Brilliant Wildflowers

Probably one of the most important rules in painting is Warm Colors come forward, Cool Colors go back. Following this premise I paint the most distant mountains bluer, or cooler, than those that are closer. After the old, spreading oak tree is blocked in I draw a rail fence into the wet paint of the hills. A brush dipped in a mix of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin is used. This gives a visual link to the fence in the foreground.

I’m using the mahl stick again today. You can see how it hooks over the top of my easel. Resting my wrist against it steadies my hand so I can paint the detail of the barn. Ultramarine Blue + White is brushed over the red of the barn toward the back, making it cooler so it will recede. If you would like to see any of these images larger just click on the picture.

If you have never seen Texas in the springtime it is incredible. I must admit when I first came to Texas in January 1979 I didn’t like it. I grew up in Florida, the sunshine state, and love the sun. Well, it rained and rained and rained some more. I began to think I had made a huge mistake moving to Texas. But everyone kept telling me, “Just wait til spring. It’s going to be beautiful.” In March the sun finally came out and by April it was more than beautiful. The landscape looked as if God had splashed buckets of paint in all shades of the rainbow across the hills. The intensity of color was amazing. That’s when I fell in love with the Lone Star State. Not every year is as spectacular, we have to have the perfect combination of rain and cool weather at the right times. People here talk about years by the beauty of the spring. The picture above was taken near our studio in April, 2010 a wonderful wildflower year.

I’ve got my colors mixed to paint the wildflower field. The challenge here is the warmer flowers in the field, the Indian Paintbrush, are in the background. However, I designed the painting with Hot Yellow Coreopsis in the very front by the fence in order to make the Indian Paintbrush drop back. Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange + White are mixed in various combinations for them. A touch of Alizarin Crimson is added into the mixes to make the Indian Paintbrush a little cooler. The mixes for the Bluebonnets are Ultramarine Blue + Dioxazine Purple for the most distant ones. Ultramarine Blue + White is used for those in the middle ground while the ones closest to the little stream will be painted with Cobalt Blue + White.

The entire field is covered with the flower colors. My collector specifically asked for the Indian Paintbrush near the barn to be very vibrant. I make those on the left side lighter because the sun illuminates them, they will act to draw your eye to the barn. The field of Indian Paintbrush becomes cooler and darker as it goes down the slight hill on the right because it receives less light. Greens are added in to indicate grassy areas. The greens are made cooler in the back and warmer as they come forward. The Bluebonnet color is applied in the sequence mentioned in the previous step.

The Bluebonnet leaves are painted with warmer and darker greens so they come forward. Then the white tip tops of the Bluebonnets are added. It’s amazing how this immediately defines our Texas state flower.

The white “hats” of the Bluebonnets are painted in perspective, getting smaller as they go back. Those in the front are made whiter, while the ones in the distance have a little more blue added to the white to make them recede The wildflower field is complete, glowing with the brilliance of spring. The painting will really begin to change tomorrow as more of the canvas is covered. Have a great day and do come back! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik


4 Responses to “Brilliant Wildflowers”

  1. nickhemstreet Says:

    Hi, What do you use to create a sturdy hook at the end of your mahl stick?

  2. Suzanna Says:

    Beautiful, I would have loved to see the finished painting!

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