Wash In Continues…..

July 26, 2016

SG2016 Step 7

I try a little different approach on Max by covering the entire surface of his face with a light wash FIRST. Then I come back in and establish the darker areas. It’s easier to work the shadows into the wet wash than it was on the dry canvas like I did on Alex’s face.

SG2016 Step 8

I “Lift Out” the highlights on Max’s nose. This is done using a clean brush dipped in a little paint thinner. Dragged over the washed-in area the tip of the brush pulls the oil wash up, leaving the clean white surface of the canvas. You can see this better by enlarging the picture, just click on the image.

SG2016 Step 9

Bracing against the mahl stick stabilizes my hand as I define Max’s mouth.

SG2016 Step 10

I take the same approach on Ted, beginning by washing over his face with a lighter-value tone. Next the shadow areas are developed.

SG2016 Step 11

The mahl stick is pulled out again to steady my hand as I delineate Ted’s lively eyes.

SG2016 Step 12

Jennifer’s face is done in the same technique. Working wet-into-wet is easier for me. This is personal preference, some of you may like washing the shadows over a completely dry canvas.

SG2016 Step 13

Jennifer’s cross is “Lifted Out” of the shadow wash on her neck.

SG2016 Step 14

Our family is washed in and we’re ready to start applying paint in our next session. Thank you for following along today, hope you’ll come back soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


It’s Great to be Back at the Easel

July 24, 2016

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you again for your loving support. Reading your heartfelt sentiments and anecdotes has helped me more than you will ever realize. Yes, we will all miss Jack tremendously, the chair at his computer is incredibly empty. But you know “Our Jack”, he wouldn’t want us moping around. If I did that he would come down from Heaven and kick me in the backside. Both he and God know my best medicine is Prayer and Painting. I’m blessed with A LOT of commissions to do, so I’ll be busy. I’m back at the easel today and does it ever feel good. A sense of normalcy has washed over my soul.

Risdall-DSC_5388 R Digital 2 small file

It’s truly amazing that the first commission upon returning to my easel is a portrait, Jack’s specialty. Over the 26 years we were together he taught me all of his portrait painting techniques and I know Jack is watching over my shoulder. The Risdalls visited our studio a couple of years ago; having met them I have a pretty good idea of each one’s personality. That helps when doing a portrait. The painting is going to be a surprise birthday/anniversary present for Jennifer! I’ll be working from a professional photo, Ted supplied me with a large digital file. That helps tremendously because I can enlarge the image to see the tiny details in the faces and hands.

 SG2016 Step 2

All four figures are first lightly penciled in on the canvas. You can see this better if you enlarge the picture, just click on the image. Next I begin blocking in the basic values with an oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. Even though this is a very recent photo of the family, Alex the youngest son, has a new haircut. Ted sent digital pictures so I pop the image up on my laptop to use as reference for his latest look!

SG2016 Step 3

At this stage I’m not worried about achieving a perfect likeness. I just want to get the canvas covered with the basic light and dark values. It would be difficult for me to paint the portrait on pure white canvas. I go ahead and block the clothing in too.

 SG2016 Step 4

After covering Jennifer’s dress, I begin on Ted’s jacket.

SG2016 Step 5

Ted’s ensemble is blocked in, you can see I’m establishing the folds and shadow patterns on the clothing. Now, let’s move over to Max.

SG2016 Step 6

We’re at a good stopping point for today. I’ll work on the rest of the faces in our next session when I’m fresh. Hope you’ll come watch the step-by-step process. If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can 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!

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We Have a Date…….

July 20, 2016



On Friday, September 9 at 1 PM we will honor Jack White. Master Artist, Author, Teacher, Coach, Mentor and Friend to so many. Only God knows how many lives he has touched. The Celebration of Jack’s Life will be at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, located at 6914 Wurzbach Road in San Antonio. If you have any questions you may email me at Senkarik@Senkarik.com


I hope you can come share in our love for Jack and celebrate the beginning of his new life in Heaven with Our Lord. We will see you again one day, my dear friend.

