Category Archives: goals


Yes, my word of the year is SIMPLIFY.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  Hans Hoffman

What does this mean exactly?  One definition I found said “to reduce in complexity or extent”.  Another said “to reduce to fundamental parts”.

Last year my word was “RELAX”.  About halfway through the year, I realized how difficult it was to relax when so much was going on.  I was over committed, over stressed, and under organized.

So – what have I been doing to simplify?  It started out over the holidays.  I took in 4 boxes and 4 bags of clothes to SECOND LIFE THRIFT STORE – a thrift shop near by that helps to rescue animals.  I went through every room in the house and cleaned things up.  I even took 2 bags of canned food to a shelter!  Purging feels good!  It seems easier to take a deep breath now.

My new sacred space

My new sacred space

In cleaning out, I found a few things that I had put back and I was able to incorporate my new sacred space.  Everything on this table means something to me, from the deco fan lamp, to the bowl I purchased in Estonia, to the creativity cards to inspire me dailiy.

I have made a vow to no longer over commit.  I spent a fair amount of time unsubscribing to blogs I don’t read, leaving groups on Facebook that I joined as a favor to someone, basically, just cleaning up.

Tomorrow I’m going to simplify my diet for a week, simplify it right out of caffeine, sugar, gluten and alcohol for a week (or try to).  I’m going to eat simpler foods, as they are fresh and healthy and have less chemicals in them.  

I’m excited about the changes I am in the process of making.  I am not going to beat myself up if I slip up – I’ll just get back up, dust myself off and work at it again.

What is your word of the year?



As painful as it is to admit, I need help!  My studio and my office at home are just out of control.  So, I signed up to take a class from Alyson Stanfield, The Art Biz Coach. Organize Your Art Biz which started yesterday.

The first thing I am doing is making an assessment. I just keep pulling things out and I’m not putting anything up.  Somewhere along the way, I lost the place where so much STUFF belongs!  So – as embarassing as it is – here are some pictures of my studio today.

The top of my work table

The top of my work table

This table is 4×8 feet.  This is the first thing I’m going to do, clean this off and put everything on the top where it belongs.  I don’t want to keep shuffling things around!


The next thing to do is organize my paper and collage material.  Because the collage material has gotten so disorganized, it is piling up EVERYWHERE!!!!  It was so organized at one time!  Honestly!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a long shot of my studio.  Trash trash trash.  It is time to clean this out and up!!!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is my shelf with gunpowder (yes, I do use gunpowder in my work).  There is something symbolic about having these bottles, but I’m not going to give in and just blow the whole room up just yet!

Small steps – a little every day.  I will post pictures when I feel I’ve made progress.  And, then I’ll start on my desk!!!!!



Blogtoberfest 2012

I did it – I posted a blog every day in the month of October, missing only one day – and I bought a car that weekend.

I am not going to lie – I’m glad it is over.  But, I did learn a few things.

1.  I need to take more photos. I did purchase a Smartphone during October, and that helped. But, I need more photos to illustrate my blog by making it more personal.

2. Sticking to a plan helps. Having a series – The A to Z’s of Art really helped keep me on track.

3. There are other things to write about other than my art and what I’m doing.  I researched artists.  And I learned some things that surprised me (see Q for Quills- I had no idea!).

4. Keep a journal – catch those ideas as they fly by!

5.  If I do it again, I will highlight fellow artists – which takes a little pre-planning!

So – I spent a day with every letter, and I participated in a Blog Circle where 12 women around the globe wrote about Courage.   Here are some of the links to past blogs here.

