Tag Archives: ludington state park

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¢.

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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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She Texts!

pastel of three trees on top of a snow covered dune.

She Texts! 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

It might not seem like much to you, but it means everything to me. My daughter texted today.

You know how it goes. Your kids are grown. You don’t want to be a pushy mother. You wait for them to call you, to let you in on their lives. Sometimes you’re lucky and you get a whole phone call to yourself.

It’s weird. I know it’s weird. I remind myself that back in my parents’ day, they were lucky to get a postcard twice a year from their kids and that includes me. And I tell myself all the time that if they needed me for anything they’d let me know. That no news is good news.

But I’m a hover mom, I admit it. Even now, when they’re all in their twenties, I want to know what they’re doing every minute of the day.

It’s probably got something to do with menopause mind. I didn’t used to be so needy. I think my body chemistry, including my brain chemistry, is all kitty whompus. It’s not me, it’s my hormones!

But those are just as much me as anything else. I guess I don’t have an excuse when you get right down to it.

But I have a cure! See this painting? See those trees? How excited they are? Those are me! Those shivering, shimmering branches on the top of the very highest dune in the park. It’s by way of being a very good day.

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

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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¢.

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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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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¢.

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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.

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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?

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