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!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"Beauty from the Brokenness", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Beauty from the Brokenness"

This little painting is the newest one to be completed.  It is an original mixed media piece done with acrylics, inks, painted papers, and broken windshield glass.  

I know so many people who are having such difficulty and loss in their lives right now. This was my attempt at expressing how beauty can come after our brokenness and loss.

The size on this piee is 12 X 12.  It will be finished with resin and will be available during an online Handmade Holiday Auction I am participating in. Check it out to see the amazing artwork that will be available!



Thursday, November 5, 2015

“Explore”, Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin


This painting was inspired after a trip up to our family cabin.  We went with my daughter and little granddaughter.  During our time together, my granddaughter and I explored the woods, went up into the tree house, looked for fish in the creek, and took a whirl on the swings while we howled like wolves!  It was fun exploring life through her eyes and discovering new things.  

Being up at the cabin was also a sober reminder of how short life is.  I was remembering everyone who loved the cabin so much and now they are no longer with us.  Still, you could feel their presence...in the soft, warm breeze that came in through the front door.  The beautiful, bright sunshine that cast shadows through the golden aspen leaves.  We will never forget the impact they had on our lives and the memories they left behind.

And so, I wanted to make new memories with my sweet Adaleigh.  I want her to always remember this special place and hold it dear in her heart.  More than that, I want her to remember our adventures together.  I want her to remember her Mimi and Popsi taking the time to play and romp in the woods with her with no concept of the ticking of the clock or the ringing of a cell phone.  Just enjoying our time together, simply and peacefully.  Exploring and discovering new things.  

This is a little mixed media painting that was done with paint, ink and painted papers.  There is a tiny framed mirror attached to the front of the canvas with the word "Explore".  The canvas was finished with resin and attached to a vintage tin tile.

This piece is available.  Please email me with questions, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

"Colorado Autumn Aspen", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Colorado Autumn Aspen"

This was a commissioned mixed media piece that I recently completed.  My client lives in Arizona but grew up in Monte Vista, CO.  On the bottom portion of the piece, I added pieces of a 1964 Colorado Road Map.  I placed the town of Monte Vista in the upper center portion of the map .  This made it unique and very special to my client.  The trees were constructed of paper, paint, ink, and modeling paste. The leaves were done with hand-painted paper - each one torn individually from the paper.  I loved working on this piece and the client told me she will always treasure this piece.  There is nothing more rewarding!

For questions, comments, or to commission your original piece of artwork, please contact me at:

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“Dreaming of a Blue Moon”, Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Dreaming of a Blue Moon"

This little piece started as a demo piece for a mixed media class I was teaching/leading (I think the students teach me as much as I do them).  I started out using acrylic paint in blues and golds.  I added stencils and texture paste to create the flowers in the background.  I still wasn't sure what my subject was going to be, but that is becoming the norm for me!

Pretty soon, I noticed some of the patterning on the piece and thought it looked like feathering and wings.  I decided to take a chance and see if an owl would come to life in this piece.  (This was the patterning I brought forward in her chest and wings)

I decided to make her look very fluffy and sleepy.  I accented her shape with a sharpie paint pen and made the branch out of painted vintage sheet music.  The leaves were made with painted rice paper.  

She is peacefully sleeping, dreaming of the blue moon!

This piece measures 12 X 12 X 1.5.  It is finished with a shiny resin coat, which really brings the colors to life.  This little owl is available and comes ready to hang.

Feel free to send me an email with any comments, questions, or if you are interested in purchasing.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Humble Beginnings", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Humble Beginnings"

This piece was created because of my Brother.  He's followed me along on this "journey".  He told me that I should paint "BIG".  This painting is a result of that effort!  It seemed like it took me forever.  I stressed over it, then enjoyed it, then questioned everything about it.  This is the end result. 

I thought about this painting as a "beginning" of sorts.  By that I thought about symbolizing a young couple starting their own family.  In another new beginning of sorts, It could  symbolize a new beginning as an "empty nester".  Both of those scenarios are big, huge, sometimes scary, unknown adventures.  Both are humbling, full of learning and experiencing a new season in life.  For a new family, it's full of anticipation and expectation.  For a family with children leaving home, it could be grieving and figuring out how to parent in a different way.  It's hard to watch your babies leave the nest and make a new life on their own.  The couple expecting a new baby has to learn how to remain a couple when times are hard and their focus is no longer solely on each other.  The couple letting go of grown children have to relearn how to be a couple, yet still find their own individual paths.  Needless to say, it's complicated.

