear not, I am not giving up on pastels! I will continue to work with them because I love doing it. But it’s always good to shake things up if you possibly can, try something new. Keeps me thinking creatively, and who doesn’t need more of that?

I’ll be posting them here on my blog, so if you’d like to keep track of my progress, please bookmark this page and come back often. Or come and visit me in Ludington, Michigan. I have a new exhibit space next to the Bonafide Gallery called James St. Gallery and I’ll be hanging these paintings there all summer. Hope to see you soon!


If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

SaveSave

Share

Skelvis!

pastel painting of Elvis as a skeleton doing the Jailhouse Rock

Skelvis! 24×18″ pastel on paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Skelvis rocks!

When I was in college I did a lip synch video to Elvis’s immortal “Devil in Disguise.” I enlisted the help of my sister and a friend, dressed one like an angel in a pretty white frock and the other in  red flannel underwear with a tail and horns. They took turns dancing on my shoulders throughout the song through the use of video magic (well, it was magic back then). I was dressed as a tele-evangelistic minister in a sharp suit and tie, with my hair slicked back and holding a leather-encased bible.

Flash forward to this week when someone asked me if I’d yet done Elvis as a skeleton. The suggestion immediately brought back all the fun we had making that video. Truly, it was the highlight of my college career, not even kidding.

When my dad saw it later, I heard he laughed himself silly. High praise indeed.

To paint The King, I needed just the right reference photo. I didn’t find Devil in Disguise but I did find Jailhouse Rock. Looking it over, it occurred to me that a ribcage can look a lot like a striped uniform shirt, and well, he came together pretty quickly after that.

Here’s a couple of videos of the process:

And now all that hip-shaking sexiness is available for you to have for your very own! The original (18×24″ on paper, unmatted and unframed) is $600 and in my shop. You can also have him to grace your walls as a canvas wrap print, paper print, or a greeting card.

Do you know someone who loves the King and skeleton art? Please share.


If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share
pastel painting of a wave crashing

Bring on the floaties!

I’ve stopped giving the sky the stink eye, finally convinced that no more of that evil white stuff is about to come out of it.

And in true hamster-in-a-wheel fashion, I’ve leapfrogged over spring entirely and sat down and made a list of what I hope to accomplish this summer.

Number 1, swim more. Last year I meant to, but actually only made it to the lake once. I remember the day very well. I was in a panic because the summer had come and gone and I hadn’t yet gotten wet anywhere besides my shower.

“Let’s go swimming,” I told my beloved one gloriously warm day in early September and he said, “Sure!” because that’s what he always does. Steve’s my personal enabler and that’s why I love him so much.

So we put on our bathing suits and headed out the door. We planned to stop at the Walhalla Walmart (Dollar General) and pick up whatever they had left by way of floatation devices. Steve came out with a couple of air mattresses and with that we were well on our way to blissing out on the water somewhere.

Unfortunately, Steve had in mind that this would be Walen Lake, which is out in the middle of nowhere in the Manistee National Forest. I imagined a shoreline crowded with cattails, alive with bloodsuckers, all under a cloud of mosquitos. “Seriously?” “Yeah, let’s just go check it out real quick.” “Fine.”

Fortunately for me, when we got there it was cheek to jowl with trailers, tents and people with dogs. “Nope.” Back we raced to Round Lake and pulled up at the township park by the crack of 4 o’clock. All the running around had given me ample time to finish blowing up the inflatables so we were set.

We hurried down to the water and then walked about a mile out into the lake whereupon we flopped onto our air mattresses and didn’t move again for a straight hour and a half, unless it was to paddle farther out, away from the splishers and splashers closer in to the water’s edge. To be honest, I didn’t even do that much. I just grabbed Steve’s feet and let him tow me.

We dodged the odd pontoon boat and a flotilla of loons, speculated about whether or not the big painted turtle bobbing in the distance was hungry enough to go after our piggy wiggies, and baked in the afternoon sun. It was heaven.

And this year I mean to repeat myself at least twice a week from June through August. I mean it. I’ve already decided to wear a bathing suit to the studio every day just so I’ll be ready to hit the beach at the drop of hat.

I mean, what’s the point of living where all the lakes are if you never swim in them?

So that’s my list for the summer. Do you suppose I’ve forgotten anything?


