Tag Archives: eagle cam

Eagle 19, Alone in the Dark

This morning I woke up hearing Joni Mitchell singing “Help me…” in my head. The last couple of days have been a slog. I seem to be crabby all the time and I can’t make myself do anything about it. I want to crawl back into bed and forget about everything I still have to do for this show coming up. I don’t feel like walking or shopping or framing or painting. I just want to sit in a puddle and feel sorry for myself.

Here’s the thing, though. I write it all down, just how crappy I feel, puking it all out on paper, and eventually, I feel better. Not 100%, but better, maybe 30% better. I write a little more and pretty soon I’m giving myself a pep talk about how everything will work out okay if I’m patient, if I take things one step at a time. Gradually, I begin to feel like I could do one of the things on my list.

So, I went online and spent about $500 for everything I’ll need for next weekend. I’m excited, a bit daunted, but at least I have a plan. 50 prints, 150 cards, 7 paintings and 1 giveaway, plus a partridge in a pear tree, or a beer in a tree, depending on where you’re from and who you listened to growing up.

It’ll all be okay. I just have to remember that when I’m feeling alone and helpless, I have the power to make it better. I can do things, write things, make things. It’s enough.

pastel painting of two eaglets asleep in the nest

Eagle 19, Alone in the Dark, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia


Eagle 16, Loose

pastel of a bald eagle on a nest

Eagle 16, Loose, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

I was going for loose with this one, so what I did was, I made a pencil sketch and then painted from that. And it helps to keep things lighter and fresher. You can only be as detailed with the painting as you are in the sketch. I set my timer for 25 minutes for both and managed to finish the painting by the time the bell rang. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the face of him/her, but I like the composition. It looks less like an aerie and more like a robin’s nest, I think. I’ll have to try it again.

Today started out productively enough. I found a few more frames at the Hospice Thrift Store on Beach Boulevard. Happily, everything was 50% off. They must be catching on to the fact that people are buying the frames and not the art because some of the pieces I was interested in were in the $80 range or better. Oh well. It’s still a savings versus buying them new.

I got my point driver in the mail yesterday so I should be all set. Just a few more frames to try and find. I still haven’t found anything big enough to handle The Skelly Dance, my homage to Henri Matisse. Something will turn up, though.

I’m trying to stay loose about the upcoming show, trying not to wind myself up, trying not to overcompensate for my imagined shortcomings. Read: spend money on things I convince myself I need in order to do well. Calm, calm, calm. This is supposed to be fun, remember?


Eagle 15, My Favorite Fish!

pastel painting of a bald eagle and eaglet

Eagle 15, My Favorite Fish! 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia, $129. If you’d like to purchase this painting, email me.

My Favorite Fish!

This is the third attempt at this painting. Here are the other two.

Eagle 15, number 2

Eagle 15, number 2

Eagle 15, number 1

Eagle 15, number 1

Part of the problem was focus. I was very conscious of the fact that a camera was pointed at my back. The other problem was that this is a very difficult composition for me. But I think the last version came out pretty well. It helped to think of it as an illustration rather than a piece of “art”. Sometimes, a picture is just a picture and not “art,” you know?

It also helped to do it several times. I could try things and refine the shapes, make choices about how much importance I wanted to attach to the different elements. I still feel like I could fade the large branches back a bit.

Anyway, I like it. I like the strong diagonal from parental head to progeny tail. I like the pale yellow nest, I like the tangle of larger branches behind. I like the strong dark of the eagle’s legs.

Tomorrow I’ll post the video.



I feel for these birds. I have a house to live in. They don’t. They’re out in the open air. They get rained on, snowed on, shone on. I’ve watched as they stoically put up with freezing cold and high heat, always providing a barrier between the elements and the eaglets. They spread their wings and their young crowd underneath.

They probably don’t think about how the weather is maybe nicer somewhere else. They don’t wish they lived someplace else.

I think I’d like to be more like an eagle. I don’t mean I’d like to live outdoors, but I’d like to be less bothered by the things I have no control over. If I were more like an eagle I wouldn’t worry about what other people think, whether or not my house will sell, whether or not my art will sell. I would let those things roll with off my back like the rain rolling off the back of this eagle. I wouldn’t let uncontrollable things ruffle me. I would accept them as beyond my control and move on.

pastel of a bald eagle

Eagle 14, Unruffled, 10×7″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $129, unframed. Email me to purchase.