Close up of Leaves and Texture Detail

Close up of Nest

The nest is made from Pine Needles and a stencil.  It was not easy gluing all of these tiny little needles on to the canvas, but I sure do like how it turned out. 

Detail of the Aspen Trees

Even though life is complicated and there are different seasons, we can always look forward to new beginnings.  I've learned that even when things come to an end, it signifies the beginning of something else.  We just have to be open to whatever is next. Life is always an adventure, so let's learn to enjoy the journey and see where it takes us!

This painting was created with painted papers, stencils, pine needles, vintage sheet music, and of course, layers and layers of paint!  It measures 36X36 and is on gallery wrapped canvas.  It is finished with a resin coating, which makes the colors "pop" and eliminates the need for framing.  This piece comes ready to hang.

For comments, questions, or if you are interested in purchasing, please email me at:



Saturday, August 29, 2015

"Wild and Precious Life", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Wild and Precious Life"

This is an original mixed media painting I created, fresh off the easel.  The inspiration for this piece was to strive every day to live an authentic life and find joy in the chaos of a very ordinary life.  The quote on the piece is from one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, and reads, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  This piece was created with acrylics, inks, and painted papers.

This one is available.  Please feel free to email me with questions or comments.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"I Love You Truly", Original Mixed Media Painting

"I Love You Truly"

This little painting is fresh off the easel.  It is heavily textured, has many layers, and the cross is made out of metal.  Everything came together for this one and I feel the title of the piece says it all,  "I Love You Truly".

This painting is 12 X 12 X 1.5, done on a cradle board.  It will be finished with a resin coat and comes ready to hang.

Feel free to send me an email with questions, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month - Telling My Story

Artist Appreciation Month

Did you know that August is "Artist Appreciation Month"?  In honor of this month, I was encouraged by Patience Brewster to write a blog about the artist that has inspired my work.  I jumped at the opportunity because I know who "my" artist is.  I couldn't wait to tell the story.

In July, 2011, I resumed a friendship that I thought was long lost.  My friend and I had not spoken in a few years.  We had just both been busy, trying to live our lives and deal with the day-to-day.  My friend emailed to say hello and that he had found my website and spent a couple hours looking at my paintings.  At the time, all I did was watercolors.  I felt like that was the work I was supposed to do and couldn't really do anything else.  We began corresponding through email and picked up our friendship, just like we had last spoken yesterday.  We had always been able to talk to each other and open up to each other without judgement or fear.  He told me he had been struggling in his life and he wasn't sure what to do or what direction to go in.  I encouraged him and I told him what I always told him...after the rain comes the rainbow.  I told him that this time would pass and things would get better.  He had struggled before and I just knew he could find his way out and head towards brighter days.  I was wrong.  On the morning of July 22, 2011, my life changed forever. I got the worst call of my life.  His sister, my best friend, called to tell me that he had ended his life.  My mind couldn't comprehend what had happened.  My first instinct when she told me that he had ended his life was to ask if he was alright.  Isn't that the weirdest thing?  It's funny how the mind can't wrap itself around something so shocking, tragic, and unexpected.  The next few days were a haze.  To tell you the truth, I can't remember much of the days afterwards. When I returned back to work after that weekend, I found he had sent me a goodbye note via email.  I was one of the few that he left a final message to and as painful as it was, I will always be grateful for that.

After this, I couldn't paint anymore.  I couldn't pick up a brush or even think about it.  I felt guilty that I didn't know he was in such a bad place.  I felt like I should have known...we had always had such a connection...how could I not have known.  In trying to find answers, I kept re-reading his emails, over and over and over again.  An unexpected theme started occurring to me.  He always mentioned my paintings.  His final email told me how much he loved my paintings.  At the end of that year, something clicked and I felt like he would have wanted me to keep on painting.  But, I couldn't do it in the same way as I had before.  That's when I saw a workshop that Carol Nelson was doing.  She is my "inspiring artist".  She does the most amazing abstracts and mixed media work.  I signed up for the workshop thinking I would just sit in the back of the classroom and I wouldn't have to talk or look at anyone, I would just paint and see what happened.  Carol was so encouraging and such a great teacher. Through this new artwork, the healing began.  I could express myself and my feelings like I never could before.  I painted and painted.  The funny thing is, people started responding.  My best friend told me she had never seen so much emotion in my paintings.  This new way of doing art was healing, expressive, and so emotional.  I was never the same.

