Category Archives: VICKIE MARTIN ART

A NEW YEAR = NEW BOOKS (and podcasts)

It’s back!!!!! I am resurrecting my monthly blog that charts my reading over the previous month.   These are NOT reviews ( writing a review would cramp my reading time!)  However, I will tell you the books I highly recommend. In January I read a total of 9 books (do I need to get a life?)

  1. CATCH AND KILL: LIES, SPIES AND A CONSPIRACY TO PROTECT PREDATORS by Ronan Farrow:,  A capitvating book,  I couldn’t put it down. 
  2. THE HOLY OR THE BROKEN: LEONARD COHEN AND JEFF BUCKLEY AND THE UNLIKELY ASCENT OF HALLELUJAH by Alan Light: If learning about the story behind songs you hear, this might be of interest to you. I learned alot about Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley.
  3. MURDER IN THE CHOIR by Liz Hedgecock :  I picked this book up at the library because of  storm threats. I wanted a cozy, quick book to read – in bed. It took about 3 hours to read, so it served it’s purpose.
  4. THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean:  Orlean put in a lot of legwork investigating the fire of the Los Angeles Library in 1986 that destroyed or damaged over a million books. If you love reading and love books, you will love this book. 
  5. HOLY LANDS by Amanda Stiths:  An epistolary book, it follows a retired Jewish doctor who won’t use technology and how his family is connecting through actual letters. It starts out as a humorous tale, but as it unfolds, it ends up packing an emotional punch. It is a short read. Oh- the retired doctors has moved to Israel to raise pigs.
  6. CARNEGIE HILL by Jonathan Vatner:  I admit I checked this book out because of it’s cover about a co-op on the Upper East Side of New York.  It was entertaining while I was reading it, but once finished – poof! it is gone in my head.
  7. FALSE IMPRESSION by Jeffrey Archer: A fast paced thriller that is based on the sale of a Van Gogh self portrait.  Since part of it involved the world of art, it was a page turner for me.
  8. THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS by Pam Jenoff:  Historical fiction based on the women of the S.O.E. before and during WWII.  I didn’t know about the women in the group, so I’m curious to know more. However, see if you can find the anachronisms in the book – better research was needed.
  9. THE ORCHID THIEF: A TRUE STORY OF BEAUTY AND OBSESSION by Susan Orlean: This is a world I never knew existed that takes place in South Florida – and I lived there for three years!!! (Note: same author as The Libra

I have included a few podcasts I discovered in the month of January:

CATCH AND KILL:   Perfect companion piece to the book (#1 above). 

DOLLY PARTON’S AMERICA:  Even though there are limited episodes, it is a breath of fresh air!

THE MOTH:  Storytelling at it’s best, with over 30,000 stories downloaded there will always be something to listen to.  I was founded by novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate the evenings in Georgia, when moths were attracted to the porch where people got together to tell tall tales.

Did you find a favorite book in January? Or did you find a favorite podcast? I’d love to know.



The song I’ll Fly Away is featured in this blog as part of my series MUSIC STILL REMAINS, which is an exploration of music and memory inspired by dementia – and you can read more about the series in this blog.

I begin each painting by applying texture, which is symbolic of the plaques and tangles found in the brain of those with dementia. I then handwrite the entire lyrics on the canvas. The song was suggested to me by my piano teacher. Oh, I forgot to mention, learning to play each song on the piano is part of the process of every painting.

 Many people believe this is the most recorded of all gospel songs (hard to believe, but the songs you are thinking about being more recorded are actually considered “hymns”).  In fact, this song recently made an appearance in the movie O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU? – check out the video here.  It’s been recorded by a wide array of artists – from Johnny Cash to Kanye West!

I’ll Fly Away, early layers

As you can see from the above picture, the first several layers look very different from the finished painting.  I started using birds – but changed it to butterflies.  The birdcage was ultimately scaled down.  So, when it was all over and done – I took all my little supplies and made the collage below.

I’ll Fly Away, Collage on Paper 8×10 ©vickiemartin2019

 I’ll Fly Away was written in 1929, and is considered “theological escapism” – escaping earth for the joys of heaven.  Using birds and angels in the lyrics symbolizes the freedom from pain and toil.  Below are a few of the verses of the song.

