Category Archives: skeletons

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

Ludington Gold Coast Artisan Fair

I’m showing my skeleton art at the Ludington Gold Coast Artisan Fair on August 14-15, 2021 in Rotary Park, Ludington, Michigan. I hope you can come!

The Ludington Gold Coast Artisan Fair is a fun event, drawing more than 100 vendors showing everything from lawn art to original drawings to household crafts. A lot of the booths feature local artisans. It’s a great way to purchase unique hand-crafted items for Christmas, Halloween and birthdays!

About Ludington

If you have never been to Ludington, it is worth the trip! Ludington is a beautiful resort town with a deep water harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan. There are beaches galore here, plus lots of choices for dining, shopping and stuff to do outdoors, including the Ludington State Park with its miles of hiking and canoe trails, beautiful beaches, disc golf courses, and two, count them, two lighthouses!

Print giveaway

Stop by my booth and enter the drawing for a large, framed and matted print of one of my skellies! (I haven’t decided which one it’s going to be yet, so drop me a line if you have a suggestion!) You don’t have to buy anything to enter, but if you want you can sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter at the same time.

The details

What: Gold Coast Artisan Fair
Where: Booth C-26 (Court Street), Rotary Park, downtown Ludington, Michigan
When: Saturday, August 14, 10 am-5 pm and Sunday, August 15, 10 am-4 pm

Where to find me

I’ll be in space C-26, which is on the Court Street side of the park. Hope to see you there!

Some of what I’m bringing

I’ll have greeting cards, small prints, large prints and some original pastels in my booth. Plus, don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway!


You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or signed cards in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Marie Marfia, Neverending Love Story, soft pastel, 12x16.375

Nicolette and Aucassin progress

Thought I’d share some progress on the the latest skeleton Old (Dead) Masters painting. It’s coming along. I’m doing some refining right now, and that’s going to take a bit. I like doing these because they’re like a real intense workshop on the style of the artist whose work I’m copying. That’s definitely the case with this one.

grid and sketch of Nicolette and Aucassin
Grid and sketch of Nicolette and Aucassin
initial block in
Initial block in
Easel shot
Easel shot
Work in progress…
As of April 3, 2021.
Here’s a video tour of where I’m at with this one. (Can you tell I’m listening to NPR?)

Here’s the final!

Marie Marfia, Aucassin and Nicolette, soft pastel on sanded paper, 12x16.375
Neverending Love Story (Aucassin and Nicolette parody), soft pastel on sanded paper, 12×16.375″.

Finally! These parodies always take forever to finish. I have so much respect for the original creators of the pieces I copy. And I learn a ton while I’m working.

So, no official title for this one yet. If you have a suggestion, please send it along. Of course, puns are given first priority and if I pick your title to use, I’ll happily send you a print as a thank you. Email me, marie@mariemarfia.com, and tell me your idea!

As soon as I have a title for this one I’ll be adding it to my Etsy downloads and my Fine Art America shop, so I’ll keep you posted.


UPDATE! I have decided on a title. It’s going to be Neverending Love Story. It’s because it’s all about the story that never ends. Also, this particular couple is based on a story–Nicolette and Aucassin–which is also referenced in one of my favorite series of books ever.

Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas for the title. They really helped me a lot to come up with something that I liked and seemed fitting. You’re the best fans ever!


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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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Skelly Godiva – skeleton pastel painting

Skelly Godiva, finished pastel painting of a skeleton on a horse, homage to John Collier's famous work.
Skelly Godiva, 17×22″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. Sold.

Yay! All done. That was quick. Sort of. Compared to the last one, I mean. Skelly Godiva was a challenge in more ways than one but I’m very pleased with how she turned out.

Actually, it might have been worse. Fortunately for me, Collier’s original included a beautiful red blanket covering most of the horse, so I wasn’t faced with a second ribcage to render, hah! It’s the little things that keep me from going insane on these pieces.

This probably took me close to 40 hours to finish. The Old (Dead) Masters paintings often require a lot more craftsmanship, just because I’m going for a pretty accurate copy, otherwise the joke falls flat. Well, maybe it does anyway for some people, but those aren’t the ones I am painting for!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or signed cards in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Thanks again, Megan, for the idea to do a Lady Godiva skeleton painting!

Here are some time-lapses of my latest work in progress, Skelly Godiva. This is number 19 in my Old (Dead) Masters series and it’s based on a classic painting of Lady Godiva by John Collier. Enjoy!

