Tag Archives: man

pastel painting of a man on a log in the forest

Sitting on a Log

pastel painting of a man on a log in the forest

Sitting on a Log, 5×7″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $90.

This little painting is about sitting on top of a log in the middle of the Manistee National Forest. Steve and I had gone walking around a potential camping spot near the Pere Marquette River and started wandering along a deer path. Deer seem to pick out the prettiest places to walk along. Anyway, we came across this huge tree across the path and naturally, Steve wanted to climb aboard and pose for a picture. I love living around here.

This is one of my daily paintings. If you would like to purchase it, please email me.

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pastel painting of a smiling man

No. 94, smiling guy

Smiling faces. I can say one thing about this series and that is, I’ve never studied so many smiling faces in my life!

You know, with life model studies the model is never smiling. It’s too hard for them to maintain an expression like that during a long pose. That’s one of the advantages to working with photos. It can be any expression at all, including the manic grin on the face of today’s portrait.

There’s something nice about working on smiling faces all the time. No matter what’s going on elsewhere in the world, right in the moment that I’m working, the person whose face it is that I’m studying is in a happy place. It probably has an effect on me, too, now that I think about it. It’s probably got something to do with science. I don’t know why or how it works, but if it’s science, I approve.

 

pastel painting of a smiling man

No. 94, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on Canson mi-teintes paper by Marie Marfia

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pastel portrait of my husband

Steve

pastel portrait of my husband

No. 76, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia

There are days when I just don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to paint, I don’t want to do yoga, I don’t want to do my job.

The whole thing just feels overwhelming. So, since I usually can’t skip whatever it is because hey, I’m a grown up and grown ups just carry on, I try to break it down into small, bite-sized pieces.

Today, for instance, I decided not to think about how hard portraits can be, and how much time they take to do, and instead I concentrated on just getting a board ready to paint. Sometimes just doing the stuff that leads up to the painting can help me feel better.

So I found a piece of mat board and cut it to the right size and taped it to my easel. Then I mixed up some acrylic pumice ground with a little water and brushed it on the board. While I let it dry, I opened my photo reference in Photoshop and cropped it and then printed out three references, one black and white, one posterized and one regular.

I took the regular photo reference and made pencil lines on it using a ruler, marking the picture into quarters and then putting lines in for where the eyes were, where the chin and top of the head fell, the edges of the face. I drew plumb lines from the corners of the eyes and the mouth and the nostrils.

When I got that done I decided to go ahead and begin the preliminary sketch using a blue pastel pencil and measuring as I went along. Once that I was done I took a break.

I like to sit and think about the painting and what kind of underpainting I’m going to do, what colors are in the photo, what kind of day it was when I took the picture, what color the light is and what the colors of the shadows should be.

After a little while I get out my pastels and start blocking in the shadows and the lights using the black and white reference. I generally use four values for the underpainting. In this case, I used 4 warm blues for the face and some purples for the background. Then I rub in the color with foam pipe insulation.

After the block in I use the posterized reference to put in some colors over the underpainting, keeping mostly the same values.

Another break and then I taped up the regular photo and began to put color in, trying to marry the sections together and bring what was already there more in line with what I saw in the photo. This is the hardest part and where I’m most likely to have a melt down. The trick is to squint a lot and be patient. Sometimes the painting doesn’t want to cooperate, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own. Those are the best days.

Today was a very good day. I’m glad I painted today.

 

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Steve in a Green Shirt

Pastel painting of a man on the beach

Steve in a Green Shirt, 10×7″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $129, unframed. Email me to purchase.

Steve in a Green Shirt

Of course, you know that he was wearing a tie-dyed shirt, right? I elected to simplify it to plain green. He looks good in it.

I am thinking about experimenting with this one, doing it on a really, long, skinny piece of paper. First I have to find the right frame, and then I’ll do it to fit.

Today was the meeting at The Attic gallery. We talked about things to do to get some more people through the door. I absolutely have to go back tomorrow and re-stock skelly cards. And then I’m going to walk around to all the hotels and put some postcards at the concierge desks. Maybe that’ll help bring some people in.

It’s a bit frustrating. But that’s natural. Anything by committee is. And probably less than half of the people who are in the gallery care whether they sell anything or not. I offered to write the PR for the gallery in order to keep my art on the walls, after we move and I can’t work there anymore. I think I’d like to put a newsletter together, too, and then see what everybody thinks. If we sent one out once a month, it would help draw people back in more often.

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pastel painting of a man's face

No. 27, 30 Friends in 30 Days

Mike

This is Mike, Janet’s son, and all I know is, I learned a lot about painting a 5 o’clock shadow on this painting! And I remember reading something about it once, a long, long time ago, but it didn’t come back to me in time for this piece. I had to brush it out and start over again. There’s a trick to doing them so that the person doesn’t look like a reprobate. I think I managed it on the second time around.

Thank you, Janet, for sending me your son’s beautiful (and challenging) face to paint!

pastel painting of a man's face

Mike, No. 27, 30 Friends in 30 Days, 9×6″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face

Mike, No. 27, detail, 30 Friends in 30 Days, 9×6″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face

Mike, No. 27, detail, 30 Friends in 30 Days, 9×6″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face

Mike, No. 27, detail, 30 Friends in 30 Days, 9×6″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

Here are the progress pics.

This is my 30 Friends in 30 Days series. Each day I take a friend’s selfie and make a pastel painting from it. Then I post it to ebay at auction for 7 days. Follow my progress as I learn to paint pastel portraits with a little help from my friends.

Click here to bid on this painting.

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Number 10, 30 Friends in 30 Days

Scott

Scott is a friend of my husband’s, actually, but since Steve isn’t on facebook, I get all the status updates that Scott posts and pass them along. It’s not in the marriage vows, but I don’t mind.

I’ve always wanted to draw Scott’s face, almost since I first met him. He’s got wonderfully strong features, just fascinating to me, really. This painting did not go well at first and I ended up brushing it out and starting over again. It’s still not perfect, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about doing a series, you have to be able to let a piece go and move on. As it is, I’m pleased the way it resolved in the end and that’s the main thing.

pastel painting of a man's face, wearing a hat

Scott, No. 10, 30 Friends in 30 Days, 9×6″ pastel on mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face, wearing a hat

Scott, No. 10, 30 Friends in 30 Days, detail, 9×6″ pastel on mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face, wearing a hat

Scott, No. 10, 30 Friends in 30 Days, detail, 9×6″ pastel on mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a man's face, wearing a hat

Scott, No. 10, 30 Friends in 30 Days, detail, 9×6″ pastel on mat board by Marie Marfia

(I’m behind in my daily posts. Forgive me, I’ll try to catch up as I go along. I will get to them all so please be patient.)

Here are the progress pics.

 

This is my 30 Friends in 30 Days series. Each day I take a friend’s selfie and make a pastel painting from it. Then I post it to ebay at auction for 7 days. Follow my progress as I learn to paint pastel portraits with a little help from my friends.

Click to bid on this painting.

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