Category Archives: A pastel a day

pastel painting of the ludington lighthouse in late fall

Ludington Lighthouse, pastel painting of a late fall scene by Marie Marfia

Another painting of the beach in Ludington, Michigan. Love snow fence as an element in a painting! It’s so bright and lively in an otherwise pretty dull colored seascape. Some people don’t care for the red slash but I just love the splash of color!

Time-lapse of Ludington Lighthouse.
Ludington Lighthouse, 7×5″ pastel painting of a late fall beach in Ludington, Michigan. Available $145.

Here are the studies I made of this painting. Each is 3.5×2.5″.

study of the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 1.
Study for the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 2.
study for the Ludington Lighthouse painting.
Study No. 3.

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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pastel painting of the Lake Michigan shoreline with snow and clouds

Ludington Lighthouse, pastel painting of a lake scene by Marie Marfia

November Clouds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $200.

Here’s a piece that I just completed today. I have been getting out to see Lake Michigan whenever I can now that I live so close. I hope to have a series of these kinds of paintings, the dunes covered in snow and the sky peaking through the clouds, by next spring.

Here’s the time-lapse:

Here are the three small studies (4.5×3″) that I did before I started on the final.

Study No. 1
Study No. 2
Study No. 3

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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First Light, pastel painting of sunrise in Michigan

My dogs love wandering around in our “back forty” now. So many little critters to roust out of their beds! I like being out there, too. Especially on mornings like this, where the sun and the clouds combine to make a colorful layered palette in the sky–blue, purple, pink and gold. It’s just glorious.

First Light, 8×5″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $180.

Here’s the time-lapse for this painting:

Time lapse of First Light, pastel painting by Marie Marfia.

And here are the studies I did first. Each one is 4×2.5″ on sanded paper.

First Light study no. 1, red and purple underpainting.
First Light, study no. 2, red and yellow underpainting.
First Light study no. 3, blue and yellow underpainting.
First Light study no. 4, blue and aqua underpainting.

This painting is part of a series I’m doing for the Holiday Artsie Craft Show coming up soon! Read all about it here.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

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pastel painting of a winter scene

Heavy Snow, pastel painting of the first snow of the season

I know I’m probably going to get tired of it sooner than later, but for right now I’m really loving the snow!

Here’s a time-lapse of a pastel painting from this morning’s walk out in the back of our new place.

Heavy Snow, pastel painting time-lapse.

I’m busy painting a few originals to bring to Laurie Carey & Friends Holiday Artsie Craft Show that’s coming up in just about 10 days. This snowfall came at just the right time for me to make some new winter scenes.

Before I did the larger painting, I did four little studies using a different watercolor underpainting for each one. Then I picked the underpainting I liked best for the final. Here are the little studies, all 2.5 x 4″. Can you tell which study I used as a reference?

Heavy Snow, study no. 1
Heavy Snow, study no. 2
Heavy Snow, study no. 3
Heavy Snow, study no. 4
Heavy Snow, 5×8″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia ©2019. Available $180.

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pastel painting of a river bend at sunset

River Bend Sunset pastel painting time-lapse

I’ve been having fun with an online pastel painting class by Marla Bagetta for the past few weeks. This painting is a result of an assignment to take a black and white landscape photo and turn it into a nocturne. So much fun!

Here’s the time-lapse for you:

Fun with nocturnes!
River Bend Sunset, 9×12″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, ©2019. Available $300.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please email me.

Here it is with my reference photo.

River Bend Sunset with reference above.

I love to take classes, especially with someone whose work I admire. I learn something new with every lesson and I feel like I make more progress when I am accountable to someone other than myself.

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Daily paintings

I did a study on regular Canson paper and then a larger one on sanded paper. I’ve been reading Carlson’s book about painting landscapes and it’s really helping me a lot.

This is the one on Canson paper, 6×8″.
This is the one on sanded paper. I also started with a warm (red, orange, yellow) alcohol underpainting with this one. 11×14″.
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What we leave behind

I love walking in the woods in the spring. No wearing three layers of clothing, no mittens to keep track of, no boots! I can just slip into my regular tennis shoes and a jacket, throw the dogs in the car and off I go.

Unfortunately, when the snow melts the other thing that’s out in the woods besides me is garbage. I don’t mean beer cans, although there are a ton of those out there. I mean garbage like television sets, shingles, plastic containers, tires, diapers… Just crap, really. A whole ton of crap.

