A Passing Shower

November 23, 2014

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It’s really neat working on two pieces at the same time. The long, reaching arms of the Bougainvillea cross over the gap to the canvas on the right. The flowers, or bracts, of the vine have been blocked in with mixes in various proportions of Permanent Rose + White. The darker mixtures are used for the shadows, the lighter ones are reserved for the highlights.

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After details are completed on the Bougainvillea I direct my attention to the Wisteria. Working in my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last the blossoms are made of Dioxazine Purple + White. Then the foliage is painted around the purple, helping to shape the long, dangling flowers.

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My brush dances across the canvas as I highlight the individual petals of the Wisteria.

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A quick shower just came through. I pull some of the door color into the fresh paint of the floor to give the impression of reflections, shimmering in the damp pavers.

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The crevices separating the tiles are drawn freehand into the wet paint of the floor with a fine-liner brush. You can see this better by enlarging the picture, just click on the image.

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If you don’t have a mahl stick you can use this method to support your hand when painting intricate areas on your art. Since I’m right handed I brace my left hand against the easel. Resting my right wrist on the left steadies my hand in order to delineate the details of the sunface tile.

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The Hollyhocks are mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Magenta + White, Dioxazine Purple + Magenta + White and Magenta + White. The masses of flowers are blocked in first, then the leaves are painted around the brighter color.

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Tall stalks covered with seed pods and bright yellow stamens finish out the Hollyhocks. The Yellow door appears even more intense because the purples in the Hollyhocks are its complimentary color; across from it on the color wheel. Hope you’ll come back for our next session. Bring some gardening gloves, you can help me plant the rest of the flowers. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


November 23, 2014

I feel absolutely sick. Our online publisher, LULU.com, gave us incorrect information. Their offer IS NOT for 35% OFF on all of our books. INSTEAD it is for 30% OFF through MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24. CLICK HERE for more information. I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. But if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity to save on some early Christmas shopping please use the code FLASH30 when you check out.

To see all of our books at Senkarik Publishing CLICK HERE.

Make sure to browse through ALL 4 pages.

I really appreciate your understanding. Our readers are the greatest! Have a wonderful day. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Cobalt Blue Walls

November 22, 2014


The courtyard of Casa Azul is the theme for my latest commission. The lovely cobalt blue building in Mexico City was the birthplace and home of their native artist, Frida Kahlo. Jack’s portrait of Frida is shown above. Casa Azul is now a museum dedicated to her art.

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One of the fun things about this collaboration is the piece is in two parts, a Diptych. I work on them together just like it’s one painting. The first step is to sketch the basic plan on the canvases in a thin oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SK9214 - SK9314 Mixes for wall

My color is mixed; I’m ready to begin painting the pretty blue walls and red trim. The mixtures are #1. Cobalt Blue + a touch of Pthalo Blue + White. #2. Mix #1 with more White added. #3. Alizarin Crimson + a little Cadmium Red Light + White. #4. Mix #3 with MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson. #5. Mix #3 with more White. If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

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The lightest areas of the rough stucco walls are covered to begin with. Then the shadows are dragged over the lighter paint. Working wet-into-wet softens their edges.

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After completing the red trim around the portal I paint the bright yellow door. The shadows are a combination of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Cadmium Orange + MUD. The sunlit portion is pure Cadmium Yellow Medium. Like on the walls the shadows are pulled into the sunny part of the door.

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The Chili Ristra is washed in with thin mixes of Alizarin Crimson and Magenta. The shapes of the peppers are made by “Lifting off” the wash with a clean brush dipped in thinner. Then the trim around the window is blocked in. You can see this better if you enlarge the pictures. Just Click on the image.

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There you go: Red, Yellow and Blue. Obviously this is an artist’s home, painted in the primary colors! If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blog. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just enter your email address and click the button “Sign me up!”  It’s easy. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

SAVE 30% on Jack White Books

November 21, 2014

Here’s an opportunity to do some early CHRISTMAS shopping! Now through MONDAY, November 24 at 11:59 PM you can SAVE 30% on ALL of our books at Senkarik Publishing.  Just use the coupon code FLASH30. Act fast to take advantage of this great offer from our online distributor, they just don’t do this very often.

