dead crow

Walking on the beach

I’ve been trying to get more exercise lately. It’s part of an overall push to get healthier. Less sitting. More greens.

To that end I’ve begun to walk along the beach in the mornings. I leave the dogs home, since they’re not allowed there, which means that I can just worry about myself for an hour or so.

I drive out to M-116 which is the access road to the Ludington State Park, and then I start my beach walk a half mile north of where I started the previous time I went, crawling over whatever dunes are between me and the water. Then I go north for a half hour before turning around and heading back again. I take pictures, make a note of the songs or parts of songs that I hear in my head, pick up trash. Today I thought, I’ll make a sculpture of whatever I find today on the beach. That’ll be fun. But by the time I was back in the car, with a shopping bag full of crap, I’d lost whatever enthusiasm I had for the idea.

You’d think that on a beautiful beach like this one, with a lake view that goes on for miles, people would pick up after themselves, but you’d be wrong.

There was a sculpture made of driftwood and what looked like random trash right at the place where I turned around this morning. I don’t know who is making them, but I’ve seen a couple in the past few years.

I have questions, though, such as, do they, the creator(s), then come and disassemble it and throw the trash away? Or does it all come apart on its own and the trash go back to being trash and not part of a sculpture? Or is it comprised of their/her/his own trash that they bring to the beach in order to sculpt with it?

Maybe it’s just my inner curmudgeon asking. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pick up stuff as I walk along, even though it pisses me off that I need to. Knee bends are good exercise, too, you know.


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Marie Marfia, Bonnie waves to the S.S. Badger, photo, NFS.

Waving bon voyage

I took Bonnie down to the Waterfront Park in Ludington to wave at the S.S. Badger the other morning. I remember back when my kids were little and I would take them to go watch the carferry sail off on her maiden voyage of the season. One year my mother came as well and a picture of us all waving at the boat was published in the local paper and then subsequently picked up by the Associated Press. Mom told me that at mass the next Sunday, a friend of the family told her he’d recognized her in the picture, even though none of us was id’ed in the photo. I said, “Just goes to show that lech has been looking at your butt all these years.” She laughed.

Bonnie waves to the Badger as it sails out of port.

Bonnie and I were the only ones waving to the passengers on the Badger this day. No surprise, since we were a few days into the season already and it was kind of cold out. Bonnie never minds the weather, though.


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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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Art at the Pointe pop up show

Hey everyone! I’ll be participating in Lakeshore Visual Arts Collective’s Art at the Pointe pop up show June 18, 2022!

Here’s a link to the event page on Facebook or read about it below:

“Join us for Art at the Pointe–our first pop-up show in Adelaide Pointe’s huge and amazing boat warehouse on Muskegon Lake. Come by car, bike, or boat (docks are available) and see this space transformed into a one-night, pop-up gallery filled with art by more than 50 regional artists in a wide range of media. Enjoy live music by Serita’s Black Rose, food truck eats, cash bar, and lots of great regional art. Your $10 door donation plus 10% of artists’ sales benefit the great work of Read Muskegon (www.readmuskegon.org).”

I’ll have both skeleton art and landscape art at this show. I’m excited to help raise money for Read Muskegon. Hope to see you there!

Marie Marfia, Ground Skel, soft pastel on textured board, 16 in x 20 in, $2,500.
Marie Marfia, Ground Skel, soft pastel on textured board, 16 in x 20 in, $2,500.
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Finished portrait commission

Thank you, Anna, for asking me to paint this portrait of your great Aunt Ardice. She’s beautiful.

Aunt Ardice, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in, sold.

If you are interested in a portrait commission, please check out my commissions page for pricing and then contact me.


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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Marie Marfia, Suzanne's Mom, 9 in x 6 in, soft pastel on textured board, NFS.

Finished portrait commission

Thank you, Suzanne, for asking me to paint your beautiful mom. It was a pleasure.

Marie Marfia, Suzanne's Mom, 9 in x 6 in, soft pastel on textured board, NFS.
Marie Marfia, Suzanne’s Mom, 9 in x 6 in, soft pastel on textured board,sold.

If you are interested in a commissioned portrait of someone you love, check out my commissions page and then contact me. I’d love to make a piece just for you.


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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Marie Marfia, Juniper study, soft pastel on sanded paper, 9.5 in x 7 in.

May means more outdoor painting

I’ve been making an effort to get outside to paint this month. Not all of the pastels I do are successful, but it’s a lot of fun to try. My new goal is to make paintings on all the trails at the state park here in Ludington.

Bonnie enjoys plein air painting, too.

There’s a local plein air group which I’ve joined and so far we’ve been to the state park once. Coincidentally they meet on Thursdays at 11 am so I will not be able to join them after next week since Thursdays are my new Artisan Market day for the summer season. But if the group is still going out in the fall I can catch up with them then.

Meantime, I’m trying to think of the state park as my new “office.” In the mornings I go out there to walk a bit and then I find a place to paint something.

These are all pictures of the work in the state of “doneness” they were in when I left the park. I will probably hang them up in the studio and work on them a bit more. I like where they’re going and I really like being outside. It combines the best of both worlds for me–nature and creativity.


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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Marie Marfia, Little Bit of Normal, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 8 in, $700.

Visit us at the Artisan Market this summer

Hey everyone! I am pleased to announce that I and my beloved husband, Steve, will be showing off our stuff at the Artisan Market every Thursday afternoon from 2-6pm in downtown Ludington, starting May 26 and continuing through September 22, 2022.

Marie Marfia, Little Bit of Normal, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 8 in, $700.
Marie Marfia, Little Bit of Normal, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 8 in, $700.