If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

Share

Switchback

pastel of a road winding around a mountain in New Mexico

Switchback, 6×9″ pastel on UArt paper, mounted. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Switchback

What a sissy I’m turning out to be! It was all I could do to take pictures of the scenery while we were driving up to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico. Seriously had to put my meditation practice to the test! Steve was driving carefully and slowly, too. It’s just that my brain can’t see anything but the drop off, darn it.

Oh well. Home now! Safe and sound. And I can paint it and enjoy it in retrospect, right?

Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the painting process on this one. Enjoy!


This painting is available in my ebay store. Listings start at $4.99, go for 7 days and include free shipping.

If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

SaveSave

Share

Sunset over Sumner Lake

pastel painting of a sunset over Sumner Lake in New Mexico

Sunset Over Sumner Lake, 6×9″ pastel on paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Sunset over Sumner Lake

So Steve and I had been kind of racing to get to this place. It was the only state park within striking distance of where we’d started earlier in the day. It had water, a real rarity in New Mexico, and when I’d called earlier to find about about availability the ranger on the phone told me there were a few full hookup sites still available.

Of course, by the time we rolled in, the full hookup sites were all gone, so we moseyed down to the boat launch on the lake to see if there was anything down there. Ended up talking to this grit who was there with his two grandsons. It turned out that all along the lake was open camping, meaning if you could fit your unit in there, you could camp there. We ended up on a little bluff over the water, not too far away from this guy, but far enough that if they wanted to get rowdy, we’d never hear it.

Then we went and sat on a big flat rock by the water with a couple of beers and watched the sun go down. We found that by holding our bottles just so into the wind they “sang” for us. We amused ourselves for quite a while this way, until my hat blew off my head and Steve had to go rescue it. Lovely.

This painting is available in my ebay store. Listings start at $4.99, go for 7 days and include free shipping.

If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

SaveSave

Share

In the Valley

pastel painting of a road through a landscape, cottonwood trees, mountains

In the Valley, 6×9″ pastel on Canson mi-teintes paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

In the Valley

We were driving through New Mexico and had just reached the foothills of some mountains and then we were in this valley. The trees had just started to bud out, there was grass coming up, the morning sun was throwing shadows across the road, and I thought, “This is so pretty.” I could almost imagine living here.

Traveling with a camper is different from traveling between motel rooms. For one, it’s a lot cheaper to bring your own bedroom/kitchen combo along with you. Steve and I were interested in “dispersed camping” which is camping in Bureau of Land Management land or in National Forests wherever you can find a level spot to park your camper, basically.

When you camp like this, your scenery is definitely upgraded. No parking lots, no expressways. You look out your camper door in the morning and you might see a jackrabbit, or some birds, or deer. You definitely won’t see housekeeping staff out there.

I could do it some more, except I’d really like to be able to park somewhere and just be for a few days. Since we were on our way to Steve’s brother’s place in Tucson, we had to pack up and go every day. It’d be nice to just hang out and explore for a while. Sigh. Next time.

This painting is available in my ebay store. Listings start at $4.99, go for 7 days and include free shipping.

If you like what you’re seeing and reading, sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit (on the right). You’ll get regular updates on what’s happening in my studio plus exclusive access to twice yearly sales on my originals, prints and cards.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share

Turning Out Austin

pastel painting of a horse and handler in a corral Turning Out Austin

Turning Out Austin, 6×9″ pastel on Canson mi-teintes paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

“Turning Out Austin” is a painting about my niece Nathalie’s horse, a rescued thoroughbred and a sweet looking boy. Nathalie’s friend Pam is currently taking good care of Austin. I spent the last week with Steve camped behind Pam’s house in Tucson, AZ. This painting is based on a photo I took of Pam and Austin one morning last week. He was hungry! Pam was turning him out into a bigger paddock to have his breakfast and he just couldn’t wait to start eating!

It was lovely to hang out with Pam and her horses. I’ll have to paint some more of them soon!

More trip paintings to come

I’ll be posting more daily paintings from my recent camping trip out west, so stay tuned!

This painting is available on ebay.

Like what you see? Consider signing up for my newsletter! It’s free and you’ll stay up to date with what’s happening in my studio, plus get twice yearly discounts on my art, including originals, prints and cards.

Share

Sound of Small Waves

pastel painting of a lake, trees, sky

Sound of Small Waves, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Today, while walking the dogs I noticed that the waves from Round Lake were lapping along the shore and it was so beautiful I took a movie of it. And then I painted it, of course. You can’t hear the waves by looking at the painting. Or maybe you can.

This painting is on ebay as of 9pm tonight. Bidding starts at 99¢.

Share