JW 8-12-14 First Copy of Preachermans SonJack’s newest book, Preacherman’s Son, is now available online!

JW Preacherman's Son

John Wesley Hardin was the son of a Methodist minister who named his second boy after the founder of his church. The Reverend wanted Wes to become a man of faith; along the way the Preacherman’s son drifted. By the time Hardin was 25 he had killed 42 men. Wes’ life story reads like an exciting, old fashioned western, a page turning murder mystery. Preacherman’s Son is currently only available in hard copy. To order or find out more CLICK HERE.

Artist Confidential Calming Waters COVER eBook version

ARTIST CONFIDENTIAL: Secret Guidelines of Professionals is chock full of practical ideas and helpful tips for artists, a must for anyone making art!  CLICK HERE to order ARTIST CONFIDENTIAL.


Jack’s book, Run Oklahoma Run is a page turner. To find out more about this action packed historical novel CLICK HERE. And…….that’s Jack’s portrait of Quanah Parker on the cover.

Here is your chance to purchase any of our LULU books, including all seven of Jack White’s Art Marketing Classics, and SAVE 30%. Just use the code FLASH30 when you check out. CLICK HERE to see all of our books available at Senkarik Publishing. Have fun browsing through all four pages, many of Jack’s books are available in both hard copy and as downloads.

Thought you would enjoy this excerpt from an email we recently received. “I just finished reading Magic of Selling Art. It made me realize that there are a lot of things I could do to enhance the sales of my art. For example, your book has caused me to revamp my website. The book isn’t just for artists. I have trained hundreds of salesmen in my life. You have taken a lot of techniques that all salesmen are normally exposed to and adapted them to the selling of art. What I like is the way you have done it with your stories and actual examples. Your book is interesting, thought provoking, easy to remember and written from the heart.”

For those of you selling on eBay or thinking about making the plunge this book tells how we do it. Currently Mystique of Marketing Art on eBay is only available in hard copy, we are in the process of making the eBook version. CLICK HERE to order the hard copy.

In BREATHTAKING RETREAT: Making a Painting I show the step by step process of making a 6 foot by 8 foot oil painting of the picturesque Portofino Harbor in Italy. Step into the studio and watch the painting come alive. Filled with painting techniques and useful tips on setting up a studio, BREATHTAKING RETREAT: Making a Painting is a complete oil painting workshop. The Jack White Double Primary Palette is explained and this book reveals the one tool an artist CAN NOT afford to be without. A must for artists and art collectors alike.


Sea to Shining Sea: The Mexican American War and the Manifest Destiny, is the sequel to Jack’s first historical novel, Ten Years in Texas. Sea to Shining Sea covers the two years after Texas became a State, the Mexican American War and the greatest expansion of the United States in our history. Follow the adventures of Bud Miller and Texas Ranger Jack Hayes in this informative page turner. Jack painted the portrait of Jack Hayes on the cover! To order Sea to Shining Sea: The Mexican American War and the Manifest Destiny CLICK HERE.


Unfortunately Jack’s first book Ten Years in Texas, about the ten years Texas was an independent Republic, is not included in this offer because it is distributed by Amazon. But if you would like to order a copy of Ten Years in Texas CLICK HERE.

Treat someone special or maybe even yourself to a good read for Christmas. Or maybe you have an artist on your gift list. This offer at Senkarik Publishing doesn’t last long. It will expire at 11:59PM on Monday, NOVEMBER 24. Just remember to put in the coupon code FLASH30 when you are checking out and you will automatically save 30%.  Please feel free to share this with ALL of your family and friends. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…….

November 17, 2014

Kitchen Garden 1 2014-3-5March 5, 2014

How does your garden grow? Well, it’s coming. Here is our side yard outside the kitchen window when we purchased our new home. I wish I’d taken a picture before we cleaned all the trash out of this area. But I can assure you, it was a mess.

Kitchen Garden 1A 2014-7-4July 4, 2014

There were bricks and rocks strewn all over the property. One of the first things was to gather the bricks and make a platform for the garbage cans. You can see this better if you’ll click on the picture to enlarge it. Then flower beds were established with flexible edging. This allowed us to go ahead and get some plants in before the worst of the summer heat descended.

