Painting the Sunset Sky

November 16, 2018

My oil color recipes for the sky are: #1. White + MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson). #2. Mixture #1 + more White + a little Alizarin Crimson. #3. White + MUD + Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light. #4. Mix #3 + more Alizarin Crimson. #5. Two shade of White + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium. The basic colors of our Double Primary Palette are along the top. To learn more about our color mixing system that Jack developed, CLICK HERE.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Sunset Sky

Painting forward from the sky each layer of mountains is made progressively darker. The most distant one is bluer, or cooler, so it recedes. Then the horizon line of the water is dragged into the wet paint at the base of the mountain at the far edge of the lake. Oh, don’t forget, you may click on any of the images to view them larger.

We can see the shapes of the trees on the closest mountain. The setting sun warms the tops of the trees directly below. The water is carefully painted around the sketches of the deer. The reflections of the mountains and sky are then painted into the blue water.

The buck at the far right is silhouetted by the brilliant color of the setting sun reflecting on the water behind him. The upright lines are where the trunks of the trees at the back of the meadow will be.

My left hand is braced against the unpainted portion of the canvas to steady my right as I continue to add the details on the herd of deer.

The warmer, darker greens in the foreground trees make the cooler greens and blues of the mountains in the distance fall back.

Thank you for following along today, we’ll be working on the wildflowers in our next session. I appreciate all of your wonderfully kind comments! I have the greatest readers! HUGS,

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Off to the Mountains

November 15, 2018

We’re off to the mountains today. This is also a commission, completely different from the cutting horse portrait I just finished. The collector asked for a mountain sunset piece with a herd of deer in the background, wildflowers and blue jays! She sent several images of mountain scenes that she liked so here’s the initial pen and ink sketch I came up with.

The outlines of the mountains are drawn with an oil wash of MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. Sunset reflections on a lake, far in the distance, will accentuate the group of deer at the back of the wildflower meadow. The basic shapes of the deer are blocked in first.

Once the placement of the deer is established, they are drawn more accurately.

A Blue Jay is standing on an outcropping of rocks in the lower left corner, surrounded by Lupine.

Another flies into the painting from the right, to join up with his buddy!

We’re ready to begin painting, I’ll start with the sky in our next session. I hope you’ll come back and follow along because I’ll have a video of painting the sunset! 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.

Please keep in mind, to move through the blog when you get the posts just CLICK on the small titles at the top of the page. The right one for the next post or the title on the left side for the previous session. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

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Treasured Memories

November 12, 2018

The straw cowboy hat is painted with warm, creamy colors made of White + a bit of Cadmium Orange + a tiny touch of Ultramarine Blue + a little MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson). More White is added into the lighter mixes while the darker ones have more MUD. Don’t forget, you may click on any of the images to view them larger.

The dark shadows on Bill’s shirt are blocked in first, then the lighter portions. The last step is to come back and highlight the sunlit folds.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Glazing Chesty with a mixture of Burnt Umber + Liquin

A shadow from a cloud above darkens the foreground of the painting. Jack taught me this “Threshold” technique which helps to give the feeling of depth in a painting. Think of going outside your home on a warm summer night, leaving the front door open to reveal the brightly lit interior. As you stand out in the front yard and look back at the house, the light serves to pull your eye across the darkness, over the “Threshold” of the door into your home. The same happens in our painting. The shaft of golden light illuminating the ground directly in front of Chesty, pulls your eye over the dark shadow, or “Threshold”, and into the middle of the painting. Thus giving the painting the appearance of dimension.

The heifer in the foreground is painted with several combinations of Burnt Sienna + White and Burnt Sienna + MUD + White. Her rough coat makes Chesty’s appear even more smooth and shiny.

The white tail, dragged into the wet hip of the whirling cow, accentuates the action.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Blocking in Bill’s face.

Paint mixtures left over from the face are used to delineate Bill’s hands.

Treasured Memories   30 inches by 40 inches

I still have one little thing left to do. After Bill’s face is completely dry I’ll need to come back and glaze it to make it just a touch darker. I’d rather err on the side of making it too light than too dark. It’s much easier to make the adjustments! Then the painting will be ready to ship off to it’s new home, bringing Bill “Treasured Memories” of his beautiful bay mare, Chesty!

Saddling Up

November 8, 2018

I still have a little work to do on Chesty. After she is completely dry I’m going to glaze her coat  with Burnt Umber + Liquin to mute and darken the color. So right now I’ll start on Chesty’s tack. I mentioned the tassel on the saddle blanket that cast a shadow down the side of her hip in an earlier session. WELL…..here it is. 

The detail on the custom saddle is intricate and fun to delineate. I’ve added some Ultramarine Blue and White to the mixes left over from Chesty to use for the saddle. You may click on the image to view it larger.

