Category Archives: Landscape

Earth Day 2022

I’m going to be creating a landscape painting and live streaming it on Facebook Saturday, April 23, 2022 from 12-3:30pm at the United Methodist Church on Bryant Road in Ludington, Michigan. You will be able to bid on the painting via silent auction at the event. All proceeds from the auction will go to AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World). Pretty exciting!

You don’t have to be present to win but you do need to come to the Earth Day event to be able to bid. I will be framing the piece with a gold and black frame at the end of the event and you will be able to take it with you or, if you prefer, I will deliver it to a local address or I can ship it. The winner will be announced at 4pm.

I’m so excited because this is one of the big things I wanted to do this year, using my artwork to do good in the world! I’m so proud to be working alongside AFFEW to help clean up our environment locally and globally.

Below are the reference photos I’ll be practicing for the final painting. Watch my Facebook and Instagram feeds to vote for your favorite reference on April 18, 2022.

Success! Here’s a link to the live demo recording on Facebook and below is my final piece right before I popped it into its frame and it went home with the winner of the silent auction!

Pretty cool!

These are the time-lapses for my study sessions as I finished them. Enjoy!

Upper Hamlin Lake
Summer Morning Trees
Pere Marquette River Spring

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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!


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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!

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Marie Marfia, Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.

Shadow Play

This time of year I notice the shadows. The sun is really low in the sky and there’s still snow on the ground, which means the shadows are purply bluish colored and they reach out a long way over the ground.

Shadow Play series time-lapse

I love the colors of the shadows, the patterns they make on the snow, how they seem to be reaching for something.

Here are some of my shadow play series:

Marie Marfia, Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.
Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.
Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.
Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.
Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.
Shadow Play series, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8 in x 10 in.

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!

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Marie Marfia, Juniper Tree, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10x8 in.

First paint out in the snow!

I’m so proud of myself! I drove 2 1/2 hours to the Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve to paint outside in the snow!

If you don’t know, I recently joined the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan group so that I could do more painting, where else? outdoors! This was my first time meeting up with them and it went really, really well.

Drat!

Well, except I dumped over my pastels within the first hour, but it was fine. No one could hear me swearing because I was up the hill and around a bend and you know what I always say, think of your pastels as already broken. Fortunately, they landed in the snow so they were mostly okay and I recovered them all except a black one which I accidentally stepped on. I hardly ever use black anyway. No idea why it was in the box in the first place.

Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve.

If you’ve never been to the Paw Paw Prairie Fen Preserve I can tell you that it’s an absolutely lovely place to paint in the snow. The weather on Saturday, February 26 was pretty nice, in the mid twenties and we had mostly blue skies with some interesting clouds from 11 am until 4 pm.

I met Richard Jordan, the director of the group, and he gave us some quick ideas about where we might like to set up. There were 5 or 6 of us all together. I got the award for longest distance traveled, but someone came all the way from Lansing and another from Grand Rapids. My excuse was that I planned to stay over at my daughter’s house before heading back up north. A chance to spend time with my granddaughter Maeve is a great reason to get out of the house.

Lessons learned about painting outdoors in cold weather, 1. hot packs go on the tops of your hands inside your gloves (figured that out before my palms got burned, thankyouverymuch); 2. Holding my backing board works in a pinch when it’s too windy to use the easel; 3. snow pants kept me toasty warm; 4. using a sled to transport my gear up hill and over dale was a brilliant idea; 5. painting outside in the cold really takes it out of you; 6. I was starving by the end, so I’m really glad I packed a lunch!

Here are some pictures of what I did and where I was:

It was a great first winter paint out experience and a very nice group of artists. I will definitely paint with this group again.


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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!

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Marie Marfia, Steve by the Pool, watercolor and sharpie on watercolor paper.

Travel diary

While I was out in Tucson last week with Steve, visiting his brother, Will, and our friend, Pam, I made a point of doing a small sketch every day. I brought a watercolor sketchbook to make a visual record of the trip because I think using different mediums is fun and it gives you a chance to stretch your brain a bit. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older I am reluctant to take chances, and while it’s understandable, it doesn’t mean I have to go along with it all the time.

