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!

Cows, farm scene on old cream can

cream can, farm art
Old cream can, original condition

A client of mine asked if I could paint something on this old cream can she had picked up somewhere.  A cream can is different from a milk can in that it is much smaller, this one just 10″ high x 7″ across.  It was used for storing the cream that settles to the top of raw milk (aka non-homogenized, unlike milk purchased at a regular grocery store) as the cream was a bit thicker and sweeter than the milk itself and some folks like to use the cream separately.  I was very interested in the challenge.  She really didn’t have anything in mind, but she did like the pieces I had done with the fox hunters.  I thought about it off and on while working on some others pieces, and I finally decided that a cream can needed, well, a farm scene on it.  I cleaned it up and discovered the eagle and stars appear to be decals, so it is probably a later version of cream can.


old cream can, farm art
Part of the farm scene on old cream can

I was not sure exactly what to do with the lid, but in my mind I could see the endless sky in a dome affect.  I wanted a similar style to the fox hunters, but needed to have more of a farm scene, so, using latex house paint, I painted dairy and beef cattle, with the fences, stream, house and barns, silo and corn crib.

old cream can, farm art
Rest of farm scene on old cream can

I decided to put sheep in the distance near the house.  This piece does not have a single horse on it!  My client hasn’t seen it yet, so I am anxious to see what she thinks!

This Was a New One For Me!

One of the projects I recently finished was totally different than anything I had ever done before.  A client brought me 3 sets of serving tiers.  I am not sure of the proper name for these things (if you know, I would love for you to leave a comment regarding such!).  I have seen them in a small form usually made out of glass or china used to serve small fruits, candy and hors d’ouevres, etc.  They were made of wood and metal, with gold mats to place in the trays.  All were a bit rough and the client asked if I could paint wood grain on them with foxes and hounds running around the edges and some larger ones in the centers as she did not care for the mats.  I said I would see what I could do, so I took them apart and got out my sand paper and latex house paints and set to work.

Art, foxes, hounds,
Here are a few parts of the tier sets ready to be painted

The smallest set was 21″ high, with only one tray that was paintable, as the other two were metal baskets.  The tray measured 15″ in diameter, and grain of the wood was extremely rough, so it required a good amount of sanding prep.  I brushed some paint to get coloring of wood, but the grain was so fine it barely showed through.  So, I painted the grain in with a brush.

Art, foxes, hounds
The small tier set

The middle set was 28″ high and the large tray at the bottom was 19″ in diameter.  This wood was a grade better, but once again the grain did not show through  well at all.  So, again, I painted in the grain, then painted foxes and hounds around the edges and inside.

Art, foxes and hounds
Medium tier set

The largest set of the three was completely different.  The lower tray measured 20″ across and the entire set stood at 30″.  Each layer consisted of a wood tray with deep metal sides.  The wood was much better quality, so I only had to highlight the grain.  However, the metal sides had to be completely painted to look like wood.  These took a bit longer, but I was able to make the figures of the foxes and hounds larger.

Art, foxes, hounds
The large tier set

I seriously think I can now paint foxes and hounds in my sleep!  There are 90 figures on the three pieces, yes, I actually counted.  I thoroughly enjoyed working on these, and found it challenging and fun at the same time.  I almost feel guilty that I am able to do ‘work’ that is so enjoyable!  Notice I said, “almost”!

Art, foxes, hounds
Detail of figures around edges of tiers

Hope you enjoyed viewing these!

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“.

The Power of Paint

Our Thrift Store Mural

Years ago the neighborhood around Our Thrift Store in Franklin, Tennessee, was not a great place to be.  Only one block away one would find crime, drugs, and maybe even a bullet whizzing by.  After much cleanup and A+ effort on behalf of the city as well as the residents, the area is much safer, cleaner, and moral is much improved.

To tie both storefronts together, the owner asked me if I could make it look like stone below the big windows all across the front of both stores.  I drew a mock-up of samples of stone for him to choose from.  Then, did a mock-up with paint on a piece of ply wood to give him an idea of the finished product.  I began painting the stonework, only to have a few days when it got so humid that the paint did not want to dry.  Not good.  Each time I worked I tried to leave it so the area I worked on was finished.  We then decided to carry the theme up the two metal panels that divided the glass between the two stores.  I finally finished the stonework and all it needs now is a sealer, which will have to wait for better weather.  The grocery on one side of the thrift store and the auto parts store on the other had both cleaned the front of their stores, but the thrift store had outdated paint that didn’t match on theirs.

