Tag Archives: art

pastel painting of homage to Reginal Marsh's High Yaller

High Skeller

Whew! She’s done and I’m so glad. You ever have a project that you want to finish but you just can’t seem to move forward on it? That was me last week.

Finally, I sat down and wrote a short piece about a person named Marie who just got down to it and finished the painting she’d been wanting to finish. Then I decided to hold myself accountable by live streaming the process. And it worked! Something about having someone in the room watching me actually do the painting really motivated me to finish it.

So, I’m very happy to present my beautiful skelly in yellow for your viewing pleasure. See the guy in the back? He’s enjoying her, too.

pastel painting of homage to Reginal Marsh's High Yaller

High Skeller, 20×16″ pastel painting on gator board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia.

Here’s my Work in Progress pics.

And if you’d like to purchase my darling girl, you can do that in my shop. She’s all dressed up and ready to go! She’s also available as a 8×10″ print or a 5×7″ greeting card.

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pastel of a sunset over a road

Sunset Drive

Saturday, June 4, 2016 I took a mini workshop called “Paint the Sky” featuring one of my favorite pastel artists, Karen Margulis. (This was offered through First Coast Pastel Society, which is an awesome pastel group, if you’re in the area and looking to paint with a crowd of nice people. Everyone is very supportive and there’s a lot going on. I highly recommend you join them. I’m really going to miss these folks after I move.)

It was very intense because it was very short, but well presented and with a lot of good information. Karen challenged the workshop participants to paint 21 skies in the next 21 days, as a way of starting a new, daily painting habit. I already paint every day (well, almost!) and so I’m not too worried about the habit-forming part of the challenge, but oh, the skies! I can totally do that!

So here’s Sunday’s sky painting. This is a scene based on a photo my son Nick took while we were driving to karate class. I was blown away by the fiery clouds in the sky, handed Nick my camera and yelled, “Shoot! Shoot!” So he did and I found it again while looking through my photos on my computer in search of appropriate subject matter for the workshop.

pastel of a sunset over a road

Sunset Drive, 4×6″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $60, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

Even though these luscious sunsets are the result of more pollution in the air, which I hate, I still love the colors! I guess that’s a love-hate relationship. I can live with that.

 

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small pastel landscape of fall leaves

Dreaming of Fall

small pastel landscape of fall leaves

Dreaming of Fall, Emotional Landscape series, 5×7″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Please contact me to purchase.

With this pastel, I am thinking about my move back to Michigan and four season living again. In Florida, there’s warm and hot, as opposed to cool, hot, crisp and cold up north. I miss the seasons, and yes, I even miss the snow. But fall is my favorite season. The trees are brilliant, the fields are golden and the sky is a warm blue with far off wisps of clouds. Autumn is awesome.

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landscape in pastels

What’s Past

landscape in pastels

What’s Past? 5×7″ pastel on Crescent board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. To purchase, contact me.

I was laying on the extra bed this morning, resting. I’ve been fighting with a cold for the past few days. WIth my eyes closed, my mind begins to wander and I find myself re-playing, re-living events from my past, things that I regret doing, things that I’d rather not think about, especially when I’m feeling low already. I got to thinking that if my future is a black and white cocker spaniel named Mike, what is my past? Is it a neurotic Irish setter named Ginger? This was another dog I remember from childhood. She was on a chain in the back yard and we stayed clear of her because she’d scratch us with her paws. Poor thing. She probably just wanted to be loved. Maybe my past is like her in that I should be viewing it with compassion for the person I was, regardless of things that I did or didn’t do. That makes more sense than pretending it doesn’t exist and ignoring it.

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pastel painting of my emotional landscape

Grass is Greener

pastel painting of my emotional landscape

Grass is Greener, 5×7″ pastel on Crescent board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

When I started this pastel, I planned to do a cool landscape, similar to a painting that Karen Margulis had posted this morning.

So I took out all the reds and oranges from yesterday’s palette, and added in some cool darks. What I ended up with was a painting where the green in the distance seems to be the star of the show, so I named it after an old adage, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” or, in this case, the other side of the path.

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pastel of a landscape

Because I’m Happy

One good thing about doing a series based on the same scene is that the biggest question is already answered, which is, “What am I going to paint?”

With that out of the way, I’m free to do whatever I want with the subject. Today I decided to use a palette based on a print I bought about a year ago. The print is of a beach scene done in bright, cheerful colors, which is what drew me to it, more than the subject matter. I liked the graceful swoops of the artist’s brush work, too, and that’s something that I can do with pastels, especially if I start with a board that I’ve brushed pumice onto, like this one.

It also helps that I just got off the phone with my brother Joe, one of my favorite people in the whole world.

pastel of a landscape

Because I’m Happy, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed Crescent board by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase this painting.

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Eagle 19, Alone in the Dark

This morning I woke up hearing Joni Mitchell singing “Help me…” in my head. The last couple of days have been a slog. I seem to be crabby all the time and I can’t make myself do anything about it. I want to crawl back into bed and forget about everything I still have to do for this show coming up. I don’t feel like walking or shopping or framing or painting. I just want to sit in a puddle and feel sorry for myself.

