Tag Archives: pastel

Dark Over Light

pastel painting of a landscape, trees, road, lake, sky

Dark Over Light, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

On Saturdays I visit my mother-in-law. We moved her to Ludington not very long ago to have her closer to us. It used to be a 3 hour drive to go see her and now it’s a half hour or less. She’s only been in the memory care unit for a few weeks and she’s still trying to adjust.

Sometimes she’s feeling pretty good about things. But a lot of times she’s depressed. She knows her memory is failing and she doesn’t know anyone in the new place. It’s hard on her. Steve and I come see her 3-4 times a week.

Last Saturday I took her for a drive. We went to the beach and then to the boat landing by the river. Then we went back to the memory care place and worked on a jigsaw puzzle for a while. She got sleepy and decided to take a nap.

I sat on the floor in her room, waiting for her to nod off. She said, “You’ll be gone when I wake up.” I explained that I would be back again soon, that her son would be coming to visit in two days.

“You guys sure take good care of me,” she said.

“That’s because we love you,” I said.

“I love you, too.” she said.

“I know.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because you tell me all the time.”

“How do you know I’m telling the truth?”

“You have an honest face.”

That seemed to satisfy her. She leaned back and closed her eyes. I waited until I knew she was asleep and then left.

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

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Getting There

pastel painting of dunes and lake michigan and sky and clouds

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

This version is with a warm blue underpainting and pink and purple shadows. There are dunes between me and the water, but I can see it from here. I know I’ll get there.

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

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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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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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No House of Flavors Today

pastel painting of a path between two snow covered dunes, Lake Michigan in the background.

No House of Flavors Today, 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia.

My mother-in-law had a doctor’s appointment today and Steve and I planned to take her out to House of Flavors restaurant afterward for lunch. But the staff at Ludington Woods called and said they were quarantining the residents because there was a flu outbreak there. So we’re not going after all. Steve’s going to stop in to see her if they’ll let him. I brought a lunch.

At least she probably doesn’t remember that we were going to take her out today. That’s the curse and the blessing of losing your memory, I guess.

And of course, it’s more important that she stay healthy. Still. Ice cream would have been nice. I think this painting looks like a couple of scoops of ice cream with some sort of sauce on top. Yum! Except it’s kind of hairy looking with all the dune grass. Ew.

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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Paths to Water

pastel painting of a path through snow cover dunes to Lake Michigan

Paths to Water, 9×6″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

You can lead a person to water, but you can’t make her drink. Well, actually, in my case, you don’t have to make me drink. I’ll do it all on my own.

I like how the light comes right up to the lip of the dune where all the footprints are leading up to, and then it stops and everything from that point to the foreground and right off the edge of the paper is in shadow.

I have spent a lot of time painting landscapes with roads or paths in them. Recently I noticed that the roads all end somewhere about a third of the way or two thirds of the way up the picture plane, and the end of the road is usually obscured by clouds or distant trees. This is probably something to do with me thinking about my future and wondering whether I’m going to go like my dad did, via Alzheimer’s, or if I’ll get lucky and be like my mother, who died with most of her faculties still intact.

I like these dune pictures because the paths all lead to the water. I read somewhere that water represents spirituality when you dream about it. My water dreams aren’t very nice, but maybe if I keep painting water as a final destination they’ll change.

Did I mention? We just moved my mother-in-law up to a memory care unit here in Ludington. It’s a lovely place. She’s doing well there. I stop by to see her a couple times a week, Steve does, too.

It’s hard to watch someone you love losing their mind like this. And wondering if it’s going to happen to you, too.

Nothing I can do but paint it out.

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

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