It’s Here Again!

Yes, it is here again, tax time that is.  Here in the United States, most everyone is required by law to file a federal income tax return for the previous year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which must be postmarked by midnight, April 15 every year.  You may also be responsible for State Income Tax as well, and this varies from state to state.  Yes, I said most, as there are some exemptions, and you can take a survey on the IRS website by clicking on the link here.

This always leads to long lines at the post offices as people have put off filing, and again, it needs to be postmarked by midnight, April 15.  However, this year the filing date has been extended to midnight April 18 so you have a couple of extra days!  Efile.com has a table of filing dates which you can view by clicking here.  For more in depth information on State Income Tax, you will need to visit the website of your state’s government offices or contact an Income Tax specialist in your area.  Art, taxes

Unsubscribe

unsubscribe

One of my New Years resolutions was to simplify more.  Simplify not only my life in general, but also my MAW (Martindale Artworks) business.  I have three email accounts, one for my website, one that I had from a previous version of the MAW website, and my personal account.  After the first of the year, I sat down and started cleaning up emails and the first two accounts went rather quickly.  However, the personal account has been overwhelmingly inundated in the past year with an unbelievable amount of junk.  The account is arranged with Primary, Social, and Promotional tabs, and I knew that I had been strictly dealing with the emails that seemed important, and letting the rest go.  “I will get to them later”, I kept telling myself.  Therefore, I had over 2100 emails in the one account!  Yikes!  So I set out to start hitting the delete button.

Well, not so fast.  I was curious to know where all this stuff was coming from.  The Primary tab was pretty much items that I had saved for information, or pertained to something that was in progress, so that tab was good.  Social had the least, and is basically blogs I follow, Facebook notifications, etc. and I whittled that one down pretty quickly.  Now for the Promotions tab.  They were literally from everywhere.  Places like Nashville Paw Magazine, Professional Artists’ Magazine, Hobby Lobby, etc, were fine.  The rest I wanted to know how I made their list.  Some were because I ha signed a petition, contacted a congressman, bought or inquired about something and one of their affiliates was sending me an offer.  Others were much more vague, loosely tied to some entity I was familiar with, while a few were just randomly sent to me.

This REALLY irritates me for a couple of reasons:  first, it loads up everyone’s email accounts with things we aren’t even interested in.  There were actually a couple of good blogs in the mix, but I unsubscribed for the simple fact that they never asked me to sign up.   Second, it makes legitimate businesses that send out legitimate newsletters look bad.  I send out a MAW newsletter once a month (on average) and I DO NOT give, sell, lease, rent or buy email addresses.  I just don’t play that game.  I want people to sign up because they like my work, I mean I truly have enough to do without all that. Furthermore, I have run into people at shows that are leery of signing up for an art newsletter, afraid that they will be bombarded with email.  I actually heard an art marketing coach tell her followers to send at least one lengthy email every other month, and 2-3 mini e-blasts per month.  Seriously???  Once a month is plenty, and maybe a quick one line reminder if there is something special going on.

Third, it is against the CAN-SPAM ACT (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003).  This is a Federal law that actually has procedures businesses must follow regarding building a mailing list and using email for marketing.  Just adding a person at random is not one of them.  Prospective recipients must opt in by signing up to receive email from a business, or tell them to be put on a list.  The entity may add them to a list as long as they send that individual a notice stating they have been added but are free to unsubscribe at any time.  You can read more about the CAN-SPAM ACT by clicking here.  There are also guidelines to follow if you feel you are being sent unsolicited email or have tried to unsubscribe and it didn’t appear to go through.

Understandably every business is trying to build their mailing lists.  But blatantly adding addresses is not the answer.  If you are tired of the junk, just hit ‘unsubscribe’.  I ended up unsubscribing and deleting an overwhelming amount of email, and it is a huge relief.  Now I can actually concentrate on and enjoy the stuff that is truly important to me such as newsletters from businesses and artists I am interested in.  Whats more, the more clicks and opens a newsletter receives the better.  Remember, you can visit my website to ‘opt in’ at any time!  God bless!

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

helene-and-pets-side-1-denny-martindalehelene-and-pets-side-2-denny-martindale

 

Son’s Bucket

konrad-and-pets-side-1-denny-martindalekonrad-and-pets-side-2-denny-martindale

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!

Thankful

autumn-time

Yes, I am rather late with this post, but Thanksgiving (even though it was last week) is a season, in my opinion, not just one day, that we should be thankful.  I have been busy with a few commissions for Christmas, and have been fighting what I thought was allergy/sinus issues for over a week.  However, on Thanksgiving night, a severe cold hit and needless to say my weekend has strictly been some much needed rest and hot tea with numerous herbal remedies.  Finally on the mend now, so I thought I might write a post on what I am grateful for.

