Archive for December, 2011

Boxing the Wet Painting

December 30, 2011

Now for packing the wet painting. Using 3/4″ pink insulation board cut into 3″ wide strips a rectangle is made the same size as the cardboard. This will be the sides of the shipping box. 2″ painters tape is used to secure the corners. We get the tape and pink stuff at Home Depot. Don’t get the white styrofoam insulation because it makes little pieces that will fall into your wet painting. Believe me, we know from experience! Carefully place the box on the outer edge of the cardboard backing.

A three-ply piece of cardboard is placed on the top of the box, being very careful not to let it touch the painting inside. We make the three-ply cardboard by gluing three sheets together.

The top and bottom of the box are taped to the sides at the corners. The box is turned over so the side with the nails is up, we cover that with another sheet of cardboard so the back of the box will be flat.

The box is taped with brown plastic packaging tape, UP arrows drawn on and the shipping label attached. The UP arrows are to insure, we pray, that FEDEX will ship the box upright and not lay it flat with a 75 pound box on top of it! The piece is now ready to be picked up by FEDEX. So….. that’s how we ship a wet piece that is painted to the edge of a regular canvas. Hope this is helpful, please feel free to share the information with your friends. And…. just to let you know. The piece arrived safely in time for Christmas and our collector’s wife absolutely loved it. In fact, she wants me to do one of their two daughters using the same technique! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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A Pretty Paint

December 29, 2011

I love the checked saddle blanket. The mahl stick is so helpful, not only to steady my hand but it takes the strain off of my shoulder. I’d be hurting without it. I’ve included a picture of Godiva without a saddle. She is a gorgeous paint mare with very unusual markings.

It’s a challenge to make the white over her hip and on her tail appear light but not too bright. The same is true with the white on her side, just behind Lance’s leg. If it is too dark you won’t see the distinctive marking, too light and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

The basic values on Godiva’s neck and shoulder are blocked in first. Then the highlights are “lifted out”. A little extra Ivory Black is added to the oil wash for the mane.

The same technique of establishing the darks and lifting out the highlights is followed on Godiva’s head. My reference photos are taped to the easel where they are easy to see.

Lance and Godiva    20″ x 24″    Original Oil Wash Drawing

Finishing the eye and adding the details of the bridle and bit complete the surprise Christmas present. Tomorrow I’ll show how we package the wet piece to ship. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Working on Lance

December 28, 2011

Now to Lance. This is one advantage of digital cameras. I can crop and enlarge the picture of Lance in order to have a closeup of his face to use as reference. I rest my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand as I block in the planes of the face.

With the hat, face, shirt and belt buckle finished I begin the jeans. Just click on the image to see the picture larger.

I’ve printed out a close up of the saddle, hands and jeans. This really helps to get all of the little details correct, especially the hands.

I love the cutting horse saddle, it’s fun to render with this Oil Wash technique. The basic value of the leather is laid in, then I come back with a clean brush and “Lift out” the lighter details. Thanks for stopping by the studio today. Come back tomorrow and see how this turns out. In the meantime have a great day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Jack has a new article on Fine Art Studio Online. CLICK HERE to read No More Bad Days!

A Surprise Commission

December 27, 2011

This is an unusual painting project for me, a portrait! My collector didn’t want a full color oil painting. He asked me to do a drawing as a surprise for his wife. I had done a large painting of three of their horses several years ago, Lance liked the initial sketch. I thought it would be neat to do a sepia tone Oil Wash drawing, kind of like an old tintype photo. Lance sent the two pictures above, he wants the view of him on the left and the position of Godiva, their horse, on the right.

The oil wash is mixed with Ivory Black + Burnt Umber + Liquin. I had to hunt a bit and steal these from Jack’s paint box. They are colors I don’t normally have on my palette but are perfect for this piece. Remember, to see any of these pictures larger just click the image.

The first step is to paint the background. I make it darker behind Lance to highlight his light colored Stetson and white shirt. Then the color is lightened behind Godiva’s dark head.

The canvas was primed with white acrylic. This gives a semi-slick surface to the canvas, making it easy to go back and pull the wash off with a clean brush. I’m doing that around the edges of Lance. I need to do this because once the background wash dries I can’t change it. The white canvas will provide the highlights so I have to think ahead and make sure the edges are clean.

All the edges are finished and the reins and bit are “lifted’ out of the background with a clean brush. I’m going to let this dry overnight. Tomorrow I will be able to work on the main subject and not worry about messing up the background. See Ya! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Canvas Prep

December 26, 2011

This piece is a Christmas surprise to be painted to the edge. I worked on it right before Christmas and knew it would definitely be wet when it was shipped. So the canvas had to be prepared in a special way. First the title, personalization, my signature and our control number are put on the back of the canvas. The white block is made with two coats of acrylic. This keeps the Sharpie marker from bleeding through the canvas. I mark a tiny arrow on the top edge of the stretcher bar. This way I’ll know which way is up so the image on the front of the canvas will be the same orientation as the back. Then three screw eyes are put in the stretcher bars as shown.

The screw eye is not put in all the way. It needs to protrude enough to extend through the backing cardboard.

The double ply cardboard is made 22″ x 26″, larger than the canvas which is 20″ x 24″. The canvas is then centered on the backing cardboard and pressed down. The screw eyes leave indentations and an ice pick is used to make a hole all the way through. Then the canvas is placed back on the cardboard and the screw eyes pushed through the holes.

