Category Archives: Animals

Sad-Eyed Dog and Iris Eyes

acrylic painting of a sad eyed King Charles Spaniel

Sad-Eyed Dog, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia

acrylic painting of an iris flower

Iris Eye, 6×6″ acrylic painting on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Where was I?

Oh yes, I was posting every day about my 100 Acrylics in 100 Days project. Whelp, there have been developments and suffice to say, I’m still doing these, but there may be interruptions from time to time. Please bear with me. I appreciate your patience.

Every time a Pride Festival happens…

…someone gets their wings. I was asked to provide a pair of wings for the Pride Festival coming up here in Ludington, Michigan on June 10 at Rotary Park. So here they are. I painted them on a gessoed tablecloth stretched to about 4’x5′. Hope you can come out and get your picture taken with these lovely rainbow wings. I’ll be there!

 

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Curious Cow

acrylic painting of a cow face

Sunny Cow, No. 5, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Curious Cow

No. 5 is a quickie because I have to go down to Grand Rapids to meet up with my brother and his wife. We’re going to plant flowers in the family cemetery plots today. It’s always a great time to catch up. Joe says he wants to stop at a flea market that’s on the way, not to buy anything, but just to look at stuff and think about them. I can get behind that!

 

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acrylic painting of a pit bull dog face in purple

004 Purple Dog

acrylic painting of a pit bull dog face in purple

Purple Dog, no. 4, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Purple Dog

I remembered this morning that I had the Anderson Creek Kennels facebook page to use for inspiration and sure enough, there was a sweet pit in today’s pictures. I’ll probably do a bunch of doggy portraits. They’re really perfect for this size.

Calling it finished

Also figured out what to do with the background on this portrait of my brother Joe and his wife Anna. Two of my favorite people in the world. This was a pleasure to complete.

pastel portrait of a couple smiling

Joe and Anna, 11×14″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

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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.

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Where’s My Ride?

pastel painting of a large dog waiting in a truck

Where’s My Ride? 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I like to watch people walking along the street in front of my store. Sometimes I hit the jackpot and they leave their big, friendly dogs parked in a truck. Cool!

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

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Where’s My Ride?

pastel painting of a black and white bulldog looking out of the window of a green truck

Where’s My Ride? 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Whenever I’m at the studio I am entertained/dismayed/fascinated by the people walking by my window. Today I got lucky because someone left their big handsome bulldog in the truck across the street from me. He was a good boy, didn’t bark at anyone or anything. Just sat there calmly waiting for his ride to come back and take him home. Best doggo ever.

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

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The truth about living in a tiny house

A little over a year ago, my husband and I moved into a tiny house.

I welcomed the chance to downsize our lives. I envisioned paring down to a few, simple necessities, all within arm’s reach. I would discard all the rest, like nail clippings, into the nearest trash receptacle. My life would be streamlined, elegant, efficient, speedy.

Fast forward to last week, when I was looking for my bangle skirt to complete my skelly dancer costume.

“Honey, have you seen my hip scarf skirt thing with the coins on it?”

“Did you look in the attic?”

“Yes, it’s not there.”

“How about the shed? There’s a few boxes out there.”

“Nope.”

“The camper?”

“Seriously?”

We then quickly ran through all the rest of the possibilities, including my studio, both vehicles and the storage unit. It took a while. And then I realized the awful truth.

We had traded in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home where, even if I couldn’t find something right away, I knew it was ultimately going to be somewhere within a single building, for a tiny house and its seven additional storage units.

This was not efficient. This was not elegant. This is not acceptable.

How did this happen?

The same way everything happens. In tiny, almost unnoticeable steps. Like the oblivious frog slowly boiling to death in a soup pot, I fear my life is being sucked away, minute by minute, in search of things that I know I have, but just can’t find right this second. Come with me on a magical tour of all our extra storage spaces…

The (Official) Storage Unit

You don’t go from great big ranch house to tiny cottage without having a place to put all the stuff you couldn’t sell at the moving sale. The official storage unit is located 28 minutes away, which is inconvenient for Steve, who’s retired and stays home most days, but on the way to my studio, which is inconvenient for me because I hate having to go there.

The Shed

This is certainly more convenient than the storage unit because it’s in the back yard, however, my handy husband set about transforming it from a shed for yard tools into a retreat/workshop. He partitioned it, insulated it and filled it with woodworking tools, tie dye supplies, concrete sculpture stuff, guitar, computer, a desk, and a comfortable chair. Now it’s a very nice space for doing what a man’s got to do in the comfort and privacy of his den. However, it’s no longer a shed.

The Shed Addition

Because the non-shed is busy being a den, Steve’s building a lean to that’s going to hold all the things that used to be stored in the shed, like the lawn mower, the ladders, the gardening tools, shovels and bags of dirt.

The Camper

Gotta have one because one of these days, we’re going to pack up and head down the road to who knows where to have the best time ever. It’s just we have these dogs, one of whom is really uncomfortable traveling to anywhere new, and the other who’s a consummate escape artist. No problem, just drop them at the kennel, except the darn kennel owners expects us to pay for that, and the truck only gets 10 miles to the gallon when it’s pulling the camper, so maybe not a really long road trip, but if you’re just going one county over, then why bother camping? A day trip will do and we may as well take the dogs because it’s a beautiful day and they like walking in the woods as much as we do.

