Archive for March, 2013

Rock Walls

March 19, 2013

Washington Crossing barn 2 close up

The majority of the stone buildings in Bucks County have a light grout. The barn at Washington Crossing Historic Park is typical of the local stonework.

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So I take a different approach to painting the walls in this piece. I must admit I did a bit of experimenting before I finally got the technique worked out, the wall on the left is finished. But you can see the first step on the right, I’m covering the entire area with the lighter grout color. Since this wall is in shadow it’s fairly dark.

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Next I come back and add the darker field stone. I don’t want to delineate each individual rock but rather try to be as impressionistic as possible, giving the feel of the rough stone wall. I’m careful to vary the size of the “Rock” brushstrokes, I don’t want them to look like polka dots.

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Now let’s work on the wall washed by sunlight. I follow the same method here, the grout color is painted first. The shadow area is made darker. If you would like to see any of the images larger just click on the picture.

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Then the rocks are added, worked wet-into-wet on top of the initial coat. The stones in the sunlight are made lighter in value than those in the shadow. A bit of the lighter color is left exposed between the rocks, giving the appearance of grout. All of the colors in the stone wall are mixed from varying proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. Orange is the predominant color in all of the mixtures. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added to make the darker colors. The paint for the mill, mixed from these very same colors, contained more blue to make it recede. Thanks for following along today. Have a great evening and please come back soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Website: www.senkarik.com

Smiling Sheep

March 18, 2013

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The entire surface of the pond is covered with a mix of Ultramarine Blue + MUD + a touch of White. Then, using colors left over from the trees and old mill, reflections are pulled straight down into the wet blue paint.

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The finishing touch on the pond is to indicate the edge of the water where it meets the bank. Next time you are near a calm body of water take a moment to observe the edge. Sunlight catches the bits of leaves and debris, along with a little foam, that collect along the bottom of the bank. A fine, broken line of Ultramarine Blue + White is made to indicate this. Just click on the picture if you would like to see it larger.

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Cuttalossa Farm, where Bromley Mill is located, raises Olde English Miniature Babydoll Sheep, better known as “Smiling Sheep.”

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Isn’t this baby precious? I love her little grin!

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The basic light and shadow pattern of the sheep is blocked in first. A mix of Ultramarine Blue + a little Cadmium Orange + a lot of White is used. MUD is added for the darker areas.

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Pure White is used for the highlights on the bodies and ears of the sheep.

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Our trio of sheep is done. The baby is a little shy, if you’re quiet she may come out and smile for you! Notice the grass in the foreground is warmer, or more yellow, than the greens in the distance. This makes it come forward from all of the trees in the distance. Painting all these greens is challenging, but if you’ll keep in mind that cooler and duller colors go back it will be much easier next time you paint a landscape. And…. I want to say thank you to all of the artists at Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art who have welcomed us. Jack and I are so thrilled to be part of your team. Smiles and 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. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

The Mill

March 17, 2013

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In the twenty some years I’ve been doing pieces for Santa Fe I haven’t painted this many trees! I was so excited to get going I forgot to get an earlier progress shot. It seems appropriate to be working with all these lucious greens on Saint Patrick’s Day. Following the rule Cool Colors go back, Warm Colors come forward I make the most distant trees bluer so they will recede.

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Painting forward the green of the trees becomes warmer and more intense. Do you notice how those in the background are dropping into the distance?

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Work begins on the mill. I start with the roof, using cool grays mixed with various combinations of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

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I use the same combination of colors to make the warm wood tones of the building. More Cadmium Orange is added to the mixture than in the previous step.  It’s amazing the range of colors you can get mixing Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. I also mix in a little MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) for the darker values.

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The rock portion of the walls are made by scumbling both the roof and wall colors together. The water wheel and split rain fences finish out Bromley Mill. To enlarge the picture just click on the image.

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Saint Patrick’s Day is special to us. This is the anniversary of the day we adopted our two rescue kitties, Molly and Sissie. We can hardly believe we’ve had them two years, seems like the girls have been with us forever.

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A day never goes by that we don’t get a few laughs from our kitties’ antics! Can you see Miss Mockingbird out on the shepherd’s hook? She is scolding the girls, she’s already pecked Molly on the head when we were out gardening! Hope you’ll come back soon to follow the progress on my Bucks County Painting. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Website: www.senkarik.com

Help us Welcome Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art

March 16, 2013

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We want to welcome a new gallery to our Team Senkarik family! Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art is located at 77 West Bridge Street in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Howard Cooperman, the owner, is delightful and we are so excited to be working with him. This opens a whole new door of subject matter for me, it’s going to be fun. The first piece is an old farmhouse courtyard near New Hope. I’ve taken artistic liberty and moved Bromley Mill, a local landmark at Cuttalossa Farm, into the background. My first step is to make a pen and ink sketch. A road map, so to speak.

