Up, up and away – pastel waterfall painting

pastel painting of a waterfall in Michigan
Tahquamenon Falls, 8×10″ pastel painting of a waterfall in Michigan by Marie Marfia. Available $175.

My husband and I traveled north last weekend to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We hoped to see some fall color and relax a little before the next big event in our lives (we’re moving to a new house in another week).

It was a great trip, not least because we had no internet access for three whole days.

I got a lot of reading done, found time to paint, spent a good portion of the weekend walking around on the Lake Superior shoreline, visiting waterfalls that I vaguely remembered from my youth, and just enjoying the outdoors.

We stayed in a little place called the Handshake Motel and Peninsular Patchworks. The owners, Ronnie and Tom, bought the cottages twenty years ago and named them for the early retirement plan that Tom took advantage of. Ronnie is a divinely talented quilter (that’s the Patchworks part) and she’s got a studio full of quilts and wall hangings and just anything you can think of to do with textile art. I was quite jealous of her space. It’s huge.

The cottage we stayed in was paneled in knotty pine, the bed was large and comfortable, and there was a big kitchen table suitable for playing Bananagrams, so perfect for us. They’re in Hulbert Lake, a tiny little town relatively close to White Fish Point and Grand Marais and a ton of state campgrounds, which we checked out for future camping trips.

We had an adventure getting back from Lake Superior on Sunday morning when a storm moved in on the beach where we were collecting rocks and soaked us and the dirt road we had traveled on to get there. We were in the Focus rather than the Silverado, so no four-wheel drive, but Steve has had a lot of practice in less than optimal conditions. We made it back okay and I only was terrified for probably ten minutes at the most.

On the way home on Monday, the end of the trip was marked by my phone dinging and buzzing as the messages/alerts/emails that piled up during the weekend came in all at once on the Mackinac Bridge. Of course I had to look, but I was already half missing the quiet.

Here’s a time-lapse of a painting from one of my photos of the upper falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Time-lapse of Tahquamenon Falls, 8×10″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

Man, it’s pretty there. Not many people came out in the rainy weather so we had a lot of the place to ourselves. We did all the stairs and my calves are still stiff! But it was worth every riser.

Would you like to purchase this painting? It’s available for $175 in my shop, along with prints and cards.

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pastel painting of a river bend at sunset

River Bend Sunset pastel painting time-lapse

I’ve been having fun with an online pastel painting class by Marla Bagetta for the past few weeks. This painting is a result of an assignment to take a black and white landscape photo and turn it into a nocturne. So much fun!

Here’s the time-lapse for you:

Fun with nocturnes!
River Bend Sunset, 9×12″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $300.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

Here it is with my reference photo.

River Bend Sunset with reference above.

I love to take classes, especially with someone whose work I admire. I learn something new with every lesson and I feel like I make more progress when I am accountable to someone other than myself.

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Forever Your Gator Girl is on sale through September 9, 2019!

This is a serving suggestion for one of my 11×14″ prints of Forever Your Gator Girl, now on sale in my shop!

Forever Your Gator Girl is on sale in my shop through next week Monday, September 9, 2019!

All versions of Forever Your Gator Girl are 25% Off, including the original, canvas wraps, prints and cards!

Happy shopping!

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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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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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Daily paintings

I did a study on regular Canson paper and then a larger one on sanded paper. I’ve been reading Carlson’s book about painting landscapes and it’s really helping me a lot.

This is the one on Canson paper, 6×8″.
This is the one on sanded paper. I also started with a warm (red, orange, yellow) alcohol underpainting with this one. 11×14″.
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