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On my way to score some gelato at a recent art retreat


Finding the joyful expression of kindred spirits is one of my passions in life.


Another passion is improving my relationship with the horses in my life. Here I am with GoldenBoy at a recent dressage show. Our first ever!

Marti McGinnis, like many other artists, arrived at her art when as a natural offshoot of her varied interests. Art was always there for her. Hers is a happy story…

Marti’s unique point is the association of her art with happiness.

Q+A with Marti McGinnis

What are your art media these days?

I draw, paint, blog and explore other media to express happy ideas in a meaningful, non-cloying way. I use watercolor inks, acrylics on paper and canvas, and all types of digital tools on my iPad.

When did you start your art?

I made my first little illustrated story book when I was a little girl, then I went off to college and studied just about everything but art. I got a job as a professional marketer and after only a few years decided to try something completely different. So I applied for the Peace Corps and actually got an assignment to be a pamphlet designer for the Health Education Unit of the Ministry of Health in Suva, Fiji.

While there I drew a comic book entitled “Worms and Germs” for the World Health Organization which then gave me the confidence I hadn’t had before to embrace my inner artist. When I got back home I began pursuing art as a career.

Have you had any formal training?

Very limited. I am largely self-taught. Actually I believe that degrees and educational experiences notwithstanding; most artists really ARE self-taught.

Do you think that you had a natural talent for this?

Passion more than talentWhat I have is a natural DRIVE for this. It is a passion that is deeply rooted. Whatever talent manifests from that is from sheer cussedness.Is anyone else in your family an artist?I have a sister who’s a chef and another sister who specialized in not finishing any of her started paintings until she went on to other pursuits. My mom draws a funny doodle cow.

How did you get started?

When I returned back to the states from the South Pacific, I took the small lump sum all Peace Corps Volunteers get when they finish their service and invested in a festival tent, some white t-shirts, fabric dyes, photos of my work and show fees and went out on the road – literally – selling hand painted t-shirts at outdoor art fairs. My big break came when I scraped the funds necessary to set up a booth at wholesale craft show in Miami, Florida. This launched me onto a more national scale and eventually allowed me to stop the traveling to outdoor fairs and settle down, which I did in Chicago. I have worked my way through multitudinous media.

Does your work have a particular theme? If so, what, and what inspires it?

My work is generally upbeat even if the topic is challenging.

Would you classify your work as pure entertainment, as social commentary, or as a bit of both?

My work while seemingly light hearted and bubbly – embraces very deep subjects and reaches far into the fields of quantum physics and spiritual connectedness.

Do you have a favorite piece?

Almost without exception my favorite piece is always my latest piece. Follow me on Instagram for the latest!

Do you have anything that you feel is important to share with other artists?

I like to encourage other artistsI I help people:

  • find their particular artistic voice, and

  • discover ways to best present your unique ideas.

In addition to making art, I have also had opportunities to teach art. Among my most favorite experiences doing that was showing pre-teen boys how to express themselves via their own cartoons. My whole schtick with that was to just describe techniques and give them space to express.


Marti McGinnis


Recent fine art + craft projects



  • January: Art Retreat series continues

  • April: #PaintedSketchbook series initiated

  • May: Launched online virtual gallery of #ZenBurro project


  • January: Equipoise NFT series continues

  • February: Peace Pony NFT series begun

  • February: Began creating Digital Sculptures for the coming metaverse

  • March: Dream Pony NFT series begun

  • April: bi-monthly Paper Mache Sessions with ArtLeap Adventures

  • May: Illustrated guide on how to make paper mache sculptures begun

  • July: repainted my art car, painted my horse trailer and mini horse trailer!


  • January: Open Studio and Kids Art Club continues

  • March: Live Presentation. (McGinnis, M). (2021, March 1). "Project Equipoise" [online live artist talk]. Arts to change the world! Session 2. Lakehead Research & Innovation Week. Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. More info here.

  • September: Began selling NFTs on OpenSea


  • February : Released “Taming The Shopping Bug: graphic novel on

  • May - Launched online Children's Art Club

  • June - Launched "Strengthening Your Artist's Voice" series for older artists

  • Began Project Equipoise - Drawings to inspire


  • February : “Evidence of Dreams” new mixed media paintings solo show at Leslie B. Fay Design Studio, San Miguel de Allende.

  • Began new comic project “My Year of Minimal Shopping Comic” documenting a year with very little shopping shopping. Search tag #lessismorecomic on Instagram or follow Marti’s HappyArt Facebook page.

  • Taught a 12 month series of Paper Mache workshops through



  • Created a whole new body of paintings and launched a website to accompany them. See them at

  • Invented the concept of the Art Shroud and had a solo show at La Huipilista Gallery in San Miguel de Allende. Details and photos here.





  • Participated in 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

  • Began fundraising and working on (writing and illustrating) animal kindness book project to be produced next year

  • Striving to create at least 52 new paintings throughout this year (one a week)

  • Created a new series of fabric design available here

  • Began offering customized original drawings for one-of-a-kind handmade leather cowgirl boots. Details here.



  • Created a new body of paintings

  • Published the second volume of 400 drawings “Dream Drawings to Color

  • Moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico



  • Release of new book: “400 Mornings

  • Participated in a host of prestigious Art Fairs

  • New Body of Paintings

  • Initiated work on next book of 400 drawings



Showing Felted decorative and functional pieces in top tier regional art shows including:

  • Lower Town Art Fair – Paducah, KY (Award of Excellence)

  • Ann Arbor Original Art Fair, Ann Arbor, MI

  • AFB Woodland Art Fair, Lexington, KY

  • Art in Speed Park – (Merit Award)



Began studying the art of felting.

April – Began creating a body of felted work to go back out into the world of art shows!


2004 – 2011

Moved to Kentucky. Got horses. Became deeply involved in equine management and rescue. Digital design work increased. Began focusing on horses in my creative output, paintings mostly.


1999 – 2004


Evanston Art Center

1998 - 2004

Taught Cartooning, Creativity and a variety of art explorations at this prestigious art center on Chicago’s North Shore.


HappyArt Nationwide

Continued with the fine craft on the national level through the same high-end venues. Added digital design and illustration.

1989 – 1999



Sold fine craft at outdoor art fairs from Wisconsin to Florida. Proceeded to sell work at ACC and Rosen fine craft shows selling a variety of items from hand cut aluminum ornaments on to carved wooden lamps. My work, though ever-evolving in media has always been cartoony, colorful and optimistic. No exceptions.

Select Awards

  • 2012, three ribboned and cash awards at summer art shows

  • Guest Blogger – Creativity – Dr Greene blog – international blog

  • 2010 Alltech A+ International Videography World Equestrian Games



Through the years I have been lucky enough to have garnered attention from juries and won miscellaneous awards for all kinds of creative output It is always an honor to be so recognized – but I hope you agree it is an even higher one to have a piece be selected by each and every person who has ever bought from me to add to into his or her life or to give as a gift. This is something for which I am always grateful.


Other Projects: I currently write a new blog ( and have authored several others through the years, now archived. Coauthored a book with one of my dogs “CANS: The Life’s Work of an Optimistic Dog”. Wrote and illustrated “HapiLani: The Natural History of a Dreamland” both in 2010. Personal Mission Statement: To add smiles onto the globe.


All available on

  • 400 Mornings

  • Dream Drawings

  • Cans: The Life’s Work of an Optimistic Dog

  • Who’s Who in Equine Compassion

  • HapiLani: The Natural History of a Dream Land

  • Dos Perro Dos Vidas - Two Dogs Two Lives

  • Taming The Shopping Bug: My Year of Minimal Shopping

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