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Moving to the canvas I begin by establishing perspective lines for the foreground building. Then the main elements are drawn with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

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The Mill is a challenge, especially getting the perspective on the water wheel correct.

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Cuttalossa Farm is well-known for its Miniature Babydoll Sheep so I just had to add a few grazing in the meadow. If you would like to see any of the images enlarged just click on the picture.

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The basic shapes of the flowers are indicated and labeled. So we’re all sketched up and ready to start painting. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow to follow along. And….. if you are anywhere near New Hope, PA please stop in the Bucks County Gallery of Fine Art and say HI to Howard. 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. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

We Love Living Here

March 14, 2013

2013-3-12 bluebonnets and front door

I know those of you in the frozen north are going to hate us but I wanted to share a little more of our spring. It’s so beautiful here in Texas. Bluebonnets and Mountain Laurel provide a cheery welcome to our Studio.

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Want Bluebonnets? We got ’em! If you’d like to see any of these pictures larger just click on the image.

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These Texas Stars are at their finest right now in our flower beds. Unfortunately the fields around us are pretty bare, we just didn’t get enough rain over the fall and winter for them to be blanketed in blue.

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Remember the grape bubblegum we used to chew as kids? Well, that’s about what the fragrance of the Mountain Laurel reminds me of.

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The individual blossoms are much like a Wisteria.

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The Red Bud is blooming. Even though it gets irrigation the lack of rain limited the number of flowers. Last year it was much fuller.

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AND…. our Butterfly Irises are starting to flower! Thought you’d enjoy a bit of spring. If you live up north be patient, warm weather is on the way. We’ll be back to painting in our next session. Have a wonderful day. Smiles and Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Website: www.senkarik.com

Time is Money

March 12, 2013

Supplies 1Supplies 2We got a panicky email from an artist the other day. “What am I going to do? I didn’t realize I was out of White Oil paint until I squeezed the last glob from my tube. I decided to get a few other things and ordered from an online art store.  I even paid express shipping so I could get back to painting sooner. They sent everything but the White Oil Paint, it’s on backorder. What am I going to do?”

Jack wrote back, “GET ORGANIZED!”

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Time is Money.” Well, look at all the time that artist wasted. Time that could have been spent working on art that would produce an income. We have a closet devoted to keeping our supplies organized. It’s hard to photograph but you get the idea. You can enlarge the pictures to see them better, just click on the image.

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Here is a closeup of the shelves. At a glance we can tell what we need and what is getting low. Paint is organized by color, when I get a tube of paint I glance at the entire inventory and know immediately if I need to order any supplies. We make certain to order while we still have supplies in stock to avoid the situation of the panicked artist. When we get our order the newest supplies go at the back of the shelf. Or in the case of the tube paint at the bottom of the stack. That way nothing gets too old. It’s not hard to be organized and give yourself more time to make your art. You don’t have to be this fancy. For years we traveled with everything we needed in, or on top of, our Ford Explorer. Space was at a premium, we HAD to be organized. Our supplies were placed on a shelf made of concrete blocks and wood planks against one wall in our painting area. You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel with everything you need in plain sight! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Happy Painting and 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. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

A Different Approach

March 9, 2013

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I take a little different approach to the Dwarf Daylilies lining the walk on the right. My models are some we grew in our garden. The very night after I took this picture our local deer completely devoured the Daylilies. The next morning all I found were stubs!  Thank goodness I had gotten photos. On the canvas the upper flowers, extending over the courtyard floor, are blocked in first.

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SB1413 Step 56The thin strap-like leaves make it hard to paint the foliage in and around the flowers. So all of the leaf area is now painted. I go ahead and sign the piece into the wet greens in the lower right corner. Next I begin to “Lay” the oranges of the flowers on top of the fresh paint of the leaves. As you can see at the left, my brush picks up some of the green with each stroke, I have to be very careful not to pull it into the flower color. While making the flowers I clean my large Bright brush with toilet tissue after each stroke.

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The deep centers of the flowers are made with Alizarin Crimson + a little bit of Liquin. Then more stems are drawn into the wet paint of the leaves.

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St. Francis is dry enough to add the water flowing from the bowl into the basin below. I drag my brush straight down, letting it skip and bump over the rough paint underneath. This helps to give the impression of moving water.

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Rose is our collector’s middle name so we just had to grow some of these delightfully fragrant flowers in our courtyard. I go back to my usual sequence of blocking in the blossoms first. Various combinations of Permanent Rose + Cadmium Red Light + White are used. The base of the fountain was painted with a mixture of the leftover colors from the Daylily flowers and leaves. The Oranges and Greens made an adobe color with a greenish cast that makes the Pink-Red Roses appear even more intense. This is an example of another rule used in painting: Placing a color next to its complement makes it look brighter. Complementary colors are those across from each other on the color wheel, Red is directly across from Green.

