About Me

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I am a Colorado native, so I grew up loving the natural environment and the wild Rocky Mountains. Until recently, I always considered myself a watercolor artist and felt confined to that little “box” I put myself in. On a quest for discovery and healing, I took a workshop in mixed media techniques. Since that day, I’ve been obsessed – I’ve found a new and different way to express myself and my emotions. I’m on a constant quest to find unusual and discarded “things” to use in my paintings. I’ve used everything from plaster, twine, metal, foil, and even broken windshield glass. It all somehow becomes symbolic in my paintings and signifies a feeling or emotion. Thanks for joining me on this journey and this adventure we call life and art!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Curve Balls and New Beginnings

I had always considered myself to be a watercolor artist and to be honest, I was always boxed in by those thoughts and that particular "label".  I thought that's all I could and would ever do with my art.  Then life has a funny way of coming along and throwing you a a curve ball, or two, or three.  Some know, some don't, but I had a very dear friend that committed suicide - it will be 3 years this July.  After that happened, I lost my heart and lost my way.  I couldn't think straight and was overwhelmed with emotion.  He left me a goodbye note.  I thought I should have seen it coming.  I thought I could have stopped it if I had known.  There are so many emotions, even still.
I never thought I would pick up a brush again - and I didn't...for a long time.  Later that same year, by some divine intervention or design, I happened upon a workshop that Carol Nelson was doing on mixed media techniques.  I didn't really even know what that was, but felt ready for something different and felt ready for a change.  I couldn't find a way to deal with my sorrow and loss, what would it hurt to do this.  I don't have to talk to anyone or look at anyone, right?  I'll just sit in my little corner and get lost.  And, that is exactly what I did.  I took the workshop and I was never the same.  I got lost in the moment.  So many emotions poured out into my work, so many things that I just couldn't say.   
It was during this time that I did this piece.  Her name is "Blossom" and she is of my first ever Mixed Media pieces ".  So much went in to her creation, so many thoughts and emotion.

My goal wasn't to make her realistic in any way, after all, I'd never done any kind of human face in any form and didn't want that kind of pressure now!  I wanted her to be more ethereaI, fragile but strong.  It was healing to create her.  I used alot of different items to create texture and depth in this piece. Her hair is made out of twine. I glued each individual piece on and painted each strand. Her wings are made out of broken windshield glass that I found in the parking lot where I worked.  At first, she had dark brown eyes, but they just didn't give her life and purpose and soul.  I glazed green iridescent paint over the brown in her eyes. Her eyes now actually change colors between green and brown, depending on the viewers angle. I used molding paste and painted various papers to add into the composition.

Broken glass added to make "wings".
I decided I needed to add some text, that I needed to say something to complete my thoughts and feelings.  I found some vintage sheet music and tore each individual letter out to complete my phrase.  Some of that old sheet music and lettering is just beautiful and I wanted to capture that.  The text reads, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to Blossom."  And so, a new day was born.  In my friend's goodbye note, one of the last things he said was that he loved my paintings.  I want to honor that, be brave, and take in each day, if only one minute at a time.
Text from vintage sheet music.

The original piece is sold, but prints are available in various sizes from http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-donna-martin.html

For questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at: saltlightwatercolors@yahoo.com


  1. Hi I am part of the Flying Lessons Facebook Group and saw your post. I appreciate openness and bravery to share your story. When dealing with my mother's death, creating seemed to be the only thing that helped. I feel connected to her every time I make something. Beautiful post.

    1. Thank you so much for your note. I agree, creating seems to be the only thing that helped deal with the loss and tragedy. I'm sorry about your Mom, but I'm so glad you feel connected to her when you are creating. I think it's the best way to honor someone who was so special to us. xxoo

  2. Hi Donna!

    I know this is going to seem weird but my name is ALSO Donna L Martin...but I am a children's book author.

    I was searching for something else on the internet and came across this post. What an absolutely GORGEOUS piece of art you have created! Your Blossom seems so full of life...as you say, fragile yet strong, and what a story she must want to tell!

    Now wouldn't it be really ironic if you were a children's book illustrator and illustrated one of my stories? I could see the cover now...written by DONNA L MARTIN and illustrated by DONNA L MARTIN...;~)

    Great post!

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

    1. Donna...how cool is that! I'm so grateful to meet you and so impressed that you commented on my post. I will check out your books...I have 3 little granddaughters who love to read. Hope you check in when you have time and hope we can stay in touch!