Archive for August, 2011

Fresh From the Garden

August 24, 2011

We subscribe to a few gardening magazines and one evening, as we were reading them, I heard a loud RIPPPPPPPPPP! Jack handed me a page with a jagged edge, on it was a picture of the neatest little watering can. He could hardly contain himself. Glowing with pride he asked, “Wouldn’t that be nice filled with daisies?”

“With some grapes in a basket,” I replied with excitement. The background is painted first, followed by the watering can. Various mixes of Pthalo Blue + MUD + White are used for the metal container.  A touch of Hansa Lemon Yellow is added to the mix for the lighter portions of the can. An old weathered wood plank table makes for a nice setting.

I enjoy painting grapes. The green ones are mixtures of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White. The light reflecting on the grapes from the water can are made with a little of the color left over from the container. Various mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White are used for the Purple grapes. The shadow areas of the White Daisies are combinations of Ultramarine Blue + White, Dioxazine Purple + White and Pthalo Blue + White. I make certain these are dark enough so the sunlit petals will glow.

Fresh From the Garden       12″ x 10″        Original Oil Painting

The foliage, highlights and centers of the White Daises complete the piece. Kudos to Jack, I think he came up with a super idea. And, he just had another article published on Fine Art Studio Online. CLICK HERE to read Awards and Ribbons: Who Really Cares? Have a great day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Painting Eyes

August 22, 2011

A rich black mixed from Pthalo Blue + Alizarin Crimson is used for the harness. A touch of white added to the mix makes the blue highlights on the patent leather. The golds for the hames and harness decorations are made from Cadmium Yellow Medium + a little Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White.

The white blazes of the Clydesdales are painted with a variety of grays. If you will study a white object in natural light you will notice it is actually several shades of gray. Only the highlights are pure white. It’s the old rule, You can’t have light without dark. I will come back in the next step and add the pure white highlights. A pink mixed from Cadmium Red Light + a little MUD + White is added to the horses’ muzzles.

The highlights have been added to the blazes and now it’s time to paint the eyes. The shape of the eye is first painted with MUD + Liquin, making certain to cover the entire area.

Using a fine liner brush dipped in a little of the “medium value” bay paint I make a crescent in the eye. Since the light is coming from above on the left, the crescent is on the lower right of the eye. With a “lighter value” bay paint I lighten the center of the crescent. This is because light shining through the globe of the eye illuminates the iris at this point.

The final step is to make the catch light in the eye. This needs to be very small and close to the upper lid. If the catch light is placed in the center of the eye in the pupil the animal will look drugged.

Best Buds       20″ x 24″       Original Oil Painting

Bridles, blinders, bits, buckles, bearing reins and pretty ribbons finish out these Best Buds! I love the title Jack came up with. He is the official “Namer” in our operation and outdid himself this time.

And, last but not least. Is that Little Sissie one happy kitty or what? Have a great day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Mixing Color: Background and Bays

August 20, 2011

Since the Clydesdales are bay, which is basically red, I want a background that leans toward green. Viridian Green is one of those special colors we use from time to time. When it is mixed with Alizarin Crimson + White it makes a nice subtle background. Three shades are made: dark, medium and light.

Using a large Bright brush I begin painting the background. The shape of the brush enables me to cut in and around the horses. The upper part of the canvas is made darker to accentuate the white blazes of the Clydesdales.

The mixtures for the bay horses are varying combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Red Light + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. The grays for the muzzles are Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. A black is mixed from equal parts of Alizarin Crimson + Pthalo Blue. I’ve saved the leftover paint from the background on the left side of my palette. This will be used later to go back and soften edges.

I use my Bright brush to begin blocking in the horses. The front edge of the neck and shoulder are made soft so they will fall back. The edge of the jaw line is sharper so the viewer’s attention will be drawn to the horse’s head.