Steve has been working hard to make some tie dye shirts and onesies to sell at our booth, and I will have my skelly and landscape prints, cards and stickers for sale, plus a few originals. It’s happening under the Pavilion on the beautiful Legacy Plaza (right where James Street tees on Ludington Avenue). We hope to see you there!j

Enjoy a time-lapse of Steve making another beautiful tie dyed shirt:

So meticulous!

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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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New skeleton painting in progress

Hey everyone! I’m working on a new skeleton painting, another in the Old (Dead) Masters series. This one is based on Maxfield Parrish’s illustration for the Dinkey Bird poem which features a beautiful figure swinging from a tree limb with a magical looking castle in the clouds behind. It’s a lovely picture and I am delighted to skeletonize it. I’ll be posting time-lapse videos of my progress here so check back often.

I am really loving all the colors in this piece! All my favorites in one painting. I’m over the moon.

Blocking in the painting.
Adding more color.
Working on the castle, sky and foliage.
Narrowing my focus a little bit.
Working on the skeleton.
Getting a lot closer now!


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!

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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Mary, looking at the plein air show in Three Rivers, Michigan

Outing to Carnegie Center for the Arts

I took an opportunity while staying at my daughter’s house to go see “Painting Common Ground,” the plein air landscapes of Erwin Wolff and Richard Jordan, at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan.

When you are creating every day it’s good to regularly refill your well of inspiration well. This outing seemed just the ticket, after a few weeks of intense baby care, what with feedings and burpings and changings. It was nice to get out of the house for a few hours.

Richard Jordan is the founder of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan, a group that I recently joined, so I was curious about what I would see at the show. I’ve only met the Richard and Erwin once or twice and I didn’t have any ideas about what their respective styles might be, except for what I’d glimpsed on their easels in passing.

Once we found the art center my sister and I wandered the halls and floors of the two buildings, one previously used as a library and the other a former bank building. There was a high school/community college show upstairs that we liked very much and also a glassworks show on the main floor. When we asked the director where the plein air show was, she told us Richard and Erwin’s paintings were in the “room with the pianos” on the main level next door.

Mary looking at the plein air show
Mary, looking at the Painting Common Ground show, at the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, Michigan.

It was pretty impressive to see so many wonderful plein air paintings in one place! Richard and Erwin have been painting outdoors for many years and it’s reflected in the confidence of their strokes and the compositional clarity of their pieces.

Each artist contributed 25 smaller paintings plus one larger painting to the show, and the works feature natural settings around Michigan, from way up in the UP all the way to the southwest corner of the state. I enjoyed it very much. When I got back to my daughter’s place I also watched a video explaining their individual approaches to their work.

It’s always inspiring to me to see other artists’ works and opens my mind to new ways of seeing the world. I’m very glad I went.

The show continues through April 7, 2022.


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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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Marie Marfia, Sleeping Hummingbird Alley, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in.

Paint out at the Hudsonville Nature Preserve

I was only about 45 minutes away and I had planned to join the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan at a paint out at the Hudsonville Nature Preserve in Hudsonville, Michigan from 11am-3pm. I was staying at my daughter’s place in Kalamazoo helping her and her wife to take care of brand new baby boys and I’d had a reasonable amount of sleep the night before (we were taking turns staying up all night for feedings) so it looked like all systems were go.

The weather wasn’t ideal. Just 25 degrees with a breeze, so probably more like 19 degrees with the wind chill. I woke up to fresh snow outside. Fortunately, I had some long johns to wear, my boots and my good winter coat. I figured I’d be fine if I stayed out of the wind.

The Hudsonville Nature Preserve has many ravines with creeks and overlooks and boardwalks, and this time of year, mud. Lots and lots of mud. I was worried that I’d lose my boots once or twice, but I made it through with my rolling bag. Rolling bags to carry your stuff are a great idea, by the way, but pulling 20-30 lbs along muddy paths and climbing steps built with snow-covered railroad ties gets old with a quickness. But since I’d never been to this preserve before I had to walk a bit before I found a place I where I wanted to set up.

I was excited to try out my brand new tri-pod, a fantastic upgrade from my flimsier one. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take the old one out first, so I ended up carrying the newer, heavier one separately, plus a backpack.

And I forgot to pack my fingerless gloves. Not an emergency, because I still had regular mittens and some chemical hand warmers. I put one of the warmers in my left mitten and one of them in my right pocket. Then I painted until I couldn’t stand it anymore and warmed up my fingers in my pocket. This left a lot of pastel dust in my pocket so every time I brushed my hair out of my eyes it would leave marks on my face. I did not know this was happening until after I had spoken to a number of people and driven home, where my family kindly informed me that I looked like a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.

The first place I chose to paint had snow on the trail with tall dried grasses on either side, and just a hint of spring color in the tree line on the horizon.

Sleeping Hummingbird Alley, WIP, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in.

As I was getting ready to pack up again, an older gentleman walked down the path and told me he liked to be in this particular spot in the summer. “I call it Hummingbird Alley,” he said. In the warm months, he told me, this part of the path was crowded with flowers and hummingbirds, and it was one of his favorite places to be. I thanked him and thought it’d be fun to come back in the summer to paint it again.

Photo reference.

The next place I chose to set up had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it was at the top of a ravine and not the bottom, like the first set up. So very soon I was too cold to keep on with it. I had a view from one of the overlooks with a creek at the bottom and a beech tree sporting last year’s leaves like little flags. I plan to work on this one a bit more once I’m back in the studio. I liked the neutrals in the back ground and the little creek snaking all around on the floor of the ravine.

Last Year’s Finery, WIP, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in.
Photo reference.

I wandered around a bit more before deciding to pack it up for the day around 2 pm. I am still learning how to paint plein air and even though I was pretty chilled by the time I left, it was still a really great day. Definitely planning to do more of these.


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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 downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

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