2014-9-11 Kitchen garden walkway 3 closeupSeptember 11, 2014

Had to get a new fence, the old one was more holes than boards! Our kitties are much safer now. We realized after the first rain that the soil here is thick with clay. The mud was a mess. The original plan was to make the walkway with Pavestones but it was going to be a while before that would happen. So Jack came up with a brilliant idea. Why not use the same mulch that was in the flower beds in the walkway? Just use the Pavestones for the steps. Then when it rains we could walk without getting our shoes caked with sticky muck. The rocks along the wall were collected off the property. The larger stones lining the walk are Rumble Stones, purchased at Home Depot.

2014-10-3 Kitchen Garden steps in progress 1October 3, 2014

Our plants are thriving. We brought cactus pads with us from our previous home. They are loving the hot, southern exposure. A Vitex Tree, Pride of Barbados, Jerusalem Sage, Salvia Greggi, Mexican Bush Sage and Zinnias are filling out. All of these are low water plants. Work continues on the walls of the walk. Each step has to be leveled out, then backfilled with mulch.

2014-10-6 Kitchen Garden with MollyOctober 6, 2014

Got the upper set of steps completed. I think they meet with Molly’s approval! She is sitting at the base of our Rose Arbor.

2014-10-8 kitchen garden 1October 8, 2014

Here’s a full picture of the arbor. It’s made of a 16 foot long Livestock Panel that we arched over and attached to steel fence posts. By next year it will be totally covered with Roses. The courtyard is leveled out and I’ve begun laying the Pavestones. Once all the prep work is done this part goes pretty quickly.

2014-10-9 kitchen garden 3October 9, 2014

This is the really fun part. We had a metal cutout made years ago to hang on our front door in Arizona. It’s been a part of our decor in every home we’ve lived in since. We thought it would be fun to incorporate into our kitchen garden.

2014-10-9 kitchen garden 4October 9, 2014

So……what do you think?

2014-10-14 Kitchen garden from window 1October 14, 2014

Our Jack and Mikki Garden from the kitchen window.

2014-10-21 Jack and Mikki courtyard 2October 21, 2014

The sitting area is complete. The Rumblestones are held together with construction glue applied with a caulking gun. I place them first to make sure I like the way they look, letting them sit a few days before gluing them in place permanently. I’ve been known to make changes after I get everything in and study it for a while :)

2014-10-21 Kitchen Garden from window with Sissie 1October 21, 2014

Sissie, our other rescue kitty, sure likes the view from the kitchen. I have a feeling the major draw is the bird feeder!

2014-10-27 Kitchen Garden 1October 27, 2014

Now for the lower section of steps and the walls bordering them.

2014-11-2 Kitchen garden 3

Talk about amazing timing. Our AC/Heating Unit went out just I was starting to complete the wall under the kitchen window. You can see the old unit in the previous picture. We had a wonderful company installing the equipment, Peter suggested moving the outside unit further away from the kitchen window so I’d have more room for the garden. Wasn’t that neat? So I incorporated a servicing area beside the unit into the design. AND…..Drum Roll. WE’RE DONE!

2014-11-2 Kitchen garden 1View from the AC unit. The gate to the front yard is partially open.

2014-11-2 Kitchen garden 6Looking into the gate from the front yard. The garbage cans reside immediately to the left. So….That’s how our kitchen garden is growing!!! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Sun Washed Vineyards

November 15, 2014

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Let’s do some planting. The flowers of the Geraniums are blocked in with mixes of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta, Cadmium Red Deep and Magenta + a bit of White. The flat side of a large Bright (Square) brush is used to cover the large mass. Then the corner of the same brush is used to make smaller strokes for individual petals.

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Silver Ponyfoot Vine drapes out of the container by the steps. When we saw this in the nursery I just had to get some for our garden. Having grown up with horses I fell in love with the name! Isn’t it great? After the leaves and flower buds are painted I highlight the Geraniums with Cadmium Red Light.

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The Sunflowers are blocked in with the same sequence, Flowers First, Leaves Last. By working in this order the blossom color remains crisp and clean. I paint the green around the individual flowers, giving them shape. If I painted the leaves first my brush would pick up some of the green when applying the flower color, making it muddy.