I had been to the store a number of times before.  It was the usual coming and going of folks, some speaking to each other a quick “Hello, how you doin’?”.  Occasionally friends would talk for a while, then part.  The first day of painting was simply laying on the dark brown base coat.  The store was closed that day, but people started to notice what was going on.  At first, not many people commented, only an occasional, “I just love that deep rich chocolate color”.  The next time was actually painting the rocks.  It didn’t take long for people to stop and look to see what I could possibly do to the paint I had just put on.  The entire wall is about 110′ give or take.  I think they thought I was crazy when they would ask what I was doing and found out I was going all the way down.

As the mural progressed, I noticed people stopping and staring.  They would finally comment about how nice it looked.  Soon, I was hearing, “I thought you were actually putting up real stones!”  and “What is that?  Are you gluing those fake rocks on there?”.  I even had some very radically positive feedback of which I will not repeat in this column.  Just so long as we stay positive!  People started coming by to see how I was progressing, others would do a drive by, slowing down when they got to where I was working.  Each day many of the same folks would make their way down to check on things.  Everyone liked it.

The one thing I noticed in everyone was they were all happy someone cared to improve where they lived.  You could see it lift their spirits, and there was no age, race, sex, wealth barrier to walk along and enjoy it.  Many had never seen an artist at work before and stopped to talk.  Lots of folks stopped to talk.  One woman stopped to see how I was doing it.  She had started a project on her bathroom wall, only to find she wasn’t sure how to get the desired effect.  As I showed her how to sponge on paint, a friend shouted to her to come on.  “Go on in, I am taking an art lesson!” she replied to the friend.   She was so happy to finally figure this out.  I never saw her again and I pray she accomplished what she set out to do.   There were many people who had not been to the thrift store before, and would stand looking at it.  I would proceed to tell them about it, we would talk about the weather and such, and they would go in, and thank me on the way out.

Our Thrift Store mural detailOur Thrift Store Mural

Many of these people may not have ever said a word to me, if I hadn’t been painting.  There would have been the “hellos” and “how you doings”, but not more than that.  I did have a friend ask if I felt unsafe there the one day I worked past the close of the thrift store.  I can honestly say I never felt unsafe there.  It was a busy little area, but everyone was doing honest business.  The neighborhood has changed, and it has been for the better.  I love the fact that paint can break down these barriers and turn an average “Hello” into “Have a blessed day!”   I hope you each have a blessed day!

God’s Little Miracle

     The Lord loves to show us miracles.  Last Sunday morning was just that.  We received a phone call from a neighbor about 6 am.  His wife and daughter were at a horse show, so caretaker of the 5 or so horses at the farm.  One of their boarders had a Quarter Horse mare in foal in the back pasture.  She wasn’t due for another month.  He awoke to their dog frantically wanting outside, so he let her out and went to get the morning chores in motion.  He noticed the mare down the fence at the back of the pasture, where it meets the woods then drops down into a ravine.  He walked out as she was pacing and calling out, as if there was another horse in the woods.  He arrived to find she had given birth right at the fence, which happens to seven strands of high tensile wire, not barbed or electric.  Suddenly, the foal cried out.  It was out there someplace in the woods!

      He phoned us to see if we could help find the foal.  We drove over and he called out from behind the house in the woods.  We met him and he had a beautiful brown filly in his arms.  Apparrently, after she was born she rolled under the fence.  When she stood up, she was on the wrong side, which also slopes heavily to the bottom of the ravine.  The ligh was probably not good at the time, and in her struggle to get out she crawled up the other side and ended up behind the house.  We started to carry her, but it was going to be quite a distance to get around the ravine, down the drive to the barn.  We decided to guide her, so the neighbor guided her back while I gently held and rubbed her neck.  My husband worked gates and moved branches.  Finally, we were back in the pasture.  She called to Mom, who came running full speed.  Miraculously, she did not have a scratch on her!  Thank you Lord!  The vet came out and did all the checks and there is now a new, healthy subject to paint.  Some photos have already been taken, more on the way, I’m sure.  Drawing, pastels, or should I try acrylics?