I am always grateful for the love and support of my family and friends, who are my constant cheerleaders.  They really help out when I need it, doing everything from helping to set up at shows, assisting when I just need an extra hand, to critiquing my work.  I asked my brother one time what he thought of a sketch I had done for a watercolor painting of a cutting horse and cow.  I loved his honesty when he stated, “Why is that horse chasing a deer?”  Made me re-examine my sketch and yes, I erased the cow and started over.

I am also thankful for my clients, who not only help support my artistic habit, but also have become good friends, even if over long distances.  I guess I am thankful too for technology, as it has opened up a way to connect with clients farther away, even overseas.  It is an awesome experience.  My clients also push me in a sense that I learn something new in each piece of artwork I create, and to them I am grateful for the opportunity.

Not only am I thankful for the support my clients give, but also for the stories I am privileged to have them share with me.  One client had me do a portrait of her husband’s beloved mixed breed dog, a true Heinz 57 as we like to call them.  She related to me a story that happened shortly after they had gotten Flint, who used to make a warfle like noise.

flint-warfle-i
Flint Warfle I

They were at a dinner with their priest and other parishioners when someone asked one of the couples in attendance how the season had gone with their registered show dogs.  With great flair and exuberance, they elaborated the wonderful show season the dogs had that year, inserting their registered names at every chance.  The priest then asked my clients how it was going with their new dog.  He is a great dog, they replied, not really wanting to elaborate that he was a mixed breed.  Then the owners of the show dogs asked what breed he was, and what was his name?  My client’s husband who has a wonderful love for humor, stated that he was a one of a kind Czechoslovakian Sport Spaniel, (no, there is no such breed) and his name was Flint Warfle I.  The show dog owners were quite impressed, as was the priest.  For Christmas that year, the priest gave them a blank photo album.  On the cover he had inscribed, “The Complete History of The Czechoslovakian Sport Spaniel”.

I also loved the story this fall from a man who collects spoons.  I had my booth set up at the Art On The Fly Fest in Fly, Tennessee, and a gentleman and his wife came in to look around.  He noticed my painted spoons and asked if I had any that said ‘Oneida’ on them.  I knew I had at one time, but I wasn’t sure if they had sold or not.  He started to browse through them and immediately came upon three miniature spoons and said “Yes, these are Oneida”.

 

Upon looking at the backs, they were stamped ‘Oneida’ and he said he would take them.  He was happy that they said ‘Love, Joy, and Peace’ in a Christmas theme as they were going on his “Spoons” themed Christmas tree.  He said he had worked 34 years at the Oneida Silverware company in New York, and every chance he got he would purchase Oneida spoons that an artist had worked on.  He was so happy to get them, and I was honored to have them placed on his tree!

I am also thankful for the people who look at my art and are appreciative of it, even if they aren’t able to purchase anything.  My last show this fall a young woman and her friend entered my booth to browse.  She was really impressed with my work and we chatted about the wonderful weather we were having so late in October.  I mentioned I liked her shirt, and she replied that she had purchased it at a store on the base she was stationed at.  Wow, she really didn’t look much out of high school, I thought, but she had done a tour and was leaving out again the following week and wanted to go to college when she returned.  I am thankful for her service  even more than her appreciation of my art.  God bless Katelynn!

Finally, I am thankful to the almighty God Who gave me what talent I have, and am honored to do it for His glory.  Truly, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.  I pray you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving season, and hope you have a blessed week ahead!

The Big Move, and why I haven’t posted for a while

I truly cannot believe it is post Labor Day already!  This summer has flown by, and as some would say, it goes faster the older you get.  Well, if that is true then I must have aged a lot and quickly!  So, just to bring everyone up to speed, here is a synopsis of the past few months:

For the past few years my husband and I  have been thinking of selling our place.  This was a very difficult decision:  on one hand we loved where we lived, the neighbors, location, the barn we built with my father, uncle, and a good friend, plus the sheer beauty of our property.  On the other hand, life was changing for us, and we had some goals we wanted to meet:  closer to family, a set studio space for my art as my business has been growing and it was taking over the house, garage and barn. So, we decided in 2013 to list our small farm.  We had numerous showings and then in May we did sell.  After nearly a month of rigorous house hunting, we finally found a wonderful place.  It is a little less acreage, is much closer to my folks, brother, and aunt and uncle, the drive for my husband’s work is the same, plus it has a room that is my new studio! 

Barn we built
Barn we built

 

However, we did leave some wonderful friends and neighbors, but we are only in the next county over, so it is not that bad.  We are boarding the horse until we get a barn built here, and there is a wonderful canvas for future flower and vegetable gardens.  I am really looking forward to getting the raspberry canes in again! 

