Category Archives: Woods scape

walk in the woods with my dog pastel painting

Morning Walk with Daisy – pastel painting of my dog on a path through the woods

walk in the woods with my dog pastel painting

Morning Walk with Daisy, 9×6″ pastel on paper. Available $110.

This is a pastel painting of my dog Daisy, walking along a path through the Manistee National Forest. This road in particular is one of our favorites. It winds along the Pere Marquette River for about a mile and goes past a couple of really awesome camping areas. They’re usually full of campers on the weekends, but now that it’s after Labor Day I’ll probably come here more often.

Here’s a video of me working on this piece:

Some detail shots here:

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Synchopation – pastel painting of the Manistee National Forest

Synchopation, 9×6″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. Available $110.

Synchopation – pastel painting of the Manistee National Forest

I went out walking after the rain this weekend. So good to be out in the woods! I love my little cottage in the forest, but you know, it’s awful nice to be able to stretch your legs every day in such beautiful surroundings. I’m trying to soak up as much as I can.

Here’s a video of me creating this piece.


You can purchase this painting here.

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Coming at you

Smiling dog in the woods pastel coming at you

dog in the woods coming toward you happy

“Roger Coming at You” 18×12″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia..

This is a pastel of my dog, Roger. He’s the one that always comes at you for a pat after he’s finished investigating whatever was in the ferns on the side of the road. Daisy goes around you, but Roger comes right at you. He’s a very good boy.

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pastel painting about a walk in the woods

A pastel about a walk in the woods

pastel painting about a walk in the woods

A Walk in the Woods, 18×12″ pastel on paper. Available $210.

I love to walk in the Manistee National Forest. The trees make a tunnel over my head and at the end of the road there’s a bright light shining. I always feel better after spending time in the woods.

Enjoy a video of me creating this pastel!

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Walking my dogs makes me a better painter

At least it gets me off the couch in the mornings. Truthfully, if I had my way, I’d spend all day on the couch eating bonbons and flipping through Imgur on my iPad, but the dogs aren’t going to let themselves outside and since our yard isn’t fenced (yet!), I have to go with them.

This involves piling them into the back of my minivan and driving out to the woods. See, I’d walk them around the neighborhood but there are too many potential pitfalls involved with this, i.e. other loose dogs. So my preference is to drive about five miles south on Walhalla Road, turn off onto any one of half a dozen “seasonal roads” and tromp around the Manistee National Forest for an hour.

The dogs get to sniff and dig around, I don’t have to clean up after them (although I’ve unofficially adopted the first two miles of 6890 because, let’s face it, people are pigs), and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

Sometimes we see deer, sometimes a dead snake, and once Roger thought for sure a cat walked out of the ferns not six feet in front of him, but it was a skunk and he was not allowed to get any closer to it although he fussed a bit about my decision. I held firm, though. You should see the divots my feet left in the road even two weeks later. I held on for dear life, I’m telling you.

So how does this make me a better painter?

It provides subject matter, of course. I won’t tell you how many pictures of my dogs are on my Google drive right now, but it’s a lot. Like thousands. Sometimes I keep my finger on the camera button, snapping pic after pic of Roger digging in the dirt just to get that one glorious moment when he leaps back into the road to try to catch up to whatever he’s smelling off in the distance.

It lets me paint wonderful scenes of my dogs enjoying the great outdoors. I used to think I went out to the woods for me, but really, I go out there for them. They’re the ones that are having the great time.

I guess I’m jealous. Here I am, covered in Deet to keep off the bugs and checking for ticks and bears and swiping at deer flies and those two are just loping along with their tongues hanging out, having a grand old time. Every. Stinking. Morning.

I love it. I love them. I’m a lucky girl to have these lucky dogs.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Roger and Out” 6×9″ pastel on paper.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Daisy in the Dark,” 9×6″ pastel on paper.

You can find more of my daily paintings on ebay including the ones pictures here. They start at 99¢ and the auctions last for 7 days. Good luck and happy bidding!

pastel painting of a man on a log in the forest

Sitting on a Log

pastel painting of a man on a log in the forest

Sitting on a Log, 5×7″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $90.

