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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Thank you for visiting, please feel free to leave your thoughts by clicking on the link to the comments section above!

Pastel Portrait of Leon-From Start to Finish

My most recent pastel pet portrait is of Leon, a beautiful Australian Shepherd.  The portrait was a wedding gift from my client and her sister to their niece and her husband.  When my client and I met, she brought along photographs and the one we decided on was of Leon sitting between his owners, which also happened to be the wedding invitation.  She said if I needed any more for reference, I could visit the website for their wedding.  Most of the photos on the site were of Leon, so  I knew he had a very special place in their hearts!  Below you will see the progress of the painting from the original charcoal drawing I start with all the way to the finished piece.  The painting is done on 14″ x 11″  tan Ampersand Pastelbord.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Charcoal drawing of Leon-Denny Martindale
Original charcoal drawing of Leon
Background, Leon, pastel-Denny Martindale
Background of Leon, pastel

At this point, my client and I agreed to tone the background down a bit more.

Leon in progress 1-Denny Martindale
Starting to add color

Leon in progress 2-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 3-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 4-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 5-Denny MartindaleLeon in progress 7-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 8-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 9-Denny Martindale

Leon in progress 10-Denny Martindale
Finished custom pastel pet portrait of Leon, 14″ x 11″, Denny Martindale

Thanks for viewing the progress of Leon, have a blessed day and would love to hear from you!

Pastel Pet Portrait of Peanut, from Start to Finish

I love painting portraits of pets, and animals in general, and I am always honored when someone commissions me to do one of a beloved pet that has passed on, waiting to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  Such is the case with Peanut Patton, a beautiful little dog that meant the world to his owner Jim.

While I do many pet portraits, I have a tendency to get rather focused on the painting itself and forget to take photos showing the progress from start to finish.  Below you will see the photos of Peanut’s portrait starting with the reference photo and ending with the matted and framed painting.

Peanut Patton photo
Reference photo.  Peanut’s coloring is a little bit ‘washed out’ in this photo.
Drawing for Peanut-Denny Martindale
Charcoal drawing of Peanut
Peanut in progress 1-Denny Martindale
Jim and I agreed to place Peanut in the grass, so the background was blocked in.
Peanut in progress 2-Denny Martindale
Starting on Peanut.

I started working on Peanut, beginning primarily with the areas that would have other areas of fur overlapping them.

Peanut in progress 3-Denny Martindale
From blocking in to establishing a color range of the various shades of fur.
Peanut in progress 4-Denny Martindale
Sometimes the progress doesn’t always look the best…
Peanut in progress 5-Denny Martindale
…but if you continue working it will all come together!
Peanut Patton, matted, framed, and ready to ship-Denny Martindale
Peanut Patton, pastel, 11″ x 14″, matted, framed, and ready for shipping!

I thoroughly hope you have enjoyed seeing the progress, and would love to hear your comments!  God bless!

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!

 

 

Portrait of Ruby

This is one of the commissions I had to finish for Christmas.  It is a pet portrait of Ruby, a King Charles Spaniel.  Her owners are avid readers, so the client wanted her on the Kindle as if to say, “Hey, put your book down and let’s play!”  Ruby is a beautiful dog!  Enjoy the pictures of the portrait from almost start to finished, matted and placed in the beautiful frame the client had just for this project!

King Charles Spaniel, pet portrait, pastel
Ruby in progress- drawing and started adding color
King Charles Spaniel, Denny Martindale, pastel pet portrait
Next phase
Pastel pet portrait, Denny Martindale, King Charles Spaniel
Getting there…
Dog art, Denny Martindale, pet portrait
Almost complete!
Dog art, Denny Martindale, King Charles Spaniel, pastel pet portrait
Finished!
Denny Martindale, pet portraits, King Charles Spaniel, Dog Art
Ruby in frame. The recipients loved it!

 

Finally up and running!

Have you ever attempted to do something and been extremely frustrated, and you find yourself wondering if there really is any grey matter left up there?  This was my situation this winter as I have been busy creating a new website.  This has not been an easy task for me, giving full credence to the left brain/right brain discussion, but I kept at it and finally got it done.  My first website was an awesome thing in itself.  My good friend Lavana was the webmaster of my first site and did an absolutely FANTASTIC  job at creating it.  (I now have a tremendous appreciation for those that are able to build sites from the ground up and now know why they call it “code“)  Two things hindered me with it though, the monthly fee to have it running and my lack of computer knowledge to be able to run it myself, as in it took me three days to figure out how to change a photo (I paint, I don’t do code).

As artists, we are constantly wanting something on our websites changed, like photos, prices, you name it.  Often times on a daily basis.  I thought about long and hard and decided the proper thing to do would be to have one where I could easily do what I needed to myself.  I had started following Cory Huff with the Abundant Artist back in the fall and oiala!  Cory posted a blog about how to create one using WordPress.  Plus, it is easy for artists to use and it costs about a third of what I was already paying!!  Thank you God!!!  Even though it was still a bit of a challenge for me to get this up and running, Lavana helped me once again and I now have a beautiful site that I can work on myself, successfully.  Thank you Cory and Lavana!!  I have posted paintings, etc at least once a week, and even have the social sharing buttons on there.  (Fred reminded me that I forgot to put the facebook like button on there, so this morning I even fixed that!)

Now that I have told you my story about how I got this site, I hope you will visit it at www.MartindaleArtworks.com And be sure to like us on facebook and twitter!  Remember, you can do this too!  Now to get painting!

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“.