Friday, February 26, 2010

CrazyHorses, and Why I Paint Them.

Crazy Horses

Ok well it’s not unusual for an artist to work in more than one medium and more than one style. The style I love to play in is Abstract Expressionism. These are free flowing almost emotional driven paintings that can sometimes be very spiritual and are always at least for me Very Very BRIGHT!

I usually work in this style, which is very fast for me, when I need to loosen up my more conventional work because it is a little too predictable. Working like this allows me work out some of the stress associated with the higher expectations of conventional portrait work.

I’m working a little at a time to fine tune them some while at the same time keeping them very free. These two paintings I finished last night are some the exercises. Almost like doodles. But so much more.

“Spirit Horses” and “The Foals” I hope you enjoy them both. In a few weeks they will be released through my Etsy StoneFlur Store as Fine Art Reproductions. If you would be interested in previewing and perhaps buying one then just email me at Please write CrazyHorses in the subject line.

Update: "The Foals" and several other abstract expressionist prints and paintings have just be listed in my etsy store: Please check them out and let me know what you think. I am having some color adjustments to make with " The Spirit Horses" so please check back or email me if you would like to reserve a print. ( up-dated 3/11/09)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miniature Art? Collectible? What is an ACEO?

Hi, Everyone! Well I just have to say there are many stories and descriptions of what an ACEO but of all the ones I have read over the last 6 years this is the one that I like the best. So this is my story and Im sticking with it!!

An Art Trading Card (ATC) and Art Card Edition or Original (ACEOs) is limited only in the size.
The standard is that it must be a work of art or reproduction that fits into the average sports trading card sleeve: 3.5 by 2.5 It can be any medium as long as it fits the standard.

Personally I have seen everything from bias relief sculptures to stained glass art to stone carvings and quilts in this Art Format. I use it quite often to practice for larger works of art. They tend to sell quickly and they are inexpensive enough for anyone of any age to begin collecting.

As the story was told to me when it was suggested that I start producing this sort of work, as far back as 1500's in Europe, Artists would make small works of art and trade them among themselves so they could study each other’s style and brush techniques. This was an inexpensive way to use scrap materials laying around the studio without going to a lot of expense, which artists could ill afford anyway especially under the Patron system.

During the Victorian age there were so many of these floating around that wealthy Victorians would collect them and display them in little frames. Also during that time with so much money available in advertising Art Trading Cards (ATC) became popular ways to promote manufactured goods and products. Children could collect the mass-produced cards the way parents collected china and glasses in boxes of oatmeal or soap. These can often be found in Antique shops.

Of course we all remember bubblegum cards of the 1950's and 1960's. I colelcted a few of those Monkee's cards myself as a child. Not to mention the Baseball cards that people everntually sold for thousands of dollars.

In recent years Artists have found a market for their small format works of art through the internet auction venues and selling at local shops and art festivals with reproductions of their larger paintings in the ATC format. Artists have also benefited from production of Small Original works of Art also known as Miniatures in the ATC format.

As for myself. From 2005 until 2008 I painted and sold over 1500 of these little original works of art both through local venues and online. I heard later that one frame shop in the region was kept busy for a summer season predominantly framing my little original watercolors of rabbits, horses, and piggies.

To See More of My Very Cute ACEO's check out my  Spring Things in my Etsy Store: or  Search LLMartin under Handmade in Etsy to see all my work and Portraits. If you dont see what you like and have an idea just convo me in Etsy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pink Ponies for Spring !! Fun Little Minatures in ACEO format

 The Story of the Pink Pony
LindaLMartin(c)2010 All rights reserved
When I was a child my grandmother use to tell us this story about her experiences riding ponies with her friends after a day at the beach.  Everyone was mounted and ready to go except grandma. 

There was only one pony left. 
The poor thing had some sort of rash so the vet had suggested covering the pony with calamine lotion to reduce the itch. Well as we all know calamine lotion is pink. So the pony was covered from head to toe with pink.  
Grandma’s riding experience wasn’t a pleasant one but how many people do you know can make the claim that their grandma  actually rode a pink pony!
 These Pink Ponies are Acrylic paint on # 300 Strathmore Watercolor paper painted in the expressionist style. They are miniature in size and will come in a protective sleeve. These little paintings will be offered on my store for $9.50 ea.  I will post when they are up and ready to go.
Convo me on etsy if you would like one done in a different pose. Just in time for that little pony lover in your family to celebrate  Spring!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Submission to the Virtual pARTy for February 2010

Well here we are in the middle of the snowy feburary and this is my  entry for the Virtual pARTy.