Courage in Art


Posts in between are:

B is for David Bryne

C is for Creativity

D is for Dream

E is for Encaustic

F is for Fear

G is for Giclee

H is for Hue

I is for Inspiration

J is for Joel – Epiphany in the Dark

K is for Anselm Keifer

L is for Louvre

M is for My Studio

N is for Negative Space

O is for Georgia O’Keefe

P is for Photographing your Artwork

Q is for Quill Pen

R is for Rembrandt

S is for Surrealism

T is for Theft

U is for the Lady and the Unicorn

V is for the View from My Deck

W is for Warhol

X is for the Portrait of Lady X

Y is for Yellow




Wow! the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I finally broke down and got a SmartPhone.  AND I committed myself to my first car payment in 21 years!  Yes, I bought a car!!!

2012 Toyota Camry

This isn’t MY CAR, but it does look very similar (and it is too dark outside to take a decent picture!)

I have joined an International Creative Accountability group online which began with fellow students from Flying Lessons, a class we took together.   Here is what I want to accomplish during the upcoming week:

  1. Because I am participating in Blogtoberfest, which is a commitment to post a blog every day in October, I want to continue this. I have only missed one day so far, and I am up to the letter “S” in the series “The A to Z’s or Art.

2.   ART-O-MAT

converted cigarette machine selling original works of art

I was accepted in this program, which refurbishes vintage cigarette machines and fills them with original pieces of art. They require 50 completed pieces of art to go in one of the machines. I have completed 40 of them, and I plan to complete the remaining 10.


I will edit these a little, and finish the remaining 10.  Then I have to label them, sign them and wrap them in cellophane.

3.  I will pick a minimum of 10 pieces I have at home to list on Etsy and make sure they have all been photographed.

4. Work on the patterns and collage to start organizing the Coolage Parties I previously blogged about.

5. Learn more about my phone (and how to get photographs off of it!) and my car

Do you have any goals for this week?   What are they?






City Emerging
©Vickie Martin

“The effort to see things without distortion takes something like courage and this courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it for the first time.” Henri Matisse

I am taking a break today from the  The A to Z’s of Art series I have been working on. Today I am writing about courage, along with 12 other courageous women from around the globe. At the bottom of the page, there will be a link so you can continue the blog circle!

Courage comes in many forms.  For an artist, it is the courage to continue to break out of creative ruts.  It is the courage to leave  comfort zones and trying something new.

For many, it is simply the courage to be an artist and following their heart. 

“Courage is the resistance to fear, the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Mark Twain

The definition is having the mental or moral strength to venture, presevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. 

I found this phrase – Illegtimi non carborundum (click on to learn it’s history – I’d never heard it either). In short – “don’t let the bastards grind you down”!  I love that – I’m going to make a sign to put it in my studio.  ILLEGTIMI NON CARBORUNDUM!

During a difficult period in my life, I had a counselor tell me “have a love affair with yourself”.  That was, and still is, the best piece of advice I ever received. We all need to have the courage to be our own hero.  Be your own champion!  Have the COURAGE to believe in yourself!

By being your own champion, other are more likely to look at you with respect.  Then make realistic goals for both your art career and your personal life.  Pursue those goals with passion and most of all with COURAGE.   As Lady MacBeth said “We will not fail”.

And, have the courage to embrace your failures. Use that COURAGE to learn , and continue onward!!!!

Now, keep moving around the globe and the circle.  Check out the blog that Jennifer Vitale in Philadelphia wrote today titled “She Gives Me Courage”.









We all have them.  Fear is defined as “something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of”.

So, one of my biggest fears is driving on the interstates around Atlanta, particularly I-285.  Don’t laugh – this is a real fear of mine, and if you live in Atlanta, you are probably nodding your head right now.

This expressway is referred to in Atlanta as THE PERIMETER, circling Atlanta and clocking in at just under 64 miles.  It ranges from 8 – 12 lanes wide.  In fact, what is referred to as Spaghetti Junction increases to 18 lanes.

Spaghetti Juntion

It is used by an estimated two million people each day, making it one of the most travelled roads in the U.S.

So, why am I so fearful of a road?  The drivers are aggressive, zipping across the lanes.  I have seen wrecks happen on more than one occasion, and when that happens, you can be STUCK for hours!