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Leaves are now painted in and around the flower color, helping to shape the Roses. Please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

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In The Cool Shade of the Courtyard   48″x60″   Original Oil Painting

Jack is the official namer in our studio. But when he read Sarah’s comment on our blog he said, “There’s your title!” She had written, “I love how the tiles curve, my eyes “walk” through the courtyard and beyond. And despite the splashes of sunlight dancing on the tiles, the courtyard feels like it has cool, shady spots too, like I could step outside and not bake instantly.”

He continued, “That’s it, In the Cool Shade of the Courtyard!” So it is! This has been such fun, Sarah and Jim have been so enthusiastic. I appreciate all of you following along. Have a great weekend and hope you’ll visit our studio again soon. 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. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!

Maximilian Sunflowers

March 8, 2013

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Maximilian Sunflowers thrive in New Mexico. I begin in my usual sequence: Flowers First, Leaves Last. The blossoms are mixes of varying combinations of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Cadmium Orange. A touch of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added for the shadows. The blue-gray foliage is then blocked in around the flowers. In the picture on the right the petals are highlighted with a mix of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow.

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Brown centers complete the Maximilian Sunflowers dancing in the gentle breeze. Their yellow faces make a happy combination of primary colors with the blue gates and red geraniums. The bright yellow of the Maximilian Sunflowers makes the softer, duller yellow of the Chamisa fall into the background. This is a good example of the rule: Intense colors come forward, Muted colors go back.

SB1413 Step 50SB1413 Step 51Hollyhocks are another New Mexico standard. The shadows of the white flowers are made of Ultramarine Blue + White, Dioxazine Purple + White and Pthalo Blue + White. Their color mass is painted, then I come back and shape the individual flowers by working the foliage color around them. To see any of these pictures larger just click on the image.

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Seed pods, Stems, Centers and stamens help to define the Hollyhocks. The final touch is to add the pure white where the crepe paper like petals are touched by the sunshine streaming across the courtyard.

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The garden in the courtyard is beginning to fill up. Just a little more planting to do, we’ll be working on the rest of the flowers tomorrow. AND……. Jack’s newest article has just been published at Fine Art Studio Online. CLICK HERE to read New Markets. Have a great day! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Geranium and Wisteria Blooms

March 7, 2013

SB1413 Step 37SB1413 Step 38Geraniums are some of my favorite flowers and are perfect to fill the corner of the front porch. I block in the deep reds first, then the greens of the leaves are worked around the blossom color.

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Using a medium sized Bright brush the highlights are added to the Deep Red blossoms of the Geraniums. Several of you have asked about the brushes I use. CLICK HERE  if you’d like to find out more about them.

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The final step on the Geraniums is to draw in the stems and buds. You can see them better if you enlarge the image, just click on the picture. Then I begin working on the weathered wood, Southwestern style Portal Posts, Corbels and Beam.

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Now for the Wisteria Blooms draping down over the beam. I had a specific request to show the step by step method of painting the flowers. Three different shades of Dioxazine Purple + White are mixed: dark, medium and light. The dark and light green for the leaves is made from Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium.

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SB1413 Step 43Blocking in the individual blossoms is first done with the darkest mix of purple. I gently “Lay” the color on top of the wet paint of the corbel and beam. This way I don’t pick up any of the brown and muddy the flowers of the Wisteria. Using the corner of a medium sized Bright brush more petals are added with the middle value.

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Highlights of the lightest mixture of Dioxazine Purple are added to finish out the blossoms. Then I let a few more leaves “grow” on the vine.

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The painting is beginning to change as the flowers are added. Tomorrow will make an even bigger difference as I get more of the garden planted. Have a great evening! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Website: www.senkarik.com

Tile Work

March 6, 2013

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Today let’s start work on the satillo tile courtyard. My main purpose at this stage is to establish the light and shadow patterns on the floor. The terra-cotta paint mixtures are all various combinations of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + White. I’ve also pulled out several of my left-over colors to add to the floor. You may click on the image to see it enlarged.

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The surfaces are totally covered. Notice how the most distant part of each level is made bluer, or cooler. This makes the far edge of each level go back.

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Now I begin to draw in the perspective lines of the tiles. I do this freehand because using the mahl stick would limit the movement of my arm, it would be difficult to make a straight line.

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After the curved lines on the foreground tiles are drawn I start making the horizontal lines separating the tiles. A fine liner brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD + Liquin is used to make the lines.

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The exterior courtyard is next. The curved perspective lines are drawn first, followed by the horizontal ones.

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The final step is to highlight the edges of the tiles touched by the sun. The warm and cool rule applies even here. The highlights toward the back are made bluer while the ones closest to the front are warmer, making them come forward.

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And………the satillo tile floor is finished. The gentle curve pleasantly directs the viewer through the flower filled courtyard to the landscape beyond. In our next session we’ll start planting some of those flowers. Bring your gardening gloves, you can help. 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. And if you enjoy my blog please CLICK the FaceBook LIKE Button. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!