It was Percy’s long lashes that fascinated me. Of course I kept thinking I wanted to put some sort of inner picture in that eye; Like a dancing horse or a snow man reflection, However, instead as I looked closer  at the blown up image some abstract depth of a snowy landscape seems to have appeared..  Whoever looks at him will still beable to imagine some deep illusive thing about about the horse.

My Painting is called: “Snow Globe”. It is a 4 by 4 inch quickstudy watercolor using a combination of wet, dry and lifting techniques to achieve this snow scene close up of the horse’s eye.

Remember each of the participating artists has to use the same reference photo and complete their work of art in 24 hours.
February’s Virtual pARTy. is Hosted by Linda Shantz and Kim Santini
The reference photo of Percy was taken by Kim Santini
For Details about participation in event and to see the rest of the artist’s work go to The Virtual pARTy blog.
Submission ends Midnight Saturday February 20th, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Harry" Pet Portrait and Illustration for Use-rfriendly Painting Information

I was trying to come up with a way to help my Etsy Stores to be both entertaining and user-friendly while explaining the process of making a pet portrait in simple terms. I painted this little 5” by 7 “ watercolor quick study of “Harry” to use as an illustration of the three step process I use to paint pet portraits. “ Harry” is from a reference photo I had laying around for another project.

Basically, I cropped the photo of “Harry”, then transferred the cartoon image to watercolor paper and scanned it. Then I painted the painting and scanned that. 1. 2. 3.   From the user provided photography to cartoon layout to painting.

With a brief description I explain each step of the process in synopsis form then laid it out and saved it in jpg format to up load into my photo’s in my Etsy Stores. The idea is to make information easier to find. I hope I accomplished that with these.  ( click on the  picture to see it in more detail)

You can see how the whole thing goes to gether with other 
jpgs of samples and information in my LMartinPetPortraits on Etsy. I'm in the process now of updating them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Portraits for February: For Dog Lovers

Newly Completed Pet Portrait

Bounty is a wonderful Bull Mastiff. He has been a wonderful family pet and such a gentle giant. This picture was taken  on a visit to the nursing home to visit his owners' Mother. I was told he was quite a hit among the residence because of his quiet friendly demeanor.
If you would like your special dog painted 
please contact me directly through Etsy, Facebook, or Twitter.
To order your Pet's watercolor head portrait immediately check out my store on

New Portraits For February: For Cat Lovers

Newly Completed Commissioned Work

In the middle of a driving rain little Violet showed up at her new owner's door. The owners though one of her cats had been locked out  or escaped. But here was this little fluffy sherbert orange and white tabby kitten hungry, wet, and with an eye infection and needing a family. So after searching and searching for someone who might have lost this precious bundle of energy they decided to keep her for themselves.  

Originally very thin little Violet , according to her owner has now matured into a beautiful young cat who is now quite chubby and who will eat  almost any thing. In my painting of little Violet Ray I tried to show her as  the more mature kitten she is now and with out the eye troubles. I think she is a beautiful little cat!
If you would like your special kitty painted 
please contact me directly through Etsy, Facebook, or Twitter.
To order your Pet's watercolor head portrait immediately check out my store on

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Remembering a Good Friend :HorseRacing, Politics, History, Faith, Animal Rescue

Yesterday was truly a Sunny Monday. A bright day , yet filled with hard and bittersweet realities. I discovered that one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away from the side effects of cancer on February 5th.

My first remembrance of Lee was when I was 17. I was innocent and an animal lover. My only job has been with the Richmond SPCA in their youth training program. Lee was on the board of directors for The Julia Wagner Shelter in Warren County, Virginia. We had moved to Warren in 1971.
She was a young, beautiful and flamboyant woman. In the midst of my interview for a position with the now Humane Society of Warren County, Lee basically reminded everyone of their purpose. She said their “Great Leader, Miss Julia Wagner,” Had been young, close to my age when she began working to rescue her beloved animals. I was hired as a follow up case worker.

Lee always saw possibilities where no one else could. She was always positive, even when she sometimes felt uncertain. She would walk into any situation as if she was in command of the helm of a ship. It wasn’t so surprising considering that one of her ancestors was Jean La Feete’ that notorious pirate of old.

I would say she had 4 passions in life. Conservative Politics, US History, (especially “The War Between the Sates”) , animals, and Her beloved horses.

