Archive for May, 2012

Embellishing A Blanket of Gold

May 14, 2012

Limited Originals is a term Jack coined for our hand embellished giclees on canvas. Each piece is a high quality digital reproduction on canvas of one of my original oil paintings. We keep our editions extremely low and since every piece is hand embellished differently each is original. Hence the name Limited Originals. A Blanket of Gold, without any embellishing, is shown above on the left. The first step is to use washes to enhance the color, the mixtures are on my palette. A small touch of ALKYD oil color is added to a liberal amount of Liquin to make the wash. We use Alkyd oil paints for embellishing because they dry much faster than regular oils.

The blue portion of the sky is darkened with a wash of Ultramarine Blue + Liquin. This accentuates the soft clouds drifting across the lazy summer sky. You can see the difference more clearly if you will enlarge the picture, just CLICK on the image. The foliage in the field of sunflowers is also enhanced with washes, a cool one of Viridian Green + Liquin is used in the distant part of the field. Then the foreground leaves are washed with Sap Green + Liquin which gives them a warm glow.

The door, window and shutters are completely repainted in order to restore them to their original color. I also enhance the cascading Bougainvillea with a wash of Alizarin Crimson + Liquin.

The stone building was just a bit light in the reproduction so I gave it a wash of Raw Sienna + Liquin. Then I repainted some of the rock work to give it added texture. Extra painting is also done on the roof.

The final step is to embellish the Sunflowers. It is so fun to go back in, adding texture and color to the happy blossoms.

A Blanket of Gold           30″ x 40″       Limited Original           #1/49

Now all we have to do is let this dry a few days and A Blanket of Gold will be ready to ship off to its new home in California. Thanks for stopping in today. Hope you will visit again soon. Have a super day! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Sketching the World Around Us

May 7, 2012

So many of you commented on my Kentucky Derby sketches I thought I would expand a little on the subject. Drawing is the basis of all representational art. I carry a journal anytime we go on a trip. Sketch books make great travel logs, it’s amazing all the little details I remember about our trips just looking at the sketches and notes. I am so much more observant when drawing than I am while photographing, the camera makes my brain lazy. Jack takes our reference photos so I can concentrate on sketching. Many times these pen and ink sketches are used as the basis for paintings. I must admit, I don’t make the time during our daily routine to sketch as often as I’d like.

Today I want to introduce you to an artist who sketches all the time, Charity Dakin. She came to our workshop last year. CLICK HERE to visit Charity’s website. Charity’s sketchbooks are absolutely delightful, I would love to be able to just sit down and go through them, reading every notation.

Here is a page from the journal she carried when she came to New Mexico for our workshop.

Charity, her husband Cal and their family live in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada. Jack and I consider her to be a true renaissance woman. Not only is she a super artist, she’s a full time mom living in the wilds of Canada. She grows an extensive garden, canning and freezing everything. They have cows and a goat named Bell that she milks. She out ice-fishes the men and hunts moose. I love the entry above from one of her journals. “The number of moose that now visit means that my apple trees are in peril, and between the dog being charged and my running out the door in a house coat and slippers and yelling like a mad woman, we have barely kept them at bay. At least it adds some excitement and a first entry in the sketchbook… a typical day “at work” for me.”

Moose in Winter Bed is one of Charity’s finished watercolor paintings based on her field sketches. For sketching in the wilds she has the neatest kit that fits in her coat pockets. It consists of a small 4″ x 6″ moleskin sketchbook, a tiny watercolor tin with 5 colors, a fine point drawing pen and a brush.

Charity sends out a delightful newsletter, to sign up just CLICK HERE.

Or if you would like to read some of the past issues CLICK HERE.

Hope this inspires you to start sketching. All you need is a Sharpie pen with a sketchbook and you are ready to draw the world around you. People, animals, or just whatever strikes your fancy. Make notations about what interested you. As you sketch you are refining your “eye-hand coordination”. If your first attempts don’t satisfy you, please do not give up. Just keep on drawing. This is about having fun, observing and recording the wonderful world around us. HAPPY SKETCHING! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Derby Day

May 5, 2012

The First Saturday in May, what wonderful memories the Kentucky Derby brings to Jack and me. Since this is Derby Day I thought I’d share some with you. In 1994 we lived in Las Vegas and became very good friends with Dave and Lola Wagenvoord. They owned several radio stations and obtained press passes for us to be on the backside during Derby week. WOW. What an experience. We were up a 4:30 AM and at the track at 5 to watch the morning workouts. The sun rising over the track, the twin spires, listening to the galloping hooves in the early morning mist, watching steam rise off the flanks of the horses being cooled out. It brings goosebumps. My heart still skips as I flash through the thousands of images in my mind. That was before digital cameras, these pictures are scanned from photos but you get the idea. Just click on the picture to see any of these images larger.

Walking with Pat Day, one of the top jockeys of all time. I’m 5″9″ in boots, so you can see how small the riders are. I was in heaven, drawing as many of the people and horses I could. Many of them, the people that is, signed their sketches as you can see on Pat’s above. Jack interviewed owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms and hot walkers. He would have even interviewed the horses if they could talk. Each morning he’d broadcast, by a mobile telephone in a huge suitcase, on Dave’s show back in Las Vegas.

Tabasco Cat was one of D. Wayne Lukas’ entries in the Derby that year. “Cat” was pretty unruly and had severely injured D. Wayne’s son a few months earlier. So any time he was taken out two handlers accompanied the fiesty horse. Fortunately he was pretty calm when I made the sketch above. That’s me with D. Wayne on the right.

Ronnie Lamarque was quite a character from New Orleans. He owned several car dealerships along with Kandaly, his Derby entry. We went to his big bash the night before the Run for the Roses. Ronnie loved to tell stories, his favorite was about his wife taking out a contract to have him killed. He said, “She only paid $20,000. I was pretty insulted, that seemed awfully low for someone as famous as me. Then I found out you could have had almost everyone in New Orleans taken out for that price.” He was a hoot. Unfortunately Kandaly was scratched the morning of the Derby with a hoof problem.

The day before the Derby Jack said on Dave’s show, “After talking with all the grooms and hot walkers I’m convinced Go for Gin is going to win and I think Strodes Creek will come in second.” Well, Go for Gin WON and Strodes Creek PLACED. Jack’s $2 ticket for Dave paid off big time. After that everyone in Las Vegas was hitting Jack up for betting tips! Nick Zito, on the left, was the Trainer of Go for Gin. He had won the Derby in 1991 with Strike the Gold. Thank you for joining me in this walk down memory lane.

Last, but not least, Jack’s newest article is out at FASO, Fine Art Studio Online. Click Here to read Sell Like You’re Rich.

Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

How ‘Bout Some Wild Turkey with Breakfast?

May 1, 2012

That’s what we had early this morning. Yep! A Wild Turkey came trotting through our place right before breakfast.

Seems he wanted a bath so he came to visit us. He headed straight to the area where we burn garden clippings and tree limbs. Ashes flew everywhere as he wiggled and rolled.  Then he shook off and, as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone.

The Egyptian Geese have returned, I included a picture I shot last year so you can see them close up. They are an exotic bird from Africa, not common in the US. Most seen in the wild have escaped from zoos or private collections. We think they are nesting on the other side of the pond, their honking rings through the crisp early morning air. Hope we see some little ones soon.

Our little pond is home to several Snow Egrets, a Great White Egret and lots of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. You can see the Egyptian Geese in the tall grass on the right directly above a couple of the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. To see any of these pictures larger just click on the image.

SO……….. With a little Wild Turkey and all of our Ducks in a row we got our day off to a great start. Hope yours was super! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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