Monthly Archives: March 2016

Eagle 9, Balancing

I liked the shape of the shadow underneath the eagle, how it formed a fulcrum at the bottom of the picture plane, with the head balanced forward and the tail feathers in the back.

Bald eagle balanced on the nest

Eagle 9, Balancing, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

Sometimes my creative life is like this bird, all balanced and everything coming together nicely. Sometimes it’s all out of kilter and I have to be patient until everything aligns properly again.


Eagle 7 & 8

pastel study of an eagle and two eaglets

Eagle and nest, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

It’s hard to see the eaglets, but they’re there to the left of the parent.

pastel drawing of an eagle in rainbow colors

Psychedelic Eagle, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

This was a challenge to myself to mix up the colors. I should have switched the temperatures on the head and back from warm to cool, though. It’s a challenge keeping everything in mind at once!


Eagle 6

pastel drawing of a sleeping bald eagle

Sleepyhead, No. 6, Eagle Cam Series, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

Sleeping on the job

Does anyone think these eagle drawings are patriotic? I don’t think of them that way. I think of them as wonderful opportunities to paint something alive without having to run out and catch it.

This drawing is hilarious to me, because the eagle is sleeping, probably after being up all night with its kids. At first, I thought about waiting until it woke up to do a drawing, but then I thought, eagles are birds and birds are living things and all living things need to rest sometime. Particularly when the kids are young. Then you take your naps whenever and wherever you can get them.

Once one of the adults brought back a fresh fish to the nest and proceeded to tear off chunks to eat. Finally, the one sitting on the nest made a move toward the fish, and so the first one flew off to give his/her partner some eating room. Soon she/he began feeding the eaglets.

When they’re doing normal things like feeding their young or napping, I don’t think of them as a symbol of my country or of patriotism. Then they’re just doing the best they can the only way they know how. They’re like everybody else.


Productive day at the Attic

I am really enjoying the longer shifts (11am-6pm) fewer times per month there. I get at least two Saturdays off a month with the new schedule, so that’s great, plus I have more time to put a painting together while I’m working.

Yesterday I got most of the way through this little pin up skelly girl that will be part of the Skeleton Crew I’m bringing to Amelia Island Shrimp Festival this year, April 28-May1, 2016. I’m excited to have new art to show, and I have been busy planning on just how to offer it. I want to have 5-7 original paintings for sale (pin-up, seiner, shoveler, sorter, captain, ship with crew, cook, zombie shrimp), matted and framed prints of each painting that I will take orders for to ship after the show, and one print that I’ll give away at the end of the show. I may also offer cards of each painting, but I’m still deciding about that. It’s nice to have different price points but printing the inventory is a pain, since I do it myself, and it may also keep people from buying the prints instead, which is what I want to sell the most of.

This girl still needs a little more tweaking as well a title, though. I was thinking about “You’re the shrimp in my grits,” or something like that. Any ideas? Put them in the comments!


Quit bugging me

Eagle study in pastel

Eagle study 3, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia


Today’s eagle sketch was made while watching this long-suffering bird snapping at flies that were after his/her partially finished meal. I decided to zoom in a bit on the head of the eagle. I’m learning more and more about what shapes make up an eagle’s head the more that I do this. And it’s fun!

Quick, before it moves!

It’s also tricky, because, unlike a model, who gets paid to hold a pose until the timer goes off, I never know what this bird is going to do next. For instance, right after I finished the preliminary sketch in pink, the bird got up and rearranged itself and I had to decide whether I had enough information to try to finish what I’d started. Turns out, I had enough, and happily, the eagle eventually returned to its original spot. By then, of course, the sun had gotten higher in the sky and the shadows had changed, but that’s life!



Eagle 2

Up in the aerie

eagle sitting on a nest

Eagle Nesting 2, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

The eagle cam is fascinating. I like watching them sit on the eggs, cocking their heads, ever alert. I like the way the sun bounces off their brassy feathers, how the shadows are blue violet on one side of their white heads. Can’t wait until there are chicks.


Sketching op

The internet can be magical. This morning I was wondering what to paint for a quick study and then I remembered the Eagle Cam that was featured on the npr website and voila! I had a subject all ready for me.

I put down my oatmeal, grabbed my pastels and a piece of paper and had about five minutes before she/he got up and presented me with a different view. I quit then because my breakfast was getting cold. Here’s the result from this morning. I think I’ll go back again this evening and see what kind of light is available when the sun is on other other side.

Eagle nesting

Eagle Nesting, study, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

It got me thinking that there are probably a million web cams pointing to interesting scenes from all over the world. I don’t have to fly anywhere to find something to paint. I can sit at my monitor and pick something at random.


Shrimp Festival developments

I paid the booth fee

So I guess that means I’m going to go. I’ve been waffling about whether or not this festival is a good idea or not. For one thing, Steve and I are trying to sell our house here in Florida so we can move back to Michigan. My life feels kind of higgledy piggledy and it’s hard to keep piling on. For another thing, I don’t have a tent to sell anything out of. And I don’t have any skeletons that are shrimp festival like.

But what the heck? If I really tried, I could find an excuse not to do anything ever again. I’m good at it. So what if I tried to find reasons to do this festival? What then?

Then I’d say, hey, my house has never been cleaner than it is right now so it’s a perfect time to get to work on a new skeleton series. I always feel more energetic when I’m organized. And I can probably borrow someone’s tent. Worst case scenario, I’ll rent one. It’s only money.

So I started doing some research on shrimpers and shrimp boats. I watched Forrest Gump. And I’ve been thinking pretty hard about what I could do to get people to want to buy skeletons, plus I’ve got some good marketing strategies that I’ve read recently that’ll help.

Shrimper ideas

Shrimper ideas

Tomorrow I’m going to get a little more finished with them. I’m thinking five or six shrimpers and one shrimp boat. Then I’m going to offer the originals at the festival and take orders for prints. I’ll have something to give away in exchange for contact information, maybe a girly shrimper skelly or something like that. Something fun and that’s not available to purchase in my booth.

Today, on Facebook, a friend asked me if I was fixated on death. I told him, No, they make me laugh. This shrimper series is a perfect example. It makes me grin to think of making shrimp boat workers decked out in rubber boots and gloves, holding their tools of the trade, and grinning from ear to ear. That’s what skeletons do. They’re always smiling, always having a good time. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with people like that?




Hoop house


pastel painting of a hoop house

Hoop House, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

Hoop House

This is a painting about the hoop house which is on Down Dog Farm where my sister lives in New York State with Jonathan, her beloved.

I decided to paint it because I liked the abstract quality of the structure in the picture. I liked the plastic cover forming a shroud, the ribs poking up out of the ground, and the lone wheelbarrow with various handles arrowing outward. They are getting ready to plant in the hoop house, hence the furrows, the wheelbarrow, the tree trunks staked to shore up the beds.

It helps me feel connected to her to paint the place where she lives. I miss her a lot.