I really got to know Lee when we taught together. She was a wonderful teacher. She loved her students and she stood for no nonsense. Having said that, she was also gentle, kind and merciful and fair. She held everyone to the same standard she did herself, always taking into consideration their circumstances. Lee to my knowledge never treated anyone, no matter how poor or how rich with anything less than dignity.

Lee was always more than generous, sometimes a little intimidating, and she had a way of making anyone she met feel important and valued. I suppose many people would say those are leadership qualities.

Because of that sometimes people tried to take Lee for grant it or take advantage of her. Woe to anyone who tried to force their way in. She had boundaries that she let no one cross over. They were the same boundaries that allowed her to be one of the most gracious of hostesses, with flawless social skills that still allowed her to be herself in every situation.

The people who didn’t like Lee where usually people who tried to manipulate her. She would have none of it.

Lee was an intensely private person. She was one who had a strong testimony of faith and a life most people only dream of.

Few people were allowed into the inner circle. Some of us, she shared the stories of her life, were told them in such a fashion as though we were reliving a great adventure. And it was such an adventure! Inevitably someone from her past would show up, and there she would be introducing us to someone bigger than life who had in some way influenced modern history.

I never doubted anything she told me about things she did or people she met, because for those of us closest to her, there were photographs and mementoes and a cool drink by the fireplace while she opened up and shared those amazing things that were deep in her memory and her heart.

Sometimes things didn’t turn out as she had hoped in her life. Yet, she was always bold and courageous. She was always determined once she knew something must be done and had decided on the right course. She always did her best. Always tried to do the right and righteous thing. Never compromised what she believed in.

If the desired outcome was not achieved, Lee would say: “Such is Life”. And that would be the end to it. She would do as the Bible said in these instances: “Leaving the past behind, always moving toward the higher calling”

I will never forget the day she and Jim ran off to get married. She had set me up on a blind date. As we were leaving for dinner, in drove Lee and Jim. They were giggling like teens. Oh so very happy. She didn’t tell me until Monday that they had driven up to Maryland to elope. It was vintage Lee.

I wasn’t really surprised because she had told me prior, that she thought Jim was “the Love of her Life” She has been referring to him that way ever since. Personally, I thought it was wonderful. Jim and Lee were so right for each other. She called it love at first sight.

They moved to Texas when Jim retired. It was a wonderful move for them. Lee hated snow. Jim and I remembered it yesterday when we talked on the phone. “ Yes, she would go into a panic a the mere mention of it.” He said.

As I am sitting here writing this, I find it so hard to comprehend her not being there. Maybe someday I will get back to Del Rio and meet all the people, who had in recent years become so important to Lee and Jim. Especially her assistant and the young Vet that Lee considered to be “like daughters to me”.

This morning the picture I have in my head is of Lee surrounded by Rebel her black lab, Dante her thoroughbred Stallion, Purn her little yellow cat, and myriads of other animals, friends and family members that she has been reunited with.

The one awesome picture I have in my imagination is of the old groom from her childhood barn who kept telling her of Jesus. Lee told me this story of how all the children in the barn would make fun of him. But he just kept on loving them; He just kept on telling her of how much Jesus loved her. I can imagine him meeting her and taking her hand and leading her before the throne of God, and saying “ Here she is Jesus, this is the little one I’ve been telling you about.”

And so it begins, this new life of no more sorrows, no more pain, no more tears, reunited with all who love God and who believed Jesus. I expect there have been some welcome surprises. and many questions she always wondered the answers to.  It gives me great joy to know that Lee is sitting up there with the mutitude of saints looking down upon us and cheering us on as we walk steadily into our future where we will be reunited with all who love him.

He who begain a good work in Lee was more than faithful to complete it in her. Thankyou Dear God for the wonderful friend that Lee was and for the great legacy of generosity and love she left behind. Thank you for the blessing of her life, In Jesus name.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mike's Eagle: My first time Watercolor of A Bald Eagle

A friend from HighSchool and I reconnected after nearly 30 years if not more. and much to my surprise I discovred that he was quite a good photographer. One day he was driving past a Mall in Northern Virginia out side of DC and he saw what he thought was a very large vulture or hawk. As he drew closer he discovered it was a Bald Eagle. He took some amazing photo's of the Bird. And then gave me and a nother friend from HighSchool the opportunity to try our hand at making art from them. This is the result of my first very serious watercolor painting of a Bald Eagle. Thanks Mike!