RAFA & Oil Paintings

by | Aug 15, 2018 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Oil Painting | 25 comments

The last couple of days have been busy with birthday parties, Mayo Clinic visits, house keeping, and back to school shopping, so I haven’t had much time for home projects or for posting here on the blog!  I thought I would pop in, though, just to give an update on my oil painting.

I started oil painting last September and the journey has been such a gift to my creative soul.  I don’t paint with any grand aspirations.  I paint because I love it and I’m thoroughly enjoying the progress I am seeing in my work.  The excitement at the visible progress keeps me coming back for more.  I still have so far to go, but I am “getting it” more and more with each painting and book and tutorial.

I decided a few months ago that I would like to further nurture this new love and take an art class at the local college.  As open registration for the fall semester neared, though, I became unsettled with this idea.  Could I really commit that kind of time away from family and my work?  What if they just had me drawing bowling balls and wine bottles and other obligatory beginning still life objects for an entire semester?  I know there is a reason behind those exercises, but I also know I wouldn’t enjoy it.

About the time I was mulling all of this over, I saw that one of my favorite online artists and teachers, Jessica Henry, was offering a full classical impressionist online art education online – Renaissance Academy of Fine Art (RAFA for short).  It’s a three year program with eight modules each year covering drawing, watercolor, inking, and oils.  You can sign up for a year at a time or just individual classes.  I opted to take the entire first year and it’s been so valuable that I plan to continue.

If you’re interested in pursuing art, it’s a wonderful program that you can do at your own pace and in your own home.  Even though the work is independent, I have enjoyed the RAFA community, where I can share our work with other students and receive critiques from Jessica on how to make my work stronger.

You can get more information about this program and received a free painting video tutorial HERE.

And, speaking of oil paintings, I’ve been on a roll lately and listed my largest collection of paintings for sale this week.  I really love a few of these, so they were hard to sell, but I want to send them out in the world, so I can create even more.  These are the ones listed for sale…

I am selling them auction-style again, so everyone who’s interested has a crack at them and also so I don’t have to struggle with pricing my work!  You can bid on the landscapes HERE and the still life paintings HERE.

Disclosure: The links in this post for RAFA are affiliate links, which means I receive a small “referral bonus” if you sign up for a class or the program.  I am a full-paying student, though, and would be sharing it even if I didn’t profit from it!


  1. Rhonda

    I’m an artist as well Marian, the worst is trying to put a value on your paintings, pricing for me is very difficult. I have never painted in oils but it is one thing I really want to learn, it intimidates me so much! I may look into the class you suggest, your paintings are wonderful!

  2. Susan

    I’m a firm believer in art classes! Clearly, you need no help with the discipline of practicing!😃 I found so much value in the feedback of a good instructor. I took drawing classes and he really helped me break some bad habits and see things in my work that I would have missed. You will be blown away by the speed of your improvement! Your painting has improved so much in less than a year. I honestly don’t know how you get so much done! Sometime, you should do a post with tips about how how you organize your time and set goals.

  3. Julie in Georgia

    WOW, Just WOW!! Your drawings are beautiful!! You cease to amaze me, Marian!!

  4. Lori Bouchie

    Beautiful and inspiring. I’m retiring in 8 months and would love to take on a new hobby 🙂

  5. Elizabeth St

    Susan’s idea is a good one … I’m curious how you get so much done, too. Mostly, though, I admire you for it.

    I’m amazed that your pursuit of oil-painting is less than a year old.

    I had to laugh at your typically modest statement that, “I don’t paint with any grand aspirations. I paint because I love it.” True as that may be, it sounds like the way you started Miss Mustard Seed. In other words, I won’t be surprised if painting grows into a major part of your creative/business life.

  6. Chris Moore of Seattle

    You are evolving so quickly! The paintings of the white flowers I didn’t recognize as your style at all-in a good way!. Amazing!

  7. Traer

    Aw lovely! You really are doing a great job. And Italy will inspire you even more!!

  8. Amy

    I absolutely LOVE the flower paintings!

  9. Carole

    I love the blueberries in the white bowl with blue stripes but can’t afford the price. (My husband and I are raising three grandchildren.) Would you consider a giveaway of a painting to your subscribers once or twice a year?

  10. Tracey

    Just beautiful Marian……Hoping that maybe you might try your hand at some seascapes in the future. Would love to purchase a few of those or possibly some sail boats on the water in soft muted colors.

  11. Trish

    Beautiful style and I love your colors & values…have a master quality. I would say that you have come a long way in a short time but your early works were pretty darn awesome too.

  12. Roseann

    So, where oh where can I buy me some miss mustard seed…AKA Marion paintings.

  13. Catherine

    Lovely, just lovely, peaceful, soft and so pretty!

  14. Tracy

    Such a beautiful talent you have. I wish I had the eye to paint like that. I hope atleast one or both of your boys has inherited this talent from you!

  15. Kay

    It seems that everything you touch turns to gold. You painting has improved so much since you started, I am completely impressed. and very envious. Please bottle up your energy and send it to me. You seem to have at least 36 to 48 hours each day, or maybe you just don’t sleep. Paintings are beautiful, and they look like you have been painting all your life.

  16. Val

    Marian, You truly are a woman with many, many talents. Every day you do new and different artistic endeavors.
    I admire your ability in all fields.

  17. MJ

    Mayo Clinic visits? Hope it’s nothing serious and it’s Mayo just because it’s nearby and a good hospital.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, we live 3 miles from Mayo, so that’s just the place we get our medical care. And sorry, I should’ve explained better. My youngest son is a Type 1 Diabetic, so he has to have regular appointments to meet with an endocrinologist, nutritionist, etc.

  18. Sherri G.

    Just Gorgeous!!

  19. Naomi S

    Marian, you are just so talented! Your paintings look very professional and “complete” to me. I’m not an art critic nor do I paint but I do love art and am always looking at it and I think you are doing great! And it’s so wonderful that you love it and find it so fulfilling.

    I can’t wait to see more of your work as you continue to be an “artiste”.

  20. Susan

    I just love the blueberries Marion! You do great work!

  21. Angela

    Marian: I love the peaches! I would love to have one of your peach paintings in the future. I will keep watching to see if your have more for sale. … As one of the posts earlier mentioned, I too am looking forward to your trip to Italy and the inspiration it will give you that you will share with us! You’re just great. Thanks so much for showing the painter Sorolla in one of your monthly favorites. I had never heard of him; now I follow a Twitter group that shares his paintings and they are fabulous.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’m so glad you like Sorolla! He really is amazing and I had never heard of him before, either!

  22. Kim

    I won the auction for the painting with the vase, flowers and the pear. Cannot wait to get it framed and hang it up in my kitchen. Your pieces will be well loved by many- a little bit of Miss Mustard Seed in your “friend’s homes”. PS, missed you at Lucketts this year. Hope you come back some day. : )

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’m so glad it’s going to a good home! That makes me feel good. 🙂

      Yes, I missed Lucketts, too. I’m sure I’ll be back again in some capacity when the timing is right.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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