Author Archives: Marie Marfia

Paths to Water

pastel painting of a path through snow cover dunes to Lake Michigan

Paths to Water, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

You can lead a person to water, but you can’t make her drink. Well, actually, in my case, you don’t have to make me drink. I’ll do it all on my own.

I like how the light comes right up to the lip of the dune where all the footprints are leading up to, and then it stops and everything from that point to the foreground and right off the edge of the paper is in shadow.

I have spent a lot of time painting landscapes with roads or paths in them. Recently I noticed that the roads all end somewhere about a third of the way or two thirds of the way up the picture plane, and the end of the road is usually obscured by clouds or distant trees. This is probably something to do with me thinking about my future and wondering whether I’m going to go like my dad did, via Alzheimer’s, or if I’ll get lucky and be like my mother, who died with most of her faculties still intact.

I like these dune pictures because the paths all lead to the water. I read somewhere that water represents spirituality when you dream about it. My water dreams aren’t very nice, but maybe if I keep painting water as a final destination they’ll change.

Did I mention? We just moved my mother-in-law up to a memory care unit here in Ludington. It’s a lovely place. She’s doing well there. I stop by to see her a couple times a week, Steve does, too.

It’s hard to watch someone you love losing their mind like this. And wondering if it’s going to happen to you, too.

Nothing I can do but paint it out.

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

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Dark Clouds

pastel painting of clouds over Lake Michigan with dune grass and snow in the foreground.

Dark Clouds, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Had a delightful lunch with the woman who used to be our mail carrier when we lived here last. Small towns are like that. You know everyone and everyone knows you. Since we moved back it’s been fun renewing old friendships. Marcie was the person that my daughter Alice brought with her to Special Person day in something like first or second grade. They got along pretty great. I know Marcie was tickled to be asked.

After lunch we looked at pictures of my kids, including a video of Nick playing with fire. And did you know my other daughter Sam has a book on Amazon? I forgot to tell Marcie, but I’ll mention it next time I see her.

This painting is a result of me seeing a bright light out on Lake Michigan while I was driving past the dunes on the way out to the state park. Turns out it wasn’t aliens, which are always a possibility in my mind, but the reflection of the sun peeking through dark clouds. I love living here, have I mentioned?

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

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Birthdays

pastel painting of the Lake Michigan beach with snow and clouds

Birthdays, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Man, are we getting old. My oldest brother, David, is now 70. My youngest brother, Stephen, just turned 50.

Holy crap. I never expected to get this far. Not that I thought I’d die of a drug overdose or anything like that. I just never really thought about what it would be like to be 57 (now almost 58) years old. I remember imagining how weird it would be to reach 40 in the year 2000 back when I was a teenager. But I never considered what it would mean to live to be so (to me) ancient.

So here we are, all of us older than we feel. Does this happen to you? Do you catch your reflection unexpectedly sometimes, like going past a mirror at Wal-mart or seeing yourself in a window downtown or even bothering to watch yourself brush your teeth, and thinking, “Who the heck is that? Wait, that’s me. How did I get so old?”

The same way anybody does, baby. One fricking day at a time.

At least, if I keep up my daily painting practice, by the time I’m 80 I’ll have hundreds and hundreds of paintings to remind me of every single day.

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

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2 Beers = Foggy Morning

pastel painting of a bank of dunes with bluffs and Lake Michigan in the background.

2 Beers = Foggy Morning, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

The title refers to me and not the painting, BTW.

I should really know better. I didn’t need the second beer. I was already losing at pool anyway. And then we got home late and I had to get up early for a meeting this morning. You’d think, at 57, I’d be better at regulating myself. Well, nope, not really.

This painting makes me feel better anyway. That’s a bright spot in my day. I love this scene with the wild and wooly dune grass in the front and the hazy blue bluffs in the background standing over the big lake. This is such a cool place to live. I love it here.

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

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Dunes and Clouds

pastel painting of snow covered dunes and clouds

Dunes and Clouds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I was blue this morning so I thought I’d go paint something. Sometimes you can paint out your feelings and it helps.

The first two paintings I tried were not what I had in mind. Fortunately, this painting seemed to do the trick for me today. Hope you enjoy it.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Lit

pastel painting of a sand dune with Lake Michigan in the background, blowing dune grass and snow

Lit, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I was feeling sorry for myself this afternoon. I think it’s the weather. I’m starting to get tired of the cold and the snow isn’t looking so beautiful anymore. But then the sun came out and I thought, “I bet the dunes out at the state park are lit up right now,” so I jumped in my car and raced out there.

It was bone chilling cold but the sun was hitting the grass and the water and lighting up the clouds. Just flat out gorgeous and it cheered me up just to be out there taking pictures. I love living here.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Convergence

pastel painting of a road, snow and lake

Convergence, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I did not want to come in to the studio today. If you didn’t know, three weeks ago I fell while walking in the woods and my leg has been achy ever since. It’s maddening to still be limping around, gobbling ibuprofen and whining all this time later.

When I woke up today and the pain hadn’t magically disappeared overnight (again!) I wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep the day away. But I remembered I had a bag of trash that needed to be set out on the alley, and I needed to paint a pastel for the day (hadn’t brought home my travel pastel kit), and oh, half a dozen other things.

On my way to put out the trash I noticed the door to one of the apartments in the building next door had swung open sometime overnight so I closed it because I’m a good doobie. I stopped and caught up with Hannah, who has the dog grooming business up the street from me. I got this painting done and I like two things about it (the line of red brush and the sky).

I named it Convergence because of random events that happen when I set myself on a path and because I’m attracted to compositions that meet up somewhere off center. I’ve noticed that a lot of my landscapes feature roads or paths that end before they reach the horizon and that’s something worth thinking about. I have a pretty good hunch about it. I’ll let you know when I have it sorted out in my head.

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Patch of Grass

pastel painting of dune grass and snow

Patch of Grass, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

I thought, I need to get closer to the grass, really understand it. This is the first attempt of many. I can see that I captured some of it, but I think I can do better. Every day in every way…

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Patch of Snow on the Dunes

pastel painting of dune and dune grass

Patch of Snow on the Dunes, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Staring up to the top of the dune with the sun beginning to peek out over the horizon,. I remembered taking Sam and Nick out to the state park with the sole purpose of getting a picture of them jumping off the top of one of these hills. They were really good sports about it too, trudging to the top of the hill over and over again while I worked out when exactly I had to depress the shutter release in order to get a picture of them suspended in mid-air.

My dad had taken a picture of my then 7-year-old brothers doing the same thing on dunes identical to these during a family vacation forever ago. I was hoping to capture something as iconic as that polaroid photo. Alas, my timing was never quite right and my kids wore themselves out giving me chance after chance. Finally, I decided to try jumping myself and handed the camera to Nick. What I learned was that was wholly terrifying to leap into space from so high up. I was floored by the courage of my children, who had spent the past hour hurling themselves off a cliff just because I asked them to. And maybe also because it was thrilling, although they never said one way or the other.

This painting is on ebay starting tonight at 9 pm for seven days, bidding begins at 99¢.

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Sunday Morning Dunes

pastel of dunes, dune grass, Lake Michigan

Sunday Morning Dunes, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. © 2018 Marie Marfia.

Finally getting out to the state park. Jeez. Takes me long enough. We’ve only been back in the area for a year and a half. Yes, yes, I know I’m yelling at myself again. I was going to cut down on that this year. There’s always tomorrow.

I stopped along the road out to the Ludington State Park last Sunday morning and got some pictures using my phone to paint later. This is one of the results. It’s on ebay starting tonight at 9 pm for seven days, starting at 99¢.

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