Archive for October, 2011

From the Southwest to the Pacific

October 31, 2011

Let’s run away to Pacific Grove, a beautiful little village located on the Monterey Bay, near Carmel, California. This piece is a wedding gift for a dear friend of ours. We met Greg, a famous art rep, when we lived by the bay. It was the beginning of a great friendship. Just looking at the reference photos on the laptop brings back such wonderful memories.

Using a thin wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + a liberal amount of Liquin) the basic elements are drawn on the canvas. To learn more about our Double Primary Mixing System CLICK HERE.

We’re sketched up and ready to begin painting. Let’s get started………

The sky is completed first because it’s the main source of light and influences the entire painting. The water of the bay in the distance is a dull blue, mixed with MUD + Ultramarine Blue + White. I keep the edge of the horizon line where it meets the sky soft so it will recede. The promontory, in the background, is blocked in using cool colors. The coolness makes the spit of rocks, covered with trees and homes fall back. Hope you’ll come visit tomorrow and watch how this special painting comes together. In the meantime have a great day! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Magnificent Southwest

October 28, 2011

After painting the Red Geraniums on the wall I’ve decided to change the ones in the foreground pots to pink and orange California Poppies. This is what makes embellishing my giclees so fun. I can change flowers or door colors, the possibilities are limitless. I’ve even transformed an entire background from a Santa Fe landscape to a seascape. All images are part of a numbered edition but each one is different, that’s why we call them LIMITED ORIGINALS.

The orange vine over the door and window is next. You can see my paint mixtures on the palette. Mixes of Alizarin Crimson + a touch of White, Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Orange and pure Cadmium Orange are used for the flowers. If you decide to use Alkyd Oil paints make sure to put your brushes in the paint thinner. Otherwise the paint will quickly dry in your brushes!

Now the Sunflowers are completely repainted. The highlights are added in a mix of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Winsor Lemon (similar to Hansa Lemon Yellow). The paint is gently “Laid” on the canvas with a #3 Bright brush giving a lot of texture to the blossoms.

Magnificent Southwest      Limited Original     48″ x 62″

The embellishing is complete, Magnificent Southwest is ready to take the trek to Taos. Thank you for visiting our studio today. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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A Great Day for Embellishing a Giclee

October 27, 2011

Fall has arrived and it’s so beautiful here. Today our morning started out with magic. Because of the drought we pump water into our little pond at night to try to maintain the level. At daybreak I went down to turn off the well. You can see the top of the blue tank at the far right in the picture above. I heard a funny sound and wasn’t certain what it could be. As I got near the well, close to the pond, I saw 5 deer and 2 half-grown fawns playing in the water. They ran in circles through the shallow water, much like children around a maypole! What a treat to watch, the deer cavorted in the early morning air, kicking up their heels and splashing like little kids. They finally noticed my presence and, in a flash, were gone. I wish there had been enough light to get a decent picture. But I will show one from this evening. The late afternoon sun glows on the pond and back lights the row of fountain grass lining the courtyard.

So it’s been a great day for embellishing a giclee. Walden Fine Art in Taos has a place in the gallery for a large piece so Victoria, Jack and I decided one of our Limited Originals would work well. The image above is the giclee without any embellishment.

I begin by glazing areas of the giclee to add richness. The sky printed a little washed out so using a thin mixture of Ultramarine Blue + a lot of Liquin I glaze it. The area to the left of the brush still has to be covered.

Now the floor is glazed with a wash of Burnt Sienna + Liquin. Notice how rich the tiles on the left side are compared to those on the right that haven’t been glazed.

All of the doors and windows are repainted on the embellished giclees. If you will enlarge this image (just click on the picture) you will see the distant gate, door and window are redone with a mix of Ultramarine Blue + White. The chili peppers and pink vine have also been painted. Soft highlights were added to the clouds. I use Alkyd Oil Paints for enhancing. They mix just like regular oil paints but dry much quicker. In fact, when painting the large doors I have to work very quickly because they dry so fast. These doors are a mix of Pthalo Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange + a little bit of Hansa Lemon Yellow + White, making a dark Turquoise. I’ll finish up in the next session, hope you’ll come back and watch. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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A Cozy Table for Two

October 25, 2011

Since Grape Creek Vineyards offers wine tasting in Fredericksburg Art Gallery I’m putting their label on the bottle of Merlot. This is a challenge, but with the assistance of my trusty fine liner brush, I’m up to it. You can’t see it in the image but I’m leaning against the mahl stick to steady my hand. I don’t try to delineate the logo on the label in minute detail but rather indicate it loosely. I will do the same with the lettering. To see the image larger just click the picture.

The wine bottle and glasses are done, on to the Geraniums. I’ve used mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light + White and Cadmium Red Light + Permanent Rose + White for the blossoms. The foliage is made from Pthalo Blue + Hansa Lemon Yellow. The flowers are blocked in first, followed by the green leaves. Flower buds are being added on the right with some of the green that has a little white mixed in.

