Tag Archives: Lake Michigan

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¢.

Share

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¢.

Share

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¢.

SaveSave

Share

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¢.

SaveSave

Share

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¢.

Share

Funner than I Thought

Pastel painting of dunes, snow, beach grass, sky, clouds, snow

Funner Than I Thought, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

That interview I did with Mason County Press was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I have a tendency to worry about things like that. I anticipate all kinds of weird things going wrong and have to work pretty hard to calm myself down beforehand.

I suspect a lot of people are just like me, nervous of looking foolish in front of everyone. And to be honest, I didn’t realize I was quite so Midwestern sounding until I heard myself speaking. Kind of hoot, really.

I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback from friends, and even met some new people who saw the interview and stopped by the studio to say hello.

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

SaveSave

SaveSave

Share

Inspired

pastel painting of trees and dunes, grass and sky and snow.

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

I met the nicest couple today. I was just putting a few final touches on a larger pastel and getting ready to begin work on this one, when I turned around to see them looking in my picture window. I poked my head out to say hello to their two little dogs and they all came in and we got to know one another a little better.

Dick is retired but has been painting for quite some time. “Just for fun,” he says. But he’s also managed to get 600 paintings done, so obviously his fun is pretty focused! He’s been accepted into several Art Prize exhibitions, so if I needed proof that practice makes opportunity, here it is. His wife, Kathy, is so supportive of his painting, kind of reminds me of my own beloved, Steve.

Dick, intrigued by my pastels, said he was going to go right home and order a set to play with. On their way out the door he thanked me for inspiring him. I should have told him it works both ways.

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

SaveSave

Share

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¢.

Share

No House of Flavors Today

pastel painting of a path between two snow covered dunes, Lake Michigan in the background.

No House of Flavors Today, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

My mother-in-law had a doctor’s appointment today and Steve and I planned to take her out to House of Flavors restaurant afterward for lunch. But the staff at Ludington Woods called and said they were quarantining the residents because there was a flu outbreak there. So we’re not going after all. Steve’s going to stop in to see her if they’ll let him. I brought a lunch.

At least she probably doesn’t remember that we were going to take her out today. That’s the curse and the blessing of losing your memory, I guess.

And of course, it’s more important that she stay healthy. Still. Ice cream would have been nice. I think this painting looks like a couple of scoops of ice cream with some sort of sauce on top. Yum! Except it’s kind of hairy looking with all the dune grass. Ew.

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

Share

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