Category Archives: Inspiration


It is fall in Atlanta. You know – the time of year when the air is crisp and it feels good to just kick back and relax and reflect. Enjoy the view from my deck – yes, there are woods behind us!

Artist Trading Cards drying before being shipped to San Francisco

bonsai trees

Redwood bonsai tree

I think I lost my lounge chair. My assistant Ziggy


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”.







Vickie’s Studio

My house was built in 1975 and is very typical of houses  built in the United States at that time.  Luckily, it had a finished playroom in the basement.

What started out with a mishmash of stuff, like an old couch, book shelves, just  odd furniture.  When painting became more and more a part of my life, the room was gradually taken over.  Finally, about three years ago, we ripped up the carpet, got rid of all the furniture and took everything out of the room that was not art related.

Above, you can see the art table that was built  – it is 6 x 4 ft. with a shelf under neath.

the storage shelf

This table was built in the studio – it would have to be taken apart to get it out!  It is staying there as long as I’m here!

Ziggy, my mascot


drying patio

As you see, there is an exterior door in my studio. We built a small “drying patio” outside  – and I hope to expand upon it eventually.  Plant some flowers, get some garden furniture, make it a meditative garden!

viewing wall

I installed a metal strip to hang works up works in progress (with magnets), or place them on the shelf below.


another view

The flat file came from a gallery that was going out of business.  The book shelves were cleaned out of everything but collage material.

You may notice there are several chairs around the studio.  I am in a book club for artists that meets here monthly.  I’m also in a critique group that meets here periodically too!

I love the space – I believe the room is around 25×15 ft.  But, there are things on my wish list.  As I mentioned above, I’d like to make a meditative garden outside.  AND – someday I’m going to put a sink down there!!!

If you are ever in Atlanta, let me know – I love to have guests!



What is inspiration?  The word comes from the Latin word inspirare, which literally means “to breathe into”, and it generally refers to a burst of unconscious creativity.

“Where do you get your inspiration?” is probably the most often asked question an artist hears.  “Inspiration is for amateurs – I love to paint and the process inspires me every day.” ~ Chuck Close

Where is inspiration found?  Start by slowing down, paying attention,  and seeing and listening to what is around you.

Join a critique group Get out of the house and find a group of like minded individuals.  There will always be someone there to inspire you.  Connect with other creative people.

Never stop learning.  Take classes, read books, go to lectures.  Alway be curious!

Make a weekly art date.  In The Artist’s Way  by Julia Cameron, she describes them as “assigned play…they fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play.”  Listen to Julia describe The Artist Date here.

Observe.  Look at art, get out, go to museums, go to galleries.  Again, slow down, look, ask yourself why you really like certain pieces of art.

Take a walk.   If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that has public art, go look at it.  There is a  permanent installation by Sol Lewitt in Atlanta, pictured below. If not, look at the architecture, look at nature. 

Sol Lewitt, 54 Columns

Most of all remember why you started making art in the first place! Roger Ebert said “The muse visits during the art of creation, not before. Don’t wait for her. Start alone!”

Where do you find your inspiration?  I’d love to know!




I recently spent a weekend helping about 80 people make collages at the Atlanta Art Festival.  Also, I’m part of an online group led by the ArtBiz Coach called the Artist Conspiracy  designed to help artists take their art career to the next level.  Recently I signed up for another online class called Flying Lessons  taught by Kelly Rae Roberts.   I feel my participation in these two groups has put my mind into overdrive and I’m seeing possibilities in places I never noticed before.

I helped four college girls put together collages at the Atlanta Art Festival. As they were leaving they asked me if I ever hosted “collage parties”.   I’d never thought about it, but a seed was sown that might not have sprouted at another time in my life.  Later, several girls, ages 6-10, wanted to do a collage of a “fancy” dress.  I drew a template in the shape of the dress below and helped them pick out paper to make their personal “fancy” dress.

Needless to say, the girls were thrilled!

What else can I do? I also had several boys ask for help on a collage of a dinosaur or car.  The possibilities are endless.

Right now – ideas are coming – next step is to work out the logistics.  It is important to keep watering this seed while keeping the weeds of self doubt out!

Do you think this is a do-able idea?  Do you think it is worth pursuing?  Coolage Party is just a working title – any ideas?