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!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Living in the Moment - Dragons Soar!

Dragons Soar
 
 
 
This is the latest little painting I completed.  It's the time of the year I've been thinking about family, getting out in the warm sunshine, planting flowers, breathing in the fresh air.  I named it "Dragons Soar" because I have a little sign in my garden that says "In my garden, hearts soar and dragons fly." 
 
In thinking about the dragonfly and creating this piece, I found this interesting symbolism.  The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and are able to make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis.

This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly.  This week, this day, are you living in the moment?
 
Here are some pictures of how this painting started out and went through the process.
 

This painting literally sat in my art studio for over a year, untouched.  I did NOT like how it was turning out and couldn't figure out what to do with it.  The sides and the bottom of it were painted bright red.  Really...who does that...FIRE ENGINE red!  I toned it down with some white.  The top background underneath the dragonfly is some really beautiful turquois paper that I found and altered.

 
I continued doing more alterations to the paper behind the dragonfly.  I added some irridescent orange...man those irridescent paints are gorgeous!  Started adding some blue over the white paint at the bottom and sides to try to tie it all together.
 
 
Here I began to add more turquois to the painting, again to try to tie it together, and because I LOVE turquois.


 
And...TaDa...I think it is done!
 
 
 
 
This little painting is 8 X 8 X 1.5 and is available to purchase.  It is finished with a resin coating, which eliminates the need for framing.  It is available for purchase. If you have comments or are interested in purchasing, please contact me at: saltlightwatercolors@yahoo.com
 
You can check out my other work at:




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Stages of the Heart...Hopeful, Broken, Healing

Stages of the Heart


This is a sad day for me.  I am remembering May 21, 1979 like it was yesterday.  It was the day I lost my first baby.  She was due August 28th, but because of a tear in the placenta, she was born on May 21st.  I keep thinking if she had been born now, they probably could have saved her.  She was born in a small, rural hospital in Texas.  They didn't have a neo-natal unit at the time and there wasn't time to send me to a larger hospital.  My labor and delivery lasted only about 4 hours, but to me, it seemed like an eternity.  And, to top it off, I was only 16 years old.  I did not know why this was happening and I just knew they would be able to stop the labor.  They couldn't.  My tiny baby girl was born with her heart beating, but they could not get her to breathe.  They couldn't save her.  Love couldn't save her.  She was so tiny, weighing a little over a pound, but she was beautiful.  I so loved her.  Back then, they didn't let you hold your baby afterwards.  They just took her away.  I did not get to hold her or kiss her goodbye.  Friends and family came to the hospital to offer their condolences.  There was no consolation.  Even though I was so young, I was her mother.  She was the heart of my heart.  It was devastating and I was broken.  I remember counting the days afterwards.  I wondered when things would get better and when the pain would go away.  I felt so very alone.  Even though I was so young, I wasn't a child anymore.  It seemed as if the whole world had moved on, but I hadn't.  People don't know what to say or how to act.    People would say, "It's ok honey, you can have another baby".  I didn't want another baby.  I wanted my baby, that baby.  The pain was incredible.  I don't think there is anything worse than losing your child.

To this day, I think about her.  I don't like Mother's Day because it brings back too many memories that I've tried to bury inside.  I wonder what she would have looked like.  Would she have light or dark hair, straight or curly?  Would her eyes be sparkling blue or deep dark brown?  Would she give me cards on Mother's Day or call me for no reason, just because she wanted to hear my voice?  I look at other young ladies who are now around her age and it hurts my heart.  I don't think it's something you ever get over.

So today, this posting is for her, my baby, Amber.  This peice is titled "Stages of the Heart".  The first heart is "Hopeful".  The second heart is "Broken". The third heart is "Healing".  Thank goodness there is art.  What a healing way to process emotions that there are no words for. 

Even after all this time, I am still healing.  But I am also hopeful, actually I'm certain, that I will see her again and we will never have to say goodbye.  


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hearts and Wings and One Word ~ Random Thoughts and Inspiration

Hearts and Wings

This year seems to be a year of reflection and new direction.  I've been thinking alot, reading alot, and DREAMING...alot. 

With that being said, at the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to not make a resolution.  My brain is always going in a million directions anyway and that just seemed like one more thing on the "to do" list.  And, I hate to do lists.  Anyone who knows me could probably figure that one out.  At the same time, I wanted to make goals and work on one at least one of my "flaws", for lack of a better term.  I had the idea of making a piece of art with one particular word that I wanted to work on, kind of like a symbolic reminder.  Seemed better to me than making some stupid resolution.  I also thought that something tangible, coming from the heart, would hold more meaning for me.  Now the trouble was just coming up with one word...there are many, many things that I need to work on and so many things I want in my life.  The word that kept creeping into my thoughts was "fearless".  No matter how hard I tried to push it back (I thought that word wasn't particularly artistic or romantic...couldn't I have love or peace instead?) it kept nudging me.  It would come to me as I was getting ready to teach a class.  It would whisper to me when I was trying a new technique.  I heard it as I was getting ready to start the day.  I would argue, I'm not afraid.  I'm a risk taker, aren't I?  Fearless, be Fearless.  Ok, ok, I give in.  I will make a piece and add the word "Fearless", I declared.  Finally.  Now what??  I stared at the blank cradleboard.  I threw on some paint.  I added some texture.  My gremlin voice said "no, that's not good enough, this is stupid, what kind of artist does this".  I listened and I put the board down and didn't go back to it for another week or maybe two.  Funny how that happens and why do we listen to that stuff??  "Fearless" whispered to me again.  I picked up the piece again and this time, I couldn't stop.  I textured the lower part...random, tangled, blue, dark.  Then a funny thing happened - and I didn't even know it was happening.  I textured a heart in the middle of the piece with wings coming off of it.  The heart and wings were rising above the random, tangled, blue, dark bottom of the painting.  Not only that, the heart continued to rise above the "mess"!  Tears.  Tears of joy, tears of letting go, tears of the surprise that happened when I just let go and gave in.  This piece is one of my favorites for all of those reasons and more.  I just love it - and trust me, I usually don't put that statement out there about any of my work.  The picture doesn't even capture the essence of it.  I think the lesson in this for me is to really take time to be still and listen.  Fearless begs me to let go and be myself.  Be open.  Put myself out there.  I really do have a voice through my art and that is what I learned that day. 

