Sunlit path

Back to the woods. I am donating a pastel to my friend’s fundraiser for an elementary school arts program and the theme this year is “In the Forest”. I’m getting started now so she’ll have lots to choose from by the time the deadline rolls around (the auction will probably be in April, 2015).

sunlit path in pastel

Sunlit Path, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board, by Marie Marfia ©2014

sunlit path in pastel

Sunlit Path, detail, 5×7″ pastel on gessoed mat board, by Marie Marfia ©2014

Today’s painting is on gessoed mat board, my favorite. I found a package of 5×7 sized mat boards that I hadn’t opened yet, and I picked out four pieces to use for woodsy paintings.

It’s a nice time to paint the woods because I can’t go out there and walk around in it with my dog for the next month or two due to the overwhelming number of sand spurs out there. I’ve thought about putting something on her feet to protect her but it’s kind of pointless, really. Dogs need to feel what’s under their paws. So, since being in the woods can’t happen, painting the woods will do for now.

I downloaded a very helpful demo about painting trees and shrubs today from my favorite daily pastel painter, Karen Margulis. Only $6 and full of great tips and tricks to get the most out of your efforts. She’s amazing. I love her pastels and I’m a follower of her painting blog.

30 minute meditation on cleanliness and godliness

Another map, this one is my dining room, which I mopped today.

overhead view of a dining room

30 Minute Meditation on Cleanliness and Godliness, 14×18″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia ©2014. See? I even did it to scale. All the one inch blocks are the tiles on my dining room floor. You can see the traffic patterns because it’s darker there. I labeled things, too, although maybe pastel isn’t the best medium for this, since it covers the felt tip too well. Maybe watercolor next time?

Mopping always reminds me of the time Dad woke me from a sound sleep at midnight so I could finish doing the dishes. I remember blubbering as I scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees. Dad was pretty pissed off about the state of the kitchen. “Are you trying to kill us?” he yelled, pointing out all the greasy pots and pans I’d left in the dish drainer. Mom was standing in the doorway to the dining room, trying to get him to calm down. I remember the linoleum very clearly. It was pitted and gnarly, perhaps meant to resemble granite or marble, which it didn’t very much. What it did really well was hold all the dirt and grime and grease so that you had to use a stiff brush and ammonia to get it clean. I hated that linoleum.

Maybe that’s why I don’t mop very often.

Find Marie

Actually, I’m not on this map, because, as you can clearly see, there’s no room for me in this room!

I started out just making an overhead view of my studio space and then, little by little, I started blocking in the colors. By the time I was done, I had a pretty good idea of where everything was in there and what I’m going to have to do to make it a little less, shall we say, crowded?

Coincidently, I’m reading this book, The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin, and it’s been interesting learning how your brain categorizes things. Mapping my studio space is helping me figure out what I can do to reclaim some more floor space. It’s fun. Also amazing to know that I’m making some cool stuff in the middle of all that chaos. But how much more productive could I be if I could exert just the teensiest bit of control over it? Guess I’ll have to find out.


Here’s where I started. It was very tempting to try to neaten things up before I mapped my studio, but what the heck? This is supposed to be a learning experience, right?


And remember, this is just the top down. It doesn’t begin to describe what’s happening under the visible top layers. Like that bottom left corner I’m calling the Stacks of Insanity. 

Can you spot where my pastel box is located? Almost smack in the middle at the near top, behind my easel. I have plans, man.

Mapping where I’m at

I just picked up this book at the library. I love the library. I usually put a hold on books that I see through blogs like or and while I’m there I look through the stacks for something interesting. Yesterday I found this book, Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly and brought it home. Today I opened it up at random (this is generally how I look at art books) and saw this cool little tutorial about how to map your house using Google maps as a reference. So that’s what I did.

Here’s my house map. You can see my little laundry line with clothes on it smack in the middle and the new wildflower border at the top. This is where I’m planted.

map of my house

map of my house


Max just loves the beach

More from last weekend’s excursion to Mickler’s.

woman walking her dog on the beach

“He Loves the Beach,” 8×10″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia ©2014

detail of dog on the beach

“He Loves the Beach,” detail, 8×10″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia ©2014

You go on, I’ll watch

man and woman at the seashore

You Go On, I’ll Watch, 8×10″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia ©2014

I’m letting this one rest for a day or two. Sometimes you can’t see what it needs without not looking at it for a while.

You go on, I’ll watch

That’s what I imagine the woman is saying to her husband in this painting. Or maybe it’s “Are you sure you don’t want to come swimming with me?” I wasn’t close enough to hear them but I loved their body language. Still a work in progress, but it’s coming along.

man and woman at the seashore

You Go On, I’ll Watch, WIP, 8×10″ pastel on gessoed mat board by Marie Marfia ©2014