Its Coming, Slow but Sure!

Azalea 2018

It really is coming, even though the calendar said it had arrived about three weeks ago.  I am talking about Spring, and it has had quite a challenge in getting here as Old Man Winter is not giving up without a fight this year.

 

The azalea above is in front of our house and has been adamant about blooming this year.  It started budding about a month ago and once the blooms started opening I covered it up as we were having freeze warnings many nights so far this spring.  If the buds hadn’t opened it would be ok, but as you can see, as of March 31st, it was in full bloom!

Red Tulips 18

I also wanted to share with you the wonderful red and green in this photo of some tulips my parents got us at Easter with a geranium blooming behind them.  It really brightens up the kitchen on these dreary days.  It is raining again here in Middle Tennessee, but like they say,

“April showers bring May flowers”!

Can’t wait!

Hope you have a color filled spring!

Advertisements

Winter Walk

Since winter has arrived full force in much of the country, I thought I would share some photos I took on a winter’s walk.  Hope you are staying safe and warm, enjoy!

All photos and artwork ©2018 Denny Martindale, All Rights Reserved

Batty About Art (or, artists draw a crowd)

Bat photo, artI spent most of the summer busy with a couple of large art projects that forced me to move my studio out to the barn.  Having the extra room to paint was wonderful, and being a barn I didn’t have to be quite as neat as in the house.  I spent numerous hours each day painting, in the company of our horse and cat, or so I thought.

After a few days it was evident we were being visited by raccoons at night via the cat door.  Fortunately, my supplies and pieces were elevated so the raccoons didn’t make a mess other than around the cat’s food dish.  We closed off the cat door which put a stop to their nightly rendezvous.  But the calm didn’t last long.  One morning I was greeted by a skunk that had dug it’s way into the barn under an exterior wall.  Luckily he ran back under the wall without spraying.  But it didn’t appear that he came out the other side either.  I placed a rag soaked in ammonia near the hole on the inside.  Within seconds he scampered out into the woods.  Now, to begin painting again!
One morning as dawn broke I entered the barn. Immediately after turning on the lights I noticed a pair of bats flitting about.  I knew we had one that returned every summer to roost by day on the floor joists of the underside of the loft floor which runs the length of the aisle of the barn where I had set up shop.  There are plenty of places to ‘hang out’ but I had only seen the one for a number of years.  I switched the lights off quickly and waited for them to light someplace.  As the sun rose high into the sky, the barn illuminated with wonderful light.  Perfect for painting the horse troughs and cutouts.  By late morning I was painting an upper portion of the Master of the Hounds which are 6′ tall.  As I looked upward, I noticed a bat flying wildly in the air in front of me.  I paused, and he landed on the side of a crossbeam above me.  He stretched out his wings and tilted his head repeatedly.  Okay, I’ve watched too many horror flicks to know this is probably not good, right?  The paint brush went one way as I went the other out the door.  I know artists like to draw a crowd, but this is not what I had in mind.  After a few deep breaths I made a couple of phone calls.  I finally spoke with the bat expert at the US Fish and Wildlife office.  He agreed I had seen too many movies and said bats move around more in the daytime than we realize.  He said he was probably looking for a cooler spot when he came upon me and was trying to figure out if I was a threat.  He felt sure the bat had already roosted again and it shouldn’t be a problem unless I find him on the floor flopping around or dead.

 

Taking his advice on faith I ventured back to the barn for my afternoon session.  Sure enough he had re-roosted:  directly above my paints so he could keep a close eye on me.  I studied him for quite a while, snapping a few photos also.  Occasionally he would clean a wing and look at me, then rest again.  I started doing a head count every morning and discovered there were 6 bats that I could see in the floor joists.  There was always one over the painting area, but everyone behaved.  Since fall has arrived they have left to hibernate for the winter, as I have also moved my studio back in the house.  I actually miss seeing them when I go feed the animals.  Bats do get a bad wrap, but I believe with proper awareness we can live with them instead of against them.  At least my art is drawing a crowd, sort of…and they noticeably lowered the insect population in the barn!