Tag Archives: Marie Marfia

Volcanic Activity, Wave Portrait No. 143

I snarled all the way home this morning, after dropping Steve off at the airport. I hate driving.

It’s too boring to list all the ways that my fellow drivers irritate the crap out of me, so I’m not going to. I just wish I was calmer about it, that’s all.

I go from zero to sixty in a heartbeat. One second I’m enjoying some story on the radio and the next I’m furiously flipping off the three cars that just passed me in the exit lane.

I don’t want to have my day spoiled by things I can’t control. There’s probably some kind of therapy for it, but so far I haven’t found anything that sticks. I am pinning my hopes on the future when, after we move away from this big city with its miles of roads and its oblivious drivers, I’ll remember how to be cool, calm and collected behind the wheel.

It’s been so long, though. Was I ever like that?

pastel painting of a red and blue wave

Volcanic Activity, Wave portrait No. 143, 5×7′ pastel painting on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

Today’s painting was done on mat board that I painted with clear gesso. This gives me a tooth for my pastels, which you can see in the progression slide show. I blocked in color, then rubbed it all in with some pieces of swim noodle (another use for those!) and then came back in over the top with more colors. The sky is pink and blue because it’s where I want my brain to be. The red hot color under the dark wave shape is where I’m afraid my brain is at.

Here’s the progression of today’s painting:

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Wave Portrait No. 142 – Coffee Time

My favorite time of day is coffee time at my brother’s house. Well before dawn I make my way to the kitchen, choose a mug, fill it with coffee, milk and sugar, and whisper, “Anyone need a warm up?”

The room next to the kitchen has a large, stuffed ottoman, wicker chairs covered with afghans, and floor pillows snug against the walls. The cats loll on the little table next to the window, purring. Low voices murmuring, we talk about everything and anything, a susurrus of ideas, laughter, and impractical dreams shared while waiting for the sun to make a decision about whether it’s going to get up or not. I always want to be the first one out there in the morning. My brother and his wife make the best coffee.

pastel painting of a coffee wave

Coffee Time, 5×7″ pastel painting on UArt 600 sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

This painting started with a warm red, orange, and yellow underpainting. Then I layered blues and pink for the morning sky and browns and rusts and pinks for morning coffee with a little dark green thrown in to get that dark, dark earthy color.

Here is the process for today’s painting:

Here is an excerpt from my painting journal:

“Coffee, early morning, talking in low voices, cats lounging on the table, darkness before dawn, bare feet resting on the ottoman, the popping noise signaling a fresh pot ready…”

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Wave Portrait No. 141 – Forgiveness

While painting this piece, I thought about forgiveness. I thought about how hard it is to forgive someone who has hurt me and how long I hold grudges. I thought about how it’s impossible to forgive someone else if I can’t forgive myself first.

pastel painting of a purple and green wave

Wave Portrait No. 141-Forgiveness, 5×7″ pastel on UArt 600 sanded paper by Marie Marfia

I used purple, blue and black in this piece to represent bruising and hurt and I used green and yellow to represent healing. The pink is pure Pepto-Bismol because it coats, soothes and protects.

Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote after I painted it:

“You are a bag of hopes, dreams, contradictions, disappointments, and unexpected graces. Like everyone. You’re allowed to have slack. You can try again. You are not kicked out of the human race for fucking up. On the contrary, it’s proof that you belong.”

Here’s a slide show of the painting’s progression:

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Wave Portrait No. 140 – Nursing Home Visit

These latest Wave Portrait paintings are becoming more about myself than they are about the ocean or Lake Michigan. This is fine with me. They’re therapeutic. It occurs to me that I could’ve picked anything to draw to represent memories. It might have been a leaf or a tree or a teapot. Anything would’ve worked. It’s not important what the image is of, it’s more about what it represents, if that makes sense. Bear with me, I’m figuring this out as I go here.

What I’ve been doing is getting into the studio right after my first cup of coffee and just following my hand’s lead. I put a line down, or maybe several, and then I pick out a color and start to work with it. While I’m painting, I keep track of what I’m thinking. It might be a dream I had the night before, or a childhood memory or, in this case, my visits to the different nursing homes where my dad spent his last days.

pastel painting of a wave shape in nursing home colors, green, pink, brown

A pastel painting of a wave in the colors of a nursing home visit to my father. 5×7″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper with NuPastels.

