This month we’re featuring Martina Sestakova for the Capitol Hill Art League’s Mind of the Artist feature. Read their story and check out their beautiful artwork below. Follow Martina Sestakova on Instagram at @martinasestakovaart and find them at

My art journey is a twisted one. I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, and while I don’t recall a single visit to an art gallery in my early childhood, my family has always been creative. It just took the form of gardening, cooking, and chatting around the table. A stint at a local economics university did not work out and I moved to the US as an au pair for a family in Potomac, MD. A few years later, there was a job in clinical trial research and during a winter, while being bored, I signed up for a graduate degree in Fashion Design. Crying ensued as I worked my way through complex painting assignments to arrive at a revelation: I loved it all and ended up starting a small business in my last year of college focusing on turning my painting into unique textiles. So today, I focus on three areas of creative endeavors: fabric design, abstract painting, and art education. Let me give you more details about my artworks.

My paintings in the “Visual Insights into Life’s Beauty” series celebrate how we choose to honor life with our words. Literature (oh my, how I love a Mary Oliver poem!) inspires my artwork; words build bridges between colors, shapes, and textures. I work on yupo, and non-absorbent medium, and you may find me creating in a cold studio to extend the drying process or in my garden in bright light watching water disappear before my eyes. These aspects of the painting process bring me back to the power of our words: sometimes they note fleeting moments, other times they stick with us for years. My love of words can be easily traced to my childhood in Prague: my grandfather was a great story-teller and never said no to reading a good book out loud to me. 

When words move me, I close my eyes and let my intuition drive my creativity, helping me to discover how a word or several words look and feel. I use vibrant colors to form shapes and create texture by dabbing materials into the surface or by removing paint. Meditation allows me to physically pause and process my mind’s movements to capture them intuitively with a brush in hand. The small format of my paintings prompts the viewer to lean into a colorful world – creating a sense of intimacy. Lately, though, I have been exploring large formats to see how my mind and body process the experience.

You Are in Your Power, Watercolor on Yupo, 26×20”

I have been fortunate to exhibit at a variety of venues, such as the BlackRock Center for the Arts (Germantown, MD), Adah Rose Gallery (Kensington, MD), Art Works Gallery (Richmond, VA), Latela Curatorial (Washington, DC), and Emerge Gallery (New York, NY). I am also a board member of Montgomery Art Association and a member of Washington Water Color Association. 


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