Tag Archives: orange

red wing blackbird silhouette painting

So it begins!

New project!

This summer I’ve decided I want to learn to paint with acrylics. So, as I’ve done before here and here, I’m committing to painting a small acrylic painting every day for the next 100 days. At the end of that time I hope to be more comfortable painting in acrylic and to have a bunch of work to show for my efforts.

Unlike my previous projects, I don’t entirely know what I’ll be concentrating on as far as subject matter goes. Right now I figure I’ll paint whatever subject appeals to me in the moment, concentrating on technique and composition rather than say, landscapes or portraits.

Today’s painting is based on a video tutorial that I watched this morning. The tutorial was about making a dark to light background and featured a bird and some branches in silhouette. It used just two colors—black and white—to make it easier for a novice (that would be me!) to get the hang of blending and simple enough that I would have a nice painting at the end.

I was inspired by the idea of a bird and also the graduated background. But of course I had to mix it up a little bit. Two colors? Nah. How about four?

See, I love to get up before the sun and watch it coloring the sky orange and gold and shining through the trees, so I decided to make my background reflect the color of the sky from this morning. So I needed red and yellow for that. For the bird I picked a red winged blackbird because they have so much personality and they’re everywhere around here. Plus, they have lovely red and yellow epaulettes on their shoulders, so I thought that would be perfect with my peachy background.

Here’s today’s effort:

red wing blackbird silhouette painting
001 Red Winged Blackbird, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

001 Red Winged Blackbird, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Fear not, I am not giving up on pastels! I will continue to work with them because I love doing it. But it’s always good to shake things up if you possibly can, try something new. Keeps me thinking creatively, and who doesn’t need more of that?

I’ll be posting them here on my blog, so if you’d like to keep track of my progress, please bookmark this page and come back often. Or come and visit me in Ludington, Michigan. I have a new exhibit space next to the Bonafide Gallery called James St. Gallery and I’ll be hanging these paintings there all summer. Hope to see you soon!

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Sky on Fire

pastel painting of morning sky

Sky on Fire, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

I stepped outside this morning, letting the dogs out to pee, and when I turned around, this happened.

The sky was on fire and it held me spell bound as I walked down the dirt road opposite our house. The dogs didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, but to them, every day is the best day. It’s just humans who make a fuss about sunrises and sunsets.

I brushed out my first attempt at this and started over, trying to paint how I felt instead of what I thought I saw. They’re two different things, you know.


pastel painting of a late afternoon on the beach

Pink Gloaming

Today’s sky painting is the 4th in a series of 21 that I’m doing as a result of a wonderful mini workshop with Karen Margulis

I remember being on the beach in the late afternoon when I took the picture that this painting is based on. I was there with a few friends and we just didn’t want to leave yet. The sun went down behind us and then the real fireworks started. All the contrails came into high relief against the blue and pink and aqua in the sky. The sand glowed orange. It was wonderful.

I’m looking forward to being back in Michigan, hanging out at the beach for sunsets and then painting them, every one that I can.

pastel painting of a late afternoon on the beach

Pink Gloaming, 5×8″ pastel on Canson mi tents paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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.



Sugar skelly number 4, green and orange


I was out taking pictures of butterflies and bees in my wildflower garden yesterday and that was the inspiration for today’s Sugar Skelly. Her dress is the color of the leaves of the flowers and there’s a butterfly flittering around her head, perhaps hoping for a sip of nectar from her pretty bouquet.