Born Martha Sleight in London, Ontario, Martha was raised on a farm on the outskirts of the city. She has experienced Canada through living in various locations, including southwestern Ontario, Yukon, Winnipeg, Wetaskawin (AB), Sidney (BC), Calgary, and the Comox Valley.
Martha came to art later in life and is passionate about creativity. Largely self-taught, she is an eager learner and experimenter. Her eclectic work is inspired by Emily Carr and others. Her medium of choice is acrylic on canvas, although she has branched also into three dimensional assemblage narrative statuaries.
Martha is a wife and proud mother and grandmother. Her deep spirituality sensitizes her to small wonders and subtleties in Creation. A seashore stroll or a walk through a fern-covered forest floor are food for her soul.
Subjects, Style, and Medium
Martha’s work is very eclectic. It includes landscapes and seascapes, florals, semi-abstracts, and 3-dimensional narrative assemblage statuaries. Martha describes one of her styles as “intuitive”. Works done in this style are without any predetermined plan or design. Multiple layers of paint are added “in a manner that responds both to subconscious (‘intuitive’) inclinations and to the dictates of self-expression.” The artist’s inner voice is given free rein in these early stages and it often draws her to symbolic representations of certain themes which capture aspects of nature or of femininity.
A recent concentration has been on 3-dimensional, narrative, assemblage statuaries. These assemblage or “bricolage” pieces often incorporate treasures from by-gone eras (e.g., a 19th century sewing machine, a 1940s-era typewriter, pieces of mammoth tusk) or objects found on Martha’s ocean walks. Usually the objects in a given assemblage are tied together by a common theme. Martha brings a unique twist to this genre of art and her works in this style are featured in a lengthy article in the “Artists to Collect” section of the tenth anniversary issue of Arabella magazine, Canada’s premiere consumer magazine of art, architecture, and design.
For paintings, acrylics are Martha’s medium of choice. They are well suited to conveying boldness and depth and to highlighting texture and variations in light. The intuitive method of painting is very exploratory and experimental. Acrylics permit exploration (e.g., of underlying connections) and retreat and then bold stepping forward again.
Martha actively supports Habitat For Humanity and various non-profit organizations through donations of her works for auction, etc. In 2013, Martha’s work Living Waters received the “Keeping It Living Choice Award” from Project Watershed Society, an organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of sensitive habitat, especially the K’ómoks estuary and Puntledge River watershed in Courtenay, BC. Living Waters appeared in the printed publicity issued throughout 2014 by Project Watershed Society and is available in print and card form from Project Watershed.