Category Archives: art business

goo gone really worked

How to remove sticky residue from Optium acrylic

I have been busy prepping work for a show coming up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Two of my skeleton pieces were juried in and I needed to find frames for them for the exhibition.

The frame closest in size to Neverending Love Story was a tiny bit long on one side so I planned to cut a mat to make it work. That meant the spacers on the acrylic needed to be removed which left a sticky residue. Since you can’t use a solvent on Optium acrylic, I needed something else.

Fortunately, my husband had some 99% isopropyl alcohol in amongst a plethora of substances in his workshop (being married to a chemist has its advantages!), which worked, but it required a lot of elbow grease to remove the adhesive, as well as gloves, since the alcohol really dried out my hands. He was going to try adding some acetone to it to make it work a bit faster but then happened to see a little bottle of Goo Gone on the shelf and brought that up from the basement. Voila! It worked a treat!

So, I’m just passing this along for what it’s worth. If you find yourself trying to remove spacer glue residue from Optium acrylic, use Goo Gone. It takes the stuff right off after you let it sit for five or ten minutes and it cleans up with hot water and soap. This was a real life saver for me, since I had to use what was available because there just wasn’t time to order new glass or frames in time to ship my beauties to the show.


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You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

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Marie Marfia, Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24x18".

Skelly paintings traveling to New Mexico

I’m so excited that two of my skeleton paintings, Cheers! and Neverending Love Story, have been accepted to a show at KEEP Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico! Details below!

Marie Marfia, Neverending Love Story, soft pastel, 12x16.375
Neverending Love Story, soft pastel on sanded paper, 12 in. x16.375 in., $800.

Neverending Love Story is a parody of Marianne Stokes’ wonderful painting of Nicolette and Aucassin, a pair of lovers I was first introduced to in Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles novels. I highly recommend these books, if you’re a romantic at heart like me. I love them. Marianne Stokes’ work is, of course, sublime, and it was a pleasure to use her piece for inspiration.

Marie Marfia, Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24x18".
Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24 in. x18 in., $1800.

I painted Cheers! as a parody of Charles Marion Russell’s self portrait/Christmas card which I then used as my holiday greeting card back in 2020. At the time I was still in my old studio space in downtown Ludington. Good times! I remember deciding to make it as big as I could because I just knew all those horse skeleton bones were going to be difficult! And they were! Fun, though.

Details for this show:

The New Vanguard: Explorations into the New Contemporary V
Keep Contemporary Gallery
142 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
January 19-February 16, 2024
Opening Reception Friday, January 19, 5-8pm

I can’t go but if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come!

KEEP Contemporary is one of Santa Fe’s newest and most unconventional art spaces bringing fresh energy to the local art scene.


Sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio and insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

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Marie Marfia, Old Barn and Queen Annes Lace, 6x8in., soft pastel on sanded paper.

Interview on Daily Paintworks

If you haven’t joined Daily Paintworks yet, I’ll give you one more good reason. You could win a pastel painting by me!

Here’s the pastel I’m giving away:

Marie Marfia, Old Barn and Queen Annes Lace, 6x8in., soft pastel on sanded paper.
Old Barn and Queen Anne’s Lace

Click here to go to the interview. Click here to go to the giveaway.

My interview will be up for about two weeks, so you have lots of time to enter. Good luck!


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

Sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio and insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

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Crap photos

“Remember to send pics!”

Whenever I’m on vacation, this request always makes me feel bad, because I usually don’t take good vacation photos. When I’m taking pictures on vacation it’s almost always because I’m planning to use them for a painting reference and not because I want to share them.

I feel a teensy bit guilty about this. Even when our kids were little, most of my photos of them were because I was trying to capture an interesting composition for later, and not because I wanted a record of visiting giant sequoias in California or camping in the U.P. or throwing clay bombs in the Gulf of Mexico.

As a result, most of the pictures I take while on vacation are crap for sharing. The people in them are more likely to look like they’ve just eaten a bug instead of like they’re smiling for the camera.

This painting, Laurie by the Pool, is a case in point. In the photo reference, which I am not going to share because I love her too much, she looks like she’s in mid-rant, which she may have been, I don’t remember what she was talking about at the time, because I was too busy noticing the saturation of the color of her shirt, the turquoises in the water, the color of her skin and the dramatic shadows behind her. All these things prompted me to take a photo and I didn’t bother telling her I was going to take it because I never intended to share it with her or anyone else. It was meant to be used later for a painting or a collage or something.

Then, when someone asked me to send pics of our time in Tucson, I frantically searched through all the photos I had and couldn’t find any, not a one, that was suitable for sharing. Story of my (vacation) life.


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

Sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio and insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

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I'm retiring!

What’s next?

Retirement. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. This is the year I’m going to quit doing graphic design and be an artist full time. It worries me a bit because I’m starting all over again and there are some things that I have to put in place if I want to be happy with my decision down the road.

