Tag Archives: Ludington

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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Back in the Swing

pastel painting of a pair of dunes, sky and clouds

Back in the Swing, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Had a very nice weekend with friends up in Leelanau County. It sure is pretty up there. Steve took some pictures of the lakeshore. We were hiking around on Lake Michigan, looking for ice caves. Saw a few but I generally stay away from the edge of the ice. I have a fear of being trapped under ice. When Steve used to take the kids out to look at ice caves I would stay home and worry. It was easier than going along and worrying.

Anyway, we hiked around and played some games and celebrated an old friend’s birthday. This is her last year as a fifty-something. Hope it’s a fabulous one.

I’m going to try to step up my daily painting game in anticipation of our vacation coming up at the end of March. I’d like to have enough daily paintings to keep seven at auction the whole time I’m away. We’ll see. If I go back to my old practice of two a day, I should have plenty stockpiled by the time we leave on March 18.

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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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¢.

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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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pastel landscape of Lake Michigan and the end of US-10

End of the Road

When I knew we’d be moving away, back when I lived in Ludington, I would walk down to the end of US-10 every day with my camera, right where the road met the water. I’d stand there and starting with the view on my left, I’d take a series of photos, ending up with the view on my right. I hoped to have a series of panoramas when I was done, a scene from every season, something to remember where we used to live.

In the end, all those pictures were uploaded and then forgotten on numerous hard drives. Every once in a while I’d run across them and think, “Oh yeah, that project,” and then promptly move on to something else that seemed more pressing.

The thing is, we didn’t think we’d ever have to leave there. We planned to stay and finish raising our family. Moving to Jacksonville, Florida was a lot like moving to Mars. It was so bloody hot, for one thing, and there was no one around to talk to. I mean, everyone was indoors. Even though we lived in a nice residential area, in a nice house, with a big yard, it felt completely isolated compared to our old life, in our old town, where everyone knew us and we knew everyone.

The first year I spent in mourning, sometimes going to bed at 3 in the afternoon and staying there until the next day. I’d get up to fix dinner or do a little computer work, maybe, but I never went outdoors, I didn’t drive anywhere I didn’t absolutely have to. The kids were depressed as well. The schools were huge compared to what they were used to, and they felt lost. The second year, I started homeschooling with the boys and things got better. We met nice people, made friends, began exploring where we lived. Homeschooling probably saved all our lives, come to think of it.

But I still miss the landscapes I used to know. Now that I will be returning, I allow myself to imagine what it will be like to be back in the friendly woods, to be on the shore of Lake Michigan, to be racing leaves in the Pere Marquette River.

Sometimes, when I’m doing yoga and I lay back on the mat with my eyes closed, it’s as though I’m floating in familiar waters and I feel weightless. There is no hidden danger waiting to grab me from below, only the sun on my face and the feel of soft waves, lapping at my skin.

pastel landscape of Lake Michigan and the end of US-10

End of the Road, 5×7″ pastel on Crescent board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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