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG



With Heartfelt Appreciation

July 19, 2016

Jack & Mikki Meet Craig Luce 2002

It’s amazing how Jack has touched people’s lives. I’m sure the number is far beyond what any of us can imagine. Emails with stories of his generosity have come in from all over the world. Your words have been so comforting. Thank you seems so inadequate to express my heartfelt appreciation.

I’d like to share a poem by Henry Scott Holland that one of my collectors sent. It has really soothed my soul.

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other,

That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way

which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed

at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word

that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect.

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind

because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it
was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one
together with God.

I take great comfort in knowing Jack is with Our Lord and no longer suffering. He is at peace and his heart is happy. Jack had said he DID NOT want a funeral and requested immediate cremation. But I am going to have a Celebration of his life. Originally I had thought on his birthday in March, but that is far too far away. So I’m working on a date in early to mid September. I’ll let you know the particulars as soon as we get them worked out. Big hugs to all of you for your heartwarming messages,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Our Jack White

July 16, 2016



Yesterday Heaven welcomed a master artist and amazing writer; Jack has gone home to Our Lord. At 83, Jack’s mind was sharper than ever but his body gave in to the ravages of time. Since a stroke 2 years ago he has been on blood thinners. The past few days they’ve whirled out of control, my best friend and mentor began bleeding. In the hospital he was given several transfusions and seemed to recover a bit. While under anesthesia, during a colonoscopy to discover the source of the bleeding, Jack vomited and aspirated the fluid into his lungs. His body gave out, Jack went into respiratory arrest and was put on life support. We decided long ago that if either of us had to be kept “Alive” with artificial means it was time to let go and let God take over. Yesterday we did just that; Jack’s last moments were peaceful and quiet. He is no longer plagued by a body that is suffering, no longer distressed by overwhelming feelings of helplessness caused by having to depend on me to do everything for him.

1a Early Fog (Tuscany)

I can imagine all of the artists in Heaven have flocked around him to learn from his vast experiences, get pointers on their work and discover the joys of using his Double Primary Color Mixing System. He is writing freely and happily, unencumbered by stiff and uncooperative fingers. Jack has helped so many of us here on earth. I know I would never have become the person I am today without him in my life. God has truly blessed me to have Jack as a partner for 26 years. We will all miss this talented man, his storytelling and infectious laugh. But as incredibly hard as it is to give Jack up I know he’s in a better place and whole again.


Thanks to all of you for being there for us over these many years. With love and hugs, Mikki and Jack signature JPEG

Vista of Joy

July 14, 2016

SG1916 Step 30

As my long time readers know I love to garden. And Red Geraniums are some of my favorite plants. The rich blossoms are blocked in with mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Light.

SG1916 Step 31

The foliage is painted with mixes of Lemon Yellow + Pthalo Blue. A large Bright brush is used to shape the individual leaves.

SG1916 Step 32

Silver Pony Foot Vine tumbles out of the terra cotta container. Mixtures of Cadmium Orange + Pthalo Blue + White make the delicate leaves and tendrils.

SG1916 Step 33

Adding stems and flower buds finishes out our Geraniums.

SG1916 Step 34

Now for the Canna Lilies. My large Bright brush is very versatile. It is perfect to paint the large leaves with mixes of Viridian Green + Lemon Yellow + White.

SG1916 Step 35

The bright flowers are mixes of Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange + White.

SG1916 Step 37

The deep centers are delineated with Magenta.

SG1916 Step 38

In order for White flowers to appear WHITE, the shadows parts of them have to be fairly dark. So I use combinations of Dioxazine Blue + White, Ultramarine Blue + White and Pthalo Blue + White. I kind of “Smoosh” the colors together in order to make happy shadows.

SG1916 Step 40

Pure White illuminating the petals of the African Daisies pop against the shadows of Blue and Lavender. Then I make the red and black centers of the large blossoms. Please remember as you read through my blog, you can click on any of the images to see them larger.

