Tag Archives: art

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
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pastel painting of a white dog on a snowy road

White Dog White Road-pastel painting of my dog in the woods

pastel painting of my dog on a snowy road through the forest

This painting is based on a walk down a two-track road in the winter time. My dog Daisy stopped to sniff something in the road and I took a picture to use for a painting later. I love walking the woods in the morning with my dogs. 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!

http://ebay.us/mmsf6V

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pastel painting of the Mona Lisa with a skeleton

Bona Lisa is on Sale this Week! – skeleton mona lisa

pastel painting of the Mona Lisa with a skeleton

Bona Lisa, 12×18″ pastel on paper. $600. Skeleton Mona Lisa by Marie Marfia

Bona Lisa is on Sale this week!

Who doesn’t love the Mona Lisa? But haven’t you wondered what she looks like under that enigmatic smile of hers? Inside, I bet she’s grinning from ear to ear!

She’s on sale this week in all her iterations–original, prints, cards–through Sunday, November 11, 2018. Go get yours!

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pastel study of a sky and woods and a road

Cracking the Landscape – pastel study of a road and woods and sky

pastel study of a sky and woods and a road

Cracking the Landscape, 6×9″ pastel on paper. © Marie Marfia. Available $110.00

Cracking the Landscape

You can’t see it, but my car is parked just up ahead.

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I Just Fed You, pastel painting of a skeleton pirate chastising his pet parrot about wanting a cracker.

Talk like a Pirate Day is Wednesday, September 19!

I Just Fed You, pastel painting of a skeleton pirate chastising his pet parrot about wanting a cracker.

“I Just Fed You”, on sale this week!

I Just Fed You – pirate skeleton and parrot on sale this week!

So you should totally buy one of my pirate skellies to celebrate! Here’s “I Just Fed You” on sale this week only, September 17-23, 2019. Comes in lots of different sizes to fit anywhere in your captain’s cabin or poop deck or down in the bilges! Aarghh!

 

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Tall Pines over the Pere Marquette – pastel painting of a river in the woods

pastel painting of a river in the woods

Tall Pines Over the Pere Marquette, 9×6″ pastel painting by Marie Marfia. Available $110.

Tall Pines Over the Pere Marquette

Made it all the way back to the first campsite but the second one was occupied so we had to cut our walk short a little bit. No worries. The view was spectacular as always and I’m glad I picked this particular dirt road for our walk today.

This painting is available for $110 in my shop.

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walk in the woods with my dog pastel painting

Morning Walk with Daisy – pastel painting of my dog on a path through the woods

walk in the woods with my dog pastel painting

Morning Walk with Daisy, 9×6″ pastel on paper. Available $110.

This is a pastel painting of my dog Daisy, walking along a path through the Manistee National Forest. This road in particular is one of our favorites. It winds along the Pere Marquette River for about a mile and goes past a couple of really awesome camping areas. They’re usually full of campers on the weekends, but now that it’s after Labor Day I’ll probably come here more often.

Here’s a video of me working on this piece:

Some detail shots here:

Would you like to purchase this painting? Click here!

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Synchopation – pastel painting of the Manistee National Forest

Synchopation, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. Available $110.

Synchopation – pastel painting of the Manistee National Forest

I went out walking after the rain this weekend. So good to be out in the woods! I love my little cottage in the forest, but you know, it’s awful nice to be able to stretch your legs every day in such beautiful surroundings. I’m trying to soak up as much as I can.

Here’s a video of me creating this piece.

 

You can purchase this painting here.

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Haters gonna hate, lovers gonna love

“Ugh.”

“That’s horrible.”

“What a mockery!”

It’s hard not to take it personally when I hear comments like these floating through the door at my studio. Maybe putting The Very Last Supper front and center in my shop window has something to do with it?

I could place a more traditional piece there, like a landscape or a still life or a portrait, and people would walk by and never say a word. But poke fun at a religious icon and suddenly everyone loses their minds.

detail of Jesus in The Very Last supper

The Very Last Supper, detail, by Marie Marfia

I could try to soft-pedal the subject matter by combining genres. For instance, skeletons with vases of flowers or skeletons in the landscape would be more palatable maybe. But I’ve found that skeletons are pretty polarizing as a general rule. People either really, really like them or they really, really don’t.

My mom was one of the latter group. Whenever I told her I’d sold another piece of skeleton art I’d have to preface the news with an apology. “Hi Mom, I’m sorry but I sold a skeleton painting today.” She’d always wrinkle her nose at the news, as though I’d just farted in front of her. “Oh, Marie,” she’d say, and sigh. She’s gone now, but I can still hear her sighing like a mournful ghost.

Certainly the skeletons don’t mind whether or not people like them. They’re glandless creatures and so they don’t have feelings that can be hurt.

The question is, can I live with some people not liking what I do?

The urge to please everyone all the time is a real issue for me. I come from a large family and I spent a good portion of my life trying to make people like me in order to get attention, which I craved. It was only when I hit menopause that I stopped caring quite so much. Once my body realized I was done reproducing, my brain took over and said “I’m in charge now,” and that was that. (See? Biology is another thing skeletons don’t have to worry about. More reason to love them!)

The bottom line is, I’m trying to learn how to paint. Studying the classics is a really good way to do this and adding skeletons makes it more fun.

But some people are not amused by skeletons, and they’re especially not amused by biblical scenes with undead people in the starring roles.

(I confess, I deliberately put that print in the window hoping to persuade a couple of political organizations, which shall remain nameless, to set up their tents elsewhere instead of directly in front of my studio during Friday Night Live events. And it worked, sort of. At least, the next weekend, they’d moved across the street. With them a littler farther away I figured I had a better chance of attracting my target demographic—people with a sense of humor who aren’t afraid of death.)

So to answer the question about what I can live with, while it bugs me when people openly sneer at my work, I absolutely adore the people who love it. They say things like, “These are so cool!” “That’s hilarious!” and my personal favorite, “I’ve gotta buy this.” So I’m going to focus my attention on them and everyone else, including my dead mother, will just have to deal.

Thank you to everyone out there who keeps laughing along with me. You know who you are. As long as I know you’re out there, giggling, I can handle a hater or two.


Are you a lover of skeleton art? Prove it! Sign up for my newsletter, Bone Appetit! And thanks for your support!

 

 

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Sunset over Sumner Lake

pastel painting of a sunset over Sumner Lake in New Mexico

Sunset Over Sumner Lake, 6×9″ pastel on paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Sunset over Sumner Lake

So Steve and I had been kind of racing to get to this place. It was the only state park within striking distance of where we’d started earlier in the day. It had water, a real rarity in New Mexico, and when I’d called earlier to find about about availability the ranger on the phone told me there were a few full hookup sites still available.

Of course, by the time we rolled in, the full hookup sites were all gone, so we moseyed down to the boat launch on the lake to see if there was anything down there. Ended up talking to this grit who was there with his two grandsons. It turned out that all along the lake was open camping, meaning if you could fit your unit in there, you could camp there. We ended up on a little bluff over the water, not too far away from this guy, but far enough that if they wanted to get rowdy, we’d never hear it.

Then we went and sat on a big flat rock by the water with a couple of beers and watched the sun go down. We found that by holding our bottles just so into the wind they “sang” for us. We amused ourselves for quite a while this way, until my hat blew off my head and Steve had to go rescue it. Lovely.

This painting is available in my ebay store. Listings start at $4.99, go for 7 days and include free shipping.

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