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! 


Art & the Computer

colorful pastels

Wow, what a summer!  It was busy, interesting and creatively filled.  My husband arrived back from a nine month out of state work assignment, we saw family we had not seen in a long time, plus I received numerous art opportunities.  In June, another artist and I were discussing how much the computer has aided artists in everything from advertising to social media.  Later that day I was downloading some photos of my art to my website and I recalled when digital cameras were first coming out and I must admit, I was a bit skeptical.  Supposedly they were all the rage, but many of us weren’t buying it.  The photos were a bit grainy, and to me they looked, well, cheap.  How could someone possibly want their art photographed in this way when the 35mm had it down to a science?  Well, as technology usually does, it greatly improved.  Now, with our websites, blogs, social media, etc. many artists cannot function without their digital camera and/or computer.  I was comforted by the fact that we have Carbonite online backup on our six year old system, something I hate trying to remember to do faithfully.  We only had one minor issue with the computer in all that time, yet in the back of my mind I knew the day would eventually arrive.

Then came mid-August.  First, the modem went out.  Okay, either replace it or purchase a USB adapter and tap into the wireless network, either way not a major issue.  While deciding what we would do, the computer screen suddenly went blue.  In the computer world I found out, that is a major problem.  Then it would not do a thing.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zippo.  No keys, mice or vocabulary could coax it to respond at all.  Ten minutes later after a hard shutdown, it lumbered up to another blue screen displaying lines of code that was apparently telling me what the problem was.  Then it translated: ” the system has recovered from a serious error”.  Serious, yes, recovered, not quite.   Once up and running again the entire desktop would disappear, or sometimes just the icons; some things you could access and some you could not.  Now what?

After consulting with a few folks who are much more computer competent than us (i. e. professionals), it was unanimous that it was a hard drive issue and we should replace it with a new one.  We researched for a couple of days, made a decision and ordered.  Once it arrived, there was the setup process, which by the way, went much smoother then expected as I am NOT a computer person.  Then the ultimate test:  restore all of our files with Carbonite, as in artwork, photos, records, everything.  Plus, we were going from one operating system to a new one.  While it did take a couple of days, I must say I could not be happier.  I am truly impressed with Carbonite.  Now I need to  learn all of the updates to the programs and the operating system itself, but it all appears to be much easier than before.

While I didn’t like taking the time to completely redo the entire computer system at this time (when is a good time?) as always it was a great learning experience.  I was amazed to see just how much my own art business relies on the computer now.  I also know the importance of having a backup plan, and Carbonite was everything it said it was and I highly recommend them.

So, how does the computer and internet affect your art?  Could you operate your art business without it?

It’s Hot (and how are your pets?)

I say pets, but in reality this is for everyone!  Water should be first and foremost.  I actually met a lady yesterday that said she does not like water and won’t drink it.  Hope she has a good liver and kidneys.  Stay hydrated.  Keep your pets hydrated as well. 

It is also important to keep the water as fresh as possible.  Keep in mind that mosquitos like any standing water they can find as well.  Mosquitos carry a numer of diseases, such as West Nile Virus.  Guess what enhances the virus’ ability to replicate itself faster?  Heat, such as the likes that we have been seeing lately.  If you have any standing water that is not benefiting anything, you might consider getting rid of it or changing it frequently. 

Of course, it goes without saying that shade is important for pets too.  If you must take your children or pet in a vehicle, please leave the windows down a bit, but in this heat it is better off for them that you don’t take them at all. 

I like to hose our animals (not the cats mind you) off when the temps are high.  The horses just love it.  A brief respite from the heat never hurt anyone.  You can just see them relax as if they are at a day spa!  To dry we put them in their stalls with all of the barn doors and windows open, and some sort of open air gate instead of the big solid stall doors to keep the air moving.  Throw in a flake of hay and a bucket of water and they will rest for hours.  When ours are turned out after a day at the spa, they are so refreshed, they thunder off to the pasture happy.

The dog doesn’t like the hose shower and fusses all through it, but once it is over, she is so happy and refreshed she can’t contain it.  A grape flavored popsicle seals the deal making it something she might consider letting you do again. 

I am sure you have heard plenty about alcohol and heat, but everything in moderation is your best bet.  You do not get water intake with alcohol, so don’t count that as your hydrating liquid.  Sorry to disappoint, but coffee doesn’t count either.  A good berry smoothie, iced tea, or just good ole plain water is great.

A lot of folks are hitting the water to beat the heat.  If you do, you cannot be told enough to wear a life jacket if you are boating or jet skiing, etc.   Last weekend there were at least four water related deaths in middle Tennessee.  If my facts are correct, none of them were wearing life jackets and every one of them would have had a chance if they had been. 

Please be safe out there, and take a couple of extra minutes to check on people and pets, change water, give water, make sure no one is left in vehicles, put a life jacket on, or whatever you can do to help make it a great summer, even if it is hot!

Summer Gift

     Hello again!  Unfortunately, summer is almost half over.  I love the gifts summer has to offer.  Great painting opportunities, fresh fruits and veges, plus numerous happenings that can only happen in summer. 

     One of these are new fawns.  I love seeing a new fawn.  We had one show up in the pasture a couple of weeks ago.  We will see them frequently by themselves, although not far from the woods.  And you can be sure that the doe is not far away.  However, this particular one seemed orphaned.  Always by itself, and one morning lying in the gravel driveway to the barn.  It layed

fawn, actual distance, copyright 2008 Denny Martindale
fawn, actual distance, copyright 2008 Denny Martindale
fawn, close-up, copyright 2008 Denny Martindale
fawn, close-up, copyright 2008 Denny Martindale

 there for about an hour, just keeping an eye on us.  The dog and cats wandered around waiting for breakfast, and we were doing morning chores.  For about two weeks we saw only the fawn, no doe.  Finally, we saw it with two does, so at least it has company.  I would love to hear from anyone that has actually had an orphaned fawn.  Of course, this presents more painting opportunities!