Rock House Homestead

September 22, 2017

Wild Sunflowers are next, my color mixtures are shown above. #1. Three shades of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White. #2. Two combinations of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). #3. A couple of mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow. #4. Pure Lemon Yellow.


Morning Glories twine around the rough cedar fence post guarding the drive up to the Homestead. The flowers are several combination in various proportions of Magenta + White. The leaves are different shades of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow.

Accentuating the deep centers of the flowers with Magenta and drawing long, twisting tendrils finishes out our Morning Glory Vine. You may click on this, or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

Alizarin Crimson + White is used for the Wine Cups on the left side of the painting. Greens left over from the Morning Glory Vine makes the foliage.

A little Cadmium Orange is added into some of the Bluebonnet leaf mixes. This makes a soft gray-green for the Cactus nestled by the Wine Cups. By saving my color mixtures I can reuse a lot of the paint, not much is wasted by the time I complete a painting.

Lemon Yellow blooms glow like jewels. Then needle-like spines, backlit by the sun, are made with my fine liner brush. Just a few are indicated here and there, to give the impression of the sticky characters.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Bluebonnets – Up Close and Personal

OPPPSS!!!! In my video I said I put the painting on my taboret to work on the lower edge. When I got it off the easel I realized it was far too large to go there. So I braced the painting on Jack’s desk chair to paint the bottom of the gallery wrap canvas. That’s Jack’s painting of Texas Ranger, Leander McNelly, in the background. One day it will hang in the Texas Ranger Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, along with several other Ranger pieces Jack did.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Blocking in the Indian Blanket Flowers

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Finishing the Indian Blanket Flowers

Rock House Homestead  24 inches by 30 inches

The old “Rock House Homestead” now resides in a field of Texas spring wildflowers. Doesn’t this make you want to grab a glass of iced tea, sit in the porch swing and enjoy the view? Listen carefully, bet you can hear the birds singing!

Here’s how the two paintings will look together! I’m excited for the “Rock House Homestead” to join its companion in their new home. Before signing out I’d like to extend a big THANK YOU for all of the wonderful comments everyone has made. I really appreciate you following my blog. AND PLEASE, always feel free to ask questions. With Colorful Smiles,

Blanketed in Bluebonnets

September 21, 2017

Today’s session begins by painting the large leaf plant that we saw in the 1936 photograph at the base of the stairs. I don’t have any idea what it is but it’s fun to paint. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + a little Lemon Yellow are used. If you’d like to see the picture larger just click on the image.

Now for the field of Bluebonnets. My usual sequence of “Flowers First, Leaves Last” is followed. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Dioxazine Purple + White are used in the most distant part of the field. The middle portion is Ultramarine Blue + White and those beautiful flowers in the front are Cobalt Blue + White. Then I come back and add the foliage with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

The winding road is painted with some of the darkest mixtures left over from the old Rock House. The far end of the road, where it disappears into the Bluebonnets is made cooler, or bluer, so it will recede.

The Bluebonnets, illuminated by sunlight streaming into the painting from the right, are highlighted. All I had to do was put additional White into the original mixes used to block them in.

A few bunches of Indian Paintbrush pop up here and there.

The crowning touch on the Bluebonnets is to top them out with White Bonnets! Those in the direct sunlight get pure White caps. A bit of Ultramarine Blue is mixed into the White for those flowers in the distant shadow, this makes them fall back.

The Bluebonnet field is in it’s full glory. Jack and I discovered something interesting when we lived in Floresville, not far from Panna Maria where the Rock House Homestead is. The native Bluebonnets in our area didn’t have the little White bonnets! In the height of spring the Bluebonnet fields surrounding Floresville are Bonnet Less!

Here’s a picture taken in our backyard in Floresville. If you’ll enlarge the picture by clicking on the image, you’ll see they have no White hats! Soon after moving in we seeded the flower beds we built close to the house with traditional, White topped “Texas Bluebonnets”. We never had a clue the native ones didn’t have them. Didn’t realize that until we had a banner wildflower year in 2010, the fields around us were covered with “Bonnet Less” flowers. This is probably more information than you’d ever want to know about our Texas State Flower but there you go! HUGS, 

Rock Work

September 20, 2017

In reality, the property the Old Homestead resides on is relatively flat. BUT….we’re matching this painting up with a hill country piece. That’s the fun of being an artist; we can change this landscape to be a bit more hilly. The slope in front of the barn and tractor is covered with Bluebonnets and White Thistle Poppies.

The rest of the cornfield fills the space between the barn and the house.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Oak Tree to the right of the Rock House.

Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White are used for the tin roof. The more upright plane of the house roof is darker, the flatter porch roof catches more light from above so it isn’t as dark.


The right side of the building is warmed by sunlight streaming into the painting.

More Ultramarine Blue and MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) are added into the lighter rock mixtures to use for the shadow side of the house.

Now, let’s add the porch swing! You may click on the image to see it larger.

Railings and support posts complete the porch.

Steps and the vine cascading from the porch roof almost finish us up for today.

Just have to pop the two pieces in Photoshop and check them out. Will need to make a few minor adjustments on placement of wildflowers but other than that I think we’re good to go. Hugs,

Painting the Sky, Barn and John Deere

September 19, 2017

We begin painting with the sky. There are two reasons for this….One, it’s the main source of light. Two, the sky is in back of everything else. Makes sense to do it first, then “Paint Forward” from there. Mountains, then trees, etc. My color is mixed and we’re ready to start. #1. White + a touch of Mix #2 + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange. #2. White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). #3. White + Pthalo Blue + a smidge of Lemon Yellow. #4. White + Pthalo Blue. #5. White + Cobalt Blue. Just so you’ll know: Touch, Tiny Bit and Smidge are Jack White technical art terms!

The blue portion of the sky is done in three zones. The lightest mix (#3) is used nearest the horizon, #4 for the middle part and #5 for the darkest area at the top of the painting.

The shadows on the clouds are Mix #2 while the highlights are Mixture #1.

The most distant cloud is completed first, then I “Paint Forward” to finish the rest.

The hills in the background continue on to this painting from the companion piece. They are made with White + Ultramarine Blue. The coolness of this mixture makes them recede. Next the oak trees behind the barn are painted. Part of the cornfield extends behind the barn. My left hand is braced on the unpainted area of the canvas, providing a steady support for my right as I delineate the sunlit tassels on top of the cornstalks.


Another VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Amanda’s Grandfather’s favorite John Deere Tractor.

Back to Adobe Photoshop……Looks like everything is lining up the way it’s supposed to. Please remember, you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger. Thanks for visiting my online studio today! HUGS,

On to the Canvas

September 18, 2017

I begin by sketching the basic architecture of the building with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. A T-square placed on the top edge of the canvas is used to make certain the upright lines are straight and…well….upright!

The door and windows are symmetrical. To find the center point of the building, diagonal lines are drawn from opposite corners of the first floor. The intersecting point of the two diagonals falls in the middle of the door. 

After establishing the support posts of the porch the steps are added.

Amanda specifically asked that I include the porch swing. In reality it hangs at the other end of the porch. However, since we’re adding vines like in the old photo, I’m moving the bench to this spot where it can be seen. And those swinging in it can enjoy the view as well!

Another request was to include her granddad’s favorite John Deere tractor! You may click on the picture to see it larger.

The wildflowers in the lower left corner of the painting must meet up with the ones in the companion piece. So I’ve taped an image of it to the canvas to sketch in the “Plan for Planting”.

Thank goodness for Adobe Photoshop, it allows me to view the two paintings together to make sure everything lines up properly! OPPS! My barn and tractor behind the old Homestead are a bit too small so back to the easel……

So here we are, everything is the proper size now! I got an email from Amanda today with an update on the history of the “Rock House”. The information is from the Historic American Buildings Survey and is dated 2/12/1937:

“The name “Whetstone” is carved in the stone forming the landing of the front entrance steps. The house was built as a ranch house, and apparently was built by a man by the name of Whetstone. The house contains three rooms in a row, and a semi-basement. The house is flanked on either end by chimneys built flush with the exterior walls. Roof is pitched about six to twelve and was, in all probability, covered with cypress shingles; it is now covered with galvanized iron. Walls are built of native limestone of a fairly smooth texture, stuccoed on outside and plastered on inside. Floors are of random width tongue and grooved pine. Window frames, door frames and panels, etc., are cypress, windows are twelve light, double hung. A porch about twenty five feet long extends across the Southeast front.” 

The photo above, as well as the other one that was posted in my previous blog, was taken in 1936 and they think the girl sitting on the porch is Amanda’s grandmother, Florence. The number in the pictures is actually the reference number for the Historic American Buildings Survey, not the year the photo was taken. So that’s your little History Lesson for today! HUGS,

A Family Heirloom

September 16, 2017

I’m starting on a really cool collaboration today. Amanda and Bryan asked me to paint an old rock home that has been in Amanda’s family for years.  The house was built around 1845. Then Amanda’s dad’s great grandfather, Frank Manka, bought it around 1870. It was so fun looking at pictures of “The Rock House” at various times in its history.