The flowers of the Petunias are washed in with Magenta. This is one of the reasons I like to paint on a pure white canvas. When a color is washed transparently over the white ground it has a luminosity and richness that you can’t get if the canvas has a colored undercoat. The foliage is then worked around the blossoms

In our past experience yellow flowers planted next to one of my red doors is very popular. So I’m putting Coreopsis in the flower bed to the right of the doorway. The shadow areas of the blossoms are mixes of Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). The flowers in the light are made of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Hansa Lemon Yellow.

A Cozy Table for Two       24″ x 30″       Original Oil Painting

Many of you have asked about how our White Senkarik Signature Frame came about. Almost 20 years ago Jack was reading a book on Impressionism and found that Pisarro began using white frames in the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877. Pisarro felt the luminosity of the white frame matched the overall lightness of tone in his paintings and picked up the pattern of light. White frames permitted every touch of color in the painting to play its full part. No one color was emphasized at the expense of another. Over these many years we have found they work wonderfully with my colorful paintings and our collectors love them, they work well in traditional as well as contemporary settings. The white frame tends to isolate the art from the surroundings, making the colors appear more brilliant. We’ve seen a few of my pieces that have been framed conventionally in dark frames. The darkness of the frame seems to cannibalize the color in the painting and it doesn’t look nearly as vibrant. I just want to say, “thank you Pisarro!”  Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Gentle Curves

October 23, 2011

The Wisteria has been blocked in following my usual sequence: flowers first, foliage next. After the details of the leaves are done I go back with a #1 Filbert brush to add the petals of the Wisteria blossoms. If you would like to enlarge the image just click on the picture.

The light and shadows of the tile on the upper level of the floor are now painted. Moving to the steps there is a simple rule I follow in working on them: Upright planes are darker than flat planes. This is because the sunlight from above hits the flat plane on the top of the step more directly. Therefore the surface of the step that you walk on is lighter than the side.

Some of you have asked how I determine the perspective lines when I’m working on a curved tile floor. In the image above I’ve drawn a line at the bottom of the building wall and extended it to the right. Next the gentle curve along the base of the flower bed is drawn all the way around to meet the building. This gives me the starting curve on the tile floor.

Now the rest of the curved lines, delineating the tile, are drawn into the wet paint of the floor.

The curve of the upper level is continued on the floor in the foreground. Cadmium Red Light is added to the paint from the floor to make the terra-cotta flower pots. We’ll plant those in our next session. And please remember, if you are anywhere in the Texas hill country please stop in and visit our newest gallery, Fredericksburg Art Gallery. They are located at 314 East Main Street in the beautiful little town of Fredericksburg. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Too Big!

October 22, 2011

My first thought when I walked up to the easel this morning was, “Opps! They’re too big!” In the excitement of sketching this piece up on the canvas I got the heart shaped bistro chairs a little too large. It’s easy enough to correct, I just draw a new line where they should be and paint over the old ones. You can see the difference on the chair to the right. Yesterday I blocked in the area where the windows are with washes of Utramarine Blue + Liquin and MUD + Liquin. They were kept transparent so it appears as if there is something behind the glass. The curtains were also washed in with a lighter value.

In the image above the curtains have been painted in with more opaque mixes of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange + a lot of White. The light and shadow patterns are established on the lacy curtains. Because they are sheer they are not completely white in the sunlight. The darkness behind the curtains grays them just a touch. I’ve also put in the shadows from the horizontal windowpane dividers which will be painted later.

Now I begin to paint the door and windows over the curtains. The brush is held near the end of the handle which, surprisingly enough, gives me more control. Holding it in this way takes any jiggle I might have out of the brushstroke.  The shadow areas are a mix of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta. The portions of the door in the light are Cadmium Red Deep + Cadmium Red Light.

With the red painted over the sheer curtains they immediately fall in back of the windowpanes. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and follow along. But do wear gloves, we’ll be laying some tile! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Fall Monarchs

October 21, 2011

We love this time of year when the heat of summer has past and the cooler days of fall settle in. Our garden has sprung back to life and the Blue Mist is in full bloom. Monarch butterflies are coming through on their annual migration and the Blue Mist is one of their favorites. It’s so fun to walk by this bed, the Monarchs will delicately dance in the air and you feel as if you are in a butterfly cloud.

Just another picture of one of our delightful visitors.

I’m back to working on paintings for Fredericksburg Art Gallery. I’ve made a quick sketch of my plan for their newest piece. I originally had thought of White Spanish Jasmine draping over the door but feel it will compete with the white curtains in the windows. So we’ll go with purple Wisteria there. That will change the flowers in the right front from purple Salvia to yellow Coreopsis.

I begin sketching the main elements on the canvas with a #2 Filbert brush dipped in a wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a lot of Liquin. The canvas is primed with a couple of coats of white acrylic making a fairly smooth surface. I can use a wad of tissue dipped in my odorless paint thinner to wipe off any errant lines.

We’re sketched up and ready to begin applying paint tomorrow. You can see I’ve made another change from my initial sketch. I took out the Hollyhocks in back of the Bistro set. I felt it would be too busy, making it hard to see the wine bottle, glasses and heart design of the chairs. Have a great day. And by the way, please feel free to visit my website:    Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Daisy Delight

October 20, 2011

Want to learn how to dance in the rain? Read Jack’s latest article at Fine Art Studio Online to find out the best way to skip your way through the puddles. Just CLICK HERE.