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Isn’t it cool how the addition of the large, dark centers make these immediately identifiable as Sunflowers?

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The last step on the Sunflowers is the highlight the individual petals. Next we move to the ivy hugging the base of the old, stone planter.

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I depart from my usual sequence for the Salvia by the fountain. Because the flowers don’t grow in a clump or mass the foliage is blocked in first.

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Now the tall, spiky flowers are gently painted. The color is carefully “Laid” on top of the underlying paint to avoid dirtying the purple blossoms. They are mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Magenta + White.

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Back to Flowers First, Leaves Last for the Gerber Daisies in the foreground. Their bright blossoms of combinations of Permanent Rose, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Red Light.

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After the leaves are painted the delicate petals of the Daisies are delineated. Please remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.

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As Jack and I were looking at the piece he suggested a few Bougainvillea shadows across the top of the white building above the window. It was too stark, drawing the viewer’s attention away from the focal point of the courtyard and distant landscape.

SK9114 Sun Washed Vineyards 40x50Sun Washed Vineyards      40″ by 50″      Original Oil Painting

WE’RE DONE! Wouldn’t you love to live here and enjoy the view of Sun Washed Vineyards every time you walked through the lush courtyard? That’s the greatest part of being an artist, you can make the world the way you’d like it to be. I just want to thank Dayna and Kevin for allowing me the fun of collaborating with them. Hope you’ve enjoyed following along as much as I have painting this piece. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Ancient Terra Cotta Pavers

November 14, 2014

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It’s time to paint the courtyard floor. My colors are mixed and laid out on the palette. All of the browns are mixes of the same colors: MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange. The lighter mixtures have White added in. Isn’t it amazing how many different mixtures you can make using various proportions of the same colors? The mixes to the right of the browns are pulled out from my saved paints on the left side of the palette.

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The shadows on the floor are blocked in first. Textured brushstrokes are used, they will contribute to the feeling of the old, worn pavers. Notice the blues and greens at the most distant edge on each level. This makes the floor recede and “Lay Down”. Even the back edge of the front shadow is made bluer so it will go back.

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After painting the lighter part of the courtyard floor the perspective lines of the irregular pavers are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush. This is done freehand without using the mahl stick. It would limit the movement of my arm, making it difficult to draw the gentle curve of the tiles.

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The rock wall of the planter in the foreground is painted in a similar sequence as the floor. The entire surface area is covered first, then the crevices between the rocks are indicated. I don’t completely outline each rock, I just want to give the impression of the old stones.

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I LOVE fountains. That was one of the very first things we installed in our garden when we moved to our new home/studio. The burble and trickle of water is so soothing. Mixes of Viridian Green + Cadmium Orange + MUD + White are used for this water feature. The basic shape of the pineapple top is blocked in to begin with, then the criss cross pattern is drawn.

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The water in the lower basin reflects up onto the bottom of the upper bowl. This is indicated by the rim of blue along the lower edge. The side of the fountain pedestal is made a little bluer at the base because the water also reflects onto it.

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We’re done for this session. When the fountain is a little drier I’ll add the water cascading down. Do remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image. Thanks for following along today! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Corner Garden

November 13, 2014

Before we get started I just want to thank everyone for your kind, heartfelt comments about Jack’s recovery. I appreciate all of you and your compliments on my blog. As we say here in Texas, MUCH OBLIGED!

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The rough tiles of the terra-cotta roof are a perfect surface for the wayward tendrils of ivy to drape over. It’s fun highlighting the delicate, heart shaped leaves caught in the sunlight. Please remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.

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Now, let’s begin planting the garden in the corner of the courtyard. Giant White Birds of Paradise provide a dark mass that will accentuate the bubbling water in the fountain. The broad leaves are blocked in with a large, Bright brush. If you want to know more about the paint brushes I like to use CLICK HERE.

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Hollyhocks nestle by the “Big Birds”. The dark pink blossoms are mixes in different proportions of Alizarin Crimson + White. After the leaves and flowers are blocked in I go back and paint “air holes” in the areas that will be between the stalks. This is where saving paint from previous sessions comes in handy. I don’t have to remix the wall color and try to match it.

