Archive for February, 2012

Our First Laura Bush Petunia

February 29, 2012

Every morning now the garden is offering up new surprises. Our Laura Bush petunias rewarded us with their first bloom of the season. They are hardy and will weather the upcoming hot, hot Texas summer with lots of happy color. Remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

The Mountain Laurel at the entrance to the studio is now in full bloom, filling the air with fragrance. Yellow Copper Canyon Daisies on the other side of the walkway compete with their lemony scent. The Loropetalum, left foreground, is covered with hot pink chenille-like blossoms and is beginning to sprout purple leaves. It won’t be long before the Wisteria over the window starts to bloom.

The potted succulents have made it through the winter. Mainly because I’ve finally learned to neglect them and not give them too much water. The first night after we brought these into the house in November was quite an experience. We had gone to bed when our two shelter kitties, Molly and Sissie, woke us up with a big ruckus in the kitchen. I came out to see what was going on and found them scratching at something under the scale in the corner. I pushed the girls out of the way, lifted up the scale and JUMPED. A Copperhead snake was coiled underneath! He had been in one of the succulent containers, we think the pot in the middle. I was able to pick him up with a pair of long-handled picker-uppers and dropped him down the kitchen disposal. GRRRRRRRIIIIINNNNNNNDDDDD, that was the end of him. Thank goodness for Molly and Sissie. But, needless to say, we didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night.

I think this guy is so cool, I’m not sure what the official name is but we call it Spaghetti Cactus. Love the light, Jack pointed it out this evening so I grabbed the camera. Just thought I’d share a little of our spring with you today. It looks like we are going to have spectacular wildflowers this year so keep watching. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Coastal Morning – Now on eBay

February 28, 2012

To go directly to my eBay auction CLICK HERE.

It has been so beautiful here the last couple of mornings. We’ve been able to eat breakfast on our back porch while watching all of the resident and migratory birds on Senkarik Pond. This morning Jack and I began a trip down memory lane, talking about all the times we’ve lived near the ocean and enjoyed the waterfowl on the coastal marshes. We’ve experienced these delightful areas in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and California. All are amazingly beautiful.

He asked, “Remember all the mornings we would get up early and watch the sunrise? In my mind’s eye I can see the vibrant color in the clouds and the reflections on the still water as if it were yesterday. Why don’t you share that serene start of the day with your eBay collectors?” So that’s exactly what I’m painting today, a coastal marsh in the early morning. Something a little different from my usual Architecture and Flowers! After sketching up the basics on the canvas with a thin oil wash I start painting the sky filled with sun washed clouds.

The most distant islands, palms and grasses are blocked in cooler so they will recede. Then the water is painted and the reflections pulled into the wet paint. Moving forward the middle group of palms is painted warmer and darker to make them appear closer.

Reds, rusts and yellow greens are added to the marsh grass in the foreground. The distant grasses and trees really fall back now. The Grass, Saw Palmetto, Palms and their reflections in the front right corner provide a dark mass, setting the stage to highlight the Great White Egret.

Coastal Morning       16″ x 19″      Original Oil Painting

There is something magical about seeing the glow of sunrise light up the landscape and reflect into the calm water. The silence broken only by the whispering wings of a Great White Egret rising from the tall marsh grass. Experience the magic of a Coastal Morning every time you glance at it on the wall of your home or office.

The outer dimension of the Senkarik Signature Frame is 16 inches tall and 19 inches wide. The size of the painted image is 11 1/2 inches tall by 14 1/2 inches wide. A Senkarik original oil painting this size sells in our galleries for $890. The auction bidding starts at 1 cent. That’s right, 1 penny. To say Thank You we are giving FREE SHIPPING, anywhere in the continental United States, to the winner.

To go to my eBay auction CLICK HERE.

The auction ends Sunday, March 4 at 8 PM in Texas. That’s Central Standard Time.  So have some fun and visit my auction on eBay. HAPPY BIDDING. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Smooshing Around

February 25, 2012

It’s gardening time! I’ve been saving all of my extra paint and now we are going to have some fun using it. I’ve also mixed some large blobs of Cadmium Yellow Medium, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Orange with a touch of Liquin to speed up the drying time.

I begin by blocking in the field of California Poppies using the reds, oranges and pinks. The paint is randomly slapped up on the canvas because I want a variety of colors in the blossoms. This is best done at the end of the day when I’m tired, that way I’m not too careful. It helps to be hungry, I work faster. Especially if there is a Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich waiting for me. Paul sent some of the most wonderful Jam Nancy made and PB&J is one of my favorites.

This is the highly technical part of the process, a technique called “Smooshing.” Using a large Bright brush the various greens are “Smooshed Around” the flower colors to shape the blossoms. The flower colors are painted first so they will stay crisp and clean. If I painted the greens first and then tried to paint the flowers the colors would get all muddy and ugly.

