Tag Archives: seascape

What’s On Your Mind?

dunes, grass, Lake Michigan, sky, path

What’s On Your Mind? 6×9″ pastel on sanded paper. ©2018 Marie Marfia

Today I brought my mother-in-law to my gallery. I was going to take her to the Ludington Area Center for the Arts to look at an art show there but she said, “Are your paintings there?” and I said, no, they weren’t. “I want to look at your paintings,” she said. So we ended up going to my studio.

I brought her in, helped her sit in one of my cafe chairs and she watched me paint a larger version of the painting above.

Afterward, I tried to get her to help me fill out a questionnaire from the American Cancer Society (she had lung cancer a number of years ago and the ACS sends out these forms for research purposes), but she was more interested in telling me what had happened to her this morning.

“They got me up and dressed me and then they said I could sit in my rocker chair or go back to bed. But they didn’t talk to me, just to each other! I got mad and said some things before I could stop my mind.”

She doesn’t care for it when the aides come into her room and act as though she’s not there, talking among themselves and not including her. It’s de-humanizing. Makes you feel like a worthless lump.

Diana can talk pretty well still and she understands a lot of what’s going on around her. If she feels pressure to perform she stumbles when searching for the words she wants. But she’s definitely all in there.

I get how it can be a lot easier to talk to someone who you work with every day than some poor old woman that you don’t know very well. But no one likes to be treated like a dummy. Especially not Diana.

On the way back to the memory care unit I thanked her for visiting my studio. “I’d like to come back again in two months,” she said. “Maybe next time I can paint, too.”

I’ll definitely do my best to make it so.

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



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¢.



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¢.



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¢.


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¢.




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¢.



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¢.


pastel study of dark clouds over the ocean

Dark Horizon

This painting is number 5 in the Paint the Sky challenge given by Karen Margulis, and it is based on a photo I took while on the beach at Mickler’s Landing, in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

While I’m not fond of hanging out when storms are coming in (all that lightning makes me kind of nervous), I couldn’t resist taking a picture before leaving. I especially like the reflected light in the ocean under the clouds. Cool!

pastel study of dark clouds over the ocean

Dark Horizon, 5×8″ pastel on Canson mi teintes paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

pastel painting of towering clouds over the ocean.

Clouds Roll In

Today’s sky painting is the 3rd in a series of 21 that I’m doing as a result of a wonderful mini workshop with Karen Margulis.

Clouds Roll In is taken from a photo from an afternoon at the beach, probably at Mickler’s Landing but it might also be from a bit farther south at Guana Beach. Both places are fairly close by and Steve and I like to get out to walk along the surf as often as we can. On this day, I got lucky because there were big clouds on the horizon. Looks like there was a little rain coming down out over the water.

I am enjoying the process of creating my own grays using tertiary and secondary colors layered on top of each other. This painting was done on Canson mi teintes paper.

pastel painting of towering clouds over the ocean.

Clouds Roll In, 5×8″ pastel on Canson paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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.