Tag Archives: painting a day

red wing blackbird silhouette painting

So it begins!

New project!

This summer I’ve decided I want to learn to paint with acrylics. So, as I’ve done before here and here, I’m committing to painting a small acrylic painting every day for the next 100 days. At the end of that time I hope to be more comfortable painting in acrylic and to have a bunch of work to show for my efforts.

Unlike my previous projects, I don’t entirely know what I’ll be concentrating on as far as subject matter goes. Right now I figure I’ll paint whatever subject appeals to me in the moment, concentrating on technique and composition rather than say, landscapes or portraits.

Today’s painting is based on a video tutorial that I watched this morning. The tutorial was about making a dark to light background and featured a bird and some branches in silhouette. It used just two colors—black and white—to make it easier for a novice (that would be me!) to get the hang of blending and simple enough that I would have a nice painting at the end.

I was inspired by the idea of a bird and also the graduated background. But of course I had to mix it up a little bit. Two colors? Nah. How about four?

See, I love to get up before the sun and watch it coloring the sky orange and gold and shining through the trees, so I decided to make my background reflect the color of the sky from this morning. So I needed red and yellow for that. For the bird I picked a red winged blackbird because they have so much personality and they’re everywhere around here. Plus, they have lovely red and yellow epaulettes on their shoulders, so I thought that would be perfect with my peachy background.

Here’s today’s effort:

red wing blackbird silhouette painting

001 Red Winged Blackbird, 6×6″ acrylic on canvas. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

Fear not, I am not giving up on pastels! I will continue to work with them because I love doing it. But it’s always good to shake things up if you possibly can, try something new. Keeps me thinking creatively, and who doesn’t need more of that?

I’ll be posting them here on my blog, so if you’d like to keep track of my progress, please bookmark this page and come back often. Or come and visit me in Ludington, Michigan. I have a new exhibit space next to the Bonafide Gallery called James St. Gallery and I’ll be hanging these paintings there all summer. Hope to see you soon!


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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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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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Dunes and Clouds

pastel painting of snow covered dunes and clouds

Dunes and Clouds, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

I was blue this morning so I thought I’d go paint something. Sometimes you can paint out your feelings and it helps.

The first two paintings I tried were not what I had in mind. Fortunately, this painting seemed to do the trick for me today. Hope you enjoy it.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Lit

pastel painting of a sand dune with Lake Michigan in the background, blowing dune grass and snow

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

I was feeling sorry for myself this afternoon. I think it’s the weather. I’m starting to get tired of the cold and the snow isn’t looking so beautiful anymore. But then the sun came out and I thought, “I bet the dunes out at the state park are lit up right now,” so I jumped in my car and raced out there.

It was bone chilling cold but the sun was hitting the grass and the water and lighting up the clouds. Just flat out gorgeous and it cheered me up just to be out there taking pictures. I love living here.

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Convergence

pastel painting of a road, snow and lake

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

I did not want to come in to the studio today. If you didn’t know, three weeks ago I fell while walking in the woods and my leg has been achy ever since. It’s maddening to still be limping around, gobbling ibuprofen and whining all this time later.

When I woke up today and the pain hadn’t magically disappeared overnight (again!) I wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep the day away. But I remembered I had a bag of trash that needed to be set out on the alley, and I needed to paint a pastel for the day (hadn’t brought home my travel pastel kit), and oh, half a dozen other things.

On my way to put out the trash I noticed the door to one of the apartments in the building next door had swung open sometime overnight so I closed it because I’m a good doobie. I stopped and caught up with Hannah, who has the dog grooming business up the street from me. I got this painting done and I like two things about it (the line of red brush and the sky).

I named it Convergence because of random events that happen when I set myself on a path and because I’m attracted to compositions that meet up somewhere off center. I’ve noticed that a lot of my landscapes feature roads or paths that end before they reach the horizon and that’s something worth thinking about. I have a pretty good hunch about it. I’ll let you know when I have it sorted out in my head.

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Patch of Grass

pastel painting of dune grass and snow

Patch of Grass, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

I thought, I need to get closer to the grass, really understand it. This is the first attempt of many. I can see that I captured some of it, but I think I can do better. Every day in every way…

This painting is available on ebay, bidding begins at 99¢.

 

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Sky on Fire

pastel painting of morning sky

Sky on Fire, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

I stepped outside this morning, letting the dogs out to pee, and when I turned around, this happened.

The sky was on fire and it held me spell bound as I walked down the dirt road opposite our house. The dogs didn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary, but to them, every day is the best day. It’s just humans who make a fuss about sunrises and sunsets.

I brushed out my first attempt at this and started over, trying to paint how I felt instead of what I thought I saw. They’re two different things, you know.

 

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