This was my first mixed media painting, done in Carol's Class.

So to sum it up, I wouldn't be painting if it weren't for Carol.  I've since taken several of her workshops...same thing, I'm still sitting in the back and hoping to not to be noticed.  I just immerse myself in the work and try to learn all the techniques I can from this amazing artist.  I think she "gets it".  There are no criticisms and no grand expectations, other than trying something new and using your imagination.  I will forever be grateful to Carol for opening up this new media to me and sending me on this healing journey.  I think my friend would be so proud and I'm hoping he's smiling down on the work I'm doing and creating.  Much of it is in honor of a life that was lost all too soon.

Thank you, Patience Brewster, for encouraging me to tell my story.  I hope in some small way it helps someone.  I hope it allows someone to be brave and take a step towards healing, whatever that may look like.   

By the way, if you haven't already happened upon her website or if you are not already familiar with her work, Patience Brewster has the most whimsical, incredible Christmas ornaments, in addition to her gift items, stationary, and figurines.  She also has an inspiring, incredible story...check it out! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Original Mixed Media Abstract Painting, “Take Heart through the Fire ", by Colorado Mixed Media Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Take Heart Through the Fire"

I thought it would be fun to take you through the creation of this piece, from the very beginning to the finished version!

This is how it started out - a big, white, intimidating canvas.  I added some texture with a cool stencil that I have and some molding paste.  I then started filling in some color with alcohol ink around the divets in the stencil.

I started adding more color with alcohol inks.  I also had some really cool textured cardboard that I painted with metallic bronze paint and then "rusted" with a rusting solution.  Thanks to Carol Nelson again for teaching me that trick! 

I also picked up some paper from the shooting range (that is what is sitting on top and bottom of the stenciled part).  It had all these cool holes in it.  Once again, I painted it bronze and then rusted it.  I started attaching in randomly to the piece.

For this middle portion, I painted it with metallic copper paint and then used a solution to patina the paint.  It looks like some kind of regular ol' green paint, but was really quite a process! 

So after sitting with it for a while, this piece just needed something else, but I couldn't figure out what.  Then lo and behold, I was walking on a local trail and looked down and saw this very cool piece of metal sitting in the dirt alongside the trail.  Seems I've become quite the scavenger!  It was just what I needed to finish this.

Ta Da!!!  All done and ready to go out the door!  It is finished with a beautiful epoxy resin finish (except for the rusted "heart" that I found on the trail), so there is no need for framing.

This piece measures 24 X 18 X 1.5.  It is sold, but commissions are welcome.

For questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at:




Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Patiently waiting....then it happened! "Circle of Life" Original Mixed Media Painting.

"Circle of Life"

"Circle of Life"
This is my latest painting, fresh off the easel.  Let me tell you, this one was difficult and I feel like there were some painting and life lessons learned with this one!

In Progress

I liked the way it started out, but I felt it needed more texture, something to make it "pop".  So I added some molding paste and let it dry.

Still....in Progress

Then I started adding paint and painted foil.  I still feel like the bird faded into the background.  That little bird kept wanting to say "look at me, look at me"!! No matter how hard I tried, she faded and faded into the background.  Isn't that how we all feel sometimes...no matter how hard we try to be seen, we just fade into the background.  We yell, we scream, we ruffle our feathers, but we are not seen or heard.

Then, all got quiet.  Both the bird and I quit trying so hard.  I went back to working on the bird, as well as darkening up the background behind her.  She grew more texture and color on her wings. Almost as if by magic, when she got quiet and strong, she no longer faded into the background.  She didn't have to shout out for everyone to look at her.  She evolved, patiently, and became more beautiful with each stroke of paint and each layer.  

The lesson here was to get very quiet and let this painting patiently "evolve".  I think that's what we sometimes need to do in our own lives.  It's ok to go ahead and fade into the background...for a bit.  It's ok not to scream and shout and try to be seen and heard.  Patiently waiting, growing, getting stronger, finding our wings.  We too, evolve.