Amanda especially loves how vines draped down over the porch in 1888. Please keep in mind as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

Over the years the old homestead suffered. The property remained in the family but no one lived there, the rock house fell into disrepair. 

Recently the family restored the stately old homestead to its former glory; a welcoming place for gatherings and making happy memories.

Here is my sketch. We’re adding bunches of wildflowers as well as a barn and cornfield that reside elsewhere on the property. 

This painting will hang with another piece I’ve done for Amanda and Bryan. The two will work as a diptych. The Texas Barn painting is already in their home SO…..I put the sketch next to the painting in Adobe Photoshop to make sure the perspective between the two is correct.

I had to plan ahead before letting Amanda and Bryan take the companion piece home. I made pencil notations along the adjoining edge of this canvas as to the placement of clouds, mountains, trees and masses of flowers. If all goes as planned this should aid in matching up the two compositions. 

The painting will be done in a gallery wrap style with the image extending over the edge and on to the sides. Attaching the canvas to a piece of cardboard makes it easier to handle the wet art. The picture above shows my painting setup. Jack’s and my studio has always filled the “Living Room” of our home, no matter where we lived. People are quite surprised to step in the front door and be in the midst of an art work place! We’re ready to begin sketching the basic plan up on the canvas. Hope you’ll come watch. 

AND…..If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blogCLICK 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!


Warm Breath of Summer

September 14, 2017

Geraniums burst out of the terra cotta containers. These are also blocked in Flowers First, Leaves Last. There is a definite reason to work in that order. If the greens were painted first I would pick up some of that color on my brush when adding the reds, making them muddy. By blocking in the reds first and painting the foliage around the blossoms, the flowers remain bright and crisp.

Sweet Potato Vine tumbles out of the Geranium pot on the bench. The heart shaped leaves and shadows bring a subliminal touch of romance to the painting. You may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

The large blossoms of the Sunflowers are blocked in with mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + a bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson), Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + Cadmium Red Light and pure Cadmium Yellow Medium. 

After the leaves are painted with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium the large centers of the flowers are added. A mix of MUD + a dab of Sunflower color is used.

Zinnias snuggle up to the wrought iron bench in the lower right corner of the painting. The flowers are mixes of Magenta + Permanent Rose + White and Permanent Rose + White.

Warm Breath of Summer  14 inches x 14 inches

A few years ago Jack and I bought some dwarf Sunflower seeds. We knew they wouldn’t grow very tall but assumed the blossoms would also be smaller. NOT TRUE, the flowers were huge! How delightful to have those large, cheery blooms down lower where you could just feel the “Warm Breath of Summer” as you walked by! HUGS,

Rock, Tiles and White Stucco

September 12, 2017

The rock wall behind the stairs provides a dark backdrop for the sun-washed, white stucco walls. Terra cotta tiles on the roof also add a dark accent that will make the light on the building POP!

You can see how the surrounding darks “Set the Stage” for the brightly lit stucco. I pull the lines of the wrought iron bench into the paint of the wall while it’s still wet. A #4 bright (square) brush dipped in a thin mixture of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin is used.

The warmth of the Red door vibrates against all of the cool lavenders and blue grays on the walls.

Now we’ll work on the vine cascading over the roof. I’ve got my mixes laid out and ready to go. #1. Pthalo Blue + Liquin. #2. A couple of shades of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Orange. #3. Two mixes of Sap Green + White. #4. Cadmium Orange + a bit of Cadmium Yellow Medium. #5. Pthalo Blue + White. 

The flowering vine is blocked in following my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last. On the left I’ve used mixes #2 and #4 to make the mass of flower color. At the right foliage is added, the green is worked around the orange to shape the blossoms.

Dangling tendrils and twisting trunks finish out the Trumpet Vine. The next step is to cover the entire surface of the floor, establishing the light and shadow pattern. Paint leftover from the roof tiles is used. A cool blue, made of Ultramarine Blue + White, is added along the back edge near the wall to make it recede. Please remember as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the pictures to view them larger.

The lines separating the tiles are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush dipped in a mix of MUD + Liquin.

Attaching the canvas to a piece of cardboard before I begin working makes it much easier to handle the wet painting. I remove the whole unit from the easel and lay it on my taboret to paint the bottom edge of the canvas. If you’d like to see how the canvas is attached to the cardboard CLICK HERE.