So the camper is now a storage unit for all our camping gear, plus extra kitchen items, like dishes and silverware and a bottle opener. Oh, and that cute string of skull lights that our neighbor down the street got us, and the lawn chairs that don’t fit in the non-shed or the lean-to, plus it’s really handy for overnight guests, since we no longer have a spare bedroom. Besides, the dogs won’t be around forever, and then we’re really going to tow it somewhere fun.

The Studio

My first studio space was large and we had dreams of splitting it equally between my work and Steve’s hobbies, but after a particularly awkward episode involving some odiferous mushrooms and multiple drying racks, we decided it was just going to be for me. Then I moved into an even smaller space and it really became just mine, all mine. Except it’s got the filing cabinet in there, so it’s mine all mine, unless something needs to be filed, and then it’s both of ours.

The Vehicles

We have two of those and the things they store all depends on what’s being moved from one of the other satellite storage units to another. For instance, my van currently has about 4,000 postcards in it, left over from ArtPrize Nine. Don’t ask me why I printed so many. I’m trying to use them for other things. Maybe to wallpaper a wall in my studio? Steve’s truck holds lots of truckworthy things like firewood, a chainsaw, bins with more camping supplies, mushroom hunting paraphernalia, fishing poles, and sometimes, the dog bag with the long leashes and portable water dish, plus cans and cans of Deet. Oh, and last week, it had my skelly dancing costume in it.

The Upshot

I still like living in a tiny house, even though I’ve stopped believing in the whole bare necessities only way of life thing. It might work if you were just starting out, before you’d had a chance to amass all these completely necessary things. But right now, at this stage of mine and Steve’s lives, we need our stuff, ergo, we need our satellite storage units.

We’re at the age where you’re not only more aware of time passing, but you’re also equally aware you’re running out of it. All those things you meant to do are now things that you’d better get done before it’s too late. Our stuff is more important to us than ever, because it represents a life we still plan on having, as soon as we remember where we stored it.

 

Tiny cat pastel painting is perfect for a tiny house.

©2017 Marie Marfia “In Memoriam,” 7×5″ pastel, $75.

 

 

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Walking my dogs makes me a better painter

At least it gets me off the couch in the mornings. Truthfully, if I had my way, I’d spend all day on the couch eating bonbons and flipping through Imgur on my iPad, but the dogs aren’t going to let themselves outside and since our yard isn’t fenced (yet!), I have to go with them.

This involves piling them into the back of my minivan and driving out to the woods. See, I’d walk them around the neighborhood but there are too many potential pitfalls involved with this, i.e. other loose dogs. So my preference is to drive about five miles south on Walhalla Road, turn off onto any one of half a dozen “seasonal roads” and tromp around the Manistee National Forest for an hour.

The dogs get to sniff and dig around, I don’t have to clean up after them (although I’ve unofficially adopted the first two miles of 6890 because, let’s face it, people are pigs), and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

Sometimes we see deer, sometimes a dead snake, and once Roger thought for sure a cat walked out of the ferns not six feet in front of him, but it was a skunk and he was not allowed to get any closer to it although he fussed a bit about my decision. I held firm, though. You should see the divots my feet left in the road even two weeks later. I held on for dear life, I’m telling you.

So how does this make me a better painter?

It provides subject matter, of course. I won’t tell you how many pictures of my dogs are on my Google drive right now, but it’s a lot. Like thousands. Sometimes I keep my finger on the camera button, snapping pic after pic of Roger digging in the dirt just to get that one glorious moment when he leaps back into the road to try to catch up to whatever he’s smelling off in the distance.

It lets me paint wonderful scenes of my dogs enjoying the great outdoors. I used to think I went out to the woods for me, but really, I go out there for them. They’re the ones that are having the great time.

I guess I’m jealous. Here I am, covered in Deet to keep off the bugs and checking for ticks and bears and swiping at deer flies and those two are just loping along with their tongues hanging out, having a grand old time. Every. Stinking. Morning.

I love it. I love them. I’m a lucky girl to have these lucky dogs.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Roger and Out” 6×9″ pastel on paper.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Daisy in the Dark,” 9×6″ pastel on paper.

You can find more of my daily paintings on ebay including the ones pictures here. They start at 99¢ and the auctions last for 7 days. Good luck and happy bidding!

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pastel painting of a red headed man and two ginger spotted chihuahuas

Three Gingers

 

pastel painting of a red headed man and two ginger spotted chihuahuas

Three Gingers, 6×9″ pastel on board, $110.

I saw this young man with his two sweet dogs walking out in front of my shop and asked him if I could have a picture. He said they were two rescues. Cute pups. One of them needs a hernia operation and he was visiting the pawn shop nearby, presumably to come up with the money for her? I couldn’t resist their faces and they seem so calm and happy with him. I called it Three Gingers because the little dogs each have ginger colored patches that matched their master’s hair.

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pastel painting of a dog running along a path in the woods

I’m Gonna Run to You

Here’s my daughter Alice and her wife Sandra’s dog, Panda. He’s running through the woods at a park where they like to take him for walks. He’s such a good boy. They have been training him to do “nose” work. That’s where you teach your dog to find things based on the smell. Alice says it’s a lot of fun and it completely wears him out to go to the classes. This is a good thing because Panda is a very energetic doggy. Whenever I visit them Panda knows that he’s going to be asked to run through all the tricks he knows and then there’ll be treats!

pastel painting of a dog running along a path in the woods

I’m Gonna Run to You, 6×9″ pastel on board, $110.

If you’d like a portrait of your or someone else’s best friend, please check out my commissions page for more information. Pet portraits make great gifts!

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