Santa Fe Art Collector Galley needs a couple more of these “Little Gems” as they call them. A memory catcher for a collector to take home, offers up fond remembrances of the “City Different”.

The adobe walls and door are completed before starting on the Trumpet Vine draping down the wall. Bracing against the mahl stick the iron handle is drawn into the wet paint of the door. I’ve used some of the mixtures saved from the previous painting for the door, Ultramarine Blue + White. The leftover paint lasts two or three days before it becomes too scummy to use.

The orange of the dangling Trumpet Vine, red chili ristra and purple Salvia make a nice color combination with the blue door. The Salvia is painted with Dioxazine Purple, one of those special paints we use from time to time. It makes a clean, vibrant purple we are just unable to mix with our Double Primary Palette.

            Daisy Delight                               Floral Greeting

Thought you would like to see Floral Greeting, the companion to Daisy Delight. I enjoy painting these small pieces in pairs and it’s amazing how many people purchase two at a time. Thank you for coming by the studio today. Hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you may 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.

How Do We Do It?

October 19, 2011

Since Jack taught me to paint and started marketing my art over twenty years ago we’ve been asked the same questions time and time again. “How did you do it? How can I market my art?”  After answering multitudes of emails, writing the same advice over and over, Jack decided to write a book.

Mystery of Making It is a 307 page manual giving a step-by-step approach on how to earn a living as an artist. This is a book you will read time after time to glean the wisdom Jack shares. He tells how he sold his first painting for $10 and in five years was grossing over $500,000 a year selling his originals. The heart of the book is how he sold my first painting in 1990 and the methods we’ve used to soar past the $7 million mark in retail sales before the end of 2010. Mystery of Making It is a must read if you want to earn a living selling the art you make.

Check out the Table of Contents. This will give you an overview of the information covered in Mystery of Making It. You can also READ AN EXCERPT.

Over a thousand artists and galleries have followed this manual; it has dramatically changed their lives. One gallery owner contacted Jack a few months ago, depressed over the current art market and afraid he may have to close. A few days ago Howard wrote, “After reading The Mystery of Making It and The Magic of Selling Art, you helped me to turn my gallery around in less than 2 months. The artists I represent are reaping the benefits of my reading these books also.”

READ more testimonials, you will find them to be very uplifting and encouraging. Mystery of Making It is priced at $29.95, which just covers our publishing costs. Our goal is not to make a profit, but to offer artists a way to make a living with their art.  Click here to order Mystery of Making It in softcover book form.  Mystery of Making It is also available as a download for $9.99. Click here to order the E Book.

Mystery of Making It spawned many more questions for Jack to answer. Enough for 5 more books on Marketing Art for both artists and galleries. Click here to see them all.

Please join us in working harder and smarter to market the art you make. We hope the stories of our experiences, both successful and unsuccessful will be the wind beneath your wings. Providing you the knowledge to soar in your art marketing. Hugs, Mikki and Jack

Hill Country Serenade

October 17, 2011

My colors are mixed and I’m ready to begin working on the satillo tile floor of the courtyard. The terra-cotta mixes are made from varying proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + White. A few cool greens and blues are pulled out from the extra colors I’ve saved on the left side of my palette. If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Mixing System CLICK HERE.

The entire surface of the floor is covered, establishing the light and dark patterns. As the tile goes back it is made cooler so it will recede. This is where the leftover blues, greens and purples come in. The shadow, or Threshold, across the front is warmer, making it jump forward. The gently curved perspective lines of the tiles are now drawn into the wet floor with a fine liner brush.

Pulling out the large Bright brush again the Geraniums are blocked in: flowers first, foliage next. The last step is to delineate the details of the sunlit petals and new buds with a #1 Filbert brush. If you would like to see this enlarged just click on the picture.

Moving to the Sunflowers the large areas of blossom color are painted with combinations of Cadmium Yellow Medium + some of the Red leftover from the Geraniums and also Cadmium Yellow Medium + a touch of MUD + Cadmium Orange. The large Bright brush is dipped in pure Cadmium Yellow Medium, using the corner and pulling upward I am able to make the smaller petals of the Sunflowers.

The warm green foliage is mixed from different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Hansa Lemon Yellow. Some strokes of the blue, leftover from the shadow of the door, are added to provide coolness and depth in the leaves. Notice I’ve already signed the painting even though it’s not finished. That is always done while the area where the signature will be is still wet. It’s far easier to pull the lines of my signature through the paint while it is pliable. If I waited until it was dry the ridges and bumpy texture would make it difficult to sign.

Hill Country Serenade       30″ x 36″       Original Oil Painting

Dark centers complete the Sunflowers and cheery Cosmos fill the bed along the base of the courtyard wall. Water cascading over the falls under the majestic cypress tree plays a delightful Hill Country Serenade. We’ll let this dry a couple of days and then it will be off to Fredericksburg Art Gallery, our newest Team Member. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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