Tag Archives: Inspiration


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







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



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 just signed up for the 4th annual blogging festival called Blogtoberfest, hosted by Kat at  I Saw You Dancing.  A month of blogging every day –  you may wonder – what are you thinking?  Well, I was thinking.  I have been reading and reading blogs, partially because of an online class I’m taking with Kelly Rae Roberts called Flying Lessons.  In a short two weeks, I have seen women really blossom!  After seeing a commitment on a blog by Australian Janine Whitling, I decided I can do it!

At first, I thought – ” no – you can’t post every day”.  I realized I don’t have to write a dissertation every day.  I want to use this to record my month of paying attention to what is around me.  I plan on keeping a notebook with me at all times to record things I see, hear and read.  If nothing else – I can always just post a favorite quote.

To get ready for this, I spent this rainy day in Georgia cleaning up.  I even laid out the clothes I will wear to work tomorrow – something I rarely do!  So, this month is going to be getting new habits, like pre-planning, paying attention, and being good to ME!  I plan on exercising regularly, taking my lunch to work, taking care of those things so I can open my mind and heart up to anything that comes.

Come on this journey with me.  I will start with my “October To-Do” list – which includes art projects and personal plans i.e. budgeting, getting a new car, getting beyond my antique flip phone!  I will write about books I’ve read, starting with The Creative Habit, Learn It and Use It For Life  by Twyla Tharp.

I’m not going to beat myself up if I miss a day, but I’m going to make an honest effort!  I need to get those pesky ideas out of my head  – begin acting on those ideas that pop in and out!  I know there are a few that are going to STICK!

If nothing else – I’ll post pictures of Ziggy and his escapades, like trying to read my books!  more on that later.




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?