Close up of Bird and Texture on Leaves

Close up of Bird
This little painting is 12X12 and 1.5" deep.  It is available and comes ready to hang.

Feel free to send me questions or comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.



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Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Happy in Bloom", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

Happy in Bloom

This is one of my latest pieces.  It was done on a recycled wood pallet with inks, acrylics, and painted papers.  This was so much fun to do!  It was all about letting go and letting in the "happy".  I love the way the wood grain shows through portions of the paint and ink.

This one is sold, but commissions are welcome.  Feel free to email me with questions or comments!

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Sunshine Day", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Sunshine Day"

I feel like I'm "painting happy" again!  This is another fun, whimsical poppy painting, fresh off the easel.  It was done with acrylic inks, paint, and hand-painted paper.  It measures 12 X 12 X 1.5 and is painted on a birch cradle board canvas.  It is finished with resin and comes ready to hang.  

If you need a little sunshine, this painting is available!  Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

"Sweet Dreams", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Sweet Dreams"

Mom and her baby are sleeping among the trees.  This was done when I was thinking about Mother's Day.  Thinking about my sweet children and how fast time went by.  I regret now that I always felt so busy raising the kids that I didn't savor every single moment.  People always told me to enjoy the time because it goes so fast.  Some days, when I was in the thick of things and the chaos of raising three children, I thought they were crazy.  But time did pass quickly.  My children grew up and moved away.  It was so hard to get used to an awkward, empty house.  Now I am enjoying my grandchildren - enjoying the moments and making memories.  It's ok if we paint pictures, play dress up, and the house is a mess...we are creating memories while we still have time. 

This painting has many layers and was done with paint and acrylic inks.  It was an intuitive painting inspired by the painting styles of Tracy Verdugo and Juliette Crane.  

It is on a deep gallery wrapped canvas and measures 24 X 24.  This painting is available.  Please feel free to send me an email with any questions, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.  I really love to hear from you!



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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

“Poppy Love Letters”, Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Poppy Love Letters"

This painting sure didn't end up like it started out!  In the beginning, it had bright pink flowers at the top and bright green grass at the bottom.  I toned down the flowers and the grass and decided I wanted poppies as the focal point. I added some painted, torn paper and some twine.  This one sat on the easel for months before I decided what to do with it.  Sometimes you just have to sit with something until you figure out where it wants to go!

This piece measures 12 X 12 and was done on a 1.5" cradle board.  It is available.  Please feel free to send me an email with questions, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.



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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Transformation", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin


Lately, there have been alot of changes and "transformations" in my life.  This latest painting symbolizes the changes and the beauty that can eventually come from the "mess" of life.

I started this painting, probably a good 3 years ago.  I threw paint on the canvas very randomly and then got "stuck".  I didn't know where to go with the brush strokes or what to do next.  This is how I felt also in my life.  I had a "day job" that I absolutely hated, but I felt so stuck.  The money was wonderful, but the trade off was that I felt like I was losing my soul.  The job dealt with negative, angry people and terrible situations every minute of every day.  It took a toll and I did not feel like myself anymore.  I became very dark, cynical, and did not trust anything anyone would tell me.  I think this carried over into some of my artwork life as well.  When someone would give me a compliment on a painting, I would outwardly thank them, but inwardly dismiss it.  The voices in my head would tell me people were "just saying that, they didn't really mean it".  The voices said "how can you even call yourself an artist anyway".  I was in a very dark place and I knew I needed to make some changes, but like I said, I felt stuck.

Well, we all know life is a series of constant changes.  Another opportunity came up at the place where I work during the day.  Prior to working in this negative job that I felt so stuck in, my attitude would have been "let's see how we can make this new opportunity work".  I was always pretty hopeful and optimistic about every opportunity that presented itself.  I also always felt like a risk taker. But because of my negativity and inner darkness, when this new job opportunity presented itself, I said to myself "that will never work...it's temporary and the salary is nothing like you are making now...you CAN'T do it".  