Eagle 12

Symbol of what?

Eagle's head in pastel pencil

Eagle 12, Symbol, 6×8″ pastel on gator board by Marie Marfia

What do I like about this piece? I like the bright orange and yellow part of his beak where it was backlit from the sun. I like the little green highlight at his back. I like the energy of the pastel pencil marks.

Eagles are a symbol of patriotism in the USA. I think patriotism is like religion in a lot of ways. Too much of either makes people stop thinking.

If I paint enough bald eagles and I paint them well enough, maybe I will stop thinking of them as symbols of patriotism and just see them as color and form and shape and light. That’s my goal for this series.



Eagle 11, Siblings


eaglets in a nest

Eaglets, Rivalry, 6×8″ pastel on gatorboard by Marie Marfia, $65 unframed. Email me to purchase.

The larger of the two eaglets wakes from a nap and pecks at the smaller one. The smaller eaglet turns away and makes itself still. I worry if it will survive. It’s already learning to keep its head down. I close the browser window. If it’s about to be killed by its older sibling, I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to know.

Funny, I spend all this time drawing symbols of death (the skellies), but I can’t face it when it’s right in front of me. When the nature programs on pbs show the cheetah chasing down a deer, I automatically reach for the clicker. It doesn’t bother me to see it being eaten because then it’s just meat. It’s the struggle that I can’t bear to watch. The triumph of one over the other.

Maybe it’s because I empathize so much with the helpless. One of my earliest memories is  seeing snarling faces in a piece of furniture just visible in the light beyond my bedroom door and being frozen by fear. If the bed had been on fire, I couldn’t have escaped then, couldn’t have gotten past the wolves in the hallway.

I can’t watch an eaglet being pecked to death or pushed out of the nest because it feels so personal to me. I’ve been scared to death. I can’t be an impartial observer.

My sister says it’s because space is an issue. If there’s enough space in the nest, they won’t turn on each other. This makes sense to me. We were raised in a pretty big house, and still there were plenty of times when I wanted to kill someone. All that vanished once I’d left home. I wasn’t competing for resources then.

I hope the smaller eaglet survives, but I know it’s not up to me. I’ll keep watching and drawing because I want to do it, want to have a series of eagle paintings. But this is hard. You always hope for a Disney ending. But life isn’t fair and sometimes the eaglet dies.




Eagle 9, Balancing

I liked the shape of the shadow underneath the eagle, how it formed a fulcrum at the bottom of the picture plane, with the head balanced forward and the tail feathers in the back.

Bald eagle balanced on the nest

Eagle 9, Balancing, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

Sometimes my creative life is like this bird, all balanced and everything coming together nicely. Sometimes it’s all out of kilter and I have to be patient until everything aligns properly again.


Eagle 7 & 8

pastel study of an eagle and two eaglets

Eagle and nest, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

It’s hard to see the eaglets, but they’re there to the left of the parent.

pastel drawing of an eagle in rainbow colors

Psychedelic Eagle, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

This was a challenge to myself to mix up the colors. I should have switched the temperatures on the head and back from warm to cool, though. It’s a challenge keeping everything in mind at once!


Eagle 6

pastel drawing of a sleeping bald eagle

Sleepyhead, No. 6, Eagle Cam Series, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

Sleeping on the job

Does anyone think these eagle drawings are patriotic? I don’t think of them that way. I think of them as wonderful opportunities to paint something alive without having to run out and catch it.

This drawing is hilarious to me, because the eagle is sleeping, probably after being up all night with its kids. At first, I thought about waiting until it woke up to do a drawing, but then I thought, eagles are birds and birds are living things and all living things need to rest sometime. Particularly when the kids are young. Then you take your naps whenever and wherever you can get them.

Once one of the adults brought back a fresh fish to the nest and proceeded to tear off chunks to eat. Finally, the one sitting on the nest made a move toward the fish, and so the first one flew off to give his/her partner some eating room. Soon she/he began feeding the eaglets.

When they’re doing normal things like feeding their young or napping, I don’t think of them as a symbol of my country or of patriotism. Then they’re just doing the best they can the only way they know how. They’re like everybody else.