Tag Archives: portrait

Pastel portrait of Steve with a beard.

Happy New Year!

Okay, I’m a little late, but it’s okay. I’m the only one here and I’m not going to tell.

Along that line, I have a confession to make. I left my dogs home again.

Is it wrong? It’s so cold here at the Maker’s Market anyway. I know they’re fine at home with Steve. I just feel guilty leaving them behind every morning when I take off for the studio. But I’m also interested in how my brain works without being interrupted by the needs of my pets all day.

Back when my kids were small I used to take one weekend off a year to go camp with my girlfriends. I would have a wonderful time just being me for three or four days. No one called me Mom, or asked me to do anything for them, or needed to be nursed or changed or rocked. It was bliss.

Then, when I arrived back home, I noticed that my kids were smaller than I remembered.

I think that all the worrying and caregiving that I do and did made my charges grow to enormous sizes in my head. All it took to shrink them back to normal was some time away from them.

It’s the same with world problems and pet problems and any kind of problems. The more I worry and fret, the bigger they get. But all I have to do is turn off the radio, or get some distance away from them, even if it’s just for a few hours, and poof! they are reduced to manageable sizes again. It’s magical.

Here’s today’s portrait, No. 79, Steve with a Beard. Still slogging toward the finish of 100 Portraits in 100 Days.

I like this portrait because it was quick, about 20 minutes, and the strokes are expressive and loose. I got a likeness without belaboring the point. That’s all I really wanted.

Pastel portrait of Steve with a beard.

Steve with a Beard, No. 79, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board 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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painting of skeleton couple

Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

painting of skeleton couple
Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 8×10″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper, mounted on foam core, by Marie Marfia.

Here’s a cute couple. From the reflections in their sunglasses, I think they must’ve been at a park when they took their picture. Awesome! I’m a nature gal, myself. Although, I can get my fill in an hour or two. I love walking the trails, but I don’t want to be out there all day! I got stuff to do! Places to go! People to see! Know what I mean?

You’ll notice that on this portrait I opted to use a distorted grid. Couldn’t resist. It was such a twisted sort of skeleton portrait to do.

Here’s the progress pics:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagram or TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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a pastel portrait of a woman and her grandson

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Here we have my neighbor Judy and her grandson, Steve.

Judy is a marvel and a nice person. I’m glad I met her. She’s been keeping me up to date on all the happenings in my new neighborhood. Who’s moving in where, who’s up for the weekend, where to get the best deal on propane.

a pastel portrait of a woman and her grandson

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 10×8″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper, mounted on foam core, by Marie Marfia. Sold.

For this painting I had to do a little adjusting in Photoshop, since Judy’s head was tilted and was too far away from Steve’s head. And then do some more adjusting on the painting itself because she was closer to the light source and her skin was pretty washed out. That’s the challenge of working with other people’s photos. You never know what you’re going to get.

Here are the progress photos:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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Marie Marfia, Kelly and Cat, soft pastel on sanded paper, 9x6"

No. 11, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Here’s Kelly and her kitty. They look so comfortable snoozing like that together. I miss my cat sometimes. She was a clever kitty. But Steve is allergic to cats so our last cat was our last cat.

pastel of a woman and her cat, sleeping

Kelly and cat, No. 11, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper, mounted on foam core, by Marie Marfia. This painting is available ($100 plus $12 shipping). Contact me to purchase.

Here are the progress pictures:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

 

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No. 9, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

This is from Erin, a painting of her lovely sister. Thanks, Erin, for sending it to me! I hope your mom loves it.

pastel portrait of a young woman

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

Here are the progress pictures:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

 

 

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pastel of a skull portrait

No. 8, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Hey, No. 8! This is a skull on request. The original selfie was very dark, which I liked, so the resulting skull is pretty dark, also. Still managed to get some color in there, though. I like how this one turned out, with the pink and turquoise and blue and purple. I love the glowing background, too.

pastel of a skull portrait

No. 8, Izzybutterfly Totem, 100 Portraits in 100 Days series, 6×9″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. Available $100 plus $12 shipping. Contact me to purchase.

No progress pictures for this one! I was so into it I never stopped to take any photos!

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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pastel painting of a grinning skull

No. 7, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Whew! Seven already! But after only a week, I feel like I’m getting into the swing of this. I’m starting to look forward to these every day and the challenge of potluck as far as reference materials goes! Kinda fun!

pastel painting of a grinning skull

Deb, No. 7, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. This skull portrait is available. Contact me to purchase.

Here are the progress pictures:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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pastel portrait of family of three

No. 4, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

pastel portrait of family of three

Linda and family, Nos. 4-6, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 10×8″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. Sold.

So I spread this one out over 3 days and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. Linda’s son is quite a bit taller than his mom and his sister in the original reference photo so I had to do a little adjusting in Photoshop to put all their smiling faces on the same level.

Here are the progress pictures:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

 

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Pastel portrait of a pretty young woman with pink hair

No. 3, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

So Melissa sent me this beautiful selfie for my 100 Portraits in 100 Days series, asked me to roll the dice and this is the result! Such a pretty face! And pink hair! It was like drowning in cotton candy.

Melissa Hill, No. 3, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on mat board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. This pastel is available, $100 + $12 shipping. Contact me for more info.

Here are the progress pictures:

 

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