Tag Archives: art

Marie Marfia, Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24x18".

Skelly paintings traveling to New Mexico

I’m so excited that two of my skeleton paintings, Cheers! and Neverending Love Story, have been accepted to a show at KEEP Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico! Details below!

Marie Marfia, Neverending Love Story, soft pastel, 12x16.375
Neverending Love Story, soft pastel on sanded paper, 12 in. x16.375 in., $800.

Neverending Love Story is a parody of Marianne Stokes’ wonderful painting of Nicolette and Aucassin, a pair of lovers I was first introduced to in Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles novels. I highly recommend these books, if you’re a romantic at heart like me. I love them. Marianne Stokes’ work is, of course, sublime, and it was a pleasure to use her piece for inspiration.

Marie Marfia, Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24x18".
Cheers!, soft pastel on paper, 24 in. x18 in., $1800.

I painted Cheers! as a parody of Charles Marion Russell’s self portrait/Christmas card which I then used as my holiday greeting card back in 2020. At the time I was still in my old studio space in downtown Ludington. Good times! I remember deciding to make it as big as I could because I just knew all those horse skeleton bones were going to be difficult! And they were! Fun, though.

Details for this show:

The New Vanguard: Explorations into the New Contemporary V
Keep Contemporary Gallery
142 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
January 19-February 16, 2024
Opening Reception Friday, January 19, 5-8pm

I can’t go but if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come!

KEEP Contemporary is one of Santa Fe’s newest and most unconventional art spaces bringing fresh energy to the local art scene.


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 my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

Share

10 things I’m grateful for in 2023

Here’s a list of the things that made me happy last year:

  • I was able to travel and spend a lot of time with family and friends. I’m lucky to be able to pack up and go almost any time I want and, bonus! I now have a lot more good references for future portrait practice.
  • I took art lessons from Michigan artist, Vianna Szabo. She has helped me progress with my art and I feel a lot more confidence in the quality of my work. I’m so glad she took me on as a student.
  • I had more opportunities to hang out with the creative people who live here, attending more art receptions and going on plein air outings. Artists inspire me to do more work plus they’re just a lot of fun to be with.
  • I taught more pastel classes this year. Not only did I teach at Ludington Area Center for the Arts, but I was also invited to teach at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee. I love teaching pastels! The people who attend are talented and kind and curious, and those are the best kinds of students of all.
  • My art got juried into more shows. It’s so cool to see “Invited” on the Café form. I don’t always get in but when I do it’s really awesome.
  • I won an award. This was so unexpected and such a thrill. It would have been enough to know that my work was hanging alongside a lot of beautiful pastel paintings, but getting recognition was the icing on the cake. It’s been four months and it still feels awesome every time I see the shiny ribbon hanging in my studio.
  • I sold more art. Thank you to everyone who bought an original or a print or a card or an ornament from me this year. It always gives me a little rush to know someone liked my stuff enough to spend their hard earned cash for it.
  • I got sick, which may not sound like something to be grateful for, especially since it was Covid. I had to miss participating in a local holiday market as a result, but I used the time off to play around more with my skeleton art, which was fun! And really, I was very happy that my case was mild enough I didn’t need any intervention stronger than Nyquil to get through it. (Vaccines work!)
  • I got a dog! Well, technically I share her with my husband, but finally! A dog! Her name is Daphne and she’s a retriever mix, tan and white, very pretty and with Egyptian eyes and a very loving personality. 
  • As a result of the aforementioned dog adoption, I am getting more time outdoors, which is always something to be grateful for, because I live in a beautiful place, and the more time I spend outside the better I feel.

So that’s my gratitude list for the year! It’s good to look back and remember all the positive things that happened and will hopefully continue into 2024! A big helping of gratitude to you, too, for coming with me on my art journey. Hope your new year is awesome.


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 my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

Share
Crisp One, soft pastel on textured gator board, 8x10in.

Feeling accepted

It’s awesome when one of your works is juried into an art exhibition. This has happened a few times now (okay, three times) and it always makes me feel so many things, including grateful and hopeful and humbled.

Yay!

It’s good to be liked.

Now I have to find something to wear. Or, rather, I need to find something for my art to wear. What do you think? Black and gold? That’s a traditional style frame. Or I could go out to my garage where all my already used frames are and see if there’s something that would suit.

I want my art to be dressed for success, you know.

Here’s the piece that was accepted into the show.

Crisp One, soft pastel on textured gator board, 8x10in.
Crisp One, soft pastel on textured gator board, 8x10in.

And here’s the black and gold frame I think I want to use.

What do you think?

