Category Archives: trees

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
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!

Share

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.


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

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
sunlight trees forest field

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
Share
pastel painting of a tree on the bank of the river

Old Guardian-pastel painting of a gnarly old tree on the banks of a river

pastel painting of a tree on the bank of the river in the forest
Old Guardian, soft pastel on paper, 6×9″.

I love this old tree that sits on a the bank of the Pere Marquette River in the Manistee National Forest. I love the way the left branch spirals out into space, a fractal if I ever saw one. I love the holes in the trunk and like to imagine the critters that take refuge there.


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 river landscape with snow

Over the Pere Marquette

This is a painting I did after walking down a 2-track road that goes along the Pere Marquette River. I really love walking this trail with the dogs. The road is a like a little roller coaster and there are lots of places where people camp. Just a beautiful spot, no matter what time of year. At the end is a place where I can slither down onto the bank and someone even put a couple of steps down there so you could get into the water if you wanted. Not today! Too cold. But maybe in the summer…

pastel painting of a snowy ridge over the Pere Marquette River.
http://ebay.us/lnbF8d

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! http://ebay.us/lnbF8d

Share

My art is on Ebay!

Road Curves Left, 5x7" pastel on paper inspired by the Manistee National Forest. ©Marie Marfia.
Road Curves Left, 5×7″ pastel on paper, available in my Ebay store starting 1/14/19 at 9pm.

I have been selling my original art on Ebay for about five years. I don’t do it all the time, but once or twice a year I get the urge to start posting paintings. Why do I do this? A few reasons…

It reinforces my daily painting habit. I am under a compulsion to paint every day so that by the time I’m 80 I’ll be freaking awesome at it. Since I’m splitting Ebay sales with a worthy cause (see next paragraph), boom! there’s built-in accountability to keep me on the straight and narrow.

It helps others. This year 10% of my landscape sales go to AFFEW, which is a local environmental group. I spend a lot of time wandering around Mason County, gobsmacked by the scenery, and I want to make sure those beautiful views are around for future generations. Happily, AFFEW does too, so they’re an organization I am happy to support.

I. Need. More. Space. I realize pastel paintings are flat, but when you’re painting every day, they pile up. I have boxes of paintings stacked in the corners of my studio as well as my storage space. So selling daily paintings on Ebay keeps the stacks to a minimum.

It’ll make me famous! Not really, but I enjoy the idea of my art being dispersed to all four corners of the planet. I’ve sold pieces to people living in just about every state in the union plus a few overseas. Frankly, my art is more well-traveled than I am, which I find both sad and hilarious.

It fits my impulse-driven lifestyle. With Ebay a painting sells or it doesn’t within 7 days. If it doesn’t sell I throw it in a re-work pile. Then sometime during the next six months I pitch the re-work pile, usually because I’m trying to make room for a pile of new stuff. Problem solved!

It’s my drug of choice. I get the same dopamine rush when someone bids on one of my Ebay paintings as I do when eating an entire bag of Lays potato chips, but this is better because not only does it mean another painting is leaving my studio, it’s also not making me fat(ter)! Since my goals this year include reducing my weight and my inventory, Ebay is a win-win.

So there you have it, some of my reasons for using Ebay as an art sales outlet. Here’s the link to my Ebay store. Thanks for looking and happy bidding!

Long Shadows, 9x6" pastel on paper, inspired by the Manistee National Forest. ©Marie Marfia.
Long Shadows, 9×6″ pastel on paper, available in my Ebay store starting 1/16/19 at 9pm.
Share
pastel study of a road through the woods

Half Invented – pastel study of a road in the woods

pastel study of a road through the woods

Half Invented, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. ©2018 Marie Marfia. Available $110.00

Half Invented

This is the same place as yesterday’s post but today I just painted what I remembered. I like it better. It’s truer to what I meant rather than what the camera meant, if you know what I mean. It’s fresher feeling, more lively. I like it.

This painting is available in my web store for $110, includes shipping.

Share
pastel study of a sky and woods and a road

Cracking the Landscape – pastel study of a road and woods and sky

pastel study of a sky and woods and a road

Cracking the Landscape, 6×9″ pastel on paper. © Marie Marfia. Available $110.00

Cracking the Landscape

You can’t see it, but my car is parked just up ahead.

Share