What has this fear cost me?  Time, time and then some more time.  I have driven 45 minutes to a destination in Atlanta when using the expressways would have taken half of that time!

What am I doing to confront this fear?  I’m going to get a larger car.  I haven’t had a car payment in 21 years, thus buying smaller (meaning cheaper) cars.  I never “loved” them.  They were just something to get me where I was going.  But, with my little car hitting 115,000 miles, it is time to bite the bullet and find a car I would be proud of, that will keep up with the traffic, and basically take me where I am going IN STYLE!   It will be big enough to carry larger pieces of artwork in too!


What are you fearful of that is holding you back?   And, yes – that picture above is typical rush hour traffic in Atlanta.


The Garden Sun, on paper unframed

As I previously mention, I am committed to blogging everyday as part of Blogtoberfest, and as of this writing, there are 231 people signed up for this!

I think the best place to start is listing what I feel needs to be done – both artwise and personally.  So – here goes.

1.  Finish the 50 pieces that I will send to the Art-O-Mat, an organization that refurbishes vintage cigarette machines and fills them with original art. I can’t wait to find out where my work will end up!

2.  Research aspects of FIRE – for a new series that has been rattling around in my head for awhile.

3.  Work on my idea for Coolage Parties – this means starting a brochure, organizing my supplies, putting together templates.

4.  Clean out my studio – organize collage material, throw away old paint, finish anything I have begun.

5.  Get comfortable using a video camera and start using it in posts.

6.  Leave a comment a day on a blog – minimum.

7.  Find a car – I haven’t had a car payment in 21 years.  It is time I get a decent mid-sized car.  The last car I purchased is a small car that I managed to trash!

8.  Get the title of my car – see above.

9.  Get a phone – I have the antique flip phone.  I want a phone so I can get the SQUARE for credit cards – and I can take pictures with!

10.  Take my lunch to work a couple of times a week.

11.  Work out 3x a week minimum.

12.  Lay out my clothes for work the evening prior!

13.  Post a blog every day -I considering a series  The A TO Z’s of art.  I’ll start with A – for acrylic and alcohol.  I’m not going to post the list in advance, as I’m sure my inspirations will change over the course of this.

14.  I have to come up with something else – I can’t stop at 13 things on my To-Do List! – so I will blog about some books I’ve read – most recently, The Creative Habit, Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp.

15.  Keep a notebook with me to jot down ideas as they come to me!

I’m sure I left a few things off, but I think this is a pretty good starting point.

Tomorow – THE A TO Z OF ART!  – I will go through the alphabet with a new posting every day with something art related!



HELLO 2012!

Because I spent the last several days of 2011 cleaning up my studio, I was raring to go on the first day of 2012.   I am going to document my process better in the upcoming year, and give each completed piece a “story” – meaning I’m going to keep up with the materials used in each piece.

Today I started with a piece I have been working on and experimenting with.   I had ALOT of texture on it, but wasn’t pleased with it.  So – I spent some time burning the texture off with a blowtorch, as well as gunpowder.   As a result, I burned through the canvas a few times.

The piece I’m experimenting with – with my new hand sander!

Below – you will see a sequence of pictures, beginning with the back of the piece to illustrate how much fire I used on it.   I sanded it down and it lightened it up a little bit.   I then added red to the areas on the painting that appeared to be bubbles as a result of the fire.    I started to see a pattern emerged.   I continued to play with it.

the back of the 12×12 canvas

While the piece isn’t 100% finished, i think the progression is working nicely.   It started out today very dark, and actually it was looking a little burnt because I was overzealous with the fire!   A little sanding,  finding patterns in the texture to emphasize, spraying alcohol back into it to dilute the paint has made a big difference.  I would welcome any suggestions on how to proceed!
Next post will be about the mixed media online workshop I am playing around with.   This is where this piece is beginning:


After reading a blog by social media expert and author Mari Smith about selecting one word that will be your overall theme and guide for the year (you can read the blog here).    I have chosen the word FOCUS. One of the definitions of focus is to concentrate vision or energy.   That is my plan for 2012 – to concentrate my vision and energy on moving ahead in my art career.

