Archive for March, 2012


March 29, 2012

This time of the year is my favorite. Bluebonnets are the first to appear in our spring garden. And now the Red Corn Poppies are POPPING out, providing me with inspiration for this week’s eBay auction painting. I told you I would be painting on something a little bit different today. Well, not only is it a far cry from the usual stretched canvas I work on, it’s wearable. You can take this painting anywhere you go right on the top of your head. It’s a CAP!

CLICK HERE to go directly to my eBay auction.

Using two different photos on my laptop for reference I make a simple outline sketch of the poppies on the cap. I’m using the two white poppies on the left and making them red. Then adding the far right flower from the image on that side of the screen. A small filbert brush dipped in a thin oil wash of Cadmium Red Deep makes the flowers while green is used for the leaves. Molly, our rescue kitty, is not included in the auction! She’s my supervisor. You may have to click on the picture and enlarge the image to see it more clearly.

Now the flowers are painted with Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Light. I use Windsor Newton Winton Oils which remain much more vibrant than acrylics. Cadmium Orange is added to the Cadmium Red Light for the highlights on the petals. A few strokes of Magenta + White are added in the shadows.

Now the leaves are added. Jack suggested letting them come down on the brim and I think it looks pretty cool! Blue painter’s tape is put on the red part of the brim so I can handle the cap without getting it dirty.

The painting, Hot Poppies, is signed on the edge of the brim and ready to wear! It comes with its own Certificate bearing the title and our Code of Authenticity. The auction ends Sunday, April 1 at 8 PM Central Time. Join in the fun. Bidding starts at a penny! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

To go my eBay auction CLICK HERE.

Forever Texas

March 28, 2012

As we were looking at the painting last evening Jack and I saw a couple of things I needed to fine tune. First of all the oak tree by the barn was too small so this morning I made it grow a bit. I also decided to make the blue part of the roof a little duller and lighter so the barn stays back in the distance. Then on the left side I took out the big rock behind the Cactus and Indian Paintbrush, expanding the upper pool so the glistening water could show through. Now for the flowers on the right side of the stream.

Red Indian Blanket flowers are blooming everywhere around us right now. They make a fine compliment to the Phlox and Indian Paintbrush growing out of cracks in the limestone boulders. The Bluebonnets provide a cool backdrop for the fiery red-orange blossoms that are blocked in first, followed by the foliage. You can see that in the photo at the top of the page. The final touch is to add the stems and dark centers, above right.

Let’s get back to painting the Bluebonnets. The field was originally blocked in with varying shades of Ultramarine Blue + White. Now I’ve added detail in the foliage and am starting to paint the white tops. I mix a touch of Ultramarine Blue into my White. Pure White would be too bright and jump in front of the highlights on the water. The tops of the Bluebonnets in the very front are made the lightest and most detailed.

Moving farther back in the field the tops are made a little bluer and smaller so they will recede. The flowers are actually painted in perspective. I have to be extremely careful to make sure the tops are randomly placed. I have a tendency to make them in rows, equally spaced and the field ends up looking like a polka dotted quilt!

A patch of Salvia has popped up beside the Indian Blankets. The spiked foliage of the Yuccas provides a nice contrast to the other flower shapes. The side of my large Bright brush is used to make the long, narrow leaves.

Forever Texas        38″ x 48″      Original Oil Painting

DONE! We will ship this off to the Fredericksburg Art Gallery tomorrow. The Bluebonnets in that part of Texas are just coming into full bloom and Forever Texas is ready to bring the glory of spring to a new collector’s home all year long. Thank you for joining in the process. I’ll be painting on something a little different tomorrow, hope you will come watch. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Cactus, Indian Paintbrush and Phlox

March 27, 2012

It is always a fun challenge to capture the light dancing along the spiny pads of the cactus. I make several mixes of various combinations of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + White for this Texas native.

Spring time in Texas is beautiful and this year is exceptional. We’ve been driving the back roads in our area in the early evenings to take pictures of the abundant wildflowers. Indian Paintbrush covers the hill on the left while Phlox is shown on the right.

So using the wonderful wildflowers God has provided us this spring I let Indian Paintbrush and Phlox nestle around the base of the cactus. Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Orange + White are the mixes I used for the Indian Paintbrush. The Phlox is blocked in with one of the special colors I occasionally pull out, Permanent Rose. It makes a bright hot pink I’m unable to mix with our Double Primary Palette. The flowers are blocked in first, then the foliage is worked around the blossom color.