There are more time-lapses for this piece are on my YouTube channel.

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Skeleton window art

the final skeleton art window painting
This means you! Final window art over my office.

Ever since I moved into my space at the back of 307 S. James St. I’ve been meaning to put something in the window that overlooks the office where I work. The truth is I like to take naps in there every once in a while and it makes me feel a little too exposed to lay on the floor on a yoga mat and know that anyone walking by the window can see me snoring in there. I could have just hung up a curtain but why settle for fabric when I can make something awesome instead? So naturally I decided to make some skeleton window art.

It took a little longer than I hoped and this was because I had to order more leading strips and paint colors directly from the manufacturer (Plaid Gallery Glass) and their cheapest shipping option turns out to be very slooooooooow. But oh well. I was busy doing other things, if you recall. It got delivered eventually and then the whole project was finished up quickly after that.

Step 1: Make a sketch

sketch
I changed the bottom line to “for the skeleton army” because it’s closer to the original. Also I didn’t want it to seem like I was being a money grubbing jerk.

First I needed a design for the window. I settled on the classic Uncle Sam army recruiting poster as a starting point. Not hard to convert to a skeleton version. If anyone is interested in doing the same thing for themselves, just let me know and I’ll send you a scalable pdf file that you can use as a template.

Step 2: Convert to scalable vector art

template

This is what my template looks like. I have the colors on separate layers in Adobe Illustrator. It took about 16 letter-size pages which I then taped together.

Once I printed out the template I taped it up to the back side of the window and then started putting leading strips on the front side of the window, cementing them in place with a drop of liquid leading.

Step 3: Do the fiddly bits

I made the skull, hand, stars and lettering separately on clear plastic sleeves using the liquid leading. That’s because they were too detailed to do using the leading strips on a vertical surface. You can bend the strips into large, simple shapes but anything smaller and they don’t hold the curves. They peel off the glass when my back is turned and it’s frustrating as hell.

making a skeleton art window painting
I am using an exacto knife to trim away the little blobs of dried liquid leading that I used to anchor the strips. See my office through the window? I have plans for later on next spring, so stay tuned. All I’ll say right now is it’s not going to be white when I’m done with it.
skeleton art window painting
Here he is with the head, hand and lettering on the window. See all the little blobs of trimmed off liquid leading on the sill? The floor was covered with them by the end.

Step 4: Decide on a background

The next question was what to do with the background? It needed to cover the whole window, but the original Uncle Sam poster was just plain white. I wanted something kind of gothic. So I ended up using radiating stripes in purple and lilac.

skeleton art painted window
Here’s where I had to stop because I ran out of leading strips. Also, I needed more colors to finish than what I had in my studio.

Step 5: Break up the big shapes

I’m breaking up the big shapes in order to be able to apply the paint and not have the weight of it cause it to drip down the window. This meant there were a lot of places to dab the liquid leading and subsequently a lot more trimming to do.

Step 6: Fill in the rest of the color

Finally filling in the colors! This is the fun part and it goes pretty quickly, although my right shoulder needed a long soak in the tub after I was done. The guy that appears at the end was asking whether I liked the idea of food trucks parked on Filer St. next summer. I said I was all for more food choices in town ;).

Step 7: Enjoy my cool window art!

So this is it! This is my Uncle Skelly Wants You for the Skeleton Army window. What do you think? Pretty cool? I think so, too. And best of all, I can nap in peace!

skeleton art window
I Want You for the Skeleton Army painted glass window, 34″x34″, by Marie Marfia, ©2019.
detail of skeleton window art
Detail, I Want You for the Skeleton Army window art by Marie Marfia
looking down the hall from skelly window art
Detail, I Want You for the Skeleton Army window art by Marie Marfia
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Forever Your Gator Girl

Forever Your Gator Girl, pastel painting of a skeleton cowgirl on an alligator with a sunset and Florida landscape.
Available for $500.

Almost done! I still have a few little things to do before my skelly cowgirl and her trusty gator steed are finished, but she’s pretty close!

Hope you love it. I had a fine time putting this one together. Below are some of my progress shots.

Sketch.
Block in
Adding on
Details, details!

As far as a title goes, I’ve decided on Forever Your Gator Girl, which I made up on my own. Usually I have a title in mind before I start a skeleton painting, so this was a little tougher but it’s all good now!

If you would like to purchase the original, contact me. Forever Your Gator Girl will be available for $500, including shipping anywhere in the continental USA. I’ll have prints and cards in my web shop next week, so stay tuned!

