From Taos to Portofino

I’m working on a commission for our Taos gallery, Walden Fine Art. Fern and David wanted a painting to remind them of their trip to the Southwest. We visited and talked about several possibilities. When they returned home they were looking at my blog and stumbled across Memories of Portofino. It totally captured their hearts, Fern and David immediately decided “This was it”. The southwest piece will just have to wait. But their Portofino painting needs to be in a horizontal orientation instead of vertical, longer than it is tall.

I made a sketch, adding a cafe on the right in order to extend the composition. Fern and David said “That’s perfect.”

So, the canvas is up on my easel and I’m ready to begin painting. The photo on the left shows my setup. The palette is a 1/4 inch thick piece of glass placed on a white shelf board. It rests on top of a culinary cart with two shelves, just right for holding tubes of paint, toilet tissue that I use to wipe my brush and extra supplies. Both the palette and taboret (with the laptop on the right) are on wheels. I can adjust the setup to fit any size painting. My garbage bag is held by an aluminum walker. The plastic container on the left of my palette is a gallon water bottle with the top cut off, leaving the handle. This holds odorless paint thinner for cleaning my brushes.

The major elements are sketched up with a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a lot of Liquin, an alkyd based drier. The foreground building, table and chairs on the right are drawn first, they are the key to the proportions in the rest of the piece. The mountain where the castle, Castello Brown, sits guarding the harbor is delineated next.

The colorful buildings lining the harbor are drawn now. The other elements I’ve already sketched help me to get the size of these correct.

AND……The sketch on the canvas is complete. I took out the container with the Philodendrons behind the table. Fern asked if I could etch PORTOFINO into the wall similar to Memories of Portofino. By taking the pot out I’ll have room to do the signage. I’m excited about this painting. Hope you will come back and follow along. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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