Keep Learning Keep Going Keep on Arting

pond porch view magic new plants 20140608_082035
Magic in the morning pond view

“Keep going!” Do you ever have to tell yourself that? Seems like I’ve been telling myself that quite a bit lately. Sometimes it’s good to sit down, take a breather, and consider what’s been accomplished instead of wondering if the finish line will ever be in sight.

I’ve been keeping plenty busy with a full show schedule, hosting the no-cost weekly drawing practice events, and now adding teaching into the mix.  I even put on an abbreviated but intense Right Brain Business Plan workshop earlier this week as part of our Creative Hillsboro efforts.

And of course it’s been full steam ahead gardening season here as we try to get our plants in the ground and established (and dig the hole for our new garden pond) before it stops raining.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I was shocked to learn that in the Portland, Oregon area, summers are terribly dry!

If you are local to the area, maybe you would like to come to one of my art and creativity classes or some free arty events this summer?  I’ve just updated the schedule and yes, you can register on-line!  We’ve had so much fun making art I’d love to have you join us.  To make that easier, there are some fabulous “bring a friend” discounts. The more the merrier!

Class and Event Schedule Summer 2014  — please share if you know someone who might be interested — Thanks!


Just Added New Collage Class!

NOTE: This particular class has been completed.  Current schedule of my classes and workshops can be found here.

I am so pleased to announce I am teaching a terrific new class at Valley Art in Forest Grove, Oregon during the month of May. Get all the class details and register here.

Just to keep things all up-to-date and Kansas City-like, I’ve made a page to list my paid and free events and classes.

If you are in the area, I hope you can come!

H is for Happy

HH is today’s letter for the April A to Z blog challenge series.

I’m going with HAPPY.

HINT: This could make a fine artist date, ten minutes of HAPPY.

Go have a listen! H is for HAPPY!

If you enjoyed this, sign up for updates and never miss a letter! Many more blogs with “H” posts via the the AtoZ challenge.

Mapping 2014 Artfully

This post is about my experience of personal map making  (click image twice to see at largest size) as part of the Mapping 2014 Artfully blog hop set up by author and artist Jill Berry. Since I first heard of the project, I’ve wondered:

How is it even possible to make a visual map of a time you haven’t been to yet?

Bare Bones 2014 copyright Barbara Martin 2014
“Bare Bones 2014” Artist Barbara Martin Mapping 2014 Artfully project


By this week I still didn’t know the answer and time was running out. Defeated, I reconciled myself to making a haphazard and incomplete map to meet the deadline I’d committed to.

I don’t typically plan my work in detail ahead of time, so plunging forward is my usual style. I do, however, generally have at least the germ of an idea simmering somewhere in the far back of my mind.

Now, with the deadline approaching, I just had to begin where I could – with mark making — and hope for the best.

Working in ink,  I started with a broken perimeter of neatlines because I didn’t know where the edges of the map would be. Made up a snarky title, “Bare Bones 2014: This Shows Ways” which led me to the bones of a hand. Then roads. Landmarks…. I kept on drawing and labeling.

Next, I used special colored pencils. The final step was to carefully brush on water to dissolve the dry pencil into (presto!) water color paint. I love the way this methodical, slow process pops the colors.

As I touched the wet brush to each part of the map, I read the complete text in sequence for the first time. I was astonished and delighted to realize I had created  a fully illustrated and annotated “map of encouragement” for the coming year.  It includes danger zones and high points, a compass for telling time, and some “off the map” notes. There is, of course, no known scale. It does however include Courage, Muscle, Brain and Heart as well as solid ground, and it makes me smile.

I hope you enjoy it, too. Take another look, click again to make it big enough to read.


If you would like to try your hand at alternative ways and means of mapping, you might take a look at Jill Berry’s lively book, Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Map Making.

To see more maps made for the blog hop project, visit Jill Berry’s site for links to all of the participants in Mapping 2014 Artfully.