The portable watercolor kit I have is very small, pocket-sized, and I use a small brush with a water reservoir in the handle. Once I exhausted the water in the brush I was done for the day. Each piece took no longer than a half hour to do, so it was easy to fit into my schedule, especially since I was the only early riser in our group! I would wander out with my kit and paint the first thing that caught my eye.

Pam’s place, where we stayed, buts up against natural desert habitat and she also has horses, so there was plenty of subject matter to play with.

Horses, sharpie on watercolor paper.
Easy, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Hungry Horse, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Cast shadow, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Cast shadow, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Pam’s Cacti, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Steve by the Pool, sharpie and watercolor on watercolor paper.
Carolyn’s Tree, watercolor on watercolor paper.
Skeleton Face with Flowers, watercolor and sharpie on watercolor paper.

Hope you enjoy these postcards of my trip out to the warm southwest!


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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!

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Marie Marfia, Morning Walk, soft pastel on sanded paper, 9x7.5".

Morning Walk

I love walking in the mornings, especially when the sky is all lit up with cotton candy clouds and the sun is reflecting on the snow. Today there were bare patches of leaves and needles under the trees and for a moment they looked like they were on fire.

Morning Walk, 9.5×7″ pastel on sanded paper, $700.
Morning Walk, 9.5×7″ soft pastel on sanded paper. $700.

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!

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Time lapses for December 2021

Here are some time lapse videos from my painting efforts during December 2021. Enjoy!

Pink Morning

Pink Morning, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×8″. $700.

Early Winter Morning

Early Winter Morning, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×8″. $700.

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×8″. $700.

Four in a Row

Four in a Row, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10×8″. $800.

Long Shadows

Long Shadows, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10×8″. $800.

Side by Side

Side by Side, soft pastel on sanded paper, 10×10, $900.

Roger Dodger You Old Codger

Roger Dodger You Old Codger, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×10″, NFS.

Maeve Speaks

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Distant Fire

This painting is about the light shining through the trees that’s reflecting off a poplar that’s loaded with yellow and gold leaves. Normally I am what is called a seasonal painter. I like to paint what’s around me, but today I went looking for something colorful from my photo archives and found this. I had just gotten bad news about one of my brothers who is suffering from some kind of dementia and I felt like I needed something cheerful to paint. From my journal, …Endurance. It’s the best you can hope for now.

Distant Fire, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×5″. $600.
Distant Fire, soft pastel on sanded paper, 8×5″. $600.

I still remember watching my dad’s decline and I really hope my brother isn’t in for the same thing. It’s no way to go. And everyone suffers along with you, which makes it so much worse.


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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!

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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!

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daily paintings time lapse

Latest daily paintings

Making an effort to do more daily paintings. Here are a few of the latest time lapses.

Those Clouds Look Interesting, soft pastel on sanded paper, 12×12″.

This one is inspired by a drive back from the Ludington State Park where we’d dropped off our camper for some friends of ours to use. I said something like, “Those clouds look interesting,” and Steve promptly pulled over so I could get some pictures. Next day I pulled them up on my computer and made a painting.

Old Bent Gate study, soft pastel on sanded paper, 5×7″.

I based this on a scene right outside my door, practically. Along the ditch that forms a boundary on our property is one of those metal gates that don’t really block anything. It’s a little bent and sort of just hangs there, unconnected to anything. I noticed how the sun was lighting up the bracken behind it, and the dark trees just behind the bracken. Honestly, the golden morning light fascinates me. Anyway, I took a picture of this scene to paint later. I’m glad I did, because yesterday when I walked past it again with the dogs, all the color had vanished, leaving drab browns in its place. Lesson to me: if something makes you look twice, take the picture! It’ll never be like that again.

Between the Dunes study, soft pastel on sanded paper, 5×7″.

One of the last times Steve and I went to the beach for a swim this year, I took pictures of the space between the dunes. This painting is all about the low hills just behind the beach and then the higher, older dunes beyond that. I love the grass, the way the wind blows it every which way, the colors of it in the lates sun. I could paint this every day I feel and never get tired of it, never run out of things to say.


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!

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!

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