Saturday, December 3, 2016

Following Your Heart

I have been an artist my entire life. Ever since I remember I've drawn. I made drawings of my pregnant mom when I was four. I made paper doll castles with my sister because we had just seen Queen Elizabeth's dollhouse in National Geographic Magazine. 

It had not occurred to me that this was my calling. That I was meant to do this. That every single cell in my body was programmed to be an artist. My Dad always told us to never be an artist (he was an artist). He said that we should go into business or real estate. Never be an artist. This was drilled into me. So I went to Law School. Two years in, I couldn't take it anymore and I dropped out. 

I had jobs throughout my life in which I would spend the day waiting for lunch and then the rest of the day waiting for 5 pm and the entire week waiting for Friday and the whole year waiting for my vacation. Those days were miserable. It was like being forced to eat something you hate everyday until you become numb. 

A few years ago I decided that I was going to follow my heart. I was like fuck it, I'm living in regret, what's worse than that? I'm going to follow my dream. I signed up to get my Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. I was terrified. Excited but scared. This was the first time I was going to put myself first. My dream was becoming a reality. Fast forward to today. I finished my career and became a full time artist. Hours go by like minutes when I'm working. Weeks pass like a breeze and my heart is happy. Still terrified but amazingly joyful. Here's to following your heart. Doesn't matter how scary it is, it's worth it. Your soul will thank you. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How to Draw Your Way to Happy

I had just asked my therapist what I should do to get over this horrible feeling. My 19 year marriage had ended and I was devastated. I said I would follow his instructions to a tee. I’m excellent at following instructions. I asked him what books I should read, what retreats I should attend, should I do any specific activity? I could totally do this. I was ready. As ready as I could ever be. I was so over feeling crappy all of the time. “It’s going to take time”, he replied with a neutral smile. What? I thought, really? Ugh. That just crushed me. I felt the weight of an elephant on my chest, no - two elephants to be exact. Time? I asked him how long. Days? Weeks? Months? or should I dare say, years? He responded with a shrug, "depends you you”. The words came out in slow motion. “dee-pendsss onnn youuuuu" I wanted to wring his neck like Homer does to Bart.

I cried my whole way home listening to that horrible “Say Something” song on repeat. That night I angrily scribbled in my diary: “Dear Diary, Fuck this shit”. I was tired of waking up everyday and getting that sinking feeling that it wasn’t a dream and hoping that today would be less painful than yesterday. Anyone I asked had a different response to the “how long” question. Great. I had to get through this on my own, but how? 

My sister recommended a book called “The Untethered Soul, the Journey Beyond Yourself" by Michael A. Singer. It was recommended to her by Oprah (through the TV, not in real life). Last book I read recommended by Oprah was a novel called "Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, it was thick like an old fashioned phonebook and left me quite unsatisfied. I was hesitant at first, but then I thought, what the heck and got the book. I kept physically moving the book from room to room in my house, first the living room, then the bathroom and finally my nightstand, never having opened it. One night I opened the book and started reading, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about at first, “choosing to be happy unconditionally, no matter what” - huh? of course I want to be happy, duh. I kept reading and then he said what I needed to read - that there was a way to let go and move on. A very specific way. He had my full attention. He said that if we pull ourselves out from the situation and look at it from the perspective of a third party, we can observe it, without thoughts or emotions. Awareness takes over, and consciousness is where you are, its a place where your soul sits. Okay, I get it, but HOW. Every time I attempted to do that I would get wrapped up in what ifs, coulda, shoulda and wouldas. I kept at it, like going to the gym, everyday, go, go, go! 

