Category Archives: Pastels

Dark Clouds

pastel painting of clouds over Lake Michigan with dune grass and snow in the foreground.

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

Had a delightful lunch with the woman who used to be our mail carrier when we lived here last. Small towns are like that. You know everyone and everyone knows you. Since we moved back it’s been fun renewing old friendships. Marcie was the person that my daughter Alice brought with her to Special Person day in something like first or second grade. They got along pretty great. I know Marcie was tickled to be asked.

After lunch we looked at pictures of my kids, including a video of Nick playing with fire. And did you know my other daughter Sam has a book on Amazon? I forgot to tell Marcie, but I’ll mention it next time I see her.

This painting is a result of me seeing a bright light out on Lake Michigan while I was driving past the dunes on the way out to the state park. Turns out it wasn’t aliens, which are always a possibility in my mind, but the reflection of the sun peeking through dark clouds. I love living here, have I mentioned?

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

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Birthdays

pastel painting of the Lake Michigan beach with snow and clouds

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

Man, are we getting old. My oldest brother, David, is now 70. My youngest brother, Stephen, just turned 50.

Holy crap. I never expected to get this far. Not that I thought I’d die of a drug overdose or anything like that. I just never really thought about what it would be like to be 57 (now almost 58) years old. I remember imagining how weird it would be to reach 40 in the year 2000 back when I was a teenager. But I never considered what it would mean to live to be so (to me) ancient.

So here we are, all of us older than we feel. Does this happen to you? Do you catch your reflection unexpectedly sometimes, like going past a mirror at Wal-mart or seeing yourself in a window downtown or even bothering to watch yourself brush your teeth, and thinking, “Who the heck is that? Wait, that’s me. How did I get so old?”

The same way anybody does, baby. One fricking day at a time.

At least, if I keep up my daily painting practice, by the time I’m 80 I’ll have hundreds and hundreds of paintings to remind me of every single day.

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

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2 Beers = Foggy Morning

pastel painting of a bank of dunes with bluffs and Lake Michigan in the background.

2 Beers = Foggy Morning, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

The title refers to me and not the painting, BTW.

I should really know better. I didn’t need the second beer. I was already losing at pool anyway. And then we got home late and I had to get up early for a meeting this morning. You’d think, at 57, I’d be better at regulating myself. Well, nope, not really.

This painting makes me feel better anyway. That’s a bright spot in my day. I love this scene with the wild and wooly dune grass in the front and the hazy blue bluffs in the background standing over the big lake. This is such a cool place to live. I love it here.

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

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Dunes and Clouds

pastel painting of snow covered dunes and clouds

Dunes and Clouds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I was blue this morning so I thought I’d go paint something. Sometimes you can paint out your feelings and it helps.

The first two paintings I tried were not what I had in mind. Fortunately, this painting seemed to do the trick for me today. Hope you enjoy it.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Lit

pastel painting of a sand dune with Lake Michigan in the background, blowing dune grass and snow

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

I was feeling sorry for myself this afternoon. I think it’s the weather. I’m starting to get tired of the cold and the snow isn’t looking so beautiful anymore. But then the sun came out and I thought, “I bet the dunes out at the state park are lit up right now,” so I jumped in my car and raced out there.

It was bone chilling cold but the sun was hitting the grass and the water and lighting up the clouds. Just flat out gorgeous and it cheered me up just to be out there taking pictures. I love living here.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Convergence

pastel painting of a road, snow and lake

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

I did not want to come in to the studio today. If you didn’t know, three weeks ago I fell while walking in the woods and my leg has been achy ever since. It’s maddening to still be limping around, gobbling ibuprofen and whining all this time later.

When I woke up today and the pain hadn’t magically disappeared overnight (again!) I wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep the day away. But I remembered I had a bag of trash that needed to be set out on the alley, and I needed to paint a pastel for the day (hadn’t brought home my travel pastel kit), and oh, half a dozen other things.

On my way to put out the trash I noticed the door to one of the apartments in the building next door had swung open sometime overnight so I closed it because I’m a good doobie. I stopped and caught up with Hannah, who has the dog grooming business up the street from me. I got this painting done and I like two things about it (the line of red brush and the sky).

I named it Convergence because of random events that happen when I set myself on a path and because I’m attracted to compositions that meet up somewhere off center. I’ve noticed that a lot of my landscapes feature roads or paths that end before they reach the horizon and that’s something worth thinking about. I have a pretty good hunch about it. I’ll let you know when I have it sorted out in my head.

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Patch of Grass

pastel painting of dune grass and snow

Patch of Grass, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

I thought, I need to get closer to the grass, really understand it. This is the first attempt of many. I can see that I captured some of it, but I think I can do better. Every day in every way…

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Patch of Snow on the Dunes

pastel painting of dune and dune grass

Patch of Snow on the Dunes, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Staring up to the top of the dune with the sun beginning to peek out over the horizon,. I remembered taking Sam and Nick out to the state park with the sole purpose of getting a picture of them jumping off the top of one of these hills. They were really good sports about it too, trudging to the top of the hill over and over again while I worked out when exactly I had to depress the shutter release in order to get a picture of them suspended in mid-air.

My dad had taken a picture of my then 7-year-old brothers doing the same thing on dunes identical to these during a family vacation forever ago. I was hoping to capture something as iconic as that polaroid photo. Alas, my timing was never quite right and my kids wore themselves out giving me chance after chance. Finally, I decided to try jumping myself and handed the camera to Nick. What I learned was that was wholly terrifying to leap into space from so high up. I was floored by the courage of my children, who had spent the past hour hurling themselves off a cliff just because I asked them to. And maybe also because it was thrilling, although they never said one way or the other.