Silver conchos on the saddle are painted with mixtures of Ultramarine Blue + a bit of Ivory Black + White. Then the highlights are added with a mix of White + a tiny touch of Ultramarine Blue.

Some of the paint remaining from the saddle is used for Bill’s well worn boots.

His chaps are blocked in with combinations in different proportions of MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Yellow Medium + Cadmium Orange + White.

This is a bit of a departure from my more impressionistic garden paintings, I’m really enjoying the challenge! Making sure I get all the details correct takes time. But we’re moving right along, as Kermit the frog would say! Thanks for sticking with me and I appreciate all of your wonderful comments! Hugs,

 

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Chesty

November 6, 2018

We begin painting Chesty by blocking in her legs and the flying dust around them. Working in this sequence allows me to fade all but the very front leg into the haze. The left, or near, foreleg has more detail which makes it come forward of the others. The left side is called the ‘near’ side because that’s the side the horse is mounted from. Why the left side? In the middle ages, when carrying a sword was the standard practice, most men were right handed and carried their weapons on their left side with the hilt forward for a quick draw. Mounting from the left reduced the rider’s chance of entangling himself in his sword or stabbing his horse! The tradition of mounting from the left side continues to this day.

What I find interesting is modern research has revealed that the horse’s left eye responds quicker and more strongly to stimuli, and they like to keep humans in that line of sight. To reinforce this, the left side of the horse is known as the “near” side and the right as the “off” side. Probably far more information than you wanted to know but, as Jack would say, “That’s your little lesson for the day!”

After getting her chest covered, the bit and reins are pulled into the wet paint. My left hand is braced against the unpainted part of the canvas, then I rest my right hand on top of it. This gives me a steady support as I delineate the bit. Don’t forget, you may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

Now I move to Chesty’s muscular hindquarters. The tassel on the saddle blanket casts a shadow down the side of her hip.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Blocking in Chesty’s neck and head. Please keep in mind when I give the color recipe for Chesty’s coat, I forgot to mention that White is added to make the lighter shades. OPPPSSSSS!

Now we’ll begin adding the highlights on Chesty’s shiny coat.

Bill mentioned that Chesty had “Kind” eyes, not like many cutting horses that glare and show the white of their eye when working a cow.

We’re done for this session. I will have to come back to smooth out some of the highlights and do a little more work on Chesty, but she’s close to being finished. Thank you for visiting our studio today! HUGS,

 

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Still Workin’ Those Cows!

November 4, 2018

I’m still workin’ on the cattle, now I’m blocking in the bodies of the White Faced Herefords. Their coats vary somewhat, so I paint them with mixes in different combinations of MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + White. This makes various shades of Burnt Sienna, some more muted than others. You may click on this image, or any of the others, to view enlargements.

Because this cow is further away from most of the action, her left front leg isn’t covered with as much dust. Therefore I delineate the details of that leg and hoof. Her right front leg is more faded from dust stirred up by her left.

Moving to the next cow, the white on the crest of her neck and withers is blocked in with mixes of White + a bit of Cadmium Orange + a touch of Ultramarine Blue.

Those same mixtures are used for the faces of the Herefords. MUD is added into some of the mixes for the darker shadows. Pure white is reserved for the sunlit portions of their heads.

The Angus directly behind Chesty is painted with Ivory Black and Ivory Black + a smidgen of White.

I’ve gone back and done more work on the cows at the left. We’re pretty close on the herd, although I may have to come back and make a few more adjustments once Chesty and the cow in the foreground are finished. Thank you for following my blog. I do hope you’ll come back and visit the studio again soon! HUGS,

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Working Cattle

November 1, 2018

Work on the cattle begins with those in the very back. After getting the two that are farthest away from us painted, I start covering the ground in the distant part of the pen. It’s pretty dusty so the shadows cast by the milling cattle are made very soft and indistinct. The billowing dust also fades the hind legs of the cow that are seen to the left of Chesty’s head.

“Painting Forward” I now work on the cows to the left of Chesty. The Angus is first to be blocked in with mixes of Ivory Black + White, Ivory Black + a little Ultramarine Blue + White and pure Ivory Black.

Highlights are made with a lighter mix of White + Ivory Black. Then the cow’s beautiful, long eyelashes are added using a fine liner brush. You may click on this, or any of the other images to see them larger!

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Blocking in the head of the Hereford.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Finishing the Hereford’s head.

While the paint on the cow behind Bill is wet I make the fringes on his chaps. Dragging them into the wet paint of the Hereford allows me to feather the ends, which will accentuate the action in the painting.

We’ll be working on the cattle in the background to the right of Chesty in our next session. Hope you’ll join us in following the action! 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. Have a great day! HUGS,

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Fencin’

October 30, 2018

As I began to write I could hear Jack’s deep, gravelly voice in my mind. In his smooth Texas drawl he was saying, “Looks like yur doin’ some FENCIN’!”