The one thing that I have had as a graphic designer that I won’t have as a fine artist is instant feedback. When I save the day for a client by putting an ad together in fifteen minutes using only a low res bitmap file and a logo scanned off a cocktail napkin, I get a little surge of serotonin in my brain that feels like, “Oh, yeah! Who’s the kickassingest graphic designer now, baby? You, that’s who!” followed by an email thanking me in ALL CAPS WITH MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!! I mean, woot! It’s the best feeling and I’ve gotten used to that after 30 years. I crave it, even. What do I have to replace it with? Nothing! Or at least, nothing that doesn’t involve a controlled substance like alcohol or potato chips. 

So I need to build those attagirl moments into my day. I need rewards!

Something like the little ditty that plays after I’ve successfully completed a crossword puzzle, or the maybe a little “Genius!” icon that appears whenever I get all the points for a Spelling Bee game. I don’t know. But I need something that triggers a deep sigh of satisfaction and a feeling that all is currently right with my world.

Painting is hard. I never know what I’m doing. Each painting is one stroke away from disaster, although to be honest, sometimes I don’t notice I’ve wrecked it until I’m many strokes past the destined-for-the-trash threshold. 

With graphic design, I know how to do everything. And if I don’t, I know where to go to find out. With painting, I don’t know anything and every artist on the internet has a different idea about how to solve a problem. 

I was teaching a pastels class for Deb Borema at LACA last week and there was a seven-year-old in the class, the youngest person in a group of eight kids. He’d never used soft pastels before and he was curious about what you could do with them. He started out by doing the same painting that every one else did and then he started seriously playing. He tried smearing the chalk with his hands. He used a stomp. He splashed water on the paper. He folded the paper. He did everything to the paper using the chalk that he could think of. He went through several sheets and tried all the different kinds of pastels there were to use. And then suddenly he was done with pastels and made shrinky dinks for the last fifteen minutes of class. 

All the other kids were very careful with their materials. They all wanted to make a good picture. Even though they were welcome to use as many of the pastels and sheets of paper as they wanted, nearly all of them did one piece and one piece only. They felt they had to do it correctly, and a few asked for help so it would look more like the demo. The youngest kid did not want any help. He wanted to do it all by himself.

Young kids can really teach you a lot as an artist. They don’t care whether they get a good picture or not. They’re playing with the materials. They’re exploring everything about it. They use their hands, they try out all the tools, they use lots of colors, textures. They play.

And when they’re done, they’re satisfied. They don’t say to themselves, “I need to master this medium,” or “This stuff is expensive, so I better make it last,” or “I’ve put so much time into this picture, I’ll be sad if it doesn’t turn out.”

The playing is the reward for them. How do I change so that playing is its own reward for me? The way I look at it, my new job will be figuring that out.

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Congratulations to Hannah on winning a signed, matted print of Neverending Love Story! Luckily for me, Hannah works in downtown Ludington, so I was able to bring her prize to her right away! She’s very happy to have won!

Congratulations also to a certain subscriber on my email list who also won the same signed print! Please check your inbox for a note from me asap. It’s my way of saying thank you to those who are with me on my art journey. You’re all the best!

Me and Hannah and Neverending Love Story, together at last!

Sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio and insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

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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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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!

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Location, location, location

I moved my studio/gallery/office this past spring. Same building as before, but now I’m in the way back. Like, really far back. Like, so far back that no one really knows I’m there yet.

This way to my new space!

Which is kind of a relief.

To be honest, the space at the front of the building, with the big plate glass windows, felt too exposed. Anyone could see in.

Sometimes I’d put the closed sign on the door, just so I could relax a little bit. You know, roll out the yoga mat, do some stretches, take a nap, adjust my attitude.

There were days when I dreaded going in because the place was such a wreck. When I paint I have this tendency to pick pastels up and then drop them on any available surface and then it might be a day or two before they all got put back where they belonged. Yes, all right, it took months sometimes.

This was a problem because someone might see. But I couldn’t seem to stop making a mess. And then I’d feel embarrassed. Which is wrong, because a studio has to be able to be messy. That’s when the creativity happens for me. When every possible thing is floating around inside and outside my head. When it’s all loose.

But the old space was also a retail space and an office. So I was feeling some pressure to keep it looking nice.

The new space is not so nice, if you know what I mean. The brick walls are crumbling in spots. The drywall on the ceiling needs to be painted. The floor is plywood with gray paint on it. I’ve got frames and paintings everywhere.

My handy husband made me this huge table from two by fours and a varnished closet door and I’ve spread all, and I mean all, my pastels out on it. I can see every color of the rainbow all the time! It’s like living in a Froot Loop fairyland.

Anyway, I hope you stop by and visit the new digs. I plan to make lots of art and a ton of messes and I don’t care who sees.

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