Made to Create

As artists, musicians and other creatives, we often question ourselves and our abilities.  We listen to the voice of the one who is against us and after a while we begin to believe the lie:  “What difference does my art really make?”  I create it, then what?  Even if it sells, it doesn’t change anything.  That is where as creatives and believers we are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Last month along with 20 to 30 other artists, I attended the ‘Made To Create’ workshop given by Deborah Gall of Abide Studio Ministries and hosted by Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN.  It was a wonderful time of worship and learning, all while giving glory to God the Father.

Deborah is completely in touch with God and listening to and doing His word.  She is passionate about reinforcing to the creative person the fact that we as artists were made to create, its in our genes and we are to go about it with purpose, passion, and as artistic warriors.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale,
One of the exercises at the Made to Create workshop

Taking us through a series of exercises over the course of the day, Deborah revealed how the scriptures not only give affirmation to craftsmen, but also command us to use the artistic gifts the Creator has given us to further His kingdom.  She offered scriptures, book references, as well as break out sessions for artists to worship and create in whatever form they desired.  Many painted, some played instruments and/or sang, while still others wrote poetry or in their journals, while another even danced.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale
One of the breakout sessions of free artistic worship

By the end of the day, each of us was filled with the Holy Spirit and a renewed sense of purpose for our art and life itself,.  We were deemed ‘artistic warriors’, and charged with Deborah’s mantra, “If you want to change a culture, change it’s art”.  Sometimes just hearing truth to the fact we are on the right path helps us to take the first steps to making change happen.  Thank you Deborah!


More Geraniums & Ivy

First of all, I am way behind on posts!  Busy but good summer, lot of humidity but up until today, we have been way below normal temps.  Like I said, until today.  We are definitely making up for it.  Now to get off the rabbit trail.

My client that I did the old door for was extremely pleased, and had also dropped off a large metal tub with a lid.  Someone called it an old double boiler, (if you know what it is, I would love to have you post it in the comments!), and it was beat up enough that the lid would just barely sit there, then if you bumped the tub it would fall in.

old metal tub, Denny Martindale
Good side of old metal tub

There were also a few rust spots, some that were pretty stubborn in the bottom.  I cleaned it up and bumped out the dents and actually got the lid where it sits pretty well.  We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do with it, when my client asked if I could put the geraniums and ivy on this piece too.  Once the bonding primer was on, I set to work painting it with latex house paint.

old metal tub, latex house paint
Geranium & Ivy tub

For the handles, lip, and inside of the tub and lid I painted it to look like old metal, maybe a weathered copper or old bronze look.  To complete the work I finished the insides and handles with a couple of coats of spar urethane to help protect against possible scratches, although care should still be taken with it.


old metal tub, latex house paint
View of inside of lid
old metal tub, latex house paint
Detail of Geranium & Ivy tub

I was rather pleased with the project as was my client.  Now on to the next project!  Look for the pastel portrait of a tabby cat I am finishing.  I think you will like it!  Happy painting!



Cutouts, the latest project

This has been a very interesting summer thus far.  I normally paint in pastels, watercolors, and acrylics in the studio in the house.  I also do a few murals and other things.  However, when one of my clients commissioned me to paint the horse troughs, I began a studio in the barn as well.  When we built the barn about 8 years ago, that was one of my “someday” goals, to have a real studio there.  I dreamed it would be in the west end of the expansive hay loft, complete with heat and air and a small water closet on the lower level.

art, studio
Art studio in the aisle of the barn with the finished horse troughs

Upon finishing the troughs, my client asked if I could possibly paint some wooden cutouts she had of hunt figures.  I said I would see what I could do.

painting on wood
Wooden cutouts awaiting paint (fox has primer coat)

She brought them out and I spent the next month painting life sized cutouts of Masters of the Hounds,  fox hounds, and foxes.  It is interesting to work on these as you have to use the shape that has been formed for you.  Once I got going though, I was quite pleased with how they turned out.

Master of the hounds, foxhunting
Masters of the Hounds partially complete
fox hunting, master of the hounds
A completed Master of the Hounds ready for shipping


I painted them with latex house paint, using only about 8-10 base colors from which I mix the myriad of other colors needed.  Once complete, I coat them with polyurethane.  Each figure had two bases which also needed paint and coating upon which they will stand upright.

fox hound, art
Fox hound with the bases attached. I painted the bottom of the figures and the bases to look like grass.

This week I delivered 2 foxes, 6 Masters of the Hounds, and 9 Fox Hounds to my client.   She was delighted.  Now I have 8 more foxes to do, plus I am looking into some more horse troughs!   Looks like the animals might have to move out!

artist, fox hounds, studio
The artist with 3 of the fox hound cutouts ready to ship. They are on one of the two easels my husband built on either side of the aisle with the paint tables in the center of the aisle.



Next Phase

horse trough, base coat
Applying the base coat

Here, I am applying the base coat on top of the

horse trough, next layer
This one will be a different scene from the other two

They will have a fox and hound hunt theme to them, with each having a different scene.  I have painted the background for the sky on this one.

horse trough, next step
Background for the other two

This is the first of many layers for the image.  Two will be a woodland scene which I am starting on this one.  It is definitely not a flattering phase of the painting, but it is all part of the process.

In the zone

Out there, in deep, really into it, in the zone.   This is the time when you are so into whatever it is you are doing.  It is a state when you just blend in, you don’t fight it, and things happen.  Maybe you are running, training a horse, playing music, dancing or painting a picture.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Many people say it is a release, letting go of the built up stress, similar to meditation.  I say it is something different.

I go to this place nearly every time I paint.  It is as though the rest of the world does not exist.  One thing I find fascinating is that it is as if something (or someone) else is moving my hand.  I get so lost in painting that it can turn dark outside and I have no idea.  I believe I am actually connecting with God, that He has created this other worldly plane and has invited me to visit.  I am aware of what I am painting, but it suddenly starts to come together, almost as if it is progressing without my help.  It is a most wonderful feeling to suddenly sit back and think, “Oh, that is where we are with this”.   Even sound is not the same.  I never tire of it, and it is always new and refreshing.  Call it intense concentration, or maybe a passion.  I still say it is the invitation of God to spend time with Him using one of the gifts He has supplied.  It is just an amazing place! 

However, there is just one problem with it.  Time seems as though it stands still, but it really doesn’t.  The next thing you know, you are late for an appointment.  I must set a timer of some sort that will jar me back to reality if I have to tend to something else at an appointed time.  I usually don’t like this part, but it is a must.  Besides, you can’t live there permanently.  I thoroughly enjoy my time with God.  While it is not the only way by any means to spend time with Him, it is a good way.  I hope you can find your “passion” and spend some time with Him in this fashion also.