Skelly Dance at Bougival, wip

A start on another skelly painting, this an homage to Renoir’s Dance at Bougival. I love this painting so it’s a pleasure to copy it. Look at that swooshy pink dress! And the red hat! With fruit! Love it.


The initial sketch was charcoal and then I made a quick grid and went over it with a sangquine pastel pencil. I wasn’t too far off except for the placement of her head.


Blocking in colors. I love the guy’s shoes. So fancy.


More pink, really going after the suit colors.


Getting serious about the skull on the left, now. More to come!


Miller Time

Here’s Miss Leila, with the background filled in. I think I’m going to try it again, but using opposite colors. So her face and arms will be green, her jeans will be orange and red and the foliage will be orange, too. Let’s see how that works…



Miller Time

Here’s Leila again, either showing someone what she’s drinking or making a toast perhaps. I took some pictures at a party Steve and I went to. There were twenty chairs around the fire pit and Leila was sitting in one. I liked the color of her blouse in this one and the gesture she was making. It reminded me of camping out with my girlfriends every year. I won’t be able to go this year but maybe next year I’ll be in the right state for it at least. I have dozens of pictures of women sitting in lawn chairs, talking, laughing, smoking and drinking. It’d make a nice tarot deck, I think, but I’d have to make up new titles. Like this one could be “The Toaster” or “The Miller Drinker” or something like that. Maybe I could make them into a Magic deck and give them supernatural powers. Like Leila could have the power to change everyone’s beer to Miller High Life.


Miller Time, blue block in.


Miller Time, with color over the blue.


Miller Time, and time to think about whether I want to render a background on this or not.

Rainbow Flowers 4

pastel painting of flowers

Rainbow Flowers 4, 6×9″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia

Today I started with a contour drawing and then filled in the color. I wanted something fresh looking, which is funny because my flowers are not so fresh anymore. Whenever I move the vase, another petal or two drifts away. A reason to go get some more, I guess, but I can’t help feeling a little sad when they go. I’m bummed that the vanilla roses with the pretty pink trim didn’t open at all. They stayed rolled up tight and now they’re turning brown. What’s the matter with you guys? (We got our stems cut about five days ago and we’re afraid if we open up something else will get snipped.)

Rainbow Flowers 3

This morning I was staring at the ceiling fan during corpse pose (my favorite yoga position of all) and saw my bouquet of rainbow flowers up on the counter. Later, I got back down on the floor to draw them from that particular angle.

A change in perspective can be awkward and cool at the same time. Awkward because I’m flat on my back looking up at the subject. I have to hold the board against my stomach and reach over my body to get to my pastels. Cool because I can see the undersides of all my flowers. I noticed there’s a lot more leaves and stems visible.

pastel painting of flowers in a vase from underneath

Rainbow Flowers 3, 9×6″ pastel on UArt 600 sanded paper by Marie Marfia

pastel painting of a flower bouquet

Rainbow Flowers 2

I decided I need to keep painting these flowers. They make me feel happy and that’s all the reason there needs to be, yes? I like how this one sprig of purple something or other is sticking out at the top of the bunch, like a lone tree on a quilted hillside. I like how the daisies run up the hillside, like a path. Those orange ones on the lower right are going to require some intense work at some point. I am not grokking them as yet, but I mean to.

pastel painting of a flower bouquet

Rainbow Flowers 2, 9×6″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia

Also, I have been working on six sets of cafe curtains for the front porch. This morning, as I was getting ready to cut the lining for the final pair, I ran short of fabric. This would have stopped me in my tracks as recently as a few months ago. I do not suffer reverses all that well, but every time I finished a set this past week, I would hang them in place of the sad old bed sheet material that was already out there, and it would make me absurdly happy. So I went to Wal-mart and bought another yard so I could finish. It’s in the washer, and then I’ll dry it, iron it, cut it out and sew it up along with the last two pieces of material. Once that’s done, anything is possible.

DSCN0090 DSCN0091

Rainbow flowers

Steve brought me flowers along with the pizza last night, just because. He does this. I’m a very lucky so and so. I thought I’d paint them this morning and it occurred to me that they are all the colors of the rainbow, which I think was accidental, or maybe Flowerama was just taking advantage of the new impromptu holiday that happened because of the Supreme Court ruling yesterday about gay marriage. In any case, I didn’t see the rainbow when I got them, but only today when I painted them.

The shadows gave me fits and I tried wrestling them into submission with the addition of medium and light gray. It needs neutrals, otherwise everything fights to be first. I wanted the painting to be sketchy and loose and I think I achieved that.

pastel painting of flowers in a vase

Rainbow Flowers, 9×6″ pastel on UArt 600 paper by Marie Marfia.

Oh, and for those of you following along, this is the final on the family portrait commission that I was working on earlier this month. All done and shipped.

pastel painting of a family

Commissioned family portrait, 16×20″ on Canson paper by Marie Marfia