Meet Martha Lee Anne


Hi there, I’m Martha Lee Anne, but my close friends and family call me “MLA.” I’m an accidentally made abstract artist living in Birmingham, Alabama with my husband, Bastien, and my son, Henry.

With little else to do in my small southern town, I grew up climbing trees, writing stories, growing tomatoes, and creating my own interest. I’ve always been creative, but didn't pursue painting until early 2020, while looking for my "old" self in a season of single parenthood and widowhood. As I had already "worked it out" on the red clay and monkey grass in the backyard, life handed me a canvas. 

Painting is my way of reaching into barefoot days or a walk with my husband through the vineyard behind his family home in Ouveillan, France. It's my way of remembering what is good and whole, and trying my best to bring that feeling to the canvas. I'm guided by emotion, memory, dear faces, Ouveillan, and even the colors and textures of paint! 

Today, you can find me in my garage studio- doors open wide- painting while Henry plays, and Walden (the pug) snores. 



Artist Statement

There is often a private, almost sacred freedom that we experience when we are home- when we return to the people, places, memories, and moments that bring us fully and wholly to ourselves. Playing with my son Henry, eating sorbet by the sea, walking with my husband, closing my eyes to pray between sips of coffee- these are the ordinary landscapes, moments, and memories that I rely on as I paint. I paint in acrylic layers with rollers and paintbrushes- adding more texture and shape with pallets knives and oil sticks as the layers progress. I often build the composition of my paintings around the energy of an emotion or in shapes and structure reminiscent of the French countryside and architecture. In the last layers, I work mostly with oil stick- creating earthy textures and open spaces- I adore the way these spaces can create comfort, quiet, or give attention to details we otherwise might miss (sounds a lot like life). While I’m very interested in the story I’m telling through paint, I often let paint tell its own story- challenging me to explore new shapes, spaces, and layers. One way or another, in this layer or the next, I trust that every painting will find it's own way home.


My greatest inspirations are my faith journey, my love story, motherhood, and the landscapes and colors in the South of France-Memories and moments that left me feeling lighter, softer, and a little more whole. Some unexpected sources of inspiration are textiles (especially white linens), antiques, handmade ceramics, paint itself, and even my favorite literature! My art very much embodies the best parts of life and home for me.

My Favorite Medium

Growing up in rural, South Alabama- I spent most of my weekends at my grandparents' house in Repton. Oil paint might seem refined, but for me, oil sticks are all Repton...rolling hills, warm dirt under your feet, and the sun at your heels. They're my favorite because it's almost like painting with the garden or vineyard dirt! They add a texture and velvet smooth color that is both romantic, and nostalgic, but they also add something that has been touched, personal- smoothed by hand!

Favorite Tools and Brushes

When I first started painting, I couldn't use a paintbrush- just didn't know how. Alas, my early paintings were painted mostly by palette knife. While I use brushes today, palette knives allow me to build in layers, texture, or add in concentrated color for a gorgeous contrast. The brushes here, I've had since the beginning- same with my handy dandy pencil. I began using my roller more recently, but adore the lived-in, aged story it can build into any painting. While I use oil sticks often, I've used most of these tools to compliment them- blending, rolling, and even doodling to bring my works to life.