Tag Archives: trees

Leaning In

pastel painting of trees on a small lake, sunrise

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

As I was walking the dogs around Round Lake this morning I noticed how much the trees on the side of the road nearest the water lean over. Probably it’s erosion, but I like to imagine that partly it’s because they love the water like I do.

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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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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Walking my dogs makes me a better painter

At least it gets me off the couch in the mornings. Truthfully, if I had my way, I’d spend all day on the couch eating bonbons and flipping through Imgur on my iPad, but the dogs aren’t going to let themselves outside and since our yard isn’t fenced (yet!), I have to go with them.

This involves piling them into the back of my minivan and driving out to the woods. See, I’d walk them around the neighborhood but there are too many potential pitfalls involved with this, i.e. other loose dogs. So my preference is to drive about five miles south on Walhalla Road, turn off onto any one of half a dozen “seasonal roads” and tromp around the Manistee National Forest for an hour.

The dogs get to sniff and dig around, I don’t have to clean up after them (although I’ve unofficially adopted the first two miles of 6890 because, let’s face it, people are pigs), and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

Sometimes we see deer, sometimes a dead snake, and once Roger thought for sure a cat walked out of the ferns not six feet in front of him, but it was a skunk and he was not allowed to get any closer to it although he fussed a bit about my decision. I held firm, though. You should see the divots my feet left in the road even two weeks later. I held on for dear life, I’m telling you.

So how does this make me a better painter?

It provides subject matter, of course. I won’t tell you how many pictures of my dogs are on my Google drive right now, but it’s a lot. Like thousands. Sometimes I keep my finger on the camera button, snapping pic after pic of Roger digging in the dirt just to get that one glorious moment when he leaps back into the road to try to catch up to whatever he’s smelling off in the distance.

It lets me paint wonderful scenes of my dogs enjoying the great outdoors. I used to think I went out to the woods for me, but really, I go out there for them. They’re the ones that are having the great time.

I guess I’m jealous. Here I am, covered in Deet to keep off the bugs and checking for ticks and bears and swiping at deer flies and those two are just loping along with their tongues hanging out, having a grand old time. Every. Stinking. Morning.

I love it. I love them. I’m a lucky girl to have these lucky dogs.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Roger and Out” 6×9″ pastel on paper.

©2017 Marie Marfia “Daisy in the Dark,” 9×6″ pastel on paper.

You can find more of my daily paintings on ebay including the ones pictures here. They start at 99¢ and the auctions last for 7 days. Good luck and happy bidding!

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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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Back from Tucson

Playing with watercolors and my postcards today.

Steve and I walked the dogs out by Piney Ridge Road in the Ludington State Park. It was windy and kind of cold but we didn’t mind so much. It sure is pretty out there.

At first Steve was worried about what we’d find. Sargent Sands Co. has been mining a lot of sand out in the dunes and we wondered if there’d be anything left of the pretty little lake and dunes but hurray, it was all still there and just as beautiful as when we left it ten years ago.

The dogs stayed busy sniffing deer hoof prints, I took a lot of pictures to use for watercolor studies later. We even saw a couple of other hardy souls out there, metal detecting at the water’s edge.

I love walking around out in the woods and in the dunes. It’s quiet this time of year. You can see forever because there aren’t any leaves out yet. The forest floor is dark with dead leaves. The dune grass is blonde colored and shivering in the wind.

Pines overlooking the little lake behind the dunes.

Steve looks cold, doesn’t he? Daisy is ready to go, as always.

I love the way the wind ruffles the grass on the dunes.

And here are my attempts to capture what I saw today. Meh, but I’m not worrying. They’ll get better as long as I keep practicing.

You can see where the blue and green got away from me. I like the shape of the dune, the trees marching over the crest and the overall composition.

If I cropped it on the left, the composition would be stronger plus I need to work on more than one at a time, if only to give the paint a chance to dry between colors.

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pastel painting of tree line with clouds

Behind the Treeline

This is a painting taken from a photo of clouds looming from beyond the trees on our way home from the beach one day. I wanted to leave some evidence of the original drawing in this study. I like my initial sketches and sometimes feel it’s a shame to cover them up!

pastel painting of tree line with clouds

Behind the Treeline, 5×8″ pastel on paper by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.

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pastel of a landscape

Because I’m Happy

One good thing about doing a series based on the same scene is that the biggest question is already answered, which is, “What am I going to paint?”

With that out of the way, I’m free to do whatever I want with the subject. Today I decided to use a palette based on a print I bought about a year ago. The print is of a beach scene done in bright, cheerful colors, which is what drew me to it, more than the subject matter. I liked the graceful swoops of the artist’s brush work, too, and that’s something that I can do with pastels, especially if I start with a board that I’ve brushed pumice onto, like this one.

It also helps that I just got off the phone with my brother Joe, one of my favorite people in the whole world.

pastel of a landscape

Because I’m Happy, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed Crescent board by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase this painting.

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