The horses are basically blocked in except for the white on their faces. I’ll work on the harness in the next session. Hope you will come watch. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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A Little Lesson in Horse Anatomy

August 19, 2011

When Jack taught me to paint I began with horses. I grew up riding and as a medical illustrator had done many equine anatomical drawings. The one above was done for the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. This shows how to measure the proportions of a horse. All of the marked measurements are equal to the length of the horse’s head. The smaller drawing shows how the head is divided into four equal parts.  From the base of the ear to the corner of the eye, from the corner of the eye to the zygomatic bone, the zygomatic bone to just above the corner of the mouth, and finally from the point above the corner of the mouth to the tip of the nose. This is called the “Change of Plane Stairway”.

Several of my collectors have requested I paint some horses for my show in Santa Fe. Jack and I are well trained, we do as we are told. So here goes. I love the Budweiser Clydesdales and we have several pictures of them from all different angles. For this piece I’ve combined horses from two different photos. In drawing these beautiful animals on the canvas I use the key “Change of Plane” measurements to make certain the horses’ heads are proportioned correctly.

My initial sketch is drawn with a small filbert brush dipped in a wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a lot of Liquin.

The horse on the left had one of his ears cocked back to listen to sounds behind him, see the previous image. I decided to rotate the ear forward so the attention of both horses is focused to the left. I indicate the basic bridles, bits and collars. After the horses are painted I will add all the other harness. It’s much easier to render the harness over the wet paint of the horse, than paint the horse around individual pieces of the harness. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Romance of Venice

August 16, 2011

Jack and I feel Venice is one of the most romantic places in the world. So let’s go there today and follow one of the gondoliers as he rows a couple quietly through the intriguing canals of the “Floating City”.

Sunlight illuminates the buildings on the far side of the canal, while the foreground will remain in shadow to serve as a threshold. Even though this is a small painting, the theory of the dark threshold across the foreground still applies.

The Bougainvillea covered bridge adds a blast of color in the background. Moving to the water the blues are painted first. Lighter and duller in the distant canal, becoming darker and more intense in the foreground.

The reflections of the buildings and Gondola are dragged down, into the wet paint of the water. A squiggly diagonal line is made for the reflection of the oar, or “remo”. The lightest part of the water is in the distant canal directly behind the heads of the loving couple riding in the Gondola. This was planned to act as a spotlight, directing the viewer’s eye to the area, accentuating the feeling of romance.

Romance of Venice       12″ x 10″     Original Oil Painting

The Gondolier completes the scene. The Cadmium Red Light of his hatband is echoed in the ribbon tying the woman’s hair. This is another one of the special paintings for my Collector’s Only Event in Santa Fe. Just a little bit of the Romance of Venice. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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August 1, 2011

Several of my readers have asked about the brushes I use. My favorites are pictured above. From left to right they are as follows. At the far left is a Fine Liner Brush, used to draw the perspective lines on tile floors and for signing my paintings. A #1 Flat Brush is beside a #1 Filbert, these are used for detail work. The next one, a #8 Bright is an all around brush I seem to use constantly. The #2 Filbert is used mainly to draw my initial sketch on the canvas. The large Bright Brush is used for blocking in larger areas, the two Brights to the right of it are mainly for flowers and foliage. The largest brush is a Bob Ross #2 Background Brush. It is great for skies and, as the name implies, backgrounds. I used to have more really big brushes in my toolbox, but dragging them, filled with paint, on the canvas was causing too much strain on my wrist and elbow so I had to change to smaller ones.

Here are some more Bright Brushes that I really like. These are great because the flat side paints a large stroke, while using the corner of the brush makes a fine one. I also prefer synthetic brushes, Bristle Brushes seem to splay out over time. The corners of the Natural Bristle Brush become rounded and individual hairs stick out, preventing smooth application of paint.

Paint brushes are the tools of an artist’s trade. When we find ones we like we want them to last forever. Turpenoid Natural is a cleaner that extends the life of our brushes. Turpenoid makes an odorless paint thinner in a blue can to use for painting, but the Natural is especially to clean your brushes. You should be able to find Turpenoid Natural at your art supply store. It’s nontoxic and non flammable, with a slight scent of oranges. Your paint brushes will love you. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik