Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Martha Collins

How did you become an artist?
By default!  I was raised in a family where intellect was valued above all else.  My sisters and brother excelled in academia and I did not.  Lucky for me  I signed up for a Commercial Art class my first year in college and found I was really good at it.  I took a two year program that was extremely challenging.  I loved the work, I learned that I was tenacious, talented and smart. So I became an artist. 
Did you go to art school?
Yes.  After 2 years of junior college I attended Art Center College of Design for a year.  Then I got married and took a 6 year break to have my two sons, then decided to return and complete my BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach.  5 years later I earn my MFA in Illustration. 
Was there anyone that influenced you in becoming an artist?
The best of my art school teachers, the top illustrators at that time -Glaser, English, Fuchs, painters such as Diebenkorn, Twombly, De Kooning and of course the old standards: Sargent, Vuillard,  Matisse, Cassatt & Gauguin. 

What inspires you?
 I am inspired by passionate & enthusiastic people who have something to share so I can learn and grow.  Kindness & humor inspire me.  Teaching watercolor painting & illustration to college students is extremely inspiring. I've been a adjunct professor for over 20 years and it's a huge blessing in my life.  It's invigorating being on campus, around students, faculty and other creative people.   My students keep me on my toes and keep me young….well, young in spirit, lol.  Teaching also gets me out of the studio and away from my work which is something very good for me. 
What is your work process?
I work in many mediums because I get bored easily.  I love watercolor and painting in gauche but love painting digitally as well. I also love line and wash which I do both in and out of the computer.  I try to keep myself a little out of my comfort level so I can take risks.  My best work is almost always when I paint or draw by the seat of my pants.  My watercolor style has gotten increasingly looser over time because I don't like to plan or sketch much before jumping into the painting.  I work in Painter 12 because it's fast, forgiving and flexible.  My aim is to not make it look digital and many of my clients are very surprised when I tell them the art they are licensing is digitally painted.
Are there links where we can see more of your work?

Facebook (for updates / new work):

Website (needs to be redesigned!):

What markets do you create for?
My list includes: Garden, fabric  & bedding, stationery, tabletop (paper, ceramic & porcelain), gift, home decor, canvas & rugs.  I wouldn't necessarily say I create for them though. Rather, I create. 
Where can your art be seen?
All over the place, thank heavens: > )  Pier One, Cost Plus, Tuesday Morning, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowes & Sears. Online sites like Joss & Main & catalogs including Signals, Expressions & Wayfair.
What do you like best about what you do?
Oh…..let me think….The everyday challenge of staying in business?  I'm KIDDING!  Seriously, I know how lucky I am to make a living doing the work that I love.  I really just love drawing & painting & teaching.  I love the freedom to work the hours (long) I do which gives me flexibility. Flexibility = freedom and challenge and requires dedication and focus.  Flexibility allows me time to spend with my family and friends & that's what makes life worth living for me.  And finally, I get to work with my sister, Betsy, who goes with me to the Atlanta and Surtex shows.  All my clients like her better than they like me: > )  


  1. OOOOO! Love! Love! your work Martha! Your watercolors are amazing :-) Thanks so much for the post Patti

  2. Martha your work is just gorgeous and your colors and flowers are especially delicious! You certainly do an excellent job NOT looking digital, too! I will visit your FB page too!

  3. Martha- I love your free style with watercolor-and your digital work is amazing!