I go from euphoria at being outside all the way to absolute fury at the way some people use the woods as their personal dumping ground.

I wish there was a place where people could drop off all their crap. Oh wait! There is! It’s called a dump! But it costs money to take your crap to the dump or to have someone haul it away and it’s so much cheaper to drive down a two track out in the forest somewhere and throw it out there.

I wish I had a superpower that would let me zap all the crap in the woods so that it would disappear from the forest and reappear in whoever’s house it belonged to. Right on their living room floor. Or maybe on their bed. Yeah! Take that, you littering litterer!

Anyway, after walking the dogs I was so depressed at all the fresh garbage out there, I got out my pastels and painted a scene from another walk I’d taken recently with my family. A beautiful day on the Pere Marquette River, sun shining, water flowing, birds twittering. A gorgeous, gorgeous day.

Of course, we also found snarled fishing line, bait containers and cigar wrappers along the banks. Wherever you find beauty I guess you can also expect to find evidence of thoughtless humans. We picked up what we could on the way out.

I guess I’ll start bringing a garbage bag with me on my daily walks. It’s little enough, but it makes me feel a little better to at least clear the areas where I love to wander. Painting also helps. Although having a crap zapper superpower would be nice, too.

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Rainy Day

Lately, I’ve been driving out to the state park in the mornings before I settle in at the office. Today it was raining but I just parked in front of some dunes, rolled down the passenger side window and zenned right out.

Rainy Day, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2019 Marie Marfia.

This painting will be available on eBay starting tonight at 9pm. Ten percent of the proceeds from each of my auctions goes to benefit AFFEW, a local group dedicated to saving the planet.

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I’m back!

A month of painting on location equals a lot of new work!

Lots of plein air paintings!
Look at all the pretty paintings!

You know what the biggest surprise was from my time away? How much I enjoy painting outside.

To be honest, I haven’t done a lot of plein air painting because I just always thought it couldn’t help but be a pain. First of all, you have to lug around a lot of stuff. The weather can be brutal. And what if you forget something important, like paper? What if it’s windy out? What if there’s bugs?

But it was either paint outdoors or don’t paint at all on this trip and we planned to be gone for a whole month, too long to go without pastels. So I decided to make an effort because art is important, dammit.

I prepared as well as I could by fitting everything into one big backpack and trying it out once or twice before we left to make sure I had everything. I also did some research on southwest color palettes so that I’d have the right pastels for the job. I cut up a lot of paper to take with me, with different textures and tones to keep my flittery fluttery mind engaged. I ran into one snag at the beginning when I discovered the foam core boards I’d brought to work on were too small, but I clipped two of them together and it was fine.

The only day it was too windy to paint was while we were traveling through New Mexico on day four. It’s pretty scary pulling a trailer in winds gusting to 70 mph. After an hour of that we were only too happy to find a place to wait out the weather. We ended up sitting in a gas station parking lot in Vaughn for seven hours. I doodled semi trailers in my sketchbook and Steve and I took turns watching the cover over the gas pumps to see if it would break loose and go flying off across the prairie.

After that we had non-stop beautiful weather right up until we headed north again. We put off visiting Taos on the way home because camping in the snow is just not a viable option at our age. Most of the time, though, I was up bright and early and working in my pajamas, coffee in hand. It was lovely.

As for bugs, I saw exactly one while I was painting, and that was a bombardier beetle at Las Cienagas National Preservation area. He came perilously close to running into my foot, aimed his butt at me for about five seconds while I held my breath, and then went on his way. Everyone’s a critic.

So now that I’m back I’ve decided to get out there and do more painting outdoors because who doesn’t have as much fun as they can? No one, that’s who. I have to say I like the look of my landscapes much better when they’re done on location than from photos in the studio. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more. It’s going to be awesome.

I’ve posted the best of my southwest USA plein air efforts on eBay this week, so be sure and check them out, a new painting every day at 9pm for the next week or so, and then it’s back to local landscapes, but with a new (for me) outdoor twist. If you see me out there, be sure to stop and say hello!

Don’t I look relaxed? It was a gooooood vacation.
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Natalie’s Room, pastel painting of light and shadow

This is a small pastel on paper I did this morning. My “usual” spot on the porch didn’t look too promising so I turned 180 degrees and painted what was behind me.

You can see by the photo what I was working on. I like the feel of this piece and all the rest of the pastel I’ve been doing while staying here in Tucson. Working outdoors forces me to work quickly which I like and the work is much looser than anything I can achieve in the studio.

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