Tag Archives: painting

pastel painting of a small lake

Untitled Lake

pastel painting of a small lake

Untitled Lake, 5×7″ pastel on sanded paper by Marie Marfia. $90.

This is a painting from a little lake that Steve and I circumnavigated on Saturday. It was one of the many bright spots in a four hour span spent wandering around the Manistee National Forest, not looking for mushrooms.

As much as I am grateful for more people wandering around out in the woods, sometimes I just want to be out there alone, you know? Saturday we decided not to join the throngs of morel mushroom seekers and just go someplace quiet. This little lake, or pond, really, fit the bill nicely. We brought out the binoculars and watched some turtles sunning themselves on a little hummock out in the middle of the water. The sky was deep blue and reflecting off the surface of the lake. We listened to the birds. Then we walked all the way around it, finding a hollow beech tree off the path with a mound of pretty fresh porcupine poop all on one side. The dogs were very interested.

If you would like to purchase this painting, please email me.

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pastel painting of a river

Kink in the River

pastel painting of a river

Kink in the River, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

Today I had a mammogram. This is not my favorite thing in the world. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I never know what to do with my hands. And I’m uncomfortable being the only one in the room who’s topless.

Maybe if I was in my twenties or thirties, but not nowadays. Nowadays I’m almost 60 and I’m not interested in letting everything hang out there in the fresh air. Nude beaches? Not so much. That’s not to say I wouldn’t try it, but I’d have to see it first, see if there was anyone else like me out there, nekkid.

Still not comfortable in my own skin. I wonder if I’ll ever be?

About the painting

This daily painting is from a photo I took on a high bluff over the Pere Marquette River in the Manistee National Forest. Steve and I had just sat down to rest for a minute and I was struck by the bright reflection of the sky and the diagonal of the trees in the background. I like the sweep of last year’s leaves in the front of this piece and the green, purple and orange colors. The swirling brush strokes capture the movement of the water. This piece reminds me how lucky I am to live here.

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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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pastel study of a man and his mother

Giving comfort

pastel study of a man and his mother

Steve and Diana, 5×7″ pastel study by Marie Marfia

This study is done from a photo that I took last Christmas of Steve and his mom, Diana, on the couch at my daughter’s place. She was just resting on his chest while watching some movie on TV. I wonder if she was pretending he was someone else.

Diana has dementia. She’s living in an assisted living facility. She has her own apartment, a two bedroom with a kitchenette, although she doesn’t cook anymore. She walks down to the dining room for her meals. When she’s walking back to her apartment she always says she lives in outer Mongolia because it’s such a long way away.

Diana doesn’t always remember who we are when we come to visit, so we always tell her as we’re coming through her door. “I’m your favorite daughter-in-law, Marie.” “I’m your oldest son, Steve.” That way, she doesn’t have to scramble to come up with names right off the bat. She’s pretty good at covering up her memory lapses right now, but that skill is slipping away, too, like everything else.

This is a hard thing to watch. She’s always prided herself on her intelligence. She got all As in school growing up and got a Masters of Library Science. She still speaks French sometimes and likes to play Duolingo on my iPad.

The place where she lives just called this week to tell Steve that she needs more care now, help with dressing herself, taking showers, doing laundry. It’s fine. Steve’s Dad made good investments and saved all his life before he died. She’s got plenty to cover the extra costs. It’s just that it’s another step down the road that you hate to have to take. We all gotta die. I get that. I wish it didn’t have to be like this, that’s all.

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pastel painting of a smiling man

No. 94, smiling guy

Smiling faces. I can say one thing about this series and that is, I’ve never studied so many smiling faces in my life!

You know, with life model studies the model is never smiling. It’s too hard for them to maintain an expression like that during a long pose. That’s one of the advantages to working with photos. It can be any expression at all, including the manic grin on the face of today’s portrait.

There’s something nice about working on smiling faces all the time. No matter what’s going on elsewhere in the world, right in the moment that I’m working, the person whose face it is that I’m studying is in a happy place. It probably has an effect on me, too, now that I think about it. It’s probably got something to do with science. I don’t know why or how it works, but if it’s science, I approve.