This painting is on ebay starting tonight at 9 pm for seven days, bidding begins at 99¢.

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Sunday Morning Dunes

pastel of dunes, dune grass, Lake Michigan

Sunday Morning Dunes, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. © 2018 Marie Marfia.

Finally getting out to the state park. Jeez. Takes me long enough. We’ve only been back in the area for a year and a half. Yes, yes, I know I’m yelling at myself again. I was going to cut down on that this year. There’s always tomorrow.

I stopped along the road out to the Ludington State Park last Sunday morning and got some pictures using my phone to paint later. This is one of the results. It’s on ebay starting tonight at 9 pm for seven days, starting at 99¢.

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The truth about living in a tiny house

A little over a year ago, my husband and I moved into a tiny house.

I welcomed the chance to downsize our lives. I envisioned paring down to a few, simple necessities, all within arm’s reach. I would discard all the rest, like nail clippings, into the nearest trash receptacle. My life would be streamlined, elegant, efficient, speedy.

Fast forward to last week, when I was looking for my bangle skirt to complete my skelly dancer costume.

“Honey, have you seen my hip scarf skirt thing with the coins on it?”

“Did you look in the attic?”

“Yes, it’s not there.”

“How about the shed? There’s a few boxes out there.”

“Nope.”

“The camper?”

“Seriously?”

We then quickly ran through all the rest of the possibilities, including my studio, both vehicles and the storage unit. It took a while. And then I realized the awful truth.

We had traded in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home where, even if I couldn’t find something right away, I knew it was ultimately going to be somewhere within a single building, for a tiny house and its seven additional storage units.

This was not efficient. This was not elegant. This is not acceptable.

How did this happen?

The same way everything happens. In tiny, almost unnoticeable steps. Like the oblivious frog slowly boiling to death in a soup pot, I fear my life is being sucked away, minute by minute, in search of things that I know I have, but just can’t find right this second. Come with me on a magical tour of all our extra storage spaces…

The (Official) Storage Unit

You don’t go from great big ranch house to tiny cottage without having a place to put all the stuff you couldn’t sell at the moving sale. The official storage unit is located 28 minutes away, which is inconvenient for Steve, who’s retired and stays home most days, but on the way to my studio, which is inconvenient for me because I hate having to go there.

The Shed

This is certainly more convenient than the storage unit because it’s in the back yard, however, my handy husband set about transforming it from a shed for yard tools into a retreat/workshop. He partitioned it, insulated it and filled it with woodworking tools, tie dye supplies, concrete sculpture stuff, guitar, computer, a desk, and a comfortable chair. Now it’s a very nice space for doing what a man’s got to do in the comfort and privacy of his den. However, it’s no longer a shed.

The Shed Addition

Because the non-shed is busy being a den, Steve’s building a lean to that’s going to hold all the things that used to be stored in the shed, like the lawn mower, the ladders, the gardening tools, shovels and bags of dirt.

The Camper

Gotta have one because one of these days, we’re going to pack up and head down the road to who knows where to have the best time ever. It’s just we have these dogs, one of whom is really uncomfortable traveling to anywhere new, and the other who’s a consummate escape artist. No problem, just drop them at the kennel, except the darn kennel owners expects us to pay for that, and the truck only gets 10 miles to the gallon when it’s pulling the camper, so maybe not a really long road trip, but if you’re just going one county over, then why bother camping? A day trip will do and we may as well take the dogs because it’s a beautiful day and they like walking in the woods as much as we do.

So the camper is now a storage unit for all our camping gear, plus extra kitchen items, like dishes and silverware and a bottle opener. Oh, and that cute string of skull lights that our neighbor down the street got us, and the lawn chairs that don’t fit in the non-shed or the lean-to, plus it’s really handy for overnight guests, since we no longer have a spare bedroom. Besides, the dogs won’t be around forever, and then we’re really going to tow it somewhere fun.

The Studio

My first studio space was large and we had dreams of splitting it equally between my work and Steve’s hobbies, but after a particularly awkward episode involving some odiferous mushrooms and multiple drying racks, we decided it was just going to be for me. Then I moved into an even smaller space and it really became just mine, all mine. Except it’s got the filing cabinet in there, so it’s mine all mine, unless something needs to be filed, and then it’s both of ours.

The Vehicles

We have two of those and the things they store all depends on what’s being moved from one of the other satellite storage units to another. For instance, my van currently has about 4,000 postcards in it, left over from ArtPrize Nine. Don’t ask me why I printed so many. I’m trying to use them for other things. Maybe to wallpaper a wall in my studio? Steve’s truck holds lots of truckworthy things like firewood, a chainsaw, bins with more camping supplies, mushroom hunting paraphernalia, fishing poles, and sometimes, the dog bag with the long leashes and portable water dish, plus cans and cans of Deet. Oh, and last week, it had my skelly dancing costume in it.

The Upshot

I still like living in a tiny house, even though I’ve stopped believing in the whole bare necessities only way of life thing. It might work if you were just starting out, before you’d had a chance to amass all these completely necessary things. But right now, at this stage of mine and Steve’s lives, we need our stuff, ergo, we need our satellite storage units.

We’re at the age where you’re not only more aware of time passing, but you’re also equally aware you’re running out of it. All those things you meant to do are now things that you’d better get done before it’s too late. Our stuff is more important to us than ever, because it represents a life we still plan on having, as soon as we remember where we stored it.

 

Tiny cat pastel painting is perfect for a tiny house.

©2017 Marie Marfia “In Memoriam,” 7×5″ pastel, $75.

 

 

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