Is there a song that always brings up a memory for you? I’d love to know the song and what the memory is!

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away







This is Veronica, inspired by the Elvis Costello song of the same name. It was written in honor of his grandmother, who suffered from dementia.

Veronica, 12×36,mixedmedia,©vickiemartin2019

This is part of my MUSIC STILL REMAINS, Each piece in this series is based on a specific song and inspired by dementia.  Did you know it  has been scientifically proven that you never lose your musical  memory. (I teach at adult day care and I have seen unresponsive people suddenly sit up and joyfully sing).  The texture that appears on the painting is symbolic of the plaques and tangles that are found on the brain.  Veronica appears to be hiding, she is really not “front and center”, because dementia often make a person feel invisible, or as the lyrics suggest, has she gone to hide?

Below are two more paintings that were also inspired by the song. The titles are based on lyrics within the song,

She Spoke His Name Out Loud, 11×14 mixed media ©vickiemartin2019


The Empress of India, 10×20 mixed media ©vickiemartin2010

This was the first collaboration between Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney 

When you read the entire lyrics knowing where the inspiration came from, they suddenly make sense.

Is it all in that pretty little head of yours?
What goes on in that place in the dark?
Well I used to know a girl and I could have sworn
That her name was Veronica

Well she used to have a carefree mind of her own
And a delicate look in her eye
These days I’m afraid she’s not even sure
If her name is Veronica

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes

Did the days drag by? Did the favors wane?
Did he roam down the town all the while?
Will you wake from your dream, with a wolf at the door,
Reaching out for Veronica

Well it was all of sixty-five years ago
When the world was the street where she lived
And a young man sailed on a ship in the sea
With a picture of Veronica

On the “Empress of India”
And as she closed her eyes upon the world
And picked upon the bones of last week’s news
She spoke his name out loud again

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes

Veronica sits in her favorite chair
And she sits very quiet and still
And they call her a name that they never get right
And if they don’t then nobody else will

But she used to have a carefree mind of her own
With devilish look in her eye
Saying “You can call me anything you like,
But my name is Veronica”

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes
Oh Veronica


party dress


I will be hosting an open studio on June 22, 2-6p. 20% of all sales will go to The Alzheimers Association/Georgia Chapter.

The Alzheimer’s Association states that AD is the sixth leading cause of deathin the United States. About one in three seniors die with AD or another form of dementia.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that AD claimed more than 84,000 lives in the U.S. Only heart disease, cancer, some respiratory diseases, stroke, and accidents caused more deaths than AD.

Open Studio postcard


JUNE 22, 2019 from 2-6pm

I’m so excited! I am having my first ever OPEN STUDIO – so put down the date!

Not only am I going to make all of my work available, but 20% of all sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association/Georgia Chapter. Below is a small sampling of some of the work that will be available. There should be something for everyone, with prices from $15 to $1500! In the next week – I will add a page to my website and post images of some of what will be available.

I am planning several things to make the afternoon FUN! Not only will there be light refreshments, but I am planning activities. I have a very nice patio area outside my studio (see photos below) and will set up a couple of tables so you can do a collage, paint a rock, or who knows what else I’ll come up with! If you have any ideas – let me know!

A work in progress, my walkway leading to my studio!
The entrance to my studio!

So – save the date!!!!! AND – if you want to receive an invitation in the mail, respond to this email with your address!

Hope to see you!!!!



Thank you for stopping by. If you watched my video introducing my new series MUSIC STILL REMAINS, here are more statistics on Alzheimers in the United States. As an added bonus, I have include a few things NEVER to say to someone with any kind of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States

Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the 10 leading causes of deaths in the United States that cannot be cured, prevent or slowed.

1 in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.

Between 2017 and 2025 every state is expected to see at least a 1% rise in Alzheimer’s.

By 2050, it is estimated there will be as many as 16 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s.

By 2050, there could be as many as 7 million people age 85 and older with Alzheimer’s, accounting for half of all people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s.

It is estimated by 2020, there will be 5.8 million with Alzheimers, by 2050, there will be 13.8 million. This is in people 65+.

Two thirds people with Alzheimer’s are women.

