I’m leaving

and you can’t stop me.


These bones were made for walkin’, and that’s just what they’ll do…

Actually, I’m moving this blog over to my website, so starting with today’s post, you’ll find all my crazy ramblings and new art on mariemarfia.com/blog. Please navigate yourselves right over there for the newest, most recent blog posts from yours truly. And then bookmark it for future reference. I will be taking this site down at the end of September 2015.

It’ll be great to just have one place to put everything. I’m all about efficiency. –Marie

Old dog, new trick

pastel painting of a green wave with a blue sky

Skype Light, Wave Portrait No. 154, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board, by Marie Marfia.

My fingertip taps the bright blue icon and I hear the familiar “zoooop” sound as Skype starts up. There are ten contacts but my eyes zero in on two, Sam and Nick, and I see the lights next to their names are bright green, which means they’re online. Chances are good they are playing a game together, Dungeons and Dragons probably. My finger hovers over Nick’s picture but then I change my mind and close the app. I don’t have anything to tell either of my kids, really, except I love and miss them, which they know already.

I sit, iPad on my lap, and rapidly exhaust all the internet urls in my favorites list. I scan the headlines on an endless array of amusing, educational, snarky articles, watch adorable pet videos, work sudoku puzzles and the Sunday crossword. Don’t I have anything else to do? Some larger purpose besides being a source of visits, views and clicks on other peoples’ websites?

My purposes have all flown the coop. I am not needed hourly, monthly or even yearly, if you go by one particular child’s  communication habits. I have nobody’s socks to pick up, no one’s meals to prepare, no one’s life to organize, except this one right here in front of me. All my brain, no longer portioned out evenly between three children, is now able to focus on just one life, my own, and it is apparently not that interesting.

The Skype light is a secret beacon, a dot of comfort. See? Both green lights are shining together, so I should be happy. They used to fight constantly at home, sending the dog running for cover. Once, they were looking particularly glum after coming home from the paper route they shared. They told me someone had pulled over on the street and stopped them from fighting. “You’re brothers,” the lady had scolded. “You ought to take care of each other.”

I sat them down and pointed out that they were more alike in their opinions than not. “You two agree with each other. You just come at it from different directions,” I said. “One of you is emotional, the other is logical.”

I see their bright green lights here on my iPad, in the evenings sometimes and most weekends. Now and then, it will just be one green light, and that’s my cue to send a quick message, “How’re you doing?” just to see if anyone needs anything. Old habits, old purposes are hard to change.

Here’s a time-lapse of this painting’s progression.

We have a winnah!

Click below to find out the winner of the Name This Skelly Painting draw!

Winner, you must email me your address so that I can ship out your print! Thank you to everyone who entered! You make this so much fun!

Name this Skelly painting contest!

pastel painting of a skeleton in front of a fountain in St. Augustine, Florida

Untitled, 11×14″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. This is a skeleton tourist posing in front of an old fountain in St. Augustine, Florida. This piece needs a title! Leave your idea in the comments and you might win a print of this painting! Woohoo!

Here’s the latest in my Greetings from St. Augustine skelly series and, as usual, I need help coming up with a title for it. Anyone who enters, regardless of whether I use your suggestion or not, will be entered in a draw. The winner will receive an 8×10″ print of this painting. Leave your suggestions in the comments, please, along with your name so I can enter you in the draw. Thanks for your help! Drawing will take place this Sunday, August 30, 2015.

Gratitude – Wave Portrait No. 148

pastel painting of a wave of gratitude

5×7″ pastel painting on gessoed mat board of a wave in green and purple, with a blue and pink sky, representing feelings of gratitude by Marie Marfia

DSCN0124 DSCN0125

How I make a progress picture slide show in WordPress

Filling the viewfinder with my art.

I use a tri-pod and a DSLR camera to take progress photos of my art. This photo shows how I try to fill the viewfinder with my art. It also shows my messy studio, but that’s the subject of another post!

Bev asked about progress pictures. This post is for her and anyone else who is keeping an art blog and wants to know how I do this. I use my camera to take pictures and I use my iPad and the Motion Pics app for time-lapse videos.

This post is about taking pictures and making a slide show with them. I’ll talk about time-lapse in another post.

  • Digital camera (I use a Nikon CoolPix L810 camera, but any DSLR camera works well)
  • Tri-pod (You can do this without one, but if you’re working in low light, a tri-pod is a great way to prevent blurry shots)
  • iPhoto or other photo storage software (I use iPhoto because it came with my Mac)
Set up:

I set up my paper or matboard on my easel, then position the camera on a tri-pod in front of it. Then I go to the camera settings menu and select “white balance”. There is an option called “Preset manual” that I use which will automatically tell the camera to focus on whatever is in front of it, in this case, a piece of white paper or white foam core that I prop directly in front of the artwork area. Measuring the white balance keeps my pictures from having a blue or yellow cast to them due to ambient light sources.

Using the "white balance" settings on my camera.

This picture shows how I use the “white balance” settings on my camera to eliminate color casts from my photos.

I use a focal length (the telephoto option) that’s about midway between the widest angle and the closest angle, about 50 mm, so that the picture isn’t distorted and the sides of the paper or matboard are parallel to the sides of the viewfinder. I try to fill the viewfinder with my artwork. I take a picture after every step in the painting process.

Once the painting is done, I upload all the photos to iPhoto. I delete the photos that are blurry and then export the rest to a  folder on my Mac. I export them as jpeg files, high quality, large size. With these settings each image is about 160k, so the slide show loads quickly.

To make a slide show in WordPress on my blog, I click on “Add Media” at the top of my new blog post. I upload the photos, then with them selected, I click “Create Gallery” in the upper left corner. This takes me to a new window where I can add captions under each photo and rearrange the order of the slides. I select “slide show” under “Gallery Settings: Type.” Then I select “Insert Gallery” on the bottom right, and voila! I have a slide show. It doesn’t look like a slide show while I’m editing but if I select “Preview” at the bottom I can see how it will look when the post is published.

I’ll share how I make a time-lapse progression on a later post. Hope this helps, Bev! Let me know in the comments if I left anything out.

Party Time – Wave Portrait No. 146

painting of a bright pink and purple wave on a yellow sky

Party Time, Wave Portrait No. 146, 5×7″ pastel painting on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and go somewhere, anywhere. I tried on fourteen different outfits. I fiddled with my hair. I put on make up. I thought about who I might talk to, what I would say, hoped there’d be dancing. I wanted to hang out with my friends, to meet someone new, to flirt.

When did pre-party anticipation turn into pre-party dread?

Now, it’s a struggle to leave the comfortable confines of my cave. Getting dressed up seems like so much work. Should I drink? Not drink? What shall I bring? Snacks? Dessert? Unthinkable to show up empty-handed! What if nobody eats it? Do I dare dance without my husband? Is that allowed?

What ever happened to just showing up and expecting to have fun? I swear, I am going to dedicate the rest of my life to remembering how that works. There’s too much seriousness in this world. It’s time to par-tay!

Here is the progression of this painting:

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