Meet Paul and Nancy’s sons, Kevin (left) and Connor (right). Their best friend, Hoke, is in the middle. The boys are responsible for coming up with the idea for this collaboration, they directed Paul and Nancy to the painting, Radiant Valley, in our tabletop book. I imagine if these guys were given brushes and oil paint they would be excellent “Smooshers”.

Butter Yellow is another of Nancy’s favorite colors so I’m going to let a clump of soft yellow Yarrow grow in the immediate foreground. You can click on the picture to enlarge any of these images.

After looking at the painting in the mirror I decide to let the rose shadows on the barn extend all the way to the ground. The darkness along the bottom of the building helps to anchor the old barn, it appeared to almost be floating a little above the grassy field before.

The final touch is to sign the painting and add highlights to the Coreopsis in the lower left corner. I use a #4 Bright brush and pull it upward to indicate the petals.

After the Rain              32″ x 40″           Original Oil Painting

As I was cleaning up my brushes I told Jack, “Get your thinking cap on, I need a name!” Being the official namer in the family he came over and looked a long time. Then Jack turned and said, “You know how it is after an afternoon rain shower has passed through? Everything is so fresh and clear, the landscape is totally saturated with color. This painting looks just like that. The darkness across the front acts like a threshold, your eye is drawn to the field where the sun has broken through the clouds and spotlighted the old barn. Let’s call it After the Rain. ” I love it. We’re sure Paul, Nancy and the boys will too. This has been so much fun, I really enjoy collaborating with my collectors. Thank you for visiting our studio. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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White Hollyhocks

February 24, 2012

The meadow is complete and the road blocked in, now for the cross rail fence. One of the most important rules in painting is “Cool colors recede, Warm colors come forward.” So the railings are made warmer in the front and bluer, or cooler, as they get nearer the road. The coolness makes them drop back.

Red roses cover the fence on the right, making a dark mass that accentuates the light on the field behind them. I add some purple lupines along the base of the fence. These are cousins to our Texas Bluebonnets, just taller and lankier.

I had originally thought about pink Hollyhocks by the fence but since we draped the old barn with soft pink Climbing Roses we’ll make these White. The blossoms are blocked in with several shades of blues and purples, establishing the shadows.

Next the greens of the foliage are worked around the flowers. The colors for the leaves are mixed from varying amounts of Ultramarine Blue + Hansa Lemon Yellow.

Magenta is used to delineate the centers of the Hollyhocks. I used pinks and reds leftover from the roses to add some Cosmos along the fence.

The final step on the Hollyhocks is to add the pure White highlights. If you would like to enlarge any of these pictures just click on the image.

The secret to painting White objects is to make the shadows dark enough so the highlights will POP! The Hollyhocks add a crisp accent in the foreground. Tomorrow we’ll plant the rest of the wildflowers. Hope you will come help. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Our First Bluebonnet

February 23, 2012

Today is our lucky day, the first bluebonnet of the season appeared in the garden! A second one will soon follow. This definitely means spring is on the way, YIPPEE!

This time of year it becomes increasingly harder to come in from the garden and get to painting. I could stay out all day long with my hands in the dirt! But duty calls, I’ll just do my gardening on canvas. The first task this morning was to paint the large trees in the middle ground. Since the reference photo was taken in the winter I have to grow the foliage. Next is the pond in the background. The reflections of the trees are pulled straight down. Then the light sky reflecting into the front part of the water is added, making it glisten.

The meadow, sprinkled with wildflowers, is blocked in. The blooms are painted with Magenta, straight out of the tube, mixed with White. The grass is cooler in the distance, making it visually recede, and becomes warmer in front of the barn.

Now for the barn, I just love painting old weathered buildings. And what would an old barn be without a horseshoe for luck? Just remember, if you are going to hang one make sure the open end is up so your luck doesn’t run out.

The vines actually bloom white but I’m going to take artistic license and change them to soft pink climbing roses. Not only is this more romantic, soft pink is one of Nancy’s favorite colors. Also the pink is accented by all the green, the complimentary color, surrounding it. The rose color is mixed with Alizarin Crimson + White.

The barn makes a pretty cool painting just by itself. The squiggly trunks of the roses were especially fun to draw in. Thanks for visiting today, please come back tomorrow and see how this progresses. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Let’s Paint!

February 22, 2012

I begin with the sky because it’s the source of light in the painting and influences the rest of the piece. My colors for the sky and clouds are mixed; I’m ready to start. The basic colors of our Double Primary Mixing System are laid out along the top of my palette. To learn more about our mixing system CLICK HERE. On the far left are some colors that I’m unable to mix with our Double Primary Palette: Permanent Rose, Dioxazine Purple, Magenta and Cadmium Red Deep. These are reserved for special occasions and are used straight out of the tube.

Since the sun is shining from the right the sky is made lighter on that side with a mixture of Pthalo Blue + White. A darker value of Ultramarine Blue + White is used for the sky on the left. Clouds are painted, wet into wet, over the blue sky. This technique keeps the edges of the clouds soft. I was asked about the labeling of the flowers. I mainly do that to remind myself of the plan as I go along. The labels will be covered over when the flowers are painted.