SG1916 Step 42

Hollyhocks fill the corner by the door. I use several mixtures of Magenta + Permanent Rose + White to block in the crepe papery flowers.

SG1916 Step 43

Leaves are made of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow + Cadmium Yellow Medium.

SG1916 Step 44

After putting in the deep centers of the Hollyhock blossoms with Magenta, the Lemon Yellow stamens are added.

SG1916 Vista of Joy 24x30Vista of Joy    24 inches by 30 inches

We’re DONE! “Vista of Joy” will soon be off to it’s new home. Thank you for following along. AND…..I appreciate all of your prayers and kind comments more than you will ever know. Please keep them coming, Jack is still in the hospital. With Love,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Wispy Wisteria and Italian Tile

July 10, 2016

SG1916 Step 18

Wisteria is one of my favorite vines. Seems my collectors like it too, much to my delight I get to paint it quite often. Here are my color recipes……..#1. Four shades of Dioxazine Purple + White. Sometimes I have to pull out some special paint colors, Dioxazine Purple is one of them. It’s a clean, crisp purple that I’m unable to achieve by mixing with our Double Primary Palette. #2. A trio of combinations of Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White. #3. Mixes of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow + Cadmium Yellow Medium.

SG1916 Step 19

First the blossoms are blocked in with a large Bright (square) brush. To see this better, just click on the picture to enlarge the image.

SG1916 Step 20

Then I paint the foliage around the masses of purple. The greens are used to help shape the long, dangling flowers.

SG1916 Step 21

The last steps are to highlight the leaves and individual petals of the wispy blooms.

SG1916 Step 23

Wisteria……done! Now let’s move to the Italian tile floor. The entire surface is first covered, establishing the light and shadow pattern. Strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White are added toward the back to indicate the reflection of the sky on the wet floor. A summer shower has just passed through! These blues also make the tiles in the distance recede.

SG1916 Step 24

Perspective lines are drawn into the wet paint of the floor. This is done freehand. I can’t use the mahl stick here. It would limit the movement of my hand, keeping me from making the lines straight.

SG1916 Step 25

Next the horizontal lines separating the individual tiles are delineated.

SG1916 Step 26

Sunlight streaming across the floor makes the edges of the wet tiles sparkle, so we’ll highlight them. Some of you have asked about the blue tape. It’s 2 inch painter’s tape we get at Home Depot. I use it to cover and protect my White Senkarik Signature Frame. When the painting is finished I’ll peel the tape off and SHAZAAM! A clean, white frame appears!

SG1916 Step 27

The painting is really starting to come together. We’ll be planting in our next session. Why don’t you grab some gardening tools and you can come help!

SG1916 Step 28

I’m frequently asked what my palette looks like at the end of the day. Well, here you go. LOTS of color laid out on the glass. But I can’t leave it like this….

SG1916 Step 29

I want to start the next day with a clean surface. So I save the paint, lining up the colors on the left side of the palette. That way if I need to go back and work on any area I don’t have to remix any paint. I can just pull some from the little dabs. The blobs of oil paint will be usable for several days, long enough for me to finish the piece on the easel. The mixing area of the palette is then cleaned with a paint scraper.

I have a special request, Jack and I need your prayers. He’s in the hospital. Since he had a stroke 2 years ago he’s been on blood thinners. They’ve gone a little wacky and he’s had some internal bleeding. His doctors are working to find the source. Hopefully they’ll have this resolved soon and Jack will be back home again. He’s champing at the bit to get back to working on his latest book about Thomas Jefferson. We trust our doctors and know God has us wrapped in his arms. Jack and I are so blessed, we have the best readers and collectors in the world. Thanks to all of you. BIG  TEXAS HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG






Fiery Red

July 8, 2016

SG1916 Step 13

The dark arch of the doorway accentuates the sunlit Tuscan hillside beyond. All of the wall colors are mixed with different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD + White. The front edge of the thick jamb is darker than the most distant edge which is made bluer so it will recede.