The show is Crooked Tree Art Center – Petoskey’s annual juried fine art exhibition, Fields of Vision. The exhibition dates are January 13 to February 24, 2024. Opening reception and exhibition awards announcements will be on January 13th, from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

There were 51 pieces selected from 206 submissions, so it looks like it’ll be a nice size collection. I will not be able to attend because I’ll be visiting my grandkids in Ireland, but if you’re in town I hope you will go see the show.


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!

Share
Marie Marfia, Mary Feeding the Chickens, soft pastel on textured gator board, 16x20"

Painting to remember

I’ve been painting to remember lately. It’s partly because of the pandemic. I’m realizing that I need to pay more attention to the people that I care about and to make it a priority to spend time with them. Before Covid, there was all the time in the world. Now, not so much maybe. Another reason is painting the stories I want to keep helps solidify them in my brain for later. I’m aware of memory slippage happening as I get older. Details fade and sometimes whole stories. I wonder, was I really there when that happened? Why don’t I remember it if I was? 

My father’s side of the family suffered from dementia at the ends of their lives, all except Frank, who was killed during WWII, Marianne, who committed suicide, and Ben, who died of a coronary. Six siblings out of nine. So odds are that I and some of my siblings will go the same way. It’s like a cloud that hovers over you, not quite solid but never quite going away, either. Every failure to come up with a name or word that I know that I know prompts the inevitable moment of panic and a rush of internal questioning. Is this the beginning of my decline? Am I going to go down the same path as my dad? Is there anything I can do to stop this?

I spend a lot of time researching how to make my brain do its job for as long as it can. I solve a crossword puzzle and a sudoku puzzle every day, read a lot, and push myself to learn new things. Mostly I try to remain hopeful.

So I’ve started painting memories of days spent with my family. One, it gives me an excuse to paint people, which I like, and two, it helps cement memories of a particular occasion in my head.

First I look at my photos and decide on a story to tell. Then I try to distill my feelings about the story into a painting. Here are three from my last trip to see my sister and her extended family out in New York state. 

Mary Feeding the Chickens

Marie Marfia, Mary Feeding the Chickens, soft pastel on textured gator board, 16x20"
Mary Feeding the Chickens, soft pastel on textured gator board, 16×20″

This one is of my sister Mary and her original flock of chickens, now a few years old. She’s got a colander on her hip with red grapes in it. We had decided earlier that grapes, and specifically red grapes, weren’t very good. They tasted too sweet and not enough like the grapes we remembered as children. So these grapes became chicken treats.

Mary, me, my daughter Alice and her wife Sandra, and their daughter Maeve, had walked down the hill to feed grapes to the chickens. Since they were being cautious around all the new people, Mary leaned over the fence, hand full of grapes, to coax them closer. In my painting I removed the fence and the extra figures behind Mary. But I kept the house up on the hill and our trailer parked next to it. Also there’s the hint of the barn behind the trees on the left, which I may remove. I haven’t quite decided, yet. Mary’s jeans have grass stains on the knees because you spend an awful lot of time on your knees when you are working an organic farm. The weeds don’t pull themselves, you know.

Come out, chickens!

Marie Marfia, Come out, chickens, soft pastel on toned sanded paper, 9x12".
Come out, chickens! soft pastel on toned sanded paper, 9×12″. Sold.

In this painting, I wanted to capture Mary’s step-granddaughter, Alice, trying to convince a flock of young chickens to come out from under their coop. Alice is fairy-like in her demeanor. She has long blonde hair falling over her shoulders and a joyful look in her eye. She refers to people as “humans,” and she is perfectly happy playing with whoever is available, including two-year-old Maeve. I wanted to remember her optimism concerning timid pullets and whether or not they could be tempted out of hiding by a handful of dirt, a stick or one of their own feathers. She tried all of those things without success and never noticed the one watching her from the other side of the coop.

Time lapse for Come Out, Chickens!

Walking to the Barn

Marie Marfia, Walking to the Barn, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10x8"
Walking to the Barn study, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10×8″.

In this final painting, I took a photo of Mary as she was on her way back to the barn. I liked her upright form against the barn and the sunlit green grass. It’s a reminder to me of how her days begin. Up before the sun, out to feed the chickens, providing sustenance, and warm regards (“Good morning, sunshine!”). When I miss her most, I imagine myself walking in the dewy grass with her, and I feel better.

So much of how I remember is visual as well as emotional. Photos can be painful to look at sometimes, because so many feelings well up from them. I often put pictures away and close photo apps because it seems as though I might never stop crying once I start. I’m not sure why I want to cry but I’ll continue to explore it. I think it makes for better paintings. And paintings may soon be the only way I can share what I am feeling if or when the day comes that I no longer have the words.


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!

Share
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
Share
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.


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!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase my original art on Daily Paint Works or in my Etsy shop.

Share
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!

Share
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.

Share

Talk like a Pirate Day is Wednesday, September 19!

“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!

 

Share

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.

Share