Tag Archives: beach

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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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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Of Two Minds

pastel painting of sand dunes and sky, snow and Lake Michigan in the distance

Of Two Minds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Finally heard from my youngest after what felt like years but was probably only a month and a half. He’s been struggling to find work for almost a year. I had high hopes that this month he’d found something because we hadn’t yet got word that he needed rent money. Now I’m thinking we ought to reconsider whether or not to send it.

I am of two minds about this. I want to continue to provide for him because I’m his mother, it’s what I’ve done for twenty plus years. But I want him to stand on his own two feet. I can’t continue to be his safety net because as long as I do that he can’t call himself independent.

The pros to cutting him off: He lives in Florida, so if he has to live in his car, he won’t freeze to death. He’s got friends who will let him couch surf if he has to. He’s smart and resourceful, he can solve his own problems.

The cons: I feel like I’m throwing my baby out of a moving car. If he does end up on the street and something terrible happens I’ll never forgive myself. If he reneges on his lease, our name is still on it and they’ll come after us.

But you know what? there are all sorts of things that I already can’t forgive myself for, so really, what’s one more thing? And while it feels really crummy to cut him off on Valentine’s Day, any other day will feel just as bad. Probably.

Sigh. Children. I love them but it’s so hard to do the right thing. I suppose if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

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

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Paths to Water

pastel painting of a path through snow cover dunes to Lake Michigan

Paths to Water, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

You can lead a person to water, but you can’t make her drink. Well, actually, in my case, you don’t have to make me drink. I’ll do it all on my own.

I like how the light comes right up to the lip of the dune where all the footprints are leading up to, and then it stops and everything from that point to the foreground and right off the edge of the paper is in shadow.

I have spent a lot of time painting landscapes with roads or paths in them. Recently I noticed that the roads all end somewhere about a third of the way or two thirds of the way up the picture plane, and the end of the road is usually obscured by clouds or distant trees. This is probably something to do with me thinking about my future and wondering whether I’m going to go like my dad did, via Alzheimer’s, or if I’ll get lucky and be like my mother, who died with most of her faculties still intact.

I like these dune pictures because the paths all lead to the water. I read somewhere that water represents spirituality when you dream about it. My water dreams aren’t very nice, but maybe if I keep painting water as a final destination they’ll change.

Did I mention? We just moved my mother-in-law up to a memory care unit here in Ludington. It’s a lovely place. She’s doing well there. I stop by to see her a couple times a week, Steve does, too.

It’s hard to watch someone you love losing their mind like this. And wondering if it’s going to happen to you, too.

Nothing I can do but paint it out.

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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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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pastel study of a child running along the beach

Sam’s Glee

This is less about the sky, although that’s important, than it is about Sam running freely down the beach. You can’t see him, but Nick is right behind. Maybe I’ll add Nick when I do a larger version of this one. For now, the contrast between skin and sand and sky are what made me want to try this one.

pastel study of a child running along the beach

Sam’s Glee (at beating his younger brother in a race on the beach), 5×8″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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Nick and Abby, Warm and Cool

I did these two studies while I was working at the Attic last weekend. I combined two different photos for the reference and then tried it twice, once on warm toned paper and once on a cool toned paper. Which do you like best?

child and dog on the beach on warm toned paper

Nick and Abby, warm, 5×8″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

Nick-and-Abby-cool-800

Nick and Abby, Cool, 5×8″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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