Category Archives: Wave Portrait Series

Sleepless

pastel painting of a wave with a crescent moon overhead

Sleepless-Wave Portrait No. 137, 5×7″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia

Me waking up at 3 in the morning, lying in bed, willing myself to go back to sleep, hoping I’ll sleep more if I’m just quiet enough, just still enough to let it happen. I talk to myself, “C’mon. You can do it. Relax your toes, your ankles, your legs…” I turn over to find a cool spot on the pillow and start again. Toes, ankles, legs…

My brain churns like the sea. It’s relentless and never stops moving.

Sleep and I have this on again-off again relationship. Sometimes it hangs out for a while and everything is rosy. Sometimes it disappears without warning and I wander around the house, bleary-eyed and moody, waiting for night to come so I can woo sleep into my arms again.

The things that keep me awake are the usual. Worries about family, my business, the future. Things I have no control over. I spin out endless scenarios in my head until, desperate, I get out of bed and go looking for distraction. Today I found Gwenn Seemel’s blog and that kept me occupied until damn near 4:30, when I painted this little piece.

It’s the ocean, rolling along, unstoppable, but at least it has the crescent moon for company. Once, when we were driving home at night, Sam pointed to the crescent moon on the horizon and said, “Look, it’s the Cheshire Cat,” and I’ve thought of it that way ever since. “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

Here’s the progress pics:

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Bloop!

Wave Portrait No. 135

This guy is just doot dootling around, minding its own business. A happy little wave. Bloop!

pastel painting of a happy little wave

Wave portrait no. 135, 5×7″ pastel on Uart sanded paper by Marie Marfia

I painted this with a bright yellow alcohol under painting on sanded UArt paper (400 grit) using almost all NuPastels.

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GRR

This painting is how I feel when my computer is being stupid (operator error, no doubt!) or my dog doesn’t come when I call (what’s so interesting about kids walking along the back fence?) or the Detroit Tigers blow a three run lead in the 8th inning (I know I live in Florida now, but I’ll always be a Michigan girl).

angry wave painted in pastel

GRR, Wave Portrait No. 134, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia.

I used a medium gray pastel and alcohol for an underpainting and deliberately left it as the sky in this painting. I think I’d like to do the next one with bright yellow. I’m thinking of calling this series, “The Moody Blue.” What do you think?

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More whimsy, less realism

I’m getting into these colorful, whimsical versions of waves. They’re fun, they’re simple and they’re bright. And they have so much personality!

Like this guy reminds me of my brothers’ hair. The twins used to get their hair cut in the utility room while perched on a stool with my father wielding the hair clippers. Zoop, zoop up the sides with a front fringe. It was a practical look. Dad would say, “Now you look like a white man,” when he’d finished. The boys would complain because the clippers would heat up after a little while and it’d be uncomfortably hot on their necks. Afterward, they would check themselves out in the mirror, looking for holes, my sister and I helpfully pointing out where Dad’s clipper hand had slipped.

whimsical pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 133, 5×7″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

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You can purchase the ORIGINAL painting on Etsy.
You can purchase PRINTS on Fine Art America.
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Pump it up

I need regular pep talks. Since I work at home, that means I have to go find them, because when I give myself a pep talk, it doesn’t always work. Trust issues, clearly.

Sometimes I read books about inspiring subjects. Sometimes I go looking on the internet for uplifting stories. I find that without something funny or wise or encouraging every day, I slip into downer mode and it’s hard to do anything at all, much less make a painting.

Here are some places I go in no particular order:

  • Imgur – puppies and kittens and the occasional red panda
  • Ted Talks – Twenty awe-inspiring minutes of hope for humankind
  • Writers Almanac – A poem a day for FREE!
  • Brain Pickings – Great place to find inspiring reads
  • Clients From Hell (I go here to remind myself what great clients I have)
  • Other artist/art biz websites

Today’s wave portrait was inspired by the work of Drew Brophy, whose work I found on Maria Brophy’s blog. She’s inspiring in all kinds of ways from a business standpoint and Drew’s work is pure awesomeness.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 132, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia, $70.

I just drew a line and filled it in with lots of luscious colors. The sky reminds me of orange sherbet and the white cap looks like whipped cream. I think I must have to eat something.

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Wave Portrait No. 131

I did today’s wave painting without a reference photo. Just started with the shadow in the middle and worked my way out from there. I used to draw like this all the time. I would touch my pen to the paper and see where it led me. This painting’s process was like that. I started with a dark blue shadow and with no idea how the wave would shape itself.

The trick is to have no expectations. It’s easier when you don’t use a photo because then you don’t have anything to compare the final painting with. If it works, it works, and it doesn’t matter how much or how little it resembles anything else. It’s nice to go with the flow of the work without worrying about capturing a likeness.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 131, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia. Painting available on Etsy. Prints available on Fine Art America.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 131, detail, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia. Painting available on Etsy. Prints available on Fine Art America.

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Wave Portrait No. 130

Another pastel painting of a wave breaking on the Atlantic ocean. This is on UArt 400 sanded paper with a dark pastel underpainting. Again, I used a remnant from another painting that just didn’t work out. Kind of nice to recycle paintings like that! Makes me feel all green and stuff.

pastel painting of a wave breaking on the shore

Wave Portrait No. 130, 5×7″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia, $150, framed, on Etsy. It is also available as a print on Fine Art America.

Here's the same painting with a frame.

Here’s the same painting, framed.

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Wave Portrait No. 129

I just have to get back to daily small painting again. I miss it. Woman cannot live by skellies alone! So here’s a wave painting that I did this morning. I used a piece of UArt paper that had a failed painting on it, brushing some rubbing alcohol over it for an underpainting. Then I worked quickly, trying hard not to fiddle with it too much. It’s on my Etsy site for $70, includes shipping anywhere in the USA. Or if you’d rather have a print, it’s on my Fine Art America site, in a range of sizes.

pastel painting of an ocean wave

Wave Portrait No. 129, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia. $70 in my Etsy shop, prints available at Fine Art America.

Blue Skelly Dancers final

I started a membership on Fine Art America, just so I could see what this finished piece looks like as a shower curtain. I think I must have one, but it might not be to everyone’s taste. If you’d rather have a print, click the link and order the size you like. They’ll even frame it for you or you can have it on canvas or as a throw pillow… whatever your heart desires! I’m also offering the original painting for $512 in my Etsy shop.

pastel painting of Degas' Blue Dancers as skeletons

Blue Skelly Dancers from the Old (Dead) Masters Series, 16×16″ pastel on Canson paper by Marie Marfia. $512 in my Etsy shop. Prints (and shower curtains) available at Fine Art America.

Other good news

Since signing a contract in June, I’ve received two deals through Art Licensing International, Inc. for which I am very grateful. One is a company called Leotie Fashion and Lifestyle in Germany, and the other is from Art.com.

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