Martha Shepp:
The Piano + The Paintbrush

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by. I've been an artist of some sort all my life, working in publishing and jobs where my ability to organize, clarify, and beautify have had a good run. I taught art recently to high schoolers, and am now taking a hiatus to apply all the lessons I taught... to myself!

Along with art, there has been music; piano. Playing along with the choir when I was in third grade, and continuing to accompany singers and instrumentalists, loving the classical music repertoire. Latching on strongly to Granados, Ravel, and those who bridge classicism with the great Romantic movement that hit all the arts at a certain fertile time in history.

Expressing (God) in our artforms is the opposite of our training in analysis and fragmentation, and the specialization that has been going on since the Renaissance. Now we must synthesize.

The new school I envision incorporates body, mind, and spirit.
The teacher is learning also, does the same exercises, has her own goals, and shares in the critique experience.

Storytelling is a very effective vehicle to wake up and transform us because it is beyond the rational, and resonates with our innate structure, the very same structure in nature itself. Rhythm causes entrainment; to get back into harmony with self/nature/universal law. Music is so powerful this way, and beauty in whatever expressive form that we create or just witness.

A poet is a man speaking to men; he is one endowed with lively sensibility, enthusiasm, and tenderness. The poet has a greater knowledge of human nature and a more comprehensive soul than is common among men; he rejoices more than other men in the spirit of life; he has acquired the ability to think and feel and to express his thoughts and feelings. The poet sings a song in which all humanity can join; he rejoices in the presence of truth as our visible friend and hourly companion; he is the rock of defense for human nature; he is the upholder and preserver. Poetry is the image of man and nature; it is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge, as immortal as the heart of man.

Good writing: full of imagery, quintessence

From the label of a jar of Redmond RealSalt (TM):

Long before the earth knew pollutants of any kind, a huge, ancient sea covered what is now North America. Pure, natural salt was the main ingredient of this sea, and over millions of years, the water in the sea evaporated, leaving the salt in undisturbed deposits. At some point during the earth's Jurassic era, a range of volcanoes erupted around the ancient sea bed, sealing the salt with layers of thick volcanic ash, protecting these precious deposits against the pollution that man would eventually introduce into the environment. Near the small town of Redmond, in south central Utah, we carefully extract this salt from deep within the earth, without additives, chemicals, or heat processing of any kind. This is RealSalt, full of flavor and natural goodness—the way salt was meant to be savored.

From the very first line of copy, earth is personified; that is key to our empathy and its believability. The beauty of the sentence's

Writing variations (these are happy tricks my sister uses with her creative writing class) are applicable to visuals as well:
• point-of-view change (who)
• make flashbacks (time)
• starting point (middle, end)
• closeness to events (close and far, who's telling)
• surreal/realistic (tone)
• trustworthy narrator or not, distortion
• is it continuous or choppy? (things left out) (time)
• make 4 or 5 different beginnings

make no comparisons.

make no judgments.

delete your need to understand.

A little poem I made

I love humanness in all its frailty
and its get-up-off-the-floor-and-try-again-ness

a good design can
interrupt (conditioned responses)
disrupt (habitual cycles)
wake us up (to possibility)
just long enough (slow down! slow down!) to
reflect, immerse, realize,

discover (have a simultaneous private experience with
a "greater good" vision) and
participate in something outside of our shell-skins

celebrate our woundedness, just as we are
join together in beloved community

we then can create boldly, commit to action! nurture each other with our good works!...never forgetting to feed our souls with the balm of truth:
if we were free from fear
we would love our brothers and sisters likethere'snotomorrow

Poems that have accompanied me all my life, it seems:

When geometric diagrams and digits
are no longer the keys to living things,
when people who go about singing or kissing
know deeper things than the great scholars,
when society is returned once more
to unimprisoned life, and to the universe,
and when light and darkness mate
once more and make something entirely transparent,
and people see in poems and fairy tales
the true history of the world,
then our entire twisted nature will turn
and run when a single secret word is spoken.       —Novalis

if he closes off every passageway
and escape route,
It's because he wants to show you
a secret way which no one knows.                           —Rumi

Links to some of my materials

Current Resume

Not all images in the top rolling portion of this site have pages/links yet and I know it's a bit clunky scrolling sideways, but isn't it kind of fun? To the right there is room for expansion with all these vertical rules lined up, ready to go! Thank you for your visit and please feel free to contact me at, as I want to help you reach your full creative potential and I have a few bags of tricks.