One day, I felt especially sad and I decided to draw instead of write in my diary. I drew myself as a child with this giant monster ready to pounce me. The monster was big, hairy, with giant claws and fangs. I was on my knees and holding a hand up to shield myself from the angry beast. I took my time and drew every little detail on the monster: the veins in his eyes, the sharpness in his ugly gnarled claws, every single hair on this beast. He was horrifying. When I finished the drawing, I felt lighter and unusually at ease. Something clicked. Strange but good. The next few days I drew in my diary instead of writing, and every time I drew, I felt like I had let go of a tiny "something” I had been carrying for the past few years. Little by little, drawing after drawing, my load got lighter. My drawings ranged from sad, thoughtful, fearful, terrifying to hopeful and peaceful. These drawing allowed me to look at my daily struggle from the outside and allowed me to let go of  very specific things- like for example, “nobody's going to want me" and then move on. It felt like a giant sigh being let out. Two years and over 700 drawings later, I am still learning, growing, releasing and of course, drawing. 

How to Draw Yourself to Happy

1.   Get a sketchbook with blank pages. Pencils and if you like colored pencils or watercolor.
2.   Concentrate on ONE event at a time. Draw the people and elements associated with what occurred. If you are a beginner, that’s ok, use stick figures, it will have the same effect.
3.   Draw details that you remember, or write words that keep swirling in your mind, and leave them on the paper.
4.   If you must, make another drawing of the same thing.
5.   Try to draw as if you’re telling someone a story about characters, even if you are one of them. 
6.   Do it everyday!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Ideas, Inspiration and Magic

How do ideas materialize? Welcome to my studio where I tell you how ideas come to life. It's an exciting adventure finding these gems. Click on the video to know more:



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Send Love

I absolutely adore sending my loved ones mail. There's something so exciting about receiving a card with handwritten messages of good hope and love. It's like finding a treasure among bills and junk mail that makes you feel excited and loved. I have designed a very special line of magical cards that have images exploding with stars, rainbows, mermaids, unicorns, suns and moons. 

Another thing that thrills me is giving gifts, but not just in a whatever package with a whatever card, I love thinking about what my friends favorite color is, or their favorite theme. I like to think that if there was a physical, material representation of giving love, that's what it would look like. 

OMG, I'm so excited to be making these beautiful cards.

Take a look! xoxo

These are folded cards, from top left, clockwise: Made of Stars, You are So Amazing, She has Rainbows, Sun, Moon and Stars on her Side, Mermaid, Unicorn, Moon and Stars, She has a Universe of Creativity Inside.

This is a postcard that comes in a set of six, so great in case you want to send a quick note.

"You are Stars" is made with gold foil and the rest is blank, it comes in a bundle of six wrapped with a band of dark blue paper and a gold cord. Super sparkly and shiny.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Live Painting

There is always a first time for everything. Live painting was something I had never done. My debut was at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland during the Down the Rabbit Hole event held and created by Living Prism. The event was completely sold out and the electric energy of the 1400 costumed guests was fuel for magic!

This is at the beginning of the night. 

This is the dance floor. The music was amazing!

My friend Kaitlyn McKenzie painted alongside me. What a treat! (I'm a HUGE fan of hers)

This is the main stage. Artist Chris Dyer was painting there. 

The finished piece at 2 am. It felt like time just flew. What an amazing and beautiful experience!



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What's New Pussycat?

So much has happened since I graduated from PNCA in December! I moved into a new studio space in Portland with my friend and superstar artist Liam Cuzner ( We call it: The Mill - because it's constantly humming with work and ideas. It's an amazing space and we share the building with other creatives like Pigeon Toe Ceramics ( among others.

Here is my little corner in the 400 sq ft space we have. 

It's nice to have EVERYTHING there. I used to work out of another studio where I had to keep some things in storage. 

I've started making postcards and cards and my Etsy store is now open! I also sell originals, of course. 

I got a dog!!! His name is Yoshi and he's a puppy. He was rescued from Oregon Rescue and we were told he is half chihuahua, half pug. He is my studio companion and comes to "work" with me everyday.

That's all for now. If you would like daily updates, follow me on Instagram. Link on my website. 



Monday, March 21, 2016

Ladies and Gents: Shop Open!

I am pleased to announce that the shop is officially open! Come by and take a look. I hope you find something that you adore. Each of these pieces is handmade with love. There will be prints added  soon! I will be updating regularly, adding more and more colorful and magical pieces. 

