Tag Archives: pastels

Back in the Swing

pastel painting of a pair of dunes, sky and clouds

Back in the Swing, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Had a very nice weekend with friends up in Leelanau County. It sure is pretty up there. Steve took some pictures of the lakeshore. We were hiking around on Lake Michigan, looking for ice caves. Saw a few but I generally stay away from the edge of the ice. I have a fear of being trapped under ice. When Steve used to take the kids out to look at ice caves I would stay home and worry. It was easier than going along and worrying.

Anyway, we hiked around and played some games and celebrated an old friend’s birthday. This is her last year as a fifty-something. Hope it’s a fabulous one.

I’m going to try to step up my daily painting game in anticipation of our vacation coming up at the end of March. I’d like to have enough daily paintings to keep seven at auction the whole time I’m away. We’ll see. If I go back to my old practice of two a day, I should have plenty stockpiled by the time we leave on March 18.

This painting is on ebay as of 9pm tonight. Bidding starts at 99¢.

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Walking my dogs makes me a better painter

At least it gets me off the couch in the mornings. Truthfully, if I had my way, I’d spend all day on the couch eating bonbons and flipping through Imgur on my iPad, but the dogs aren’t going to let themselves outside and since our yard isn’t fenced (yet!), I have to go with them.

This involves piling them into the back of my minivan and driving out to the woods. See, I’d walk them around the neighborhood but there are too many potential pitfalls involved with this, i.e. other loose dogs. So my preference is to drive about five miles south on Walhalla Road, turn off onto any one of half a dozen “seasonal roads” and tromp around the Manistee National Forest for an hour.

The dogs get to sniff and dig around, I don’t have to clean up after them (although I’ve unofficially adopted the first two miles of 6890 because, let’s face it, people are pigs), and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

Sometimes we see deer, sometimes a dead snake, and once Roger thought for sure a cat walked out of the ferns not six feet in front of him, but it was a skunk and he was not allowed to get any closer to it although he fussed a bit about my decision. I held firm, though. You should see the divots my feet left in the road even two weeks later. I held on for dear life, I’m telling you.

So how does this make me a better painter?

It provides subject matter, of course. I won’t tell you how many pictures of my dogs are on my Google drive right now, but it’s a lot. Like thousands. Sometimes I keep my finger on the camera button, snapping pic after pic of Roger digging in the dirt just to get that one glorious moment when he leaps back into the road to try to catch up to whatever he’s smelling off in the distance.

It lets me paint wonderful scenes of my dogs enjoying the great outdoors. I used to think I went out to the woods for me, but really, I go out there for them. They’re the ones that are having the great time.

I guess I’m jealous. Here I am, covered in Deet to keep off the bugs and checking for ticks and bears and swiping at deer flies and those two are just loping along with their tongues hanging out, having a grand old time. Every. Stinking. Morning.

I love it. I love them. I’m a lucky girl to have these lucky dogs.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Roger and Out” 6×9″ pastel on paper.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Daisy in the Dark,” 9×6″ pastel on paper.

You can find more of my daily paintings on ebay including the ones pictures here. They start at 99¢ and the auctions last for 7 days. Good luck and happy bidding!

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No. 1, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

First, I’d like to thank Rae Crowley, who sent me a selfie and told me to roll the dice. I rolled a 5, so I skullitized her portrait. How cool to start the series off that way!

skeleton portrait

No. 1, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground, by Marie Marfia. Available $100 plus $12 shipping. Contact me to purchase.

The first one is always the hardest, isn’t it? I didn’t have my stuff ready to go, had to find mat board, the pumice mixture, find a cup to mix it in, a brush, a rag, my pastels. Oh blah, but in spite of all that, I had fun when it got right down to it, and I think it turned out well, don’t you? Onward!

Here are the progress photos:

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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 painting of a morning at the preserve

Gold and Lavender

This is another in the Sky paintings series, from a challenge issued by Karen Margulis after her mini workshop, Paint the Sky.

This is based on a photo that I took while out walking in the Julington Durbin Preserve. The clouds were blanketing the sky to the east but there was sun peeking out along the horizon and the light was frosting the tops of the clouds further up in the sky. It was really gorgeous. And this was fun to paint.

I used tertiary color in the clouds to get the grays I wanted, pale yellow, lavender and a cool aqua. Awesome way to get to gray! I probably knew this on some level, but it’s always nice to get the info straight from the expert’s mouth.

pastel painting of a morning at the preserve

Gold and Lavender, 4×6″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia. $60, unframed. Contact me to purchase

 

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Hello, it’s me

Self portraits are maddening. And interesting. And fascinating. And kinda fun.

I spent a few days working on this one, and I think I’d like to do more. It’s my nose, dammit. I have such a hard time getting it right. And there’s too much chalk on the paper. It’s like I circle around and around until I find the right color/value/shade.

