Mural Part II, After

Here are the photos of the mural at the church upon completion.  Once I was done with the painting, I sealed it with Minwax Sanding Sealer to help protect the paint. 

This is a look at the mural before the sanding sealer has been applied.  Note the dull finish.
This is a look at the mural before the sanding sealer has been applied. Note the dull finish.

Once the sealer is applied, it really brings the colors to life.

Farm art, barns, latex house paint, mural-Denny Martindale
Feed stall
Farm art, mural, horse, bluebird, equine art-Denny Martindale
Horse and bluebird
farm art, mural, latex house paint-Denny Martindale
Tack room
farm tractor, Ford 8N, latex house paint, mural-Denny Martindale
Tractor bay

When I painted the mural that had to be removed, I had a good friend, Donna, help me as we had a serious deadline on that one.  We decided to paint her husband’s old Ford 8N tractor next to a horse in a stall.  When asked to redo it this time, I wondered if Donna would want to help me with the tractor again.  On the first mural, we had painted it from the back as though it had just been pulled in.  This time, I decided to reverse it, as her husband Greg went to heaven a couple of years ago.  She jumped at the chance and we had a good time putting it back where it belongs.

Ford 8N, farm tractor, mural-Denny Martindale
Donna roughing in the shape of Greg’s tractor

At the end of the hallway I painted barn doors against the red outside boards of a barn.

mural, farm art-Denny Martindale
End of hallway with barn doors

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of the mural, it was fun to paint.  I love to see the reactions and comments from the children, and everyone has their favorite character. 


Mural Part I, Before

Our church we attend, Grace Chapel, had asked me to do another mural for the hallway in the vicinity of the children’s classrooms.  I had done a couple of them before, and always enjoy seeing the kids faces light up when they see a mural, so I said yes.  The hallway led to a classroom, and then turned into a much narrower hallway.  They had the classroom and the narrow hall removed, and extended the wide hallway to another part of the building for better traffic flow.  Since the outside of the church resembles a barn, we continued the theme inside as well. 

Mural, Denny Martindale
Before the paint

The walls are approximately 20 feet long, and the mural is to extend around the far ends so it looks like barn doors.  Here are a couple of pictures with the background in:

mural, latex house paint, Denny Martindale
Background for right wall
mural, latex house paint, Denny Martindale
Background for left wall

Next time I will post the pictures of the completed mural.  Hope you all have a blessed week!

A Trio of Christmas Paintings

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.  Yes, I am way behind in my posts.  So, here is a set of three pastel paintings I did for a client for Christmas.

House painting, pastel painting, architectural painting
“Deck The Halls”, 9″ x 12″ pastel, private collection

This is the first house I have ever done in pastel, the only other one was a graphite drawing.  I was happy that I was able to capture the winter fog that frequently settles in the trees on the hill at the back of the property.

Christmas tree, landscape painting, decorative, Christmas card painting
“O’ Christmas Tree”, 12″ x 9″, pastel, private collection

This was a wonderful challenge.  I actually went and photographed the ornaments the family hangs on this large cedar tree each year.  On the night I photographed the tree, the moon was out, but only a sliver.  The client requested a full moon so I said I would see what I could do!



Cat, barn, farm art, Christmas, wreath, cross,
“Silent Night, Holy Night”, 9″ x 12″, pastel, private collection

The final piece is a painting of the little barn that is decorated every year.  The client asked if I could add in the family’s black cat (which had passed away earlier in the year) looking up at the wreath.

As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed working on all three of these paintings.  I pray that each and every one of you has a blessed New Year!



Batty About Art (or, artists draw a crowd)

Bat photo, artI spent most of the summer busy with a couple of large art projects that forced me to move my studio out to the barn.  Having the extra room to paint was wonderful, and being a barn I didn’t have to be quite as neat as in the house.  I spent numerous hours each day painting, in the company of our horse and cat, or so I thought.