This little painting is about sitting on top of a log in the middle of the Manistee National Forest. Steve and I had gone walking around a potential camping spot near the Pere Marquette River and started wandering along a deer path. Deer seem to pick out the prettiest places to walk along. Anyway, we came across this huge tree across the path and naturally, Steve wanted to climb aboard and pose for a picture. I love living around here.

This is one of my daily paintings. If you would like to purchase it, please email me.

pastel painting of a river

Kink in the River

pastel painting of a river

Kink in the River, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

Today I had a mammogram. This is not my favorite thing in the world. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I never know what to do with my hands. And I’m uncomfortable being the only one in the room who’s topless.

Maybe if I was in my twenties or thirties, but not nowadays. Nowadays I’m almost 60 and I’m not interested in letting everything hang out there in the fresh air. Nude beaches? Not so much. That’s not to say I wouldn’t try it, but I’d have to see it first, see if there was anyone else like me out there, nekkid.

Still not comfortable in my own skin. I wonder if I’ll ever be?

About the painting

This daily painting is from a photo I took on a high bluff over the Pere Marquette River in the Manistee National Forest. Steve and I had just sat down to rest for a minute and I was struck by the bright reflection of the sky and the diagonal of the trees in the background. I like the sweep of last year’s leaves in the front of this piece and the green, purple and orange colors. The swirling brush strokes capture the movement of the water. This piece reminds me how lucky I am to live here.


Sky on Fire

pastel painting of morning sky

Sky on Fire, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

I stepped outside this morning, letting the dogs out to pee, and when I turned around, this happened.

The sky was on fire and it held me spell bound as I walked down the dirt road opposite our house. The dogs didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, but to them, every day is the best day. It’s just humans who make a fuss about sunrises and sunsets.

I brushed out my first attempt at this and started over, trying to paint how I felt instead of what I thought I saw. They’re two different things, you know.


pastel landscape

Nothin’ But Blue Skies

“Nothin’ but blue skies…” the song in my head, now that the inspection is over. No matter what happens, I can handle it, as long as I’ve got my potato…

So, over Memorial Day weekend, the pump went out, which sounds terrible, until you realize that it could’ve been so much worse. Like, what if the well had gone dry and that’s why the pump wasn’t working? Oh. My. God. See, we had this inspection coming up Tuesday morning (that’s today), and all along I’ve been telling Steve, “Let’s sell this place before something goes wrong with it,” and then, whoosh, no water on Sunday, and I’m thinking, “This is that something going wrong I was worried about,” but as it happens, Steve’s philosophy degree, the one that he got before he got his chemistry degree, continues to pay big dividends. He called the friendly Ace Hardware man and got a replacement pump and put that sucker right where the old one was, and voila! we had water again!

I was very happy about this for a couple of reasons. One is, you don’t really appreciate toilet water like you do when there’s a sudden lack of it, and two, snaking a long hose over to the neighbor’s house for water is a sure way to discourage interest in someone looking to buy a house. I was watching people slow down and speed up as they drove by all weekend. Ah well. We only need one buyer anyway, and he seems very nice. Young. My god, how young, he can’t be thirty years old yet, but very nice. He and his broker and the inspector showed up bright and early this morning and Steve and I loaded up the dogs and left them to it.

Now, it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon, no word on the inspection results, but no matter what they are, they could have been so much more disastrous. I can imagine the little post it notes on every faucet in the house, “Sorry. Ran out of water on Saturday, but we plan to get a new well dug soon. No worries.”

Yes, yes, it could have been far worse. So I’m giddy, and that’s what this little painting is all about.

pastel landscape

Nothin’ But Blue Skies, 5×7″ pastel on Crescent board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

small pastel landscape of fall leaves

Dreaming of Fall

small pastel landscape of fall leaves

Dreaming of Fall, Emotional Landscape series, 5×7″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Please contact me to purchase.

With this pastel, I am thinking about my move back to Michigan and four season living again. In Florida, there’s warm and hot, as opposed to cool, hot, crisp and cold up north. I miss the seasons, and yes, I even miss the snow. But fall is my favorite season. The trees are brilliant, the fields are golden and the sky is a warm blue with far off wisps of clouds. Autumn is awesome.