The most distant mountains are painted bluer, or cooler, so they will drop back. The next layer is a little warmer and darker. Since these are the Smoky Mountains a light layer of mist is added between the two ridges.

Now I mix a variety of cool greens with different amounts of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. You can get an amazing range of color with just these three hues. My extra sky colors are laid out on the left of the palette. You never know when you will need to come back and touch something up.

The line of trees in the background is blocked in with a large Bright brush. The variety of colors makes the distant trees interesting while the coolness of the greens makes them recede.

Like the sky the woods toward the right edge of the canvas become lighter. I’ve come back in with a smaller brush to add tree trunks and branches in the distant trees. To enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image. 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. Thank you for visiting today, hope to see you again soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

A Bit of Spring

February 21, 2012

Before we head into the studio I just have to share a little of our Texas spring. This is my favorite time of year and after 2 1/2 inches of rain over the weekend it looks as if we are going to have an abundance of wildflowers. The Mountain Laurel by the front entry is beginning to burst out in bloom, I just wish I could somehow let you enjoy the fragrance. It’s amazing.

Jack knows I have spring fever so he surprised me with these two gorgeous geraniums. Isn’t he a sweetie? If you will look in the distance to the left in the picture above you can see an arched structure. That’s our rose arbor and it will be the most beautiful pink in about a month. To see the photo larger just click on the image.

Okay, let’s get back to the easel. The horizon line and barn are established first because the vine-covered structure is the main focal point in the distance. Next the trees and mountains are drawn in.

Moving to the foreground the backward S-curve of the road is indicated and I begin blocking in the cross rail fence.

The basic elements are completely drawn up on the canvas. In the next session I’ll start painting the sky. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik


Planning a Commission

February 20, 2012

Today I’m starting on a commission for some very dear friends and collectors, Paul and Nancy. They saw my painting, Radiant Valley, in our Tabletop book and love the feel of it. They especially like the flower filled foreground. Paul and Nancy have a lake house near Lavonia, Georgia and want a piece that will allow them to take a mini-vacation there every time they view it in their home.

When we first began working on ideas I thought they would want the lake in the distance. Then Paul sent the photo above and said this old barn is very close to the lake house. It’s one of their favorite scenes and probably won’t be standing much longer. In the summer the vine hugging the weathered wood structure is covered with flowers.

Nancy really likes the winding road in another picture taken not far from their get away spot.

So I’ve incorporated all of Paul, Nancy, Kevin and Connor’s input and come up with the sketch above. The mountains are increased in the background because the Appalachians are more prominent in other areas around them. To see any of the pictures larger just click on the image.

The clean, blank canvas is up on the easel and I’m ready to get started. The blue tape covers the White Senkarik Signature Frame, protecting it from any paint escaping my brush. When the painting is finished I’ll just pull it off. Hope you will come back tomorrow and watch the painting begin. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Desert Jewel

February 19, 2012

Jack and I lived in Carefree, Arizona for several years and just love the desert. We always waited with great anticipation for the beauty of spring to appear. The flowers were incredible, adorning the spiny cacti like jewels in the desert. With spring right around the corner I thought a cactus flower would be fun to paint. I begin by doing a simple sketch of the flowers with a #1 Filbert brush dipped in a wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a liberal amount of Liquin.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the Senkarik eBay auction.

This mini painting for eBay is called an ACEO. That stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals, a category on eBay that has become quite the rage for collectors over the last few years. The painted image is required to measure 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches, the size of a baseball card. So I mask off the rectangle with blue painter’s tape. When the painting is finished the tape is removed, leaving a crisp white border.

Bright Pink-Orange flowers appear even more intense because of the blue background. Blue is the complimentary color, or across the color wheel, from Orange. This illustrates another simple rule I use regularly: To make a color look more vibrant place it next to its compliment. Thick, juicy brush stokes made with a large Bright brush form the individual petals. At first the thought of painting this size was daunting; however, I’ve found it’s really fun. If you would like to see any of the pictures larger click on the image.

Desert Jewel        3 1/2 inches x 2 1/2 inches      Original Oil Painting

Let Desert Jewel bring a breath of spring to a special spot in your home. This is an Original Oil Painting on Strathmore archival linen and is signed on the back. Several of our Team Senkarik members collect these little originals and frame them in a regular frame with a wide, 5 inch matte. The ones we’ve seen look pretty cool. Bidding for Desert Jewel on eBay starts at a penny. That’s right, one cent!  The auction will end on Sunday, February 26 at 9 PM Eastern Time. So HAPPY BIDDING! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

To go to my eBay auction CLICK HERE.


February 13, 2012

Jack has a new article at Fine Art Studio Online. It’s a fun read and I think you will really enjoy this one.  CLICK HERE to read Perception.

Today I didn’t get to paint. I was getting income tax stuff together for the CPA so Molly decided to help! The Tax Cat cometh! Hope you have a wonderful day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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.