After a few days it was evident we were being visited by raccoons at night via the cat door.  Fortunately, my supplies and pieces were elevated so the raccoons didn’t make a mess other than around the cat’s food dish.  We closed off the cat door which put a stop to their nightly rendezvous.  But the calm didn’t last long.  One morning I was greeted by a skunk that had dug it’s way into the barn under an exterior wall.  Luckily he ran back under the wall without spraying.  But it didn’t appear that he came out the other side either.  I placed a rag soaked in ammonia near the hole on the inside.  Within seconds he scampered out into the woods.  Now, to begin painting again!
One morning as dawn broke I entered the barn. Immediately after turning on the lights I noticed a pair of bats flitting about.  I knew we had one that returned every summer to roost by day on the floor joists of the underside of the loft floor which runs the length of the aisle of the barn where I had set up shop.  There are plenty of places to ‘hang out’ but I had only seen the one for a number of years.  I switched the lights off quickly and waited for them to light someplace.  As the sun rose high into the sky, the barn illuminated with wonderful light.  Perfect for painting the horse troughs and cutouts.  By late morning I was painting an upper portion of the Master of the Hounds which are 6′ tall.  As I looked upward, I noticed a bat flying wildly in the air in front of me.  I paused, and he landed on the side of a crossbeam above me.  He stretched out his wings and tilted his head repeatedly.  Okay, I’ve watched too many horror flicks to know this is probably not good, right?  The paint brush went one way as I went the other out the door.  I know artists like to draw a crowd, but this is not what I had in mind.  After a few deep breaths I made a couple of phone calls.  I finally spoke with the bat expert at the US Fish and Wildlife office.  He agreed I had seen too many movies and said bats move around more in the daytime than we realize.  He said he was probably looking for a cooler spot when he came upon me and was trying to figure out if I was a threat.  He felt sure the bat had already roosted again and it shouldn’t be a problem unless I find him on the floor flopping around or dead.


Taking his advice on faith I ventured back to the barn for my afternoon session.  Sure enough he had re-roosted:  directly above my paints so he could keep a close eye on me.  I studied him for quite a while, snapping a few photos also.  Occasionally he would clean a wing and look at me, then rest again.  I started doing a head count every morning and discovered there were 6 bats that I could see in the floor joists.  There was always one over the painting area, but everyone behaved.  Since fall has arrived they have left to hibernate for the winter, as I have also moved my studio back in the house.  I actually miss seeing them when I go feed the animals.  Bats do get a bad wrap, but I believe with proper awareness we can live with them instead of against them.  At least my art is drawing a crowd, sort of…and they noticeably lowered the insect population in the barn!


What an end to 2008!

Well, 2008 is over.  It was shaping up to be a mediocre year business wise, and I thought with the state of the economy during the last quarter that sales for that quarter would probably be close to flat.  I was somewhat  surprised as by Nov. 1 I did not have a single order for portraits for the Christmas season.  I am usually very busy.  I thought this strange, but sometimes God knows when you need to be busy and when you don’t. 

 However, the week before Thanksgiving, it hit.  Three pastel portraits before Christmas!  Two were farm scenes with the animals, barns, etc. and the other was a donkey.  No problem, right?  The donkey got moved back to a birthday for January 12.  The farm scenes on the other hand, were rather interesting.  No one seemed to be able to decide on the compositions.  Finally, each party agreed on their piece, and I finished the first one the second week of December.  The second one was finalized one week before Christmas.  My husband was a nervous wreck byChristmas Eve, because we also had all of the usual Christmas gatherings, as well as preparations, gift buying, etc.  Plus, we also had the added excitement of the printer quitting in the early stages of trying to print out our Christmas cards.  Hence my excuse for not having posted anything on this blog for eons as well.

On Christmas Eve morning, the client came for final proofing.  They liked, I framed, and out the door it went!  I likewise finished the donkey in under a week.  (They are all viewable at the website,      

The best thing about the entire experience is the fact that I learned many lessons from it.  First, I learned that I can deal with clients changing their minds (frequently, I might add) better than I thought I could.  Second, I am able to kick it into high gear when necessary and still produce the quality of art I am seeking.  Third, I am a more successful artist than I previously gave myself credit for. 

I am grateful for all of my clients, and the wonderful compositions they come up with.  I love that they push me farther than I might otherwise seek to take myself.  I love that with every painting I learn something new, as I will research what I need to complete the painting.  I am also looking forward to a fascinating 2009.  So many paintings and other wonderful things to do.  I wish you a splendid New Year and may God bless you in ways you never thought possible!