To Germany With Love

Once again a client in Bavaria asked if I could paint on a couple of buckets for her to give this Christmas as gifts for their children.  I said of course, and the hunt began for a couple of older buckets that were in decent shape.  Some of the old buckets are in bad shape and actually need to be reshaped, but these were pretty good.  They sent me some photos for reference, and I set to work prepping, painting and sealing.  I finished them in time to ship out (international shipping takes a very long time during the month of December, so when the post office says to get your item in the mail by December 1, they mean it!) and received notification that they had arrived in Germany.

Daughter’s Bucket



Son’s Bucket


The insides of the buckets are painted to have an antique metal appearance.  They are both coated in spar urethane.  I thoroughly enjoyed working on these pieces, and I just love the dress of the children and the flowers in their horse’s manes.  As always I was happy to hear they arrived and everyone loved them.  Thank you for looking and have a blessed day!


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








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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!



Happy New Year!

Okay, so I am a little late.  Have been snowed in for three days, and have been quite busy, although not painting!  It has all been work in repainting the house.  Yes, exciting as it is, that is what I have been up to.  Plus taking a couple of days off from work, as well as watching the animals play in the snow.  Or not.

The horse is fine until the wind kicks up.  Then as it howls through the trees he takes off like a mad man through the pasture nostrils flaring.  He finally makes it back to the hay which will keep him warm.  The term “hayburner” really is a true statement. 

The cat on the other hand would much rather be in Cancun at this time of year.  He meets me at the door of the barn with a grimace as if I am not shutting the door quick enough and am letting in the cold.  He quickly goes to his dish where he waits impatiently for what he considers not enough food.  It is much more tolerable when there is juice from say, tuna or salmon that has been drizzled over his kibbles.  He reminds me of myself when I have been given cheesecake with raspberries and white chocolate!  Once finished, he quickly bounds to the hay loft and back to the cubby I made for him out of the hay.  I think my animals are definitely southerners!

More Ice, snow, and cabin fever

If you like winter weather, this past weekend was for you.  It started out Friday morning.  Within a half an hour, Columbia, Tn had been dumped on.  The roads immediately had over 4″ of snow, then it started sleeting with a touch of freezing rain.  Schools had already closed, and everything else closed quickly.  It took people an average of three hours or more to get from one end of town to the other.  It snowed all day, then turned to freezing rain again that evening.  Needless to say, everyone was snowed in. 

Some areas were without power, most not lasting a full day.  We had five inches or more of snow on the ground and about 1/2″ of ice on top of it.  The horse stayed in for three days, as the ice was sharp and cracked terribly.  The noise of the ice cracking did not impress him at all.  Cabin fever built up quickly in everyone, including the animals.  Upon opening the barn door each morning, the cat would run out the door and stand, mesmerized for a moment that with each day conditions had not improved.  Soon, a grimmace covered his face and back into the barn he went.  The ice and snow were tough on the dog’s arthritis, but we shoveled a few paths for her, making life tolerable again. 

Finally, the temps bumped up into the 30’s.  Melting had begun.  This did not make the cat’s day, as his highness does not like to get his toes wet.  More days in the barn.  The dog enjoyed each hour of sunlight, warming her dark coat and exposing more of her kingdom called the grassy yard around the house and barn.  The horse was finally turned out again.  Freedom!  He ran through the pasture kicking and bucking like a mad man.  It is at this time one has to be especailly cautious.  Do not get in his way! 

Even at the restaurant I work at families came in looking as though they could not take one more day cooped up with the kids.  Adults chit-chatted while the children around or talked and laughed.  Finally, some sense of normal life was beginning to return!

Ice, snow, and winter animal care

Old man winter has landed over the US.  And since the Lord is in control of any and all climate change, I do not pay much attention to the rest of the jibberish regarding that topic.  I love snow, but the ice on the roads is a different story.  I am actually able (for now) to get down off the ridge we live on to go to work.  Most of the roads are covered in ice and snow and the schools have been shut down for two days.  It isn’t any more than an inch of snow, but here in Tennessee it can really make the roads a skating rink.  It can also be challenging taking care of animals in the winter as well.

The animals seem to be taking it all in stride, although the cats and horses enjoy getting in out of the weather at night.  Our dog Cisco (aka Methusula because she is so old) has her own cubby in the garage complete with bed and nightlight.   She spends most of her time in there, only coming out to go outside, eat, check on the animals in the barn, and get the paper.  Yes, at 15 and 1/2 yrs of age, this Rottweiller/German Shephard mix still gets the paper at the end of the drive most mornings.  At her age, exercise is strictly a selective activity.  One day one might think she is going down hill fast.  The next morning, she is out happily walking the fence line. 

All of our animals have fresh water and plenty of food year round.  I would like to encourage everyone to do the same.  Fresh water in winter is just as important as food.  If you don’t have electric heaters to thaw the water, you must take time to chip the ice and replenish the water.  Whether or not you blanket your horse is up to you.  I feel they do better without, unless their health has been compromised or they are aged.  Cats and dogs do quite well out of the elements in a garage, barn, or shed with plenty of straw.  Straw is better than hay (and usually cheaper) because it is hollow inside and insulates much better.  Short haired animals should not be exposed to the extreme cold except to take care of business.  

If your horses have shoes, be watchful that they don’t get balls of ice built up on the bottom of their feet.  You can spray the bottom of the foot and shoe with Pam or put baby oil on them and this will help deter the ice buildup.  However, the oils can also lead to bacterial buidup if their stalls are not kept immaculate.  If horses are kept in, make sure the stalls are kept clean and the ammonia buildup in the air is kept to a minimum.  Fresh air, food, water, and bedding are always a must. 

I truly pray for a prosperous and peaceful New Year for each and every one of you.  If you have questions about animal care, please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for more information.


     Over the years we have all heard of unwanted or stray dogs and cats, many of which are dropped off on the side of the road, left to fend for themselves.  Sometimes they are just abandoned in a home when the owners move out.  However, there is a new problem that has popped up on the horizon in the past year or so.  It is unwanted horses.  Just a few years ago, one might hear of such a thing once in a great while.  Now, the frequency has increased dramatically.

     I have heard of numerous occasions where someone has gone to a horse auction, decided to leave without buying anything, and found their trailer loaded with horses.  There are also reports of horses being turned loose on state and federal lands, similar to the abandoned dog or cat.  As an animal lover, I have a difficult time with these situations.  I know that economics plays an important part, but there are a couple of other issues at hand as well.

       The first is the closing of the slaughter plants in the U. S.  While it is not pleasant to think about, unfortunately I guess they have their place in the checks and balances.  I am not condoning this, just making a statement.  I would rather humanely put my horse down than send it off to such a place.  It boils down to personal preference. 

      The other issue is that of overbreeding.  This holds true for the dogs and cats as well.  There can be too much of a good thing.  I love animals, but I also know how many I realistically have time and money for.  It does not do them or myself any good to go beyond that equation.  There have even been two horse rescue operations that had to be shut down and “rescued” themselves because they were bombarded with unwanted or neglected horses. 

      Pet ownership is not only fun and fulfilling, but it is also a responsibility.  Please spay, neuter, or geld your animals.  Many bloodlines have lost a great deal of good dispostion over the greed for numbers and confirmation.  Maybe if we slow down on the number of animals that we generate, it would make a tremendous difference in the long run.  If you would like to read more about the unwanted horse issue, you can visit the USA Today website at