Leaning In

pastel painting of trees on a small lake, sunrise

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

As I was walking the dogs around Round Lake this morning I noticed how much the trees on the side of the road nearest the water lean over. Probably it’s erosion, but I like to imagine that partly it’s because they love the water like I do.

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

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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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I need a little spring

pastel painting of daisies on pink and purple back ground

I need a little spring, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Sometimes you have to make your own spring, especially when the weather is not cooperating. I bought some flowers at Wal-mart on my way in to the studio today to paint before I bring them to my mom-in-law.

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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Seeing the Horizon

pastel painting of dunes, lake Michigan, sky, clouds

Seeing the Horizon, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

I was thinking about these little paintings of the dunes at the Ludington State Park and how I’d started painting them without a payoff, you know? Like the dunes were the obstacles in my life and I couldn’t see the horizon anywhere and then I thought, I need to put the water in there. I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I need a carrot so that I keep on climbing. So I put Lake Michigan in the middle of everything because that’s where I want to be.

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

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