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Winter has hit the United States with quite a punch, as all of the lower 48 states have had areas of below freezing temperatures. Here in Middle Tennessee, we do get snow occasionally, but some years we don’t receive much more than a dusting. This past week we received freezing rain, then a few inches of sleet, more freezing rain, more sleet, then at least five inches of snow. I grew up in Michigan, so I am always game for a good bout of winter weather. The ice on the other hand, well, I don’t care for that or how the roads get here in the South.
When it does snow, I have to get out in it. It makes me feel as though God has opened up the heavens somehow and I am able to feel His presence. Crazy, I know. So I went for a walk around our place and took a few photos for your (and mine ;)) enjoyment. I hope you like them! It was completely overcast and we were actually getting freezing rain again while I was out, so I used my cell phone instead of the SLR.
I hope you enjoyed the journey! Have you done anything interesting this winter or do you have a favorite winter sport or activity? Would love to hear from you, stay safe and I am praying for everyone in Texas who has been in the throes of the winter storms this past week. Blessings!
January is a great time for rest and renewal, as well as a time to reflect on the previous year and ask myself, “How was it overall, and what could I have done better or differently?” I also like to ask God what He feels needs to change in my life and my art business, Martindale Artworks (MAW). I know a lot of people are happy 2020 is over as it was definitely a challenging one for all of us.
January was my usual time to take a short break from artwork to clean and organize the studio, as well as catch up on paperwork and do some planning for the coming year. In February, our aging computer started having issues, so I purchased a new one which was great once set up, but not being very tech savvy, it was not as straight forward as I thought it should be. After a phone call to tech support and a lot of file transferring, it was business as usual.
March of course brought the pandemic and everyone in lockdown. No one had ever been here before, so it seemed as every moment brought something new, as well as too much finger pointing and blaming, but that is another post for someone else. For many, fear wedged itself into life and I prayed that as many as possible would seek Jesus and find any remnant of peace they could. April began the mask mandates and many projects, gatherings etc. were either put on hold or canceled completely.
In May I noticed our aging printer started having some issues so I set about getting a new one. I have used Epson printers exclusively over the years for the greeting cards I print of my artwork and photographs (available by clicking here). I have gotten a lot of miles out of every one of them, so I was searching for either the same one or the next generation of that line. I did not take into consideration that with the pandemic, thousands if not millions of people and students were now working and studying from home and the chances of getting a new printer were slim to none. I had to check online every couple of days to see if any printers were available anywhere.
Fortunately the first week of June I found a printer and had it delivered. We hooked it up and I immediately noticed it didn’t quite sound like the solid printers I had in the past; it sounded like it had cheap parts or something, however, it printed very well. While I had a good supply of cards already printed, I would soon need to order more cardstock to be prepared for the upcoming Christmas season. I went to order it and found out it had been discontinued and after some investigating, I discovered the company had stopped producing it in January! What? Noooooo! I have used this cardstock for over ten years and I get a lot of compliments on it from my customers. Ugh!!
July brought about a search for new cardstock and after a couple of weeks I had samples arrive in the mail. I reviewed them, made a selection and started experimenting. I am glad I had a supply of cards as I just wasn’t as happy with the new cardstock. I decided in August to continue looking for another brand. I prayed that I would be able to find a perfect fit and during one of my internet searches, I decided on a whim to see if I could find the original cardstock that had been discontinued. I honestly thought I was seeing things when it turned up in my search. They had brought it back!!! Thank You Jesus! Did they receive enough complaints that they brought it back? Didn’t matter, I jumped on it and stocked up, even though it was back ordered because so many other artists like myself had been waiting for this. After a few weeks it arrived and I was back in business.
September into December were uneventful and business as usual until Christmas Day. That morning a bomb went off in downtown Nashville, TN that knocked out an AT&T communications center. A number of people were without phone or internet service for a few days, and we had a few weird communication issues ourselves. They quickly got things back up and running and I pray for everyone who lost their home and/or business from the blast.
Enter January 2021 (Happy New Year by the way!). I did my usual regrouping in the studio and paperwork for MAW and started working on opening the shop on the MAW website. I started printing cards to replenish my stock when I noticed the printing on the back of the cards was off. They had a couple of random lines of text that appeared italicized, but they really weren’t. I then spent a great deal of time troubleshooting how to possibly fix this problem. I prayed about it and called Epson as the printer was barely eight months old and was still under warranty. After three hours and a number of checks they deemed the printer was defective and they replaced it, at which time I sent the “old” one back. Once the new printer was hooked up and running, I immediately noticed how much more solid and quieter it was than the previous one. Thank You Jesus! Thank You Epson! In the meantime I received a commission for a pet portrait and am working on a couple of other projects as well.
Yes, 2020 was quite a year for all of us but I think one thing it has reaffirmed in me is perseverance. I am not tech savvy, and I spent a lot more time on the computer than normal this past year. There were numerous times I could have given up on printing cards, but I turned it over to the Lord and kept at it. And the fact that the calendar changed, it didn’t seem to change the problems. They were still there. But I have to ask myself, “Have I changed enough to help my circumstances, or at least the way I perceive them? Have I asked God what His thoughts are and to help me with my problems?” I truly hope and pray that you are doing well and that you will ask God to help you and lead you in these current times. It is definitely better to trust in the Lord than in man.
“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.” -Jeff Valdez
This winter weather is really packing a punch here in the states! Here in Tennessee we have ice with a few inches of sleet over it, and Texas and Oklahoma are covered in snow with below 0 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. Everything is shut down for the most part, but we are doing okay. Praying for everyone who is without power and/or water, stay safe out there!
