Category Archives: Landscape

What’s On Your Mind?

dunes, grass, Lake Michigan, sky, path

What’s On Your Mind? 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Today I brought my mother-in-law to my gallery. I was going to take her to the Ludington Area Center for the Arts to look at an art show there but she said, “Are your paintings there?” and I said, no, they weren’t. “I want to look at your paintings,” she said. So we ended up going to my studio.

I brought her in, helped her sit in one of my cafe chairs and she watched me paint a larger version of the painting above.

Afterward, I tried to get her to help me fill out a questionnaire from the American Cancer Society (she had lung cancer a number of years ago and the ACS sends out these forms for research purposes), but she was more interested in telling me what had happened to her this morning.

“They got me up and dressed me and then they said I could sit in my rocker chair or go back to bed. But they didn’t talk to me, just to each other! I got mad and said some things before I could stop my mind.”

She doesn’t care for it when the aides come into her room and act as though she’s not there, talking among themselves and not including her. It’s de-humanizing. Makes you feel like a worthless lump.

Diana can talk pretty well still and she understands a lot of what’s going on around her. If she feels pressure to perform she stumbles when searching for the words she wants. But she’s definitely all in there.

I get how it can be a lot easier to talk to someone who you work with every day than some poor old woman that you don’t know very well. But no one likes to be treated like a dummy. Especially not Diana.

On the way back to the memory care unit I thanked her for visiting my studio. “I’d like to come back again in two months,” she said. “Maybe next time I can paint, too.”

I’ll definitely do my best to make it so.

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

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Dark Over Light

pastel painting of a landscape, trees, road, lake, sky

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

On Saturdays I visit my mother-in-law. We moved her to Ludington not very long ago to have her closer to us. It used to be a 3 hour drive to go see her and now it’s a half hour or less. She’s only been in the memory care unit for a few weeks and she’s still trying to adjust.

Sometimes she’s feeling pretty good about things. But a lot of times she’s depressed. She knows her memory is failing and she doesn’t know anyone in the new place. It’s hard on her. Steve and I come see her 3-4 times a week.

Last Saturday I took her for a drive. We went to the beach and then to the boat landing by the river. Then we went back to the memory care place and worked on a jigsaw puzzle for a while. She got sleepy and decided to take a nap.

I sat on the floor in her room, waiting for her to nod off. She said, “You’ll be gone when I wake up.” I explained that I would be back again soon, that her son would be coming to visit in two days.

“You guys sure take good care of me,” she said.

“That’s because we love you,” I said.

“I love you, too.” she said.

“I know.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because you tell me all the time.”

“How do you know I’m telling the truth?”

“You have an honest face.”

That seemed to satisfy her. She leaned back and closed her eyes. I waited until I knew she was asleep and then left.

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

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A Learning Experience

pastel painting of sand dunes with snow, grass, sky, water

A Learning Experience, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Not everything works out the way it’s supposed to the first time you try it. I call these learning experiences. I still like them, even though they’re not what I expected. They’re different, but useful. They set up the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that.

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

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Carving Time

pastel painting of dunes and snow, lake and sky

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

I like how the shadows carve out the snow. Or is it vice versa? I like it, anyway.

So I’m finding that having a clear horizon is important to me right now. That’s why I’m putting the lake out there. Cool, blue and attainable. I just have to get over these dunes first.

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

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Getting There

pastel painting of dunes and lake michigan and sky and clouds

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

This version is with a warm blue underpainting and pink and purple shadows. There are dunes between me and the water, but I can see it from here. I know I’ll get there.

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

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Back in the Swing

pastel painting of a pair of dunes, sky and clouds

Back in the Swing, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Had a very nice weekend with friends up in Leelanau County. It sure is pretty up there. Steve took some pictures of the lakeshore. We were hiking around on Lake Michigan, looking for ice caves. Saw a few but I generally stay away from the edge of the ice. I have a fear of being trapped under ice. When Steve used to take the kids out to look at ice caves I would stay home and worry. It was easier than going along and worrying.

Anyway, we hiked around and played some games and celebrated an old friend’s birthday. This is her last year as a fifty-something. Hope it’s a fabulous one.

I’m going to try to step up my daily painting game in anticipation of our vacation coming up at the end of March. I’d like to have enough daily paintings to keep seven at auction the whole time I’m away. We’ll see. If I go back to my old practice of two a day, I should have plenty stockpiled by the time we leave on March 18.

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

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Funner than I Thought

Pastel painting of dunes, snow, beach grass, sky, clouds, snow

Funner Than I Thought, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

That interview I did with Mason County Press was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I have a tendency to worry about things like that. I anticipate all kinds of weird things going wrong and have to work pretty hard to calm myself down beforehand.

I suspect a lot of people are just like me, nervous of looking foolish in front of everyone. And to be honest, I didn’t realize I was quite so Midwestern sounding until I heard myself speaking. Kind of hoot, really.

I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback from friends, and even met some new people who saw the interview and stopped by the studio to say hello.

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

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Inspired

pastel painting of trees and dunes, grass and sky and snow.

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

I met the nicest couple today. I was just putting a few final touches on a larger pastel and getting ready to begin work on this one, when I turned around to see them looking in my picture window. I poked my head out to say hello to their two little dogs and they all came in and we got to know one another a little better.

Dick is retired but has been painting for quite some time. “Just for fun,” he says. But he’s also managed to get 600 paintings done, so obviously his fun is pretty focused! He’s been accepted into several Art Prize exhibitions, so if I needed proof that practice makes opportunity, here it is. His wife, Kathy, is so supportive of his painting, kind of reminds me of my own beloved, Steve.

Dick, intrigued by my pastels, said he was going to go right home and order a set to play with. On their way out the door he thanked me for inspiring him. I should have told him it works both ways.

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

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Of Two Minds

pastel painting of sand dunes and sky, snow and Lake Michigan in the distance

Of Two Minds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Finally heard from my youngest after what felt like years but was probably only a month and a half. He’s been struggling to find work for almost a year. I had high hopes that this month he’d found something because we hadn’t yet got word that he needed rent money. Now I’m thinking we ought to reconsider whether or not to send it.

I am of two minds about this. I want to continue to provide for him because I’m his mother, it’s what I’ve done for twenty plus years. But I want him to stand on his own two feet. I can’t continue to be his safety net because as long as I do that he can’t call himself independent.

The pros to cutting him off: He lives in Florida, so if he has to live in his car, he won’t freeze to death. He’s got friends who will let him couch surf if he has to. He’s smart and resourceful, he can solve his own problems.

The cons: I feel like I’m throwing my baby out of a moving car. If he does end up on the street and something terrible happens I’ll never forgive myself. If he reneges on his lease, our name is still on it and they’ll come after us.

But you know what? there are all sorts of things that I already can’t forgive myself for, so really, what’s one more thing? And while it feels really crummy to cut him off on Valentine’s Day, any other day will feel just as bad. Probably.

Sigh. Children. I love them but it’s so hard to do the right thing. I suppose if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

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

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