Here’s the thing, though. I write it all down, just how crappy I feel, puking it all out on paper, and eventually, I feel better. Not 100%, but better, maybe 30% better. I write a little more and pretty soon I’m giving myself a pep talk about how everything will work out okay if I’m patient, if I take things one step at a time. Gradually, I begin to feel like I could do one of the things on my list.

So, I went online and spent about $500 for everything I’ll need for next weekend. I’m excited, a bit daunted, but at least I have a plan. 50 prints, 150 cards, 7 paintings and 1 giveaway, plus a partridge in a pear tree, or a beer in a tree, depending on where you’re from and who you listened to growing up.

It’ll all be okay. I just have to remember that when I’m feeling alone and helpless, I have the power to make it better. I can do things, write things, make things. It’s enough.

pastel painting of two eaglets asleep in the nest

Eagle 19, Alone in the Dark, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

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Eagle 17, Attitude Adjustment

pastel painting of a bald eagle on the nest with eaglets

Eagle 17, Attitude Adjustment, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

Eagle 17, Attitude Adjustment

When we lived in Ludington and Steve was working long hours, I was faced with making dinner every night after work. I was so depleted at the end of the day that coming up with a meal was just too much on top of everything else. So I enlisted the kids to take a day a week and decide what to make for dinner, then I’d help them put it together. That plan was in place for probably three weeks, which in the overall scheme of things, isn’t very long, but it helped. I got a break, they felt like they were contributing, so it was good.

Parenting for me so far has been a series of short experiments. I’ll try this new approach to discipline that I just read about on the internet, and next week it’ll be a how to talk to your teenager book I found at the library. The week after it’ll be something my girlfriend told me about that worked for getting her kid to clean up his room. I am always trying to improve my parenting self.

One of the first things I remember figuring out was how not to be funny at my children’s expense. You know how it is when you’re telling a parenting story and it starts to sound like complaining but it’s funny and you can’t stop. Pretty soon people think your kids are awful, when actually, they’re just being kids.

I decided one day to just tell people, if they asked, that my kids were perfect. Because they were. They were perfect examples of children. At least, that’s how I thought of it.

Instead of actively taking notes about how hard it was being a mom, I started memorizing all the good stuff. Instead of telling the story about Alice walking on her baby brother when I wasn’t looking, I told the story about how she cuddled him in her arms. Instead of whining about how Sam kept me up all night, I talked about how much he loved to be held. Instead of talking about Nick sneaking into the health department building after hours with his friends, I bragged about how he had built-in GPS and always knew where he was.

My friends started telling me they wished I’d been their mother. And this always stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t think of myself as a good mom. I just practiced thinking of my kids as good kids.

Maybe I can take that early lesson about my attitude toward my children and apply it to myself. Rather than make a daily catalog of my failures, what would happen if I made a list of my successes instead? If I started toting up all the examples of what makes me a perfect example of myself, it would maybe change how I feel about me. It’s worth a try.

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Eagle 16, Loose

pastel of a bald eagle on a nest

Eagle 16, Loose, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

I was going for loose with this one, so what I did was, I made a pencil sketch and then painted from that. And it helps to keep things lighter and fresher. You can only be as detailed with the painting as you are in the sketch. I set my timer for 25 minutes for both and managed to finish the painting by the time the bell rang. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the face of him/her, but I like the composition. It looks less like an aerie and more like a robin’s nest, I think. I’ll have to try it again.

Today started out productively enough. I found a few more frames at the Hospice Thrift Store on Beach Boulevard. Happily, everything was 50% off. They must be catching on to the fact that people are buying the frames and not the art because some of the pieces I was interested in were in the $80 range or better. Oh well. It’s still a savings versus buying them new.

I got my point driver in the mail yesterday so I should be all set. Just a few more frames to try and find. I still haven’t found anything big enough to handle The Skelly Dance, my homage to Henri Matisse. Something will turn up, though.

I’m trying to stay loose about the upcoming show, trying not to wind myself up, trying not to overcompensate for my imagined shortcomings. Read: spend money on things I convince myself I need in order to do well. Calm, calm, calm. This is supposed to be fun, remember?

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Eagle 15, My Favorite Fish!

pastel painting of a bald eagle and eaglet

Eagle 15, My Favorite Fish! 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia, $129. If you’d like to purchase this painting, email me.

My Favorite Fish!

This is the third attempt at this painting. Here are the other two.

Eagle 15, number 2

Eagle 15, number 2

Eagle 15, number 1

Eagle 15, number 1

Part of the problem was focus. I was very conscious of the fact that a camera was pointed at my back. The other problem was that this is a very difficult composition for me. But I think the last version came out pretty well. It helped to think of it as an illustration rather than a piece of “art”. Sometimes, a picture is just a picture and not “art,” you know?

It also helped to do it several times. I could try things and refine the shapes, make choices about how much importance I wanted to attach to the different elements. I still feel like I could fade the large branches back a bit.

Anyway, I like it. I like the strong diagonal from parental head to progeny tail. I like the pale yellow nest, I like the tangle of larger branches behind. I like the strong dark of the eagle’s legs.

Tomorrow I’ll post the video.

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