Working on 'Carriage Tour'-Denny Martindale

A Bavarian Carriage Tour, or Kutschen-Tour

Earlier this year the familiar little guitar strum (that’s what it sounds like to me) on my phone went off notifying me of activity on my Etsy account.  It was a message from a lady interested in commissioning me to paint a bucket for her.  As we messaged back and forth regarding details, I discovered she lived in Bavaria, as in Bavaria, Germany!  I am always amazed at how we can connect with people from all over the world, and am so honored when they appreciate my art.

She wanted the images to be of her and her husband driving her horse and carriage.  The tricky part was she wanted the bucket in a particular size range, and, she wanted it to be oval.  I said I would do some checking and get back with her, and I really didn’t think it would be too difficult to find something that would work as there are a lot of oval metal buckets out there.

I got online and started looking, perused numerous antique, junktique, and thrift stores and anything else that might have something that would work.  My cell phone was starting to load up with numerous pictures of buckets, but none of them were the correct size.  Finally, one popped up and it met all the necessary parameters.  Thank you Jesus!  I immediately sent my client photos and a description and everything was a go.  As it turns out, I believe it is a vintage galvanized mop bucket, similar to the one the janitor used in our elementary school.  The bracket underneath sat on a dolly or coaster of wheels and had a wringer mechanism on the top for the mop and the janitor would just roll it from room to room.  Fortunately it was in good condition, so I immediately set to work cleaning and prepping it for paint.

Bottom of bucket-Denny Martindale
Bottom of bucket

Upon completion, I boxed it up and sent it on it’s way, praying for a safe and timely arrival.  About a week later I received a notification that  it had passed customs and arrived at her door.  However, she stated she wanted to wait to open it until her birthday in a couple of weeks and would notify me then.  My anticipation of her seeing it and letting me know how she liked it grew, and I was grateful when she replied that it was absolutely wonderful.  I said I was honored to paint it for her, as I am with all of my clients.  Below are a few photos of the Bavarian Carriage Tour Bucket.

Inside of bucket after I gave it an antiqued effect with latex house paint.
Working on 'Carriage Tour'-Denny Martindale
Working on the details
Side 1
Side 2
Side 1 Detail-Denny Martindale
Closeup of side 1
Isolde and friend with bucket
My client sent me a photo of her with her horse and her bucket
Freedom milk can top-Denny Martindale

Freedom, Independence, and Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, or, Independence Day, whichever you prefer!  In honor of this wonderful holiday, I thought I would share with you the milk can that I painted late last summer titled ‘Freedom Can’.  This full sized milk can features Old Glory as the background, with an eagle on one side and a horse on the other, then is topped off with 7 stars. It is painted with latex house paint (even the antiqued effect on the top rim, handles, upper band and bottom) then protected with two coats of spar urethane.  I hope you all have a safe, happy and blessed 4th of July!

Caum Kittens Drawing-Denny Martindale

Abby and Cassie

One of my longtime clients brought me a handful of photos of two of her cats that had passed away to see if I could use them to paint her a portrait of them.  We reviewed them and decided to use one of them as kittens sitting on her bed.  They also happened to be sitting on an afghan that her mother had made for her.  Below are some progress pictures showing the original photo with the drawing, all the way to the finished piece.

Caum Kittens Drawing-Denny Martindale








Thank you for visiting, please feel free to leave your thoughts by clicking on the link to the comments section above!

Entrance closeup

VBS 2016

The crew tidying up a bit
Main stage for ‘Cave Quest’

Once again this year I was part of the design team to create the stage for our church’s Vacation Bible School program.  Grace Chapel, in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, is known for it’s strong music, drama, and visual arts community.  I am very fortunate to be a part of that!  This year we had over 600 kids and 220+ volunteers attend the week long program.

So, come along for a short journey in pictures and see our interpretation of ‘Cave Quest’!

We have an area on a landing that is great for unique visuals, so we put together a mock cave entrance in the woods.  The theme is ‘Jesus, light of the World’, so we put a cross just inside with colored lighting.  All of these styrofoam pieces were reused from last year’s Mt. Everest VBS.  With a little tweaking with a hot knife, and a bit of paint, we were ready to roll!

Another cave entrance
Mock cave entrance for landing
Entrance closeup
Close up of ‘cave entrance’

Next, we had to create the check in caves (two 10′ x 10′ canopies with paper over them) and paper the long hallway to resemble a cave.

Check in cave
Check in caves beside the entrance to the cave hallway.
Preparing to hang the 'cave walls'
Team member Link wondering where to start for hanging paper.
Entrance to Cave Hall
Cave hallway entrance, that leads to the stage.
Cave Hall
Back of hallway.

We also needed to create 65 stanchion formations, 50 that the children would gather around during certain functions, and the rest to set around as decoration.  Team member Maria came up with the idea to have ‘crystals’ coming out of the rocks.  Sounds good, lets get to work!  6 colors, 65 pieces each, got it…

completed stanchion
Finished stanchion, atop extra white foam discs.

Now to retool and repaint the stage pieces from last year.  This year we were able to get a little more height to the ends of the background pieces, and it really added another dimension to it.

