Category Archives: Pastels

My hat! pastel painting on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, $600.

My hat!

Spent a wonderful day at the beach in South Haven, Michigan, playing with my granddaughter, Maeve. I got a picture of her just as her sunhat blew off in the wind and had to paint the memory.


She spent about an hour playing with rocks and pouring out water onto the sand. Maeve is just over two years old and her boundless curiosity about the way the water disappears when you dump it onto sand was irresistible. All that squatting I did to bring her more water from the lake! My legs are pretty sore today!

There’s something really fun about painting a memento of a certain place and the company kept. Good times!

My hat! pastel painting on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, $600.
My hat! 6×9″ pastel painting on sanded paper by Marie Marfia, $600 framed.

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Longing for Summer, pastel painting of sunlight through the greenery by Marie Marfia. Available $600

Longing for Summer

I woke up this morning to a fresh coating of snow. Happy April Fool’s Day!

I found myself wishing for warmer days and so I searched my Google photos for a summertime reference to paint today and happily discovered one that made me feel better about all the white stuff on the lawn.

When I’m walking the dogs I frequently stop to take a picture of the sun lighting up the landscape behind the green trees. Something about all the beautiful warm light peeking out between the leaves makes me feel optimistic about the future. Call me crazy.

Longing for Summer, pastel painting of sunlight through the greenery by Marie Marfia. Available $600
Longing for Summer, pastel painting of sunlight through the greenery by Marie Marfia. Available $600
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Poplars in the Park, 12x9" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. Available, $900.

Poplars in the Park

You know how sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and you just can’t get back to sleep? And then you just don’t feel like yourself all the rest of the day?

Yeah, these things happen. Fortunately, there are naps. I love naps.

This is a painting that I did because I had an unfinished version of it from who knows how long ago. I spent a bit of time searching for the photo reference in Google photos, finally typed in birch in the search bar and bingo! there it was. Google photos doesn’t know from poplars.

I have to say, I wasn’t crazy about this when I left the studio to go have lunch, but by the time I got back it had grown on me. So I thought I’d share it quick before I changed my mind. I still want to fiddle with it a little bit more, but later, after I’ve had some more sleep.

Poplars in the Park, 12x9" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. Available, $900.
Poplars in the Park, WIP, 12×9″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.
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grid and sketch of Nicolette and Aucassin

Nicolette and Aucassin progress

Thought I’d share some progress on the the latest skeleton Old (Dead) Masters painting. It’s coming along. I’m doing some refining right now, and that’s going to take a bit. I like doing these because they’re like a real intense workshop on the style of the artist whose work I’m copying. That’s definitely the case with this one.

grid and sketch of Nicolette and Aucassin
Grid and sketch of Nicolette and Aucassin
initial block in
Initial block in
Easel shot
Easel shot
Work in progress…
As of April 3, 2021.
Here’s a video tour of where I’m at with this one. (Can you tell I’m listening to NPR?)

Still working on it. Stay tuned!

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Walking in the Dunes, 9x12" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $900.

Walking in the Dunes

This is a pastel painting of the view looking toward the top of a dune in Ludington State Park in Ludington, Michigan.

Finally, the weather is good enough to go traipsing around on the dunes! The dogs and I are so glad to be able to broaden our walking habits a bit. It seems like a lifetime since we’ve been anywhere but our own backyard. Woohoo!

This is the reference I used for this piece. It was around 8:30 in the morning, the sun was peeking in and out of a cloud bank to the east and the wind was just whipping us around like crazy. Glorious.

reference image for Walking in the Dunes by Marie Marfia
Reference photo.
Walking in the Dunes, 9×12″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $900.

Can’t wait to make it a regular habit again!

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Field of Grass, 5x7" pastel study by Marie Marfia.

Field of Grass

Finally, it’s safe to go out walking in the state park again! No more snow and ice! Yesterday was actually the first day I took the dogs out for a romp in the dunes but it was nice enough today to do it again.

If you drive north on Piney Ridge Road, just before the Ludington State Park, there are multiple places to park your vehicle and go for a walk in the dunes and trees. Today we took the first spot with a sign on it. You have to keep the dogs on a leash, which is fine with me, because Daisy is a runner and Roger tends to bite first and make friends never.

Daisy and Roger having a sniff around a sweet looking piece of driftwood.

It was really windy out there today! And the sun peeked through the clouds often enough to give me some nice reference photos to work from. This is the one I decided to work from today:

reference photo of the field of grass with dunes I used for today's daily painting.
Reference photo from this morning.

If and when I decide to do this again I may take the path out altogether. I don’t think it really needs it in the picture and then I could really go crazy with the marks for the grasses. It was really beautiful out there today.

Field of Grass, 5x7" pastel study by Marie Marfia.
Field of Grass, 5×7″ pastel study by Marie Marfia. $600.
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US-10 Sunset pastel by Marie Marfia

Sunset US-10

Another little sunset painting. I pulled an older photo for this one, from a time before all the new landscaping was put in at the end of US-10 in Ludington.

The new layout means you have a walk a little bit to get to the water, but it’s nicer looking, for sure.

I left the lighthouse out of this one, did you notice? I thought, if I put the lighthouse in there then it’s a lighthouse painting, but if I leave it out then it’s a sunset painting and that’s what I really wanted.

US-10 Sunset pastel by Marie Marfia
US-10 Sunset, pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $600.
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Walking the Perimeter, 8x10 pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $800.

Walking the Perimeter

Painting my favorite models walking around the back of our property with me and the dogs. Me and the dogs not included here. Yesterday was my birthday! I had lots of good wishes heaped on my head and two of my kids, Nick and Sam, stopped by to help me celebrate. This is the two of them plus Steve walking past a patch of long golden grasses with the sun getting low in the sky behind them. It was also Steve’s and my anniversary, so extra reason to have cake and ice cream, which we did and that’s partly why we were out walking. We had to walk off the sugar buzz!

Walking the Perimeter, 8×10″ pastel on sanded paper, $800.
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Art Show wrap up, new pastel painting

To wrap up last month’s Art Show in three words, I’d use “breezy,” “grateful,” and “normal”. The weather was breezy both weekends, and the shoppers were grateful to be able to do something normal for a change.

Art show wrap up painting "A Little Bit of Normal" 8x8" pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.
A little bit of normal, 8×8″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $250.

This is a pastel of my booth with some shoppers in it and their very patient doggy waiting in the front. He was a lot more interested in what was happening in front of him than behind. Since he’s facing the check out tent, maybe he was attracted by all the flapping tissue paper as we attempted to wrap up the more fragile items without everything flying away from us. It was sunny, yes, but also very windy! One of the perks of living near Lake Michigan is there’s almost always a breeze to be had.

All in all, it was a pretty successful couple of weekends. One of the things we heard over and over was how nice it was to do something “normal.” Normal in this case being an art show. So many events got cancelled this year, it was nice to have a show and put up signs and sell stuff. So I’m calling this piece “A Little Bit of Normal” because that’s what it meant to so many people.

Laurie says she’s done with art shows after this year, so I may have to stage one of my own. Stay tuned. I have some ideas about this and they involve a new studio space in my own front yard! It’s going to be so cool. I can’t wait.

Thanks for coming out and supporting us. It’s one of my favorite memories from this year so far.

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

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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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