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Tall stalks covered with seed pods are added, then I put in the bright yellow centers of the papery blossoms. I brace against the mahl stick to steady my hand. I know this sounds unreal, but I have more control of the brush by holding it at the end of the long handle. Holding it close to the ferrule actually makes it more jiggly!

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Now the red door has dried a little bit the glass in the lantern is highlighted. The paint filled brush is dragged straight down, over the uneven paint, giving the glass a hand blown texture. Have to cut our session a little short today, the Grocery Store is calling. I feel like Old Mother Hubbard, our cupboards are bare! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

White Walls

November 11, 2014

Hope everyone had a super Veteran’s Day!  We certainly did. Jack and I want to remember all of the wonderful men and women who sacrificed to protect us and this great country. Our veterans and their families are very special, please take a moment every day to pray for all who have served in the military and the ones who gave their lives so we may live in freedom. We also want to include the men and women currently serving in the armed forces along with those in law enforcement who keep us safe. We appreciate all of your unselfish dedication and hard work.

Veteran’s Day is important to Jack and I for another reason. Ten years ago on this date he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. We were told to get our affairs in order, Jack most likely didn’t have long. But we had great doctors and wonderful friends who fervently prayed for us. God wrapped us in his arms, blessing us with the gift of life. Today Jack is cancer free!

SK9114 Step 22

Let’s get back to the easel. Many of you have asked to see my palette, so here you go. I use a two shelf culinary cart on wheels that can be moved to accommodate any size canvas on my easel. All of my colors are mixed and laid out for today’s painting session. If you’d like to enlarge the image just click on the picture.

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White walls are not pure white! Next time you see a white building take a closer look. The white is actually shades of warm and cool grays. I paint the far edge of the foreground building with mixes of White + a little Ultramarine Blue + a bit of Cadmium Orange. This makes a cool gray that recedes. Even the shadow cast by the Bougainvillea and tile roof is made cooler and lighter toward the back.

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Notice the wall to the right of the doorway. The warm white made of White + a little Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + a touch of Cadmium Orange comes forward of the wall to the left of the door. I’ll come back later and use Pure White for the highlights on the wall and window sill. Now for the numbers by the Bougainvillea on the right side. They indicate the sequence I follow when painting most flowering plants: Flowers First, Leaves Last.

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The mixtures for the red door are shown above. #1. Cadmium Red Deep + Alizarin Crimson. #2. Cadmium Red Light + a little bit of Alizarin Crimson.

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The shadow area is painted first, then the sun lit portion of the door is blocked in.

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Jack and I go out of our way to study shadows and have lots of pictures of them. If I don’t have any reference for a shadow cast by a particular object it’s fun to figure it out. This is one of those instances, I drag the shadow of the lantern and its bracket across the wet surface of the white wall.

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Bracing my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand, I now delineate the details of the lantern.

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We’re done for today! Thanks for following along. And the next time you see someone in a military uniform please stop, shake their hand and tell them how much you appreciate their service. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Wandering Wisteria

November 8, 2014

SK9114 Step 17

I love Wisteria and it seems my collectors do too! Several of my most recent commissions have included this wonderfully wispy vine. The blossoms are blocked in with mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White and Dioxazine Purple + White. I’ve just started adding the Ultramarine Blue mixture, it makes a very cool purple that helps give the feeling of depth in the vine.

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After the mass of flowers are painted the greens of the leaves are worked around the purples, helping to shape the dangling blossoms. Twisted trunks and tendrils add anatomical authenticity to the vine. OOPPPS, I think my training as a Medical Illustrator is showing :) As you read through my blog please keep in mind, you can enlarge the images by clicking on the pictures.

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I pull out the mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the door and window hidden away on the upper floor of the distant building.

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Now I come back in and highlight the individual petals of the Wisteria blossoms.

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Moving forward, work begins on the roof of the building on the right. Mixtures left over from the terra-cotta tiles in the background are used here. The Bougainvillea cascading over the roof is painted with various mixes of Permanent Rose + White. I want to get this in while the sky is still wet. Painting wet-into-wet makes it much easier to pull the fine lines of its long arms. That’s all for today! Hope to see you again soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


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