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Song of the south

You may or may not know this, but I lived in Florida for ten years. I moved back to Michigan in 2016.

Sketch for my next skelly painting.

Florida is… different.

We had a house on the south side of Jacksonville, Florida. When we first moved there, it was early July and hotter than hell. The first thing we noticed was that there were no people outside. It felt spooky, like that scene in the Andromeda Strain where the guys in hazmat suits are walking around this little town and there’s no noise at all, no movement.

Before we left Michigan, all our friends shared their favorite horror stories about Florida. How there were snakes everywhere, giant face-sucking spiders, and millions of alligators. I spent most of our first year hiding in the house.

Eventually I stopped worrying about animals and insects. In fact, I discovered it was the human wildlife that was mostly likely to kill you and not a giant prehistoric reptile.

For instance, I found out someone was feeding raw chicken to an alligator in a retention pond around the corner from us. The pond was behind a chain link fence but if you walked too close to the edge the gator would scramble out from wherever it was hiding, looking for fresh meat.

Our time there wasn’t all dismal. I came to enjoy walking around in the preserve near our house. I saw an abundance of wildlife, including otters, javelinas, raccoons, foxes, snakes, and deer. North of town we visited the St. Johns River delta, which was flat out gorgeous. Once I walked out onto a long wooden pier into a sea of grass and felt like I was floating. There were beaches littered with driftwood and cloud-filled skies that went on for days. I loved how you could feel so small and yet so infinite at the same time.

Anyway, the background of this latest skeleton painting is inspired by some of that beautiful scenery that I used to paint when we lived there. I hope you like her. I’ll continue to post progress pictures, so stay tuned.

P.S. Any ideas for a title for this one? If I pick your suggestion I’ll send you a free print, so email me your ideas asap.

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We have a winner!

I had a booth at the Gold Coast Arts & Crafts Fair in Ludington, Michigan this past weekend and I’m in the process of putting my studio back together. Man, I made such a mess!

But it was so worth it.

Who won “Bone to be Wild?” Read on…

First off, thanks to everyone who made it out to see me at the show. You guys rock! It makes my heart sing to see people looking at my stuff and laughing and giggling and then running back to grab their friends and relatives and bring them over so they can laugh and giggle, too. You’re my kind of people. I’m so glad we found each other.

Overheard in my booth:

“It’s not ‘inappropriate,’ it’s funny.” One young boy to his friend.

“Is it weird that I’m re-evaluating my life choices because I think this card is hilarious?” A woman holding “The Very Last Supper.”

Also, many thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway! I asked my neighbor down the hall to draw a name and the winner is (drum roll, please):

Scott Hackett!

Scott, congratulations on winning the “Bone to be Wild” matted print. I’m going to be contacting you via email for a shipping address, so watch your in-box.

For everyone else, I’m extending the good deal on my skelly greeting cards for one more week (today through August 19, 2019), as a special thank you.

Buy 3 or more cards, get 33% off the total (it’ll show up in the shopping cart). Sale ends midnight on Monday, August 19, 2019.

Thanks again for coming out. You’re the best art fans ever.

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Gold Coast Artisan Fair is this weekend!

I’m kind of excited.

As you can see, I’m still trying to work out the flow in my booth… Flow is so important.
I kind of like the idea of hanging cards on paracord, like little flags waving in the wind. (Oh, god, I hope there’s not too much wind!)
To bring the skeleton table and chairs or not to bring the skeleton table and chairs… It’s a conundrum.

The question that still haunts me

I am still gathering together the inventory for this show. I have never exhibited here so I don’t know quite what to expect. Should I bring mostly Old (Dead) Masters? Or skeleton couples? Skelvis? I just don’t know. I guess I’ll bring a little bit of everything and see how it goes!

I’ll have stickers at the booth!

The giveaway

I’m going to give away a large print of one of my skellies after the show. I haven’t decided which one it’s going to be or whether I’m going to let the winner choose. (Email me your opinion and possibly confuse me even more!)

To enter, just stop by my booth (Section B, space 8) and fill out a form. While you’re there you can also get on my mailing list, but that’s totally optional. You don’t have to be on my mailing list to enter the contest. (But it’d be awesome if you were.)

The important stuff

What: Gold Coast Artisan Fair
Where: Rotary Park, downtown Ludington, Michigan
When: Saturday, August 10, 10-5 and Sunday, August 11, 10-4

The call

Come on out! Say hello! Sign up to win a skelly print! And tell all your friends!

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