Several shades of green, mixed from Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White block in the foliage. A few strokes of Pthalo Blue + White are added for variation in the leaves. Then stems are made with a fine liner brush. To see any of these pictures larger just click the image.

Magenta centers complete the Phlox. I let a gentle breeze carry a few pink and orange petals to the ground and a lemon yellow cactus blossom drifts along in the lower pool. We should finish up tomorrow. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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A Babbling Brook

March 26, 2012

Moving to the babbling hill country stream, I first mix my colors for the limestone rocks lining the creek. The dabs of paint on the left of my palette are colors I’ve already used. It’s good to keep them so I can go back and make touch ups if I need to. Various proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White are used for the boulders. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added for the darker shadows. If you would like to learn more about how to mix the vibrant colors I use with our Double Primary Mixing System just CLICK HERE.

The limestone boulders are blocked in with a large bright brush. One of our readers asked about the canvas I’m painting on. All of my paintings are done on a gallery wrap, or contempo, canvas. The blue painter’s tape protects our White Senkarik Signature frame and will be pulled off when the piece is finished.

The rocks of the stream bed are also blocked in. I pull the running water over the rock color, allowing it to show through. To see any of these pictures larger you can click on the image.

The merrily tumbling water of the stream is finished and I direct my attention the foreground pool. A mix of Pthalo Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange + White is used here. The touch of yellow in the creamy limestone underneath makes the water appear more aqua.

Even though the piece is not finished you can begin to see the “Threshold” effect. In designing a painting I want the front to be in shadow. Think of standing outside your home on a warm summer night. When the door opens your eye is drawn, across the threshold of the doorway, to the brightly lit interior. The same works in a painting. By making the foreground dark it acts as a “Threshold”, your gaze is pulled over the shadow to the light in the distance. Have a wonderful day and hope you will come visit our studio again soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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Let’s Paint Some Bluebonnets!

March 25, 2012

The first task today is to paint the soft Texas sky. The lowest portion of the sky that meets up with the distant hills is painted with a mix of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White causing it to recede. Since the sun is coming from the left a mix of Pthalo Blue + White is used for that side of the blue sky, making it brighter. As we get farther away from the sun on the right side of the canvas the blue is made of Ultramarine Blue + White. The shadow portion of the clouds is just a darker shade of MUD + White.

Highlights of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + a lot of White finish the fluffy clouds. Then I paint forward, making the most distant hills blue so they stay back. The closest mountain is warmer to bring it forward. I love this old Texas barn, I can smell the freshly mown hay in the loft as I paint the weathered plank walls.

The distant fields are blocked in with cool greens, following one of the most important rules for a painter to remember: Cool colors go Back, Warm colors come Forward. I let a few patches of magenta phlox and cactus grow in the middle ground.

Two years ago we seeded the flower beds along the walkways to the studio with Bluebonnets. We thought we had a pretty good crop last year, but WOW! They reseeded themselves and our Bluebonnets are incredible this year. I’ve got plenty of models to paint from.

We also threw a few Red Corn Poppy seeds in among the Bluebonnets. The patch of green leaves in the right front of this bed is a Poppy. You can see one of our very first red blooms in the back on the right.

The field is blocked in with various shades of Ultramarine Blue + White. Toward the back of the field I dab a few purples in with the blues. This will make it look as if there are patches of different flowers here and there. I now come in and add foliage, working it around the shapes of the Bluebonnet flowers. Moving into the distance I make the greens of the leaves cooler. We will finish the Bluebonnets in another session, so please come back and visit our studio. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik


Fresh Strawberries

March 24, 2012

Oh what a beautiful morning! Fresh strawberries, right out of our garden for breakfast. I know those of you in the frozen tundra hate us about now, but it just doesn’t get any better than this!

AND………the Bluebonnets behind the studio are in full bloom, ready to model for my next piece.

Fredericksburg Art Gallery needs more paintings to replace the ones sold at our collector event. So here goes, Bluebonnets and a Texas barn. I’ve made a quick pencil sketch of my idea. If this piece were a commission I would make a more detailed drawing for the client and ink it in with a Sharpie pen.