Life also has a way of sending people to you that will give you the right messages and the right answers at just the right time.  At least two people came to me, people who I didn't even know very well, and asked if I was going to apply for this new job.  When the second person came and asked me about applying for the job, I told him that I could not apply for the job, it just wasn't possible.  He looked me straight in the eye and said "why not?"  He then listed multiple reasons that this new opportunity could work.  I hadn't answered questions with "why not" for so long, I forgot there were possibilities.  I had forgotten to listen to those still, small voices.  For some stupid reason, that was all it took for the lightbulb to go off in my head and for me to stop saying "NO" to something that was so desperately needed.  I got the new job.  My life and this painting began to transform.  

I've been working in my new day job for about a month now.  Funny thing is, I've been painting up a storm.  I feel like the light is coming back into my soul. I feel like there are "possibilities" again.  I've stopped saying "NO" and have become my old gypsy soul.  So, this painting titled "Transformation" was born.

I think all of us become lost at times or stuck.  The trick is to keep on plowing through the mess and realize there is beauty at the end of the storm.

This painting is fresh off the easel.  Feel free to send me a message with comments or questions, or if you are interested in purchasing.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

"It’s a Beautiful Day", Original Mixed Media Painting by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"It's a Beautiful Day"

This tree and little bird emerged as I was attempting to do some "intuitive" painting.  I took a class a few months ago from the fabulous artist, Tracy Verdugo, to learn how to do this style and technique of painting.  Boy, has is been challenging for me!  I truly, truly love it though ~ you never know where you are going when you start out or where you will finish.  Below are some pictures of the evolution of this piece.

To start out, I divided the canvas up into squares and chose some colors I wanted to use.  Some squares were dark, some lighter.  The images and marks I made are symbolic to me.  I had just returned from a trip to the ocean and had never seen water that beautiful.  It totally inspired me!

In this step, I added acrylic inks over the entire piece.  Cool colors on one side, warmer colors on the opposite side.  You can see how some of the marks still show through.

This is the tricky and most challenging part for me.  I am trying to see what forms or what images may appear on the canvas.  I turned it sideways and upside down to see if I could spot something.  Low and behold, a faint image of the wings appeared and it seemed to be the perfect shape for a bird.

In this next step, I painted out some of the parts of the painting that weren't necessary to the composition, but still left a hint of the layers underneath.  I just love this!

Low and behold, this is the completed piece.

This piece is fresh off the easel.  It has vibrant, beautiful hues of turquoise, blues, and greens with pinches of orange, pink, yellow, and white.  It measures 24 X 24 on a gallery wrapped canvas.  It is available for purchase.  

If you have questions, comments, or are interested in purchasing, please feel free to contact me at saltlightwatercolors@yahoo.com.  You can also browse my website at donnamartinfineart.com and follow me on Facebook.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Original Mixed Media Painting, "Butterflies Are Free", by Colorado Artist, Donna L. Martin

"Butterflies Are Free"

This piece is a result of an online workshop called "Animalitos" by artist, Tracy Verdugo.  These types of paintings are really a challenge for me.  Usually I have an idea of where I'm going when I start a painting, but these are really intuitive paintings.  It starts out with bright colors of inks and paints, using symbols and marks that have meaning.  You can see below how this started out.  

Then the idea is to pick out some shapes or forms in the piece....turn it upside down, sideways, etc. to "see" what might be there.  When I was making my marks and symbols, I used a wing stencil.  I began to think that it might make for a pretty butterfly wing.  I honestly couldn't see anything else, which is a major challenge for me in doing this type of work!

So I began blocking out the form of the butterfly.  As soon as I started that, I knew it needed some kind of flower to land on, so I added more beautiful inks in orange and red.  When that dried, I started blocking out some shapes on the wings and flower with india ink and a tiny, tiny brush.  Below is a close up of the finished piece.

The lesson I keep learning in doing these types of paintings is to enjoy the process without worrying about the outcome.  Sort of goes with my intention of living in the moment and enjoying the adventure.  It's crazy what happens when you have no expectations and just let it go!

I am contemplating pouring resin over it so the colors pop even more!  I named the piece "Butterflies Are Free", but I'm not committed to that yet, since this is fresh off the easel.  I may need to think about it a little more, but couldn't wait to share the process with you!  

This little piece is done on an 8X8 gallery wrapped canvas. It is available.  Please contact me with question, comments, or if you are interested in purchasing.  I always love to hear from you!