SG1916 Step 14

Sun filters down through the Wisteria. Since I’ll be painting the rambling, purple vine later I have to envision ahead how the shadows will stream across the wall and door.

SG1916 Step 15

The shadow of our door is made of Cadmium Red Deep + Alizarin Crimson, the sunny portion is pure Cadmium Red Light. Don’t forget, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger:)

SG1916 Step 16

The edges of the individual planks of the door are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush. My wrist is braced against my mahl stick to steady my hand. AND….what is a mahl stick? Just CLICK HERE to find out.

SG1916 Step 17

Fiery Red is the Chinese color of luck and happiness. And the combination of a red door and yellow Sunflowers is especially full of smiles. I love the way Jack said, “It brings joy to the soul”. What do you think? Have a wonderful day. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Field of Gold

July 6, 2016

SG1916 Step 5

Let’s get to painting. The color recipes for the sky are #1. White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). #2. Mix #1 with a little extra Alizarin Crimson + White. #3. White + Cobalt Blue. #4. Two mixes of White + Pthalo Blue. #5. White + a touch of Ultramarine Blue + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange.

SG1916 Step 6

The blue sky is painted first. Since the light pours into the painting from the left the lighter mixes #4 and #5 are used on that side. The darker Cobalt Blue mixture #3 is used on the right side of the sky. Then the shadow portions of the clouds are blocked in over the blue. Working wet-into-wet allows me to keep the edges of the clouds soft.

SG1916 Step 7

Next highlights are added on the clouds with mix #5.

SG1916 Step 8

As you drive through the rural areas of Italy, ancient villages can be seen hugging the distant hilltops. San Gimignano with its distinctive towers is one of Jack’s and my favorites. Please remember, you can click on any of the pictures in my blog to see them larger.

SG1916 Step 9

Vineyards also abound throughout Tuscany, let’s just plant one on the hillside!

SG1916 Step 10

After lightly indicating windows in some of the distant buildings I turn to the Sunflowers. I begin by painting a mass of yellow. Mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD, Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + Cadmium Orange and pure Cadmium Yellow Medium are used. The colors are all “Smooshed” together with my large Bright (Square) brush. Want to know more about the paintbrushes I like to use? Just CLICK HERE.

SG1916 Step 11

Green foliage is worked around the yellows, helping to shape the blossoms. Then the large dark centers are added. Isn’t it amazing how the blobs of yellow immediately become Sunflowers as soon as the centers are placed?

SG1916 Step 12

Jack and I think my “through to door” pieces look so cool with the scene finished and the rest of the piece still in the sketch stage. I think Mike came up with a winner! The Sunflowers are such a cheery compliment to the hilltop village in the distance. Thank you for visiting our studio today. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Off to Italy

July 5, 2016

SI8514 Magic of the Vines 24x30

I’m starting a new collaboration today. Our collectors saw this piece in Gallery 1870 who represents my work in the Napa Valley. They really loved the painting but wanted a few changes. Their main request was to change the view through the archway to a field of Sunflowers with an Italian hilltop village in the distance. We’ll replace the Sunflowers in the foreground with a stand of Hollyhocks.

SG1916 Step 1

The first step is to “construct” the building. The basic elements are drawn up on the canvas with a brush dipped in a thin wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SG1916 Step 2

After the structure is drawn we’ll do some landscaping. The twisted, gnarled trunks of the Wisteria are moved to the left side of the painting to make room for the tall stalks of the hollyhocks on the right.

SG1916 Step 3

I label all of the plants so I don’t forget what I’m supposed to do! I’ve been known to stray from my original plan when caught up in the excitement of slapping paint on the canvas.

SG1916 Step 4

The icing on the cake is sketching the scene in the distance. I can hardly wait to start applying paint. Hope you’ll come watch the step-by-step process. If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can 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




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