Tag Archives: dune grass

Good One

pastel painting of a sunset at the end of US-10 in Ludington, MI

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

I love this town, partly because if it even looks like there might be a nice sunset, everyone jumps in their car and heads down to the beach to watch it happen. This painting is a result of noticing the rush to the lake and joining in.

I had to be quick. The good parking spots at the end of US-10 get taken early.

And then, of course, it took three tries to get a painting that I liked. I don’t mind re-doing them when they’re this pretty, though. All those candy colors make me happy.

Here’s a video of my process. Just so you know, there’s a little bit of a lag in the middle where someone came into the studio to chat and I had to stop for a few minutes.

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

Share

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¢.

Share

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¢.

Share

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¢.

Share

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¢.

Share

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¢.

 

Share

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¢.

 

Share

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¢.

 

Share

Back from Tucson

Playing with watercolors and my postcards today.

Steve and I walked the dogs out by Piney Ridge Road in the Ludington State Park. It was windy and kind of cold but we didn’t mind so much. It sure is pretty out there.

At first Steve was worried about what we’d find. Sargent Sands Co. has been mining a lot of sand out in the dunes and we wondered if there’d be anything left of the pretty little lake and dunes but hurray, it was all still there and just as beautiful as when we left it ten years ago.

The dogs stayed busy sniffing deer hoof prints, I took a lot of pictures to use for watercolor studies later. We even saw a couple of other hardy souls out there, metal detecting at the water’s edge.

I love walking around out in the woods and in the dunes. It’s quiet this time of year. You can see forever because there aren’t any leaves out yet. The forest floor is dark with dead leaves. The dune grass is blonde colored and shivering in the wind.

Pines overlooking the little lake behind the dunes.

Steve looks cold, doesn’t he? Daisy is ready to go, as always.

I love the way the wind ruffles the grass on the dunes.

And here are my attempts to capture what I saw today. Meh, but I’m not worrying. They’ll get better as long as I keep practicing.

You can see where the blue and green got away from me. I like the shape of the dune, the trees marching over the crest and the overall composition.

If I cropped it on the left, the composition would be stronger plus I need to work on more than one at a time, if only to give the paint a chance to dry between colors.

Share

Practicing for Michigan

I bought some stock photos to use as practice paintings. There’s one of the Big Sable Lighthouse in the Ludington State Park, one of the S.S. Badger, and one of the Ludington Lighthouse. Since I’m going to be there this summer, I thought I’d get some licks in.

I started with Big Sable Lighthouse first because I have some memories associated with it and I thought the black and white form was interesting. As it turned out, what was more interesting to me was the dune grass.

No. 1

No. 1

The first one I did based on two small studies plus an additional photo that had more detail of the lighthouse keepers house in front of the actual lighthouse. I was concerned with getting the details correct in this.

No. 2

No. 2

The second version I skipped the underpainting altogether and focused on the dune grass in the foreground. I liked the sway of the grass and imagined the wind that was making it twist around. I spent a lot less time on the lighthouse and even hid more of it behind the grass. It was while I was taking a close up photo of this piece that I had kind of an “aha” moment and saw the composition that I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it.

No. 3

No. 3

And this is the one that I like best of all three. I don’t know how popular it would be as a representation of the Big Sable Lighthouse and maybe I need to revisit the first one again, find a way to paint it that makes me happy and also is salable. But I feel like I could do this particular painting, no. 3, over and over again and never get tired of it. What do you think?

Share