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horse grazing pastel painting

Horse in the Paddock, pastel painting of a horse having breakfast

My husband and I are camping on a friend’s property for a week or so here in Tucson, AZ, and I’m taking the opportunity to paint horses!

This morning’s effort is a painting of a horse eating her breakfast in a small paddock.

I have always liked horses as subject matter, although I was never a riding enthusiast growing up. That said, when I was twelve or so, my sister and I pedaled our bikes for miles to a small farm every Saturday where we’d ride ponies all day long, stopping only for lunch. The farm belonged to Mr. and Mrs. S., friends of our parents whose kids had long since moved on to mini-bikes. They were happy to have us exercise the ponies. I didn’t much care for the long bike ride, although I’m sure my mother felt I needed the exercise. Mary probably would’ve have biked three times as far for half the riding time. She was crazy about horses.

I remember the air was hot and full of buzzing deer flies. We rode along mini bike trails out in the piney woods for hours. Socks was a dapple grey, the smaller of the two, and she took good care of me, patiently putting up with my considerable lack of riding skills. My sister’s mount was another matter. A beautiful appaloosa, Gepetta was almost horse-sized, very smart and an opportunist, as she regularly tried to buck Mary off at the first available sandy patch on the trail, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Once while we were eating sandwiches at the house, Mr. S. happened to overhear us telling Mrs. S. about Mary getting dumped. Mary hadn’t been hurt by the fall and we’d just followed Gepetta back to the house as usual and planned to go out again after lunch. But Mr. S. immediately went outside to where the ponies were hitched, and picked up Gepetta and threw her onto her back, saddle and all. She scrambled back up and stood there, shaking, while he yelled at her. Gepetta never bucked Mary off again, but I think Mary would’ve died before she’d have ratted Gepetta out to Mr. S. again anyway.

Eventually the ponies were sold or maybe I refused to bike over there, I can’t remember how or why we stopped going. Mary continued to find horses to ride, I continued to accompany her when she pestered me into it. I never have been a confident rider and in general I prefer to paint them, although our friend here put me up on her horse Easy last night and it was sweet. He’s a patient horse, too, very gentle, just how I remember Socks.

Horse in the paddock, pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia
Horse in the Paddock

On the road again

I’m traveling in the southwest USA for the next few weeks. Steve and I packed up the camper last week and, after chiseling it out of three inches of ice in our back yard, we hauled it down to our current location in Tucson, AZ. It’s not exactly warm here (50 degrees as I type this), but compared to the wilds of Fountain, Michigan, it feels like a tropical heat wave.

I am determined to practice drawing and painting while traveling so I brought along a sketchbook, among other stuff, and I’ve been trying to take it out and draw what’s in front of me whenever I can.

This has resulted in what at first glance would seem to be a couple of less than inspirational scenes, but when you’re logging a lot of expressway miles, you have to make do. So, some semi trucks, and once, the waiting room at the Marshfield Chevy dealer (The driver’s side door stopped working and we had to get it fixed. Nice service shop, friendly and helpful and the price was fair, although we would have paid practically anything not to have to crawl in and out of the truck through the passenger side door. And before you ask, neither of us is capable of using the driver’s side window as way in or out. We’re old.).

Surprisingly, drawing things that I wouldn’t normally think of as interesting subject matter turns out to be just as consuming as a face or a figure would be. I think it’s because I don’t know what a semi tractor looks like. I’ve never really looked at one before. I need to remember not to discount anything out of hand. It’s all worth looking at, exploring, discovering, drawing.

pastel painting of a snowy road through the woods

Cold Morning-pastel painting of a wintry road through the forest

pastel painting of a snowy road through the woods
Cold Morning, 6×9″ pastel painting of a snowy road through the forest by Marie Marfia. ©2019

This painting is based on a walk down a two-track road in the winter time. I like how the road curves out of sight up ahead and the drama in the horizon line. This was a very fun painting to do. I love walking in the Manistee National Forest with my dogs every morning. It inspires my work.

This painting is for sale on ebay. When you bid on this painting you’re helping me contribute to AFFEW, a local environmental organization. Thanks for your support!


A new edition

She is football-sized. I want to tuck her under my arm and make off with her. My first grand baby.

Maeve Eileen, born the night of the bloody wolf super eclipse moon, queen of the fairies and now living in Kalamazoo with my daughter and her wife. They are over the moon, and baby, so am I.


Skelly Snowflakes – skull, reindeer, bone snowflakes to hang in the window this xmas

I’m still decorating for Christmas. I can’t help it. Once I get started I get more ideas and then before I know it I’m making skull chains and skelly snowflakes and my family thinks I have serious issues, you know?

Anyway, if you’re like me and like to make xmas decorations that are just a little different, please enjoy these skel-flake patterns. Merry xmas!