Nails are pushed through the screw eyes and secured with 2″ painters tape. This allows me to handle the wet piece by the cardboard that extends beyond the canvas. After the piece is finished I’ll show you how we pack it up  for FEDEX! Tomorrow I’ll be starting to paint using a different technique. Come watch! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Merry Christmas from Mikki and Jack

December 23, 2011

“so they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16)

We want to share with you the Glory, the Wonder, and the Miracle of this Christmas season. Our thoughts turn gratefully to those of you who have touched our lives. Collectors, old friends and new, Jack and I appreciate all of you. In this spirit we say, simply but sincerely ….

Thank You and Best Wishes for a
Very Blessed Christmas
and a Wonderful New Year

Mikki and Jack signature

Santa Fe Sentry

December 21, 2011

I’m so glad people like roosters because they are such fun to paint. In the Hawaiian islands the colorful fowl run wild and are called Moas by the locals. We took lots of pictures when we lived on both Maui and the Big Island so I have plenty of rooster reference. Santa Fe needs a new little piece so we’ll just transport this guy to the Southwest. We’ve certainly seen and heard many of them in our travels there. Mixtures of Pthalo Blue + White and Dioxazine Purple + White are used for the background.

The comb is painted with Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta for the shadow and Cadmium Red Deep + a little White for the highlights. The distant edge of the comb is made soft to imply motion. A catch light in the rooster’s eye is placed at 11 o’clock while light shining through the cornea illuminates the iris directly opposite.

I can’t help but make my roosters more vibrant than they actually are in nature. But then, isn’t that what being an artist is all about? The tail feathers are blocked in with a large Bright brush. I like to paint these birds after I’ve done a larger piece. Then I have lots of leftover colors to play with.

Santa Fe Sentry     14″ x 11″    Original Oil Painting

This feisty little fella is ready to head to Santa Fe. And, the coolest thing, he is on the cover and has a part in Jack’s latest eBook short story, Who Killed Leon? To download a copy of the eShort just CLICK HERE. It’s only $1.99 and you will love the surprise ending. Happy Reading! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Don’t Forget!

December 17, 2011

The eBay auction for my Original Oil Painting, A Little Get Away, ends Sunday December 18 at 8PM in Texas (Central time zone). This would make a great gift for someone who loves the beach. And, we can ship it to arrive in time for Christmas!

To go to my eBay auction CLICK HERE.

Happy Bidding. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

A Cozy Table for Paul and Nancy

December 16, 2011

Nancy loves pink and soft buttery yellow. So, we are going to plant pink Geraniums in the flower boxes on the windowsills. They are blocked in with several shades of Permanent Rose + White. The leaves are a bright green mixed with Pthalo Blue + Hansa Lemon Yellow.

A mix of Cadmium Yellow Medium + a touch of Hansa Lemon Yellow + White is used to make the butter yellow Daisies. A little Cadmium Orange is added for the darker shadow areas. The same sequence of blocking in the flowers, then foliage is followed. Painting the blossom areas first, then the leaves, allows the flower color to remain clean. If I painted the foliage first and then the flowers, my brush would pick up some of the green and muddy the color of the blossoms. Magenta centers are added with a #0 Filbert brush.

Highlights made of Hansa Lemon Yellow + White complete the petals on the Daisies. I’ve planted Nasturtiums to fill out the rest of the flower bed.

A Cozy Table for Paul and Nancy  16″ x 19″  Original Oil Painting

Magenta Petunias, along with the shadow on the courtyard floor, provide a nice dark in the foreground. This makes a “Threshold” of darkness across the front of the painting. The viewer’s eye is drawn over the “Threshold” to the light splashing on the tile, buttery yellow flowers, red doors and building. Artists work on a two-dimensional surface, the canvas, attempting to make it appear to have three dimensions. The dark across the front of the painting with light running behind it helps to give the illusion of depth. Now this Cozy Table is waiting for Paul and Nancy to sit in the sun and enjoy a sip of wine. Thanks for joining us in the studio today, hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Doors and Floors

December 15, 2011

When the red doors are covered the curtains immediately fall back. Magenta + Cadmium Red Deep is used for the shadow and pure Cadmium Red Light makes the portion of the door in the sunlight.

White Spanish Jasmine will cascade over the doorway. My reference slide was taken in Carmel, California when we lived there. The fragrance of this vine is amazing. When it was in bloom I would linger as long as I could near the Jasmine absorbing the wonderful aroma. I think Molly, one of our black rescue kitties, is enjoying it too! You can see our setup to view slides. The projector is at the far right, the image is projected onto the viewing screen sitting on a taboret by my easel. So much of our reference material is on slides, taken way before digital cameras. This is OLD technology but it works great. The various mixtures of blue and lavender paint for the white flowers are laid out on my palette. You can just click on the picture to see it larger.

After the shadow areas of the blossoms and the foliage are blocked in it’s time to add highlights on the petals using the corner of a Bright brush dipped in pure White. I carefully “Lay” the paint on the canvas to avoid picking up any of the color underneath. This keeps my White clean and gives a lot of texture.

The curved paver floor is a challenge. Notice the base of the planter to the right side of the upper level. I’ve continued the base line all the way around to the building. This gives me the guide for drawing the curved perspective lines of the tiles with a fine liner brush.

The curve extends to the lower level of the patio. The next step is to draw the horizontal lines separating the individual pavers. Now, get your gardening gloves ready, tomorrow we’ll be planting flowers. Have a great evening. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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