I believe many creative types suffer a little from ADHD and I’m not immune to it.  In looking back over the past year, I must admit when I have a deadline, I am able to focus.  But, without a deadline I tend to get distracted and go in several directions.  I previously wrote a blog about setting goals for 2012  which I published on this blog on November 13th.  One of my goals is to blog regularly, so I started a file today to begin collecting ideas for upcoming blogs.   Also – I need to get organized, in my studio, my office, my closet, all facets of my life!   So – today I cleaned up my home office and organized my finances.  Last week I organized my closet.

I guess it is that time of year.   My mother always told me that what you do on New Year’s Day, you will do for the rest of the year.   Case in point – several years ago I woke up early on New Year’s Day and moved to the couch and turned on the TV.   I lay there all day long and watched 12 hours of Law and Order – never getting dressed.   Well, that turned out to be probably the most unproductive year of my life!   Since then, I have always made it a point to feel pretty organized on New Years Day, have my bills paid, laundry done and put up!, refrigerator cleaned out.   You get the idea!

That leaves me time on New Year’s Day to concentrate on what I want to do for the remainder of the year.   I will paint, read, exercise, eat healthy.

I also plan on spending the remaining two weeks of the year organizing my office for my day job – to make me more efficient.

In doing these things, I will be able to FOCUS on pushing my art forward, working on my online presence and learning more about social media!


I am part of a critique group called Shadowline Artist Group which meets every month or so.  We have decided to incorporate a “salon” type element to the group and share both long and short term goals.
One of our members, Donna Orti, did a little research on goals which are listed below.   I found these thoughts so simple and straightforward, I feel they border on being brilliant!   
1.  In order for a goal to be effective, it must effect change.
2.  Realistic goals are beyond your grasp but within your reach. 
3.  Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
4.  and my favorite – A goal without a deadline is a wish!
With these thoughts fresh in our minds, we went around the room and discussed our goals.   The goals were as varied as finishing a series, finding a regional gallery to developing a website.  There was talk about simplfying, finding focus, and organizing.
With hearing everybody’s goals, I was inspired enough to put my initial goals on paper.  So here goes!
I want to get in the habit of blogging.   I haven’t been blogging regularly, in fact, I had to stop and think about what my password was for my blog today!!!!!  I don’t want to just write about my work, but I want to write about the books I’ve read and the movies/documentaries I’ve seen that are relevant to my artwork.
I need to organize my collage material – and I want that finished by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.  I will be off work for 5 full days over Thanksgiving – and I don’t have alot of commitments.   So – I’m looking forward to a very productive long weekend to get myself organized.
I also want to send out my electronic newsletter within the next 2 weeks.   I haven’t sent one since the summer – and it is time I send another one out.   My last show of the year will be the first weekend of December, so I want to get it out prior to then.
Over the longterm – I want to work on my online presence and expand my mailing list.
I plan on experimenting more and working on a new series.   I’m toying with an idea about destruction and beauty  – – – going to work on making this more than a vague idea in my head!
Because I am in two galleries in town, as well as a shop in Vinings I have decided to get away from festivals.   After much soul searching, I have decided Atlanta is just too “festival crazy” – there are weekends where there are as many as four or five festivals.   The market is just too deluted.  So –  I’m going to choose my venues more carefully.   I feel I am at a point in my art-career where the company I keep is important.   I no longer want to show my work at events that have buy/sell or substandard work.
In the other aspects of my life, I want to get on a strict budget.   I want to eat healthier and work out more.   I want to de-clutter my life, my homes, my wardrobe and my head!!!!   
So – here’s to my goals.   I will refine these by the end of the year and have a good list of goals that I am going to hold myself accountable too!