So, if you let go, be still, and be open, what word would mean something to you?   


 
 
This painting is available for purchase.  The size is 10 X 10 X 1.  It is finished with a resin finish, which makes the colors "pop"!  There is no need for framing, unless you'd like to do so. 
 
If you have questions, comments, or are interested in purchasing, please send me an email ~ saltlightwatercolors@yahoo.com.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Original Mixed Media Floral Painting, "Shine On", by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin




Shine On

I've been doing alot of reflection and contemplating these days.  I've been trying to be more mindful, taking more time to really be "in the moment".  Cherishing and enjoying those rare, happy, blissful moments.  It seems that even when we are doing something we enjoy or we are with people we love, our minds are still going in a million directions and we are constantly thinking - about what happens next, what happens tomorrow, what happens next Tuesday.

As I was getting lost in creating this little painting, I was reflecting on those happy moments.  Those moments of pure joy that I will always treasure.  I thought about my little Granddaughters...their giggles and their laughter at the silly things I say to them.  The smell of fresh rain on the asphalt and breathing it in.  The majesty of the rocky mountains and how it makes me feel like I'm "home" when I see them.  Cuddling a newborn baby or seeing the look in his eye as you walk down the aisle.  The sweetness of a little puppy, their eyes so innocent...and puppy breath!  It's the little moments of pure joy where nothing else in the world matters at that moment.  That's the stuff that memories are made of.

I'm hoping that this weekend, we can all "be in the moment".  Cherish the sweetness, the laughter, the smells and the sounds.  Maybe you can be a part of someone else's joy and laughter.  I hope you take the time to be fully happy in the moment and Shine On!

8 X 8 X 1.5 Mixed Media on Birch Cradle Board.  The petals are textured and the little words on it read, "It is the sisters, wives and mothers, you know, who keep the world sweet and beautiful".  The green "leaves" are thin pieces of colored glass.  It will be finished with an epoxy resin coat, so there is no need for framing!  It is available for purchase. 

For more information, comments, or to purchase, please contact me at:

To view more of my work:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Flying Free and Finding My Voice

 
  
 Fly Free
 
I have always been one of those people who is naturally shy.  It may have a little to do with the way we were raised, we were always told that children "are to be seen and not heard".  Growing up in that culture, I've always had trouble expressing what I'm feeling or saying what I wanted to say.  Why would I have anything worth saying?  I always felt that when I finally was able to say something, was anyone really listening? 
 
To add to this, I grew up feeling like I really didn't fit in anywhere, that I was usually the odd one out.  I was the one who got picked last for the team, didn't stand up for myself...I didn't know how, didn't have "permission".  I couldn't really find my place, or my voice. 
 
I attended Columbine High School for one semester before we moved to a wonderful little small Texas town.  When I first got there, the kids in my class thought I was "stuck up", because I didn't talk much.  I didn't know I could, I didn't know I had anything to say.  I was overwhelmed and I was a little sad at the beginning. 
 
I didn't play sports - I am the world's biggest clutz - and I certainly wasn't cheerleader material, although I was friends with our cheerleaders.  During our sophomore year, by some small miracle, our little school got an art program and an art teacher.  I thought, maybe this is "IT", something I can do. And I was one of the first people to sign up for that class.  My teacher really guided me and really believed in me.  She even took a couple of pieces of my work to Ft. Worth for a student show and exhibition...on her own time.  I couldn't believe it, it seemed she "got me" and I felt like I was flying. 
 
I still have a hard time expressing myself through words.  But, I just discovered that I've found my voice and a way to express my emotions and really fly.  It's through my artwork.  Even when I'm not sure exactly what I'm feeling or trying to say, it magically appears in a painting.  That is how this was painting was born.  It's titled "Fly Free".  I found my voice and my wings through art.  And the cool thing is, I think people are listening.
 
Below is a little bit on the process of creating this piece.

Beginning Stages
 
I added white paint to tone down the bright pink.  I also stenciled some words on to the piece and started adding ripped up pieces of paper.  I added more white to tone it down a bit more.
   
 
It's finally beginning to take shape!  I added the wings with molding paste and a stencil.  I painted dark, dark brown between the grooves in the wings and added some white and irridescent pearl paint to the wings - and the tiniest bit of pink, of course!  I also stenciled the little pattern coming off of the wings with some molding paste.

 
Hmmm...this piece still needed something.  I think I mentioned before that I've become quite a scavenger since discovering mixed media.  I found these old chippy paint "posts" at a little antique store here in town.  I white washed them with some white and turquois paint and glued them together with industrial strength glue. Also glued on the embellishment at the top.  Then they were attached to the two pieces of cradle board that make up the wings.

  
I added an old antique door knob that I found at the same little shop and an antique skeleton key to hang from the knob with some old wire.  The words "Fly" "Free" are framed with two old, small antique frames that came from long- gone post office boxes.  I think it's finally finished! 
 
 
This piece measures approximately 12 X 27.  It is finished with an archival matte coat, but it still has a tiny bit of gloss to the finish.  It is available for purchase.  If you have comments or are interested in purchasing, please contact me at:  saltlightwatercolors@yahoo.com.  Thanks for "listening"!