All of the posts and boards are painted with various combinations of MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. The loading chute in the back is made darker so it will contrast with the sunlit fence in the foreground. A stroke of White + Ultramarine Blue is made along the edge of the shadow side of the posts. This helps to give them the appearance of ’roundness’. Please keep in mind, the blue looks brighter in these digital images that it actually is on the painting.

Hinges are added on the gate. Since the washed in part of the canvas is now dry, I can safely brace my left hand there to steady my right as I work on the fine detail. As you read through my blog, please remember: You may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

A heavy chain holds the gate securely closed.

Before I can paint the fence on the right, I’ll need to do the horse resting behind it! Since Chesty is a dark bay I’m going the make this one a flaxen maned sorrel. Having established all the details of the highlights on her shiny coat in the initial wash-in makes this cow pony much easier to paint.

A yellow slicker is tied to the back of the saddle. I may have to come back later and tone it down a bit. But I want to get the rest of the painting finished before I decide. Once all the foreground is complete the rain coat may not appear as bright.

The rope is first blocked in with darker tones left over from the distant building. Then I come back to accentuate the portions of the rope highlighted by the sun. My right wrist is braced against the mahl stick to give me a steady support as I make the curved brushstrokes.

Now the horse and tack are done I can paint the rough boards of the fence over her!

The background is pretty much complete. I may have to come back later and make a few adjustments as I get the cattle and Chesty painted. We’ll start work on the cattle in our next session. I really appreciate all of your wonderful comments, my readers are AWESOME! Hugs,

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Starting Painting!

October 29, 2018

We’ll begin applying opaque oil paint in the background. My color recipes are as follows: #1. MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + more Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. #2. Two shades of Pthalo Blue + Ultramarine Blue + MUD + Cadmium Orange + White. The lighter mixture has more White. #3. Three mixes in different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow + White. #4. White + Pthalo Blue. #5. White + Cobalt Blue, this mixture is just a little bit darker than mix #4.

If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System that Jack developed CLICK HERE.

Even though the background will be filled with Birch Trees I completely cover the sky first. Mix #5, the darker of the two blues, is used along the top of the canvas. The sky becomes lighter as we drop down, nearer the fence line. The Pthalo Blue mix #4 is used for the lower portion of the sky.

The trees are painted, wet-into-wet, over the blue field of the sky. This technique softens, or mutes, the trees and makes them recede. At the right edge of the canvas I place some trees in shadow. Sunlight pouring into the painting from the right, coming in behind the darker mass of trees, helps to give the feeling of distance. Please keep in mind, you may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

The weathered, grey boards of the outbuilding are painted with several combinations of MUD + Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. The portions of the walls in shadow are blocked in first.

More MUD is added to the wall mixture to indicate crevices between the old boards.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Cedar Shingles on the Roof

The old building in the background is complete and our work is done for this session! Hope you’ll come back to visit our studio soon. And always feel free to ask questions! With Colorful Smiles,

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Wash-In Continued

October 26, 2018

This is a complicated piece, its just takes awhile to do the initial oil wash value drawing. Work continues on the cattle.

Moving to the foreground I begin washing in the cow that Chesty is cutting from the herd. Dust she kicks up will add to the action in the painting.

My next task is Bill’s face. You can see in my reference picture that he has sunglasses on. You may click on the image, or any of the others, to see enlargements. Bill had another picture, taken at a different competition, without sunglasses. So I’m referring to it as I render his face.

His face looks dark right now but it’s in the shadow of his straw cowboy hat. Once Bill’s shirt is finished it won’t appear as dark. At this stage I’m not concerned about getting an exact likeness, just an approximation. My main goal right now is to get the light and dark values, or shading, correct.

Now that the dark shadows on the shirt are getting washed in, Bill’s face looks much lighter!

What a beautiful saddle. The pocket on the skirt is just right for carrying a hoof pick. I imagine these days saddle makers are being asked to put pockets for cell phones on their custom creations!

With all the dirt being kicked up I don’t have to worry about hooves, pasterns and fetlocks! All of that detail is concealed by the flying dust.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Washing in Chesty’s head

Shadows are added under the cattle in the background and our washed-in, value drawing is complete. Even though the painting will be in full color, it’s vital the light and dark shades are correct. As an artist you want your painting to read correctly if it’s ever reproduced in black and white. This step insures it will be right, Jack stressed its importance as he was teaching me to paint. By taking the time to establish the values now, I don’t have to worry about them being incorrect later. Every time I’ve rushed and not done a light and dark value drawing on a painting I’ve regretting it. I appreciate you following along as well as all of your kind comments, THANK YOU! HUGS,Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

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