Digital cameras make it so nice for artists. I can take a picture and immediately have it to use as reference. No waiting for One Hour Photo anymore, my cactus picture can be viewed on the laptop next to my easel. The basic elements are sketched up on the canvas with a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

The foreground cactus, rocks and stream are completely drawn in before I move to the background. This helps me to determine the size and placement of the barn in the distance. A mahl stick is used to steady my hand as I draw the barn and windmill. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and follow along. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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.

Fun in Fredericksburg

March 21, 2012

What a fun time we had at the Fredericksburg Art Gallery on Saint Patrick’s Day. Lots of friends and collectors showed up to say HI and join in the festivities. We even added a few new members to Team Senkarik. If you want to see any of these pictures larger just click on the image.

Leon and Peggy Black have been enjoying Jack’s artwork in their home for a long time. Leon is the former Head Basketball Coach at the University of Texas.

Carolyn and Earl Bullock have the distinction of being our very first Fredericksburg Art Gallery collectors. They decided to add another Senkarik, Texas Sunshine, to their collection to celebrate our grand opening event.

Jack and sisters Donnell Underwood, Jan Rhodes and Ann Wylie all went to the same Grammar School. Jack was there with Donnell and Jan, Ann was too young. He always calls them the Johnson sisters with fondness, although I have a feeling he is giving them a hard time!

Ray and Jan Dane collect both Jack’s and my paintings. Hill Country Serenade caught their eye and they decided to take it home.

Steve McClennahan, a longtime friend, came to see us. It was so great to be able to visit a bit and give him a hug.

We had a drawing for several special collector gifts. Brook McNamara’s name was drawn and he was so sweet to let his mom pick out a Senkarik  hand painted cap!

Collectors Tara, Ashton and Bryan Haney were our neighbors when we lived on North Padre Island. It was so cool to get to see them and meet Ashton’s younger siblings Parkes and Sadie (standing by their mom).

Sue and Charles Rodgers have been collecting our work for many years. We’ve visited with them on the phone several times but this was the first chance we got to meet, face to face. We were so pleased to be able to give them a big, Texas Hug.

Chloe Egyed owns one of my Perky Pony pieces. She insisted her parents, Kevin and Jennifer, come to our event. Don’t you think she looks cute in her new hat?

A HUGE round of applause to Janice Carriger, she took all of these great photos for our Saint Patrick’s Day shebang (except this one of course!) You have to be careful, sometimes we put our Team Senkarik Members to work. I wish we had the room to post all of the super pictures she took but unfortunately our space is limited.  Janice, a collector, was also our banker down on the island and her sister Lisa, far right, works for the Texas Parks Service.

Everett and Norma Gerrald dropped by to introduce themselves. They purchased a piece of mine several years ago in Santa Fe.

Now for the auction. The painting, Here Comes the Sun was done especially for the event. We named the sun face on the wall, Sunshine O’Paddy. The bidding began at 22 cents since I’ve been painting for 22 years. Jim Strickland, one of the owners, was our auctioneer. He was terrific, keeping the pace fast and furious.

And the winners are……….Lee and Larry White. Welcome to Team Senkarik! Linda Sioux Henley, Lee’s cousin, is on the right. Linda is a sculptor with major pieces at Fiesta Texas and in Austin at the Texas State Capital. And, it’s because of her Jack and I met!

We want to extend a big Texas MUCH OBLIGED to the owners of Fredericksburg Art Gallery, Donna and Jim Strickland. They and their staff, Joye, Gene, Natalie, Jason and Walt, were so gracious and efficient with everything.

And, last but not least, a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our collectors, old and new, who came. The time was far too short, we didn’t get to visit with everyone and we missed getting pictures with a number of you who purchased paintings. We sincerely apologize, I guess you’ll just have to come see us again next year. We promise to do better! Hugs, Mikki and Jack

An ACEO Diptych

March 19, 2012

We had a wonderful Collector Event at the Fredericksburg Art Gallery on Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day. The Stricklands and their staff were so accommodating and gracious. Time was far too short, we didn’t get to visit with our collectors nearly enough, but everyone had a lot of fun. It will take me a few days to get the pictures together but I’ll post them as soon as I can, hopefully by the end of the week. Keep checking back. In the meantime I’ll show you my latest auction on eBay.

I decided to challenge myself to paint an ACEO Diptych for my eBay auction this week. A Diptych is two separate pieces of art that are designed to be able to stand alone or work, side by side, as one painting and framed together. Here are the step by step pictures as the ACEOs are painted at the same time.

ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. All paintings in this eBay category measure 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches, the size of a baseball card and are signed on the back. Several of my collectors have won these little gems and framed them with a large white mat, about 4 inches wide, in a traditional frame. The ones I’ve seen look really cool.

It’s fun working on the two pieces together, but I really have to think ahead to make it all work. The location of this Diptych is the village of Eze in Provence, perched on a hilltop overlooking the coast of France. I want you to be able to step out of your front door, walk down the cobblestone path and enjoy the vista of the Azure Mediterranean.

The original oil painting on the left is Provence Portal. The right side of the ACEO Diptych is View from Eze. They are being auctioned in separate listings that end 5 minutes apart on Sunday evening, March 25. Bidding starts at a penny. That’s right, one cent! To see any of the images larger just click on the picture.

HAVE FUN! Mikki Senkarik

To go to the auction for Provence Portal (Left side) CLICK HERE.

To go the the auction for View from Eze (Right side) CLICK HERE.

Dancing Chilis

March 16, 2012

As I was going through our reference material my heart smiled when I came across this little southwest ladder draped with chili ristras. I remember that day in Albuquerque as clearly as if it were yesterday, I excitedly turned to Jack and told him it looked as if the chilis were dancing up the rungs. I thought this would be fun to share with our eBay collectors. The shell design over the doorway is from a picture we took in Santa Fe.

To go directly to my eBay auction CLICK HERE.

The door and window are a soft blue made of mixtures of Ultramarine Blue + White. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange are mixed for the gnarled trunk of the vine and the rustic ladder. White is added into that for the lighter areas. I steady my hand on the mahl stick to paint the details. One of our readers asked if she could premix the MUD and put it in tubes for later use? We used to do exactly that, you can buy empty paint tubes at most of the online art stores. I’m not sure why we got away from it, I guess in all of our travels it just meant more stuff to carry. Now I mix a glob that will last 3 to 4 days laid out on my palette.

This piece seemed to call for a rough paver floor. The light and shadow patterns on the flat surface are painted first, then the lines separating the ancient pavers are drawn with a fine liner brush dipped in a mix of MUD + Liquin.

Now for those chilis happily dancing up the ladder. They were blocked in with dark washes of Alizarin Crimson when I first sketched the basic elements of the painting up on the canvas. The wash is now dry so using the edge of a #6 Bright brush the individual peppers are delineated with Cadmium Red Light. I will come back and add a few highlights on them with Cadmium Red Light + White.

Dancing Chilis        16″ x 19″        Original Oil Painting

Maxmillian’s Sunflowers provide a burst of sunshine next to the blue door. I love this combination of yellow and blue. Add in the red chilis and we’ve got the primary colors of Santa Fe. Let Dancing Chilis bring a touch of the southwest into your home.

Framed in our Senkarik White Signature Frame the outer dimension of Dancing Chilis 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, one penny. To say Thank You we are giving FREE SHIPPING, anywhere in the continental United States, to the winner.

CLICK HERE to go to my eBay auction.

The auction ends Sunday, March 18 at 8 PM in Texas. That’s Central Daylight Savings Time.  So have some fun and visit my auction on eBay. HAPPY BIDDING. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Red Bluebonnets and Black Bellied Whistling Ducks

March 10, 2012

Jack’s newest article for Fine Art Studio Online  is out. I think you will enjoy reading “Hungry Wolves”.

CLICK HERE to go to Jack’s article.

Our Bluebonnets are out doing themselves. We even had a few red ones pop up and surprise us! The plant in the middle with the serrated edged leaves is a Blue Mist. This bed will be filled with the pretty blue flowers by summer. Butterflies love them, especially Monarchs.

These White Crinum Lilies were given to us by a neighbor. Last year they didn’t bloom much, they were busy putting down roots. But this spring they are providing us with quite a show. I think they like their Bluebonnet Buddies!

One of the sure signs of spring around here are the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. A pair showed up a few days ago. We so enjoy hearing their calls as they fly overhead and come in for a landing. Almost as if they are saying, “Hi Mikki and Jack, we’re back!”

Today a whole flock appeared at the feeder. Guess I’m going to stay busy painting to provide these babies with birdseed. The hillside sloping down to our little lake, just behind the main group of ducks, is beginning to pop out with Bluebonnets. It won’t be long before it is covered in a blanket of blue. If you would like to see any of these images larger just click on the picture. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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.