African American’s are 50% more like to have Alzheimer’s than Caucasian Americans. Hispanic Americans are 100% more like to develop it!

Here are some things never to say to a person with Alzheimer’s:

  • Don’t tell them they are wrong about something.
  • Don’t ask if they remember something.
  • Don’t remind them a love one is dead.

Learning “creative lying” helped me. My mother frequently told me she had told to her father and he was coming to get her. I would respond and tell her I had talked to him too. He told me to tell her he couldn’t come today because he had some crops he had to harvest (he was a farmer), it worked every single time.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if you have never had someone close to you with dementia, you are lucky, FOR NOW! You have a better chance of winning the lottery unless there is a cure found in our lifetime!

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you will follow me on my journey with my MUSIC STILL REMAINS series!


The Clock Ticks, ©vickiemartin2018,
20×24 Mixed Media

My new series “The Rhythms of Memory” is inspired by my journey with my mother as she struggled with dementia – arguably the most feared disease that happens to be incurable. This is the story behind the painting you see above.

I began the painting with multiple layers, adding texture as I went along, representing the abundance of plaques and tangles found in the brain of dementia patients.

One question I constantly hear from those with dementia is “What time is it?” In fact, losing track of time is an early symtom of dementia, they often loose track of dates and even the seasons of the year. As the dementia progresses, routine and structure become more important to them, it helps ease their anxiety and confusion. Knowing all of this, I placed a clock face into the painting.

I also painted a hill with the steps, illustrating the daily struggles they face. The steps have a rhythm that mimics the notes on a piano keyboard – this was intentional. Music has been proven to improve memory. Watch the short video I posted below of Henry’s transformation after hearing one of his favorite musicians, Cab Calloway.

“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” Plato

This is something we have known for a very long time. After all, Plato lived from 427-347 BC!

Do particular songs evoke certain memories? Have you ever reacted to music the way Henry does in the above video? I’d love to know about it!

I used the term “dementia”. Alzheimers accounts for 60-80% of all dementia cases (depending which study is referenced). Click here if you want to read the !0 Early Signs of Alzheimers.


In no particular order, here are ten random things I am thankful for.

  1. I AM UNIQUELY ME!  and I no longer feel the need to apologize for it.
  2. LEARNING  –  You will learn something new every day if you just pay attention.
  3. THE DIVERSITY IN THE WORLD –  As Ghandi said “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization”.
  4. READING – without knowing how, I couldn’t read books or music. I couldn’t make notes, I couldn’t order off a menu. The list goes on.
  5. DO OVERS – We learn from our failures, not from our successes (I believe I am paraphrasing Bram Stoker here).
  6. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS – humanity at it’s best.
  7. THE POWER OF MUSIC – This is something I have experienced first-hand this year with dementia patients. Music will light a fire, bring a sparkle to the eye, animate and wake up the soul. “Music is the literature of the heart, it commences where speech ends.” Alphonse de Lamartine.
  8. THE FIVE SENSES – sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing.
  9. MY MORNING RITUAL – every day starts with a bath and a book!
  10. MEMORY – working with those that are losing theirs, I am more aware than I’ve ever been how grateful I am for being able to remember.

Other random things I am thankful for are salsa, puppies, laughter, sunlight, indoor toilets for starters.

There are also what I call the “Fantastic F’s” of Gratitude – family, friends, freedom, faith, food, fitness (ok – I’m working on this one) and many more. Can you add any?

“Never stop dreaming, never stop believing,
Never give up, Never stop trying, and
Never stop learning.” Roy T. Bennett

And most of all, I am thankful for you!!!!!

What are you thankful for?  And I’ll leave you with this quote by Mary Oliver:




vision board banner


This is something I believe in so much that I took classes and worked with experts internationally to lead my own workshops – which I called CREATE YOUR LIFE WORKSHOPS.

Do you know what a Vision Board is?

It is a way to manifest your dream life. When you make a Vision Board, you get clear on what you want to create in your life. Many of us have fleeting ideas of what we want to be, do, or have in our lives. But they remain just that: fleeting. After all, who has the time to intentionally get clear about what we want to create?

