Tag Archives: water

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¢.


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¢.


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¢.


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¢.



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¢.

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.

pastel landscape

Nothin’ But Blue Skies

“Nothin’ but blue skies…” the song in my head, now that the inspection is over. No matter what happens, I can handle it, as long as I’ve got my potato…

So, over Memorial Day weekend, the pump went out, which sounds terrible, until you realize that it could’ve been so much worse. Like, what if the well had gone dry and that’s why the pump wasn’t working? Oh. My. God. See, we had this inspection coming up Tuesday morning (that’s today), and all along I’ve been telling Steve, “Let’s sell this place before something goes wrong with it,” and then, whoosh, no water on Sunday, and I’m thinking, “This is that something going wrong I was worried about,” but as it happens, Steve’s philosophy degree, the one that he got before he got his chemistry degree, continues to pay big dividends. He called the friendly Ace Hardware man and got a replacement pump and put that sucker right where the old one was, and voila! we had water again!

I was very happy about this for a couple of reasons. One is, you don’t really appreciate toilet water like you do when there’s a sudden lack of it, and two, snaking a long hose over to the neighbor’s house for water is a sure way to discourage interest in someone looking to buy a house. I was watching people slow down and speed up as they drove by all weekend. Ah well. We only need one buyer anyway, and he seems very nice. Young. My god, how young, he can’t be thirty years old yet, but very nice. He and his broker and the inspector showed up bright and early this morning and Steve and I loaded up the dogs and left them to it.

Now, it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon, no word on the inspection results, but no matter what they are, they could have been so much more disastrous. I can imagine the little post it notes on every faucet in the house, “Sorry. Ran out of water on Saturday, but we plan to get a new well dug soon. No worries.”

Yes, yes, it could have been far worse. So I’m giddy, and that’s what this little painting is all about.

pastel landscape

Nothin’ But Blue Skies, 5×7″ pastel on Crescent board with pumice ground by Marie Marfia. $75, unframed. Contact me to purchase.


Work in progress, skeleton couple dancing on the beach

More progress on the couple dancing on the beach. I got to thinking about all the fun I have had in my life while I lived near the water. I still live pretty close here. I mean, 30 minutes isn’t bad at all, but I still wish I lived closer. When I was a kid, Lake Michigan was 5 minutes away by car and Hutchin’s Lake was a quarter mile down the road from our house. In Ludington, I lived 11 blocks from the beach and I used to walk my dog down there every single morning. I’ll get back to the water again, see if I don’t.


Pump it up

I need regular pep talks. Since I work at home, that means I have to go find them, because when I give myself a pep talk, it doesn’t always work. Trust issues, clearly.

Sometimes I read books about inspiring subjects. Sometimes I go looking on the internet for uplifting stories. I find that without something funny or wise or encouraging every day, I slip into downer mode and it’s hard to do anything at all, much less make a painting.

Here are some places I go in no particular order:

  • Imgur – puppies and kittens and the occasional red panda
  • Ted Talks – Twenty awe-inspiring minutes of hope for humankind
  • Writers Almanac – A poem a day for FREE!
  • Brain Pickings – Great place to find inspiring reads
  • Clients From Hell (I go here to remind myself what great clients I have)
  • Other artist/art biz websites

Today’s wave portrait was inspired by the work of Drew Brophy, whose work I found on Maria Brophy’s blog. She’s inspiring in all kinds of ways from a business standpoint and Drew’s work is pure awesomeness.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 132, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia, $70.

I just drew a line and filled it in with lots of luscious colors. The sky reminds me of orange sherbet and the white cap looks like whipped cream. I think I must have to eat something.

Love it?
You can purchase the ORIGINAL painting on Etsy.
You can purchase PRINTS on Fine Art America.
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