 

pastel painting of a smiling man

No. 94, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on Canson mi-teintes paper by Marie Marfia

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pastel painting of a young woman

No. 86, Arielle

This woman. She is full of ideas, and mischief, which is kind of the same thing. I wanted to paint her in the style of an artist I only just found out about this morning, Richard Suckling. His plein aire landscapes are full of big marks and squiggly lines and I want my art to be like that, so today I did a more gestural drawing to start with and then I made sure I stopped before I’d completely covered it up. I like the lines! I think they give my work a more dynamic feel. And Arielle is the perfect subject for this, because she’s all about movement. She wants to do things, to change things, to make things better. She’s a mover and a shaker and this is what I see reflected in this portrait. Aahh! Love it.

pastel portrait of a young woman with red hair

Ariel, No. 23, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia

You may remember Arielle as this skull painting (No. 23 in this series), as well. She’s awesome on the inside, too.

pastel painting of a young woman

Arielle, No. 86, 100 Portratis in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia

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pastel painting of a dachshund puppy dog

No. 84, Kippy

I made a few new furry friends over the weekend when Steve and I went to visit his mom. She lives in an assisted living facility in Flint, Michigan. As soon as we arrived we hustled her down to the lobby because there were puppies!

Well, they’re probably grown dogs, but they’re miniature dachshunds so they look tiny and are so much fun to pet and hold! Miss Diana likes to pet them a little but she’s mostly there to spend time with Johanna, her friend. Johanna loves the dogs and she makes a point of coming to see them whenever they visit. She has a particular favorite, Shelby, who sits on her lap like a little queen and allows herself to be petted by no one but Johanna for the entire hour. It’s cute and sweet and makes Johanna so happy.

Kippy, the puppy I painted today, was off being held by someone else. I snuck in a picture of him to paint later and here it is.

pastel painting of a dachshund puppy dog

Kippy, No. 84, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 6×9″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia. Available here.

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painting of skeleton couple

Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

painting of skeleton couple

Nos. 16-17, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 8×10″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper, mounted on foam core, by Marie Marfia. Available $200 plus $12 shipping.

Here’s a cute couple. From the reflections in their sunglasses, I think they must’ve been at a park when they took their picture. Awesome! I’m a nature gal, myself. Although, I can get my fill in an hour or two. I love walking the trails, but I don’t want to be out there all day! I got stuff to do! Places to go! People to see! Know what I mean?

You’ll notice that on this portrait I opted to use a distorted grid. Couldn’t resist. It was such a twisted sort of skeleton portrait to do.

Here’s the progress pics:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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a pastel portrait of a woman and her grandson

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Here we have my neighbor Judy and her grandson, Steve.

Judy is a marvel and a nice person. I’m glad I met her. She’s been keeping me up to date on all the happenings in my new neighborhood. Who’s moving in where, who’s up for the weekend, where to get the best deal on propane.

a pastel portrait of a woman and her grandson

Nos. 14-15, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 10×8″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper, mounted on foam core, by Marie Marfia. Sold.

For this painting I had to do a little adjusting in Photoshop, since Judy’s head was tilted and was too far away from Steve’s head. And then do some more adjusting on the painting itself because she was closer to the light source and her skin was pretty washed out. That’s the challenge of working with other people’s photos. You never know what you’re going to get.

Here are the progress photos:

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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pastel painting of 2 skulls just getting engaged

Nos. 12-13, 100 Portraits in 100 Days

Here is Liz’s selfie of her and her fiancee, showing off the big rock on her fourth phalange. Oh happy day! They’ve since gotten married. I fell in love with her blue hair while working on this piece.

pastel painting of 2 skulls just getting engaged

Liz and Fiancee, Nos. 12-13, 100 Portraits in 100 Days, 8×10″ pastel on UArt 400 sanded paper mounted on foam core by Marie Marfia. This painting is available, $200 plus $12 shipping. Contact me to purchase.

Read more about my 100 Portraits in 100 Days project, and follow along on Facebook or Instagramor TwitterSign up for my newsletter and be the first to see my portraits as I finish them!

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