Last summer I received a large commission to paint fox hunting themes on six galvanized tubs to be used for bottled beverages on ice. They all have a spigot, which is not attached in the photos for easy draining of the water from the melted ice. They are to be used for catered private parties by my client, and possibly at the horse show venues at the Kentucky Horse Park. The KHP is closed right now due to the corona virus, but you can still walk around outside and see the amazing sculpture park.
The round tubs are 1′ high by 2′ across, and the oblong tubs are 1′ high by 2′ wide and 4′ long. They are painted with latex house paint and sealed with two coats of spar urethane.
All artwork by Denny Martindale and copyright Denny Martindale.
One of the commissions I did last year for Christmas was to paint a hummingbird on a teaspoon. My Mom had already picked out a nice sugar spoon that she wanted me to paint a bird on, so I painted them together. My client and her recipient as well as my Mom all loved them, and I hope you do too! Let me know in the comments!
Do YOU like it? was first published in July of 2017, and thought I would re-post it as it is always relevant. I hope your New Year is off to a good start!
Make no mistake, but everyone’s tastes are different. Whether it is art, clothing, music, food, you name it and we each have our own individual style. While this is the way God created us, to be unique, it can also ruffle a few feathers, so to speak. Our uniqueness gives the world great variety and color and it would be a truly boring place if we were all the same! Whats more, we all have our own opinions, especially when it comes to art.
People buy art for many reasons, maybe a piece has their favorite color, or it matches the sofa in the living room. Perhaps the subject matter reminds them of a special place, or a particular event or person in their life. Whatever the reason, it is their reason and yes, they have to live with it. I am often asked by friends or family what I think about a piece of art they are contemplating purchasing. I may not care for it for whatever reason, but I try to help them make sure it is quality materials, and asking where they might be displaying it (as a general rule, paintings should not be in direct sunlight). If pressed about whether or not I like it, I explain that it isn’t about what I think but what they think and how they feel about the piece.
Recently, a friend of mine brought over a painting for me to look at that she had purchased at a thrift store for $1. It would look good in the kitchen of her new apartment. She was so excited about her find, but before she showed it to me, she explained that it was of a rooster and when she saw the piece it reminded her of a rooster I painted on a mural a few years ago. She had always loved that rooster, so this painting really touched her. She said that it was ‘not like the way you paint’, and thought possibly a child or a beginning artist had painted it. I told her that was okay, and if she liked it, that was all that mattered. Upon seeing it, I agreed that perhaps a child or beginner could have painted it, and explained that it was a point and time in that artist’s life, style and ability, and the art she chooses for her home doesn’t have to be like what I paint.
I asked her if she liked it and of course, she did. I replied that is what really matters, and truthfully, it is all that really matters, the fact that she liked it. I explained to her that I have seen a lot of art that I didn’t particularly care for, but that doesn’t mean that someone else shouldn’t like it or buy it. Furthermore, if she found something she really liked for a dollar, then more power to her! She phoned me later to tell me she had asked a couple of other people what they thought, and they said the rooster was too skinny, that the painting had a lot of issues. With that, she donated it back to the thrift store and is on the hunt for something else. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
I hope you are surrounded by artwork and things that you love that bring back fond memories. It really doesn’t matter who did it, how much you paid for it, etc. The bottom line is, do YOU like it?
Tomorrow night, Tuesday July 31, 2018 at 10pm Eastern Time/9 pm Central, the new television show “Making It will premiere on NBC in the United States. It is hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman and will be a contest of different makers/artisans/crafters who will be judged on the item they make for the show. Think of The Great British Bake Off, only with a craft theme. You can catch the trailer by clicking on the link below. Would love to hear your thoughts on it!
Another Grace Chapel VBS is in the books! I was the team lead for the Design Team, and I had one of the best group of volunteers I could ever have hoped for! We averaged 3 days a week for about 3 months from start to installation and the set blessed over 500 children! The theme was ‘Shipwrecked, Rescued by Jesus’ and we are still receiving compliments on our work.
Above is the Small Hallway, or what I call the Ad Hall. This vignette goes up about a month or so before VBS begins and it basically advertises that VBS registration is open. As kids register, their names are placed on the net, and they are always thrilled to look through the many names and find theirs.
Each year everyone looks forward to the landing area, where we try to have a scene that fits in with the theme. It is usually something that is a great backdrop for photos, and the kids love having their pictures taken in front of these vignettes. This time however, they wanted to be in the waterfall! We had to reset the Styrofoam rocks after every service!
This hallway we decided to make it feel like the kids were on their way to board the ship, so we created a dock with piers. I loved seeing the toddlers trying to touch the ‘water’, which was blue crepe-like fabric with clear cellophane and blue puck lights underneath!
Another popular place we create is the 10′ x 20′ Check In Station, where the children check in each morning of VBS. We install a week or two ahead of time, and people love to mill around with a coffee and read a book in here.
These are the 10′ and 14′ palm trees assembled on stage. I love the paper bag ‘bark’! Thank you Donna and Linda!
The ship was a 9′ tall large frame with paneling for the sides. I painted the wood grain to complete the look. Here, James, the ship builder, top and right, and Kelly are setting it up on stage. I was amazed at how little time it took him to take it apart and reassemble it. Awesome!
The photo above shows the Shipwrecked stage in the Chapel area, with a forest of little palm trees where the kids break out into groups to participate.
This is the ship complete with mast, sails and ladder. The kids went crazy over this piece!
Donna, myself, Lynley, George, Linda, and Kelly with Jonathon and Daniel. By the way, Kelly also had an acting part in the skits. Awesome job everyone and thank you so much for all of your hard work!
I hope you have enjoyed seeing what I have been up to these past few months, and I would love to hear from you!