For the terra cotta flower pots a little Cadmium Red Light is mixed into the colors used on the floor. Thank you for visiting our studio today, hope you’ll come back for the next session. I’ll be adding the flowers! HUGS, 

Back to the Easel

September 10, 2017

It feels good to be back at the easel again. I had a few days of catch up to do. Things that I put aside while in the whirlwind of preparing for the show in Santa Fe. Most all of the important stuff is done so it’s back to work. This piece is for my gallery in the Napa Valley, Gallery 1870. The owners, Paul, Kathy and Kassia Thoren, have become wonderful friends over the years they’ve represented my work. 

Andalusia, Spain is the setting for this 14″ x 14″ gallery wrap piece. I love the quirky architecture with the steps going up and the door almost hidden under an arched porch. The stairway makes a great place for pots of flowers, as does the wrought iron bench at the base.

The basic plan is sketched with a brush dipped in a thin wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.  Flowers are all labeled and we’re ready to begin applying opaque oil paint in our next session. You may click on this or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

But before I go I want to introduce you to our newest kitty, Bosco! He’s actually Talavera Pottery, I got him at a delightful shop in Santa Fe. Molly was totally indifferent to her new porch mate but Sissie????? Well, her name says it all, she’s a complete sissie! I didn’t notice her until she’d worked her way from the sliding glass door to this spot. However, I imagine it took awhile.

While I was watching it took Sissie over 5 minutes to get to this point. She looked like a cobra with her head dancing back and forth. 

Another 8 minutes passed before she worked up the courage to sniff Bosco’s nose! She jumped back as if she’d been burned! After a few more minutes she crept back up to sniff him several times. When she was absolutely assured he wasn’t a threat she casually walked away. Now she doesn’t even notice him. But I bet if I move Mr. Bosco we’ll go through the entire process again.

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!

What a FUN Time!

September 6, 2017


WOW! My time in Santa Fe was a whirlwind of cool activities, meeting new collectors and renewing friendships with our long time Team Members. Even got to view “Lines of Thought”, an exhibit of sketches by the old Masters at the New Mexico Museum of Art!  Want to share a few pictures of our 2017 Team Senkarik Collector Event! Those are Chris Payne’s beautiful sculptures and Doug Adams’ delightful bells displayed with my paintings. Please keep in mind as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

Darrell and Phyllis gave me two entire walls, smack dab, right up in front of the gallery! After closing time the gallery was dark except for my area; the brightly lit paintings literally glowed! OH MY, I felt honored!

I love how Darrell and Phyllis hung the Vignettes around “Echoes of the Mediterranean”!

The first official event was a reception on Friday evening. Our granddaughter, Christie, made the trip from California with her movie producer boyfriend, Patrick. She’s also an artist, landscape architect and helps Patrick produce his films. AND…..Christie has even starred in a few. I know Jack was smiling down from Heaven, proud as could be. Christie suggested taking our picture with the painting of “Our Jack” driving the sleigh in “Winter’s Magic”.

Linda, Tom and their pretty baby Platita added “Produce With a Little Bray” to their collection.

At the big Gala on Saturday, I got the chance to meet Rachel and Mike. They first saw my work years ago in Taos and not long after became Team Senkarik Members. 

Also met Robert and Linda for the first time!

We always have an auction, one of our pieces this year was a print of Jack’s painting “ALERT”. Darrell’s auctioneering makes the event extra exciting.

Derek and Allison won “ALERT”. What is so neat is their soon to be born son is named Cooper, Jack’s mother’s maiden name!

Every year we include a drawing for several cool items. The winners get to select from an assortment of special goodies! Lynn chose some Senkarik notecards.

In either 1996 or 1997 we met Gayle at the UPS office in Albuquerque, we lived there at the time. What a surprise when we discovered she was also an artist! Those of you who follow my blog know I had to rebuild my website several months ago. Imagine my shock when I contacted tech support and Gayle was there to help me! I couldn’t have constructed without her assistance, as well as that of all the others at FASO. If you’re an artist and need to build a website I highly recommend They are reasonable and have templates specifically designed to showcase artwork.

After the main event several people hung around, we had an “After the Party” party! No one even thought of getting a group shot earlier while all of the crowd was there! Oh well, we will just have to do it next year! Go ahead and mark your calendar to come to Santa Fe for our 2018 Collector Event, August 31 and September 1. 

I’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU to my Santa Fe Art Collector Gallery family. Going from left to right first up is Arlene, a very special lady and wonderful sales consultant. Ann, a dear friend of Jack’s and mine, accompanied me on the trip, helped with the driving and was our official navigator. She has a phone with GPS, I just have a flip phone with no data capabilities! Next are Phyllis and Darrell, the amazing owners of the gallery. Last but not least is Tom, who is our “Official Event Photographer” and generally keeps everyone in line! I appreciate all of you who made this year’s event a success! God has certainly blessed me with your love, support and friendship!