Category Archives: forest

plein air set up at Ludington State Park

Painting at the state park

After my first attempt to paint outdoors in the snow I found I liked it so much that I had to do it again. This time I went to Ludington State Park, which is just about five minutes away from my house. So great to live this close!

I set up along the Sable River for both pieces. I was captivated by a pine tree on the bank with its limbs covered with fresh snow and the sun glinting on the water. Memo to me: if you park yourself under snow covered branches and there’s the least bit of wind you will end up with snow in your pastel box. I need to do some research about umbrellas that attach to a tripod. But no harm done.

The second piece was farther up the river towards the dam along the boardwalk on the south side. I loved the way the sun lit up the bank and the way the pines in the distance cast shadows all around.

It was pretty cold out there at 10 am, and I was also in a lot of shade, so there were no warming rays hitting my coat. Fortunately, I had some of those instant heat packs to put in my mittens.

Another memo: Get some good, fitted fingerless gloves before doing this again. The mittens I have are wool, but while the fingers are open, the thumb is covered. This makes for awkward handling of pastels, especially the smaller ones. Yet another memo: replace all those teeny pieces with half sticks. It’s just too hard to hang onto small pieces when your hands are cold.

I had a great time walking around in the park. I saw four people and one dog out on the trail along the river and it was a beautiful day to be outside, sun shining and mild temperatures in the 30s.

Here is the first of the pieces I did:

Marie Marfia, Tree on the Bank, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in.
Tree on the Bank, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10 in x 8 in.
A picture of my set up for the first piece.

I really love being outdoors to paint. I like feeling the sun on my face, I like the paintings I make from life better than those I recreate from photos. They’re fresher, looser and more reflective of the overall experience. So I will definitely be doing more of them!


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

Sign up for my Bone Appetit newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio and insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share

Early Snow

I woke up feeling sad over the death of a friend. From my journal: …we can make new pathways in our brains. But sometimes you start down the old path and gravity works to keep you on it.

I went for a walk outside with the dogs and there was fresh snow on one of my favorite juniper bushes, with a pale peachy sky behind it, so that became the focus for my daily painting.

Time lapse of Early Snow, soft pastel on sanded paper, 6×8″,
Early Snow, soft pastel on sanded paper, 5×8″, $600.

I am still sad about the death of my friend, but I’m happy I made this little painting. I can feel both things and it’s okay.


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share

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.

Share
pastel painting of a tree in winter

Leaning In, pastel painting of a tree in the winter forest

pastel painting of a tree leaning over a trail in the forest during winter time
Leaning In, soft pastel on paper, 6×8″.

Walking in the woods with the doggies and came across this big boy leaning over the road like he’s a boss or something. I take my life lessons where I can find them.

This painting was for sale on ebay. When you bid on this painting you’re helping me contribute to AFFEW, a local environmental organization. Thanks for your support!


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!


Share

Winter Sun, pastel painting of a morning in the woods during winter

pastel painting of a sun rise through the trees in winter time
Winter Sun, soft pastel on paper, 6×8″.

Another glorious sunrise out in the Manistee National Forest, my favorite place to be in the morning.

This painting was for sale on ebay. When you bid on this painting you’re helping me contribute to AFFEW, a local environmental organization. Thanks for your support!


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

Share

Sun Peeking, pastel painting of the sun through the trees

Sun Peeking, 6×9″ pastel painting of the morning sun through the trees during a winter walk by Marie Marfia ©2019. This painting is available on ebay. Click the link below for more info.

I love walking in the woods on a winter morning, especially just as the sun is coming through the trees. The sky is all kinds of peach colored and the light looks like stained glass to me. Beautiful!

This painting is for sale on ebay. When you bid on this painting you’re helping me contribute to AFFEW, a local environmental organization. Thanks for your support!

Click to go to my eBay listing

http://ebay.us/OfhNK1?cmpnId=5338273189

Share
pastel painting of a snow covered cabin in the woods

Sunrise-pastel painting of a snow covered house in the woods

pastel painting of a snow covered house in the woods with a sunrise
Sunrise, soft pastel on paper, 5×7″.

Luckily, on days when it’s too cold outside to paint I can look out my own window and watch the sun come up!


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share
pastel painting of a bend in the river

On the Bank, pastel painting of a bend in the river

On the Bank, soft pastel on paper, 5×7″.

I love this bend in the river. I stand on the bank and look down on the water flowing by. It’s very peaceful and makes me grateful to live where I do. 


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share
pastel painting of a snow covered path through the woods

Fresh Snow-pastel painting of a path through the woods in winter

pastel painting of a snow covered path through the snow
Fresh Snow, 9×6″ pastel painting of a snow covered road through the Manistee National Forest by Marie Marfia.

This painting is based on a walk down a two-track road in the winter time. There was deep, fresh snow all along the two-track road and a pale blush of peach just over the trees on the horizon. I love walking in the Manistee National Forest with my dogs. It inspires my work.


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share
pastel painting of a snowy path through the woods

Snowy Trail-pastel painting of a wintry scene in the woods

pastel painting of a scene in the woods in winter
Snowy Trail, 5×7″ pastel painting of a snowy path through the woods by Marie Marfia.

This painting is based on a walk down a two-track road in the winter time. Sometimes when I stop to paint what seems like a monotone scene I am amazed by all the color that comes through. I love walking in the Manistee National Forest with my dogs. It inspires my work.


Sign up for my Marie Marfia Fine Art newsletter! You’ll get regular updates about my latest work in the studio plus insights into my process. Plus, get a free downloadable print just for signing up!

You can buy my art imprinted on all kinds of cool stuff in my Fine Art America Shop. You can purchase downloads in my Etsy shop or cards imprinted with a personal message and mailed for you in my Signed Cards store. Buy greeting cards, prints and stickers in my Square shop. Please contact me directly about purchasing original artwork. Thanks!

Share