After I am done painting, I sit down with another cup of coffee and write about it. Here’s an excerpt from today’s painting journal:

“This painting uses colors that I remember from the nursing home; the dark green of the tall pines that enclosed the property; the brown crap that had to be cleaned from my father’s butt; the pink of the walls; the bright yellow of old pee smell that permeated everything; the lilac beet stains that polka-dotted the floor in the dining room. My father didn’t like beets and would fling them everywhere, sling-shotting them one by one from his fork and laughing.”

Here’s the progression of today’s painting:

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Plaid’s not bad

I just remember it that way.

pastel painting of a plaid wave in pink, blue and green

5×7″ pastel painting on UArt paper by Marie Marfia.

When I was a teenager I remember shopping for clothes in the small five and dime store in my tiny hometown. I was with my mother and in a bad mood. I think every fifteen year old girl who goes shopping with her mother is this way. Anyway, I was trying on a sweet blue and pink and green plaid seersucker top in the dressing room when the shrieking harpy who owned the place swooped in and yanked the curtains to one side, announcing to everyone in the store, “Oh, that looks darling on you!” My mother was amused. I was not. It’s not plaid’s fault that I bore it a grudge ever after. Mom bought the top and matching shorts, because darling is darling, after all, but I never wore them.

Here’s the progression of today’s piece.

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Bloop!

Wave Portrait No. 135

This guy is just doot dootling around, minding its own business. A happy little wave. Bloop!

pastel painting of a happy little wave

Wave portrait no. 135, 5×7″ pastel on Uart sanded paper by Marie Marfia

I painted this with a bright yellow alcohol under painting on sanded UArt paper (400 grit) using almost all NuPastels.

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GRR

This painting is how I feel when my computer is being stupid (operator error, no doubt!) or my dog doesn’t come when I call (what’s so interesting about kids walking along the back fence?) or the Detroit Tigers blow a three run lead in the 8th inning (I know I live in Florida now, but I’ll always be a Michigan girl).

angry wave painted in pastel

GRR, Wave Portrait No. 134, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia.

I used a medium gray pastel and alcohol for an underpainting and deliberately left it as the sky in this painting. I think I’d like to do the next one with bright yellow. I’m thinking of calling this series, “The Moody Blue.” What do you think?

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More whimsy, less realism

I’m getting into these colorful, whimsical versions of waves. They’re fun, they’re simple and they’re bright. And they have so much personality!

Like this guy reminds me of my brothers’ hair. The twins used to get their hair cut in the utility room while perched on a stool with my father wielding the hair clippers. Zoop, zoop up the sides with a front fringe. It was a practical look. Dad would say, “Now you look like a white man,” when he’d finished. The boys would complain because the clippers would heat up after a little while and it’d be uncomfortably hot on their necks. Afterward, they would check themselves out in the mirror, looking for holes, my sister and I helpfully pointing out where Dad’s clipper hand had slipped.

whimsical pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 133, 5×7″ pastel on UArt sanded paper by Marie Marfia.

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Pump it up

I need regular pep talks. Since I work at home, that means I have to go find them, because when I give myself a pep talk, it doesn’t always work. Trust issues, clearly.

Sometimes I read books about inspiring subjects. Sometimes I go looking on the internet for uplifting stories. I find that without something funny or wise or encouraging every day, I slip into downer mode and it’s hard to do anything at all, much less make a painting.

Here are some places I go in no particular order:

  • Imgur – puppies and kittens and the occasional red panda
  • Ted Talks – Twenty awe-inspiring minutes of hope for humankind
  • Writers Almanac – A poem a day for FREE!
  • Brain Pickings – Great place to find inspiring reads
  • Clients From Hell (I go here to remind myself what great clients I have)
  • Other artist/art biz websites

Today’s wave portrait was inspired by the work of Drew Brophy, whose work I found on Maria Brophy’s blog. She’s inspiring in all kinds of ways from a business standpoint and Drew’s work is pure awesomeness.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 132, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia, $70.

I just drew a line and filled it in with lots of luscious colors. The sky reminds me of orange sherbet and the white cap looks like whipped cream. I think I must have to eat something.

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A horse, of course

I’ve been reading a series of mystery books by author Craig Johnson. They’re centered around the life of a small town sheriff in Wyoming and they’re full of gunfights and horses and dually trucks. I was in the middle of the book, “The Dark Horse,” and it was getting so suspenseful that I was tempted to skip ahead to make sure everyone was going to be okay. That’s when I knew I needed to take a little break. This guy was just the ticket. You can see by the look in his eye that he already knows how the story ends.

pastel painting of a bay horse

Horse, 5×7″ pastel painting on paper by Marie Marfia. Buy it on Etsy!

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