Click on link to visit:



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Frida Told Me to Paint Her

I had a very vivid dream about Frida Kahlo. We were talking and she said "no seas pendeja, pĂ­ntame" - "don't be stupid, paint me". When Frida tells you to do something, you do it, even if it's in a dream. I've painted four Fridas so far: three watercolors and one acrylic.

These photos show the process when painting "Frida in the Sky with Diamonds"  Enjoy!



Thursday, February 18, 2016

Where the Magic Happens

New Studio space! New beginnings! My studio mate, Liam Cuzner and I will be moving into a new studio space in the beginning of March. It's a beautiful open space in the heart of Portland. We are super excited! Liam is an amazing multidisciplinary artist that I met while attending PNCA. Check out his work,  take a look here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Frida is Your Homegirl

I have referred to Frida Kahlo as reference for my art countless times. There are so many reasons I identify with her. She is one of the original "Confessional Artists". She painted in a vulnerable and graphic way about her life. Even though she was confined to her bed, she managed to create compelling images that are still relevant today, they are powerful and mesmerizing. I admire her greatly and have depicted her many times, here is my latest watercolor: Frida is Your Homegirl - cause she is.

If you would like to see new drawings follow me on Instagram! I update daily.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Under the Sea

I have always been fascinated by mermaids. I remember my first glimpse at a "real" mermaid when I took a ride in a submarine at Disneyland when I was a little girl. The mermaids were stunning! I could not believe that they were brave enough to hang around such menacing creatures under the sea! Mermaids are a symbol of strength, femininity and beauty.  Here are a few of my mermaids, and a mercat too! Want to see more? Follow me on Instagram, @marybelmartin



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pop Culture and Life Lessons

I firmly believe that if you keep your eyes and ears open, there is something very valuable to learn about life everywhere you look. I recently had a giveaway on my Instagram ( and I asked the winners if they had any suggestions. One of them suggested Ponyo and the other "anything, I love color". I wanted to draw these pieces in my usual "confessional art" style, and this is what happened... enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Drawlloween! Part One

October is the month in which Drawlloween happens. Artists follow a list of things to draw everyday for the entire month of October. Although there are officially two more days left until October ends I wanted to share some of the drawings. Here are the first five I made. I joined in late and put devil, ghost, goblin together to catch up. Enjoy!

Devil • Ghost • Goblin



Haunted House


Thanks for stopping by!



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Here They Are!

I will be participating in a show on November 17th at Swoon Gallery in Newport Coast California. The show is called Get the Lead Out VII. It's by appointment only, so if you're interested in attending contact

I am so excited to show you the pieces that I made! I hope you like them.

The ghostbats represent fear. If you allow fear to take over, it can rule your world. The first piece is when my fears were so big, it felt like they were constantly chasing me. The more I was afraid, the bigger they got.

The ghostbat has gotten so big, that you could allow it to kill you, if you're not careful. In other words, you can end up with fear your entire life and allow it to become a normal presence.

This piece is about finding that oasis where you can rest, although you know the ghostbats are still there.

This one is about embracing your fears instead of running away from them, when you really look at them and feel the pain and anxiety, they subside and you can be free of them.

Thanks for stopping by!



Friday, October 2, 2015

Craziness in the Studio

Things have been crazy for the past few weeks. I've had to bring my boys into the studio to get stuff done. Lots of work to do, but it's been exciting!

Bubbles and YouTube

Some "fuel" for creativity

Three large wooden panels in the process of being blocked in. 

Chaos on the table. Help!



Monday, September 7, 2015

A Little Magic to Thank You

I wanted to thank all of the wonderful people that follow my pencil and paintbrush on a daily basis. I had a giveaway on my Instagram account and I randomly picked a winner. The winner got this original sketch filled with magic and wonder. 



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Want to Take a Peek?

I'm very excited about my show at Swoon Gallery in Los Angeles! The show is called "Get the Lead Out" and opens in October! Here are some details of the pieces I've been working on. Enjoy!