Maybe the next one won’t be so difficult.

selfie portrait

Marie in Blue, 8×8″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

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Self portrait, Marie in Blue

IMG_3222 IMG_3223 IMG_3224 IMG_3225Today’s assignment was a self-portrait. I have been reading an oldie but goodie, Doug Dawson‘s Capturing Light & Color with Pastel, and have fallen in love with his style of portraiture. I had a picture of me that I thought I’d practice with and I think I’ve done five different renderings so far. I stopped working on the last version after a reasonable looking charcoal drawing. It may be that by the time I get about 80 percent into it tomorrow, I’ll end up adding it to the reject pile.

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This is how it goes when I’m trying to learn something new. I’ll struggle and struggle and struggle and then, eventually, hopefully, something will click and my hands and my brain will start talking to each other again. It’s frustrating but at least I know that if I keep at it I’ll have a break through sooner or later.

We’re at the same point now with selling our house. We’ve done all the cleaning, the fixing, the painting, the showing. All that’s left is for someone to make us an offer. I’m leaving it up to Steve to take on the negotiating role. I’m notoriously bad at poker. Unless I’m lucky, and then I’m unbeatable. But everyone says that.

It’s the same with pastels. Sometimes I’m lucky. What I’d like to be is consistent, though, and I know that just takes endless repetition. Still, I’m enjoying myself, so it’s not onerous, and at least with this one, I only have to please myself.

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pastel painting of three red apples

Playing with my food

When in Roma

How about a new series? I know I’m ready for one.

To be honest, between the portrait series and trying to get our house ready to sell, I’m feeling the need to simplify my life any way I can. So for the next month or so I’m going to concentrate on uncomplicated subject matter. And what’s simpler than food?

Steve and I are getting into a new diet plan and I thought, This is great! I’ll paint what I’m eating, which, as it turns out, is a lot of fruit and vegetables. I enjoyed doing these so much last year (remember the xmas zucchini?) and I feel like it’s time to get into them again. Hope you enjoy them.

pastel painting of three red apples

When in Roma, 6×9″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of three red apples

When in Roma, detail, 6×9″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of three red apples

When in Roma, detail, 6×9″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of three red apples

When in Roma, detail, 6×9″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of three red apples

When in Roma, detail, 6×9″ pastel on illustration board by Marie Marfia

Progress pics:

This painting is available at auction on ebay beginning at 9 pm eastern, January 19, 2016.

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Road Leads Left

Yesterday, when I posted my work in progress to Facebook, someone commented that they liked my minimalist style. This was kind of funny, because I don’t think of myself as a minimalist painter. But I’d like to be.

I thought about it for a while and today’s landscape is the result. I tried hard not to put anything in that didn’t need to be there. So no tree trunks in the background, no saw palmetto leaves in the foreground. Just blocks of color. Mostly. I am looking forward to doing more minimizing as this series unfolds.

pastel painting of a landscape

Road Leads Left, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

In a double mat

In a double mat

pastel painting detail of a landscape

Road Leads Left, detail, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting detail of a landscape

Road Leads Left, detail, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting detail of a landscape

Road Leads Left, detail, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

pastel painting detail of a landscape

Road Leads Left, detail, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

This is number 8 in my 30 Landscapes in 30 Days series.

This painting is available at auction on ebay through November 20, 2015. After that, if you’re interested in purchasing it, contact me about payment and to arrange shipping.


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Wave Portrait No. 129

I just have to get back to daily small painting again. I miss it. Woman cannot live by skellies alone! So here’s a wave painting that I did this morning. I used a piece of UArt paper that had a failed painting on it, brushing some rubbing alcohol over it for an underpainting. Then I worked quickly, trying hard not to fiddle with it too much. It’s on my Etsy site for $70, includes shipping anywhere in the USA. Or if you’d rather have a print, it’s on my Fine Art America site, in a range of sizes.

pastel painting of an ocean wave

Wave Portrait No. 129, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia. $70 in my Etsy shop, prints available at Fine Art America.

Blue Skelly Dancers final

I started a membership on Fine Art America, just so I could see what this finished piece looks like as a shower curtain. I think I must have one, but it might not be to everyone’s taste. If you’d rather have a print, click the link and order the size you like. They’ll even frame it for you or you can have it on canvas or as a throw pillow… whatever your heart desires! I’m also offering the original painting for $512 in my Etsy shop.

pastel painting of Degas' Blue Dancers as skeletons

Blue Skelly Dancers from the Old (Dead) Masters Series, 16×16″ pastel on Canson paper by Marie Marfia. $512 in my Etsy shop. Prints (and shower curtains) available at Fine Art America.

Other good news

Since signing a contract in June, I’ve received two deals through Art Licensing International, Inc. for which I am very grateful. One is a company called Leotie Fashion and Lifestyle in Germany, and the other is from Art.com.

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