Since moving in during late June, I have painted 4 full sized whiskey barrels, 4 new fox cutouts, a toilet seat lid, plus a huge mural.  My aunt from Michigan was here for two weeks, my cousin from Texas and his son were here for one week, plus we helped put on a surprise anniversary party for my aunt and uncle.  We had to replace the motherboard in the computer, but outside of that the move went quite smooth over all, thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus!  I believe we are at a place where we are catching our breath once again and moving forward. 

View 1 of studio
View 1 of studio                                                                                                                  
View 2 of studio
View 2 of studio

I have a lot to do to get the studio ready, and I really need to catch up on computer work!  I will post photos and info about the aforementioned art pieces soon.  I hope you and yours have had a fun, safe and memorable summer! 

 

The Scream (or, Edvard Munch, part two)

Edvard Munch’s most popular work by far is “The Scream”.  It was part of his project titled ‘The Frieze of Life’, which consisted of roughly two dozen paintings that dealt with emotions and the human condition.  “The Scream” however, is very different from all of the other works in the ‘Frieze’.

First, all of the other works are painted in true Munch style in oil on canvas, as were most of his works.  He painted “The Scream” in tempera paint (a basic paint similar to poster paint) and pastels on a piece of cardboard, much like that which a box is made of.  These are not archival materials in any sense, but he managed to paint “The Scream” at least four times, each time on a piece of cardboard.  Do the delicate materials used represent Munch’s delicate mental state at the time?

Second, Munch was famous for working and reworking his paintings and making copies of them, or, tossing them if dissatisfied and starting over completely.  The other works of ‘The Freize’ have a finished look, one that took time and a more even method of technique.  “The Scream” on the other hand, is a much different style for Munch, painted fast and furiously, almost as if he could not paint fast enough to get the idea out of his head.  So, how did “The Scream” come to be?  Why add a piece that when compared to the others looks almost abstract in technique and subject matter?

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch, tempera and pastel on cardboard, ca. 1883-1889, collection The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway

Munch’s diaries and other notes of record indicate he and some friends were walking along a road near the water’s edge on a November evening in 1883.  When the sun set that night, it turned the sky a bloody red.  Already in a frail mental state, Munch froze, paralyzed with fear, while his friends continued on, apparently oblivious to the scene at hand.  What did Edvard Munch actually see, that would have such a profound effect on him?  Many theories are out there, but physicists Don Olson and Russell Doescher, along with English professor Marilyn Olson believe Munch witnessed the aftermath of a once in a lifetime event.

Earlier that year in May, halfway around the world on the island of Krakatoa, off the coast of Indonesia, a volcano began to vent from the pressure built up inside, resulting in activity on and off again for the next three months.  Finally, over a period of a couple of days in late August of 1883, two-thirds of the island were blown apart by the massive volcanic explosions, which were heard as far away as Australia.  The extreme force actually burst the eardrums of some nearby sailors, and the ash plume was reported to have risen as high as over 15 miles into the atmosphere.  The death toll was massive in the surrounding areas, due to the explosions as well as the resulting tsunamis.

The global aftereffects would last for many years.  Temperatures were colder than normal and by November, reports surfaced from New York, Norway, and much of the Northern Hemisphere regarding the magnificent, even spooky at times, sunsets.  The descriptions ranged from “blood-red”, to “alive with color” to “the sky is on fire”.  Many artists were inclined to paint the phenomenon happening daily around them.  Some art scholars have been quick to say that Munch did not paint this event, however, Munch himself recollected that it was an image he would never forget, saying it even drove him mad trying to record it in paint.  Did he or didn’t he paint the sky from life?  Did he ever even know of the Krakatoa eruption?  Munch wrote that he tried feverishly for years to paint his recollection of the evening stroll with his friends, which may explain why there are at least four versions of it and why they were painted so quickly that some of the cardboard even shows through the paint.

The final difference that makes “The Scream” stand out from the rest of  the images of ‘The Frieze’, is its popularity.  “The Scream” has been transformed into one of the most iconic images in the world.  It has appeared on nearly everything, from magazine covers and magnets to key chains, posters, and greeting cards, etc.  Even full-sized Halloween masks are replicas of the central figure in the painting.  What makes this painting so popular?  Do people connect with the artist or the image?  Do they feel the despair and confusion that leaps out of the blood red sky?  One thing is for certain, this most likely was an incidence of art imitating life.

Footnote:  While researching Edvard Munch and “The Scream”, I literally stumbled upon a book by Edward Dolnick titled, “The Rescue Artist” (copyright 2005, Harper Collins).  I was aware of course of “The Scream” and Munch, but this book enlightened me even more about the two subjects.  It is here that I found out how Munch came to paint “The Scream”, which led to even further research on that issue alone.  The book is a true story about the 1994 theft of the actual painting from the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway.  If you enjoy reading about art, history, and cops and robbers, I think you will enjoy reading “The Rescue Artist“.