Everyone, from Katy Perry (who did a Vision Board in the 7th grade showing her winning a Grammy) to Ellen DeGeneres to Oprah Winfrey swear they intentionally created outcomes by using a simple tool:  VISION BOARDS!  Michelle Obama did one in 2008 showing Barrack Obama being sworn in as President!

As someone who has made my own Vision Boards (and manifested some amazing results!), I’ve learned it is more than just slapping a piciture onto a poster board. It is about getting clear on your authentic life by letting go of what’s in the way – and then clearly connecting with your dreams while designing a vision that calls to you.

That’s why I put this workshop together – to give you the space you need to intentionally define your dreams and created a VISION BOARD that will effortless attract your ideal outcomes to you!


  • Clarity on what you really want (no more settling)
  • A beginning meditation to help you gain more focus and clarity
  • Connection with like-minded peers
  • A method to clear out the natural “gunk” that comes up (it is time to let it all go!)
  • All the tools and time to create your own powerful Vision Board (you might want to bring a few pictures that mean something to you, and definitely some pictures of yourself!) I’ll supply the rest
  • Your very own Vision Board to take home and attract positive outcomes for the months a head.
  • A full day of breathing room and dream-time (when was the last time you did that?)
  • A hand out about how to follow up with your Vision Board and also one about the importance of having a Word of the Year.

I offer these to groups, either professional our groups of friends, in a place of their own. I also offer them four times a year in my own studio.

banner for quest



My reading quest is to read a book by an author from each state and I have made it to Illinois! 

The book was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I loved this book so much I read it twice!!!! I would give grudgingly give this book five stars! and that is because I’d give it 500 stars is I could!

It has been described as a nostalgic “autobiographical fantasy”.  Bradbury has recreated childhood memories of his hometown, Waukegan, Illinois, known in the book at Green Town.

Set during the summer of 1928, the main character is Douglas Stratton.  The title refers to a wine made with dandelion petals by Douglas’s grandfather, and refers to packing all the joys of summer into one bottle (or one book).A series of short stories, they are loosely connected with Douglas and his family as recurring characters. In fact, many of the chapters were published as individual short stories between 1946-1957.  While the plots are realistic, there is a touch of fantasy and magic  along the way!

Some of the wonderful things that appear in the book are:

  • When Douglas goes with his father and brother to pick fox grapes, he comes to the realization that he is alive and finds it “glorious”.

 “I’m ALIVE. Thinking about it, noticing it, is new. You do things and don’t watch. Then all of a sudden you look and see what you’re doing and it’s the first time, really”.

  • A neighbor attempts to make a “happiness machine” in his garage.
  • Douglas and his brother meet a living “Time Machine”, a 90+ Colonel who lived in the Old West, during the Civil War for starters.
  • A serial killer on the loose in the town is referred to as “The Lonely One.
  • While at an amusement park, the boys get fortunes from a mechanical Tarot Witch, believing they have been given special fortunes in invisible ink.

The book is full of magic!!!

Ray Bradbury said that Douglas is based on himself. In fact, “Douglas” was his middle name, and “Spaulding” was his father’s middle name. It is the first book of a trilogy continuing with SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and FAREWELL SUMMER.

In 1972, the Apollo 15 astronauts named a moon crater “Dandelion Crater” after this novel!

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) wrote in many genres, but his most famous books are probably Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.  

I love to include facts about each state too – so here are some facts about Illinois:

  • The first Aquarium opened in Chicago in 1893
  • Metropolis, the home of Superman, is located in Southern Illinois.
  • Illinois was the first state for ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
  • Des  Plaines is the home of the first McDonald’s.
  • President Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois.
  • The state dance is the square dance.
  • Illinois has more personalized license plates than any other state. 
  • The Chicago Public Library is the world’s largest public library with a collection of over 2 million books (I need to visit it!)

Here are some (what I consider magical) quotes from the book:

  • “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
  • “The first thing you learn in life is you’re a fool. The last thing you learn in life is you’re the same fool.
  • “No person ever died that had a family.”
  • “Sunsets are always liked because they only happen once and go away……If the sunset stayed and we got bored, that would be real sadness.”
  • No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now.”

Now I will be reading books by authors from Indiana and Iowa. If you have any favorite authors from those states, let me know!