Pre paint 8 ft h and 8 ft wide
This is an 8′ high x 4′ wide x 2″ thick piece of the styrofoam mountain from last year.  I re-cut it with a hot knife, added a bit of spray foam for texture, then added an 8′ long base to it.  Ready for paint!
Maria with some of the stage pieces
Team member Maria with a few of the stalagtite and stalagmite formations we created.
Putting up back drop
Youth Pastor Bill and team member Maria starting to hang the background drape amidst the caverns.


Closeup of main stage
Some of the characters already hanging around.
Cave Quest in action
Cave Quest attendees in action!



The Dump Truck

Well, it has been a couple of months since I have posted anything, mainly due to a bad case of bronchitis and being out of town.  I am now back in the  saddle as they say, so I figured I better get blogging!

I do a fair amount of painting for our church, Grace Chapel in Leiper’s Fork, TN.  This past winter, our Youth Pastor, Bill Cannon, asked if I could assist him in painting a stage prop he had built for the annual GC Kids Production, ‘Kids Under Construction’, that took place in March.  Pastor Bill is known for his creative engineering talents and he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to building something.  He showed me his idea of the dump truck, then showed me the parts that needed to be painted.  I said I would help and then proceeded to paint the frame and cab at the church as they were rather large.  The other parts I carried to my studio to paint there.

Purple foam sheets are the pieces for the dump box, and the white foam discs are going to be the tires.
PVC pipes that will be painted with ‘chrome’ spray paint and become the axles and exhaust
Exhaust pipes drying.  The ‘chrome’ spray paint was really nice to work with.

The frame was made of wood, the axles and exhaust pipes were made of PVC pipe, the gas tanks were large rectangular plastic jugs with silver insulation wrapped around them, then the tires, box, and cab were made out of styrofoam.



Sides, tailgate and tires ready for shipping!

The studio was rather cramped for space and I did a bit of rotation as the pieces were painted and set to dry.


Rear view, and yes, it actually rolls!




Once we assembled the truck, I added red glitter letters to the sides, and there was also yellow chains to finish off the box, but for some reason I do not have a photo of that.

Nearing completion, setting up the stage.

It all came together nicely, and during the show the 10 foot long dump truck even had smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes, thanks to a smoke machine Pastor Bill had hidden in the box of the truck!  I hope you enjoy the pictures, and would love to hear your thoughts!  Have you created something out of styrofoam?


Leon in progress 10-Denny Martindale

Pastel Portrait of Leon-From Start to Finish

My most recent pastel pet portrait is of Leon, a beautiful Australian Shepherd.  The portrait was a wedding gift from my client and her sister to their niece and her husband.  When my client and I met, she brought along photographs and the one we decided on was of Leon sitting between his owners, which also happened to be the wedding invitation.  She said if I needed any more for reference, I could visit the website for their wedding.  Most of the photos on the site were of Leon, so  I knew he had a very special place in their hearts!  Below you will see the progress of the painting from the original charcoal drawing I start with all the way to the finished piece.  The painting is done on 14″ x 11″  tan Ampersand Pastelbord.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Charcoal drawing of Leon-Denny Martindale
Original charcoal drawing of Leon
Background, Leon, pastel-Denny Martindale
Background of Leon, pastel

At this point, my client and I agreed to tone the background down a bit more.

Leon in progress 1-Denny Martindale
Starting to add color

Leon in progress 2-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 3-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 4-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 5-Denny MartindaleLeon in progress 7-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 8-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 9-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 10-Denny Martindale
Finished custom pastel pet portrait of Leon, 14″ x 11″, Denny Martindale

Thanks for viewing the progress of Leon, have a blessed day and would love to hear from you!

Peanut Patton, matted, framed, and ready to ship-Denny Martindale

Pastel Pet Portrait of Peanut, from Start to Finish

I love painting portraits of pets, and animals in general, and I am always honored when someone commissions me to do one of a beloved pet that has passed on, waiting to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  Such is the case with Peanut Patton, a beautiful little dog that meant the world to his owner Jim.

While I do many pet portraits, I have a tendency to get rather focused on the painting itself and forget to take photos showing the progress from start to finish.  Below you will see the photos of Peanut’s portrait starting with the reference photo and ending with the matted and framed painting.

Peanut Patton photo
Reference photo.  Peanut’s coloring is a little bit ‘washed out’ in this photo.
Drawing for Peanut-Denny Martindale
Charcoal drawing of Peanut
Peanut in progress 1-Denny Martindale
Jim and I agreed to place Peanut in the grass, so the background was blocked in.
Peanut in progress 2-Denny Martindale
Starting on Peanut.

I started working on Peanut, beginning primarily with the areas that would have other areas of fur overlapping them.

Peanut in progress 3-Denny Martindale
From blocking in to establishing a color range of the various shades of fur.
Peanut in progress 4-Denny Martindale
Sometimes the progress doesn’t always look the best…
Peanut in progress 5-Denny Martindale
…but if you continue working it will all come together!
Peanut Patton, matted, framed, and ready to ship-Denny Martindale
Peanut Patton, pastel, 11″ x 14″, matted, framed, and ready for shipping!

I thoroughly hope you have enjoyed seeing the progress, and would love to hear your comments!  God bless!