Archive for December, 2013

Sissie said to tell you…….

December 31, 2013

2013-12-27 Sissie in Santa Basket 2

Have a Fabulous New Year OR ELSE!!!!!!!!!

Hugs,Mikki and Jack signature small  JPEG

Sunshine Sentry

December 27, 2013

2013-12-27 Molly in Santa Basket

Hope every one had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was certainly filled with laughs. A dear friend gave us a basket of grapefruit, oranges and lemons from their trees. Molly, one of our rescue kitties, immediately adopted the basket even though it was filled with fruit. She’d happily sleep away draped over the lumpy contents. This picture was taken when we’d finished off about half of the citrus.

2013-12-27 Sissie in Santa Basket 1

Well, this morning I came into the kitchen and Sissie had taken over the basket. I almost fell on the floor laughing 🙂 Fortunately she was so comfortable she stayed right in position; I was able to get the camera and take some pictures. That’s Molly on the counter in the background.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 2

OK, back to work. Today we have another Gift Commission. Fortunately this one didn’t have to finished in time for Christmas. The recipient collects Roosters so what better present than a painting of one? In order to make the wet painting easier to handle the canvas is attached to a cardboard backing. I’m using an old box, flattened and glued together so it’s sturdy. It looks kind of quilted doesn’t it?

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 3

The background is made a muted blue-green so the red of the Rooster’s comb will glow. #1. Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + a touch of White. #2. Mix #1 with a bit more Pthalo Blue and White mixed in. #3. Mix #1 more White added. #4 and #5. Mix #1 with Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Deep and progressively more White added.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 4

The background is blocked in around the shape of the Rooster. The piece is signed in the lower right while the paint of the grass is still wet. This allows me to make the calligraphy of my signature smooth.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 5

Now for the richly colored feathers, they are fun to paint with lots of texture.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 6

The graceful tail is painted with a large Bright (square) brush. Viridian Green and Pthalo Blue are used for the iridescent feathers.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry Step 7

The white catch light in the eye is placed at one o’clock since the sun is almost directly overhead. The iris immediately opposite is illuminated as sunlight is transmitted through the transparent cornea of the eye. To enlarge this, or any of the other pictures, just click on the image.

SL13313 Sunshine Sentry 14x14Sunshine Sentry       14″ x 14″     Original Oil Painting

I love painting Roosters, they all have such individual personalities. There is an old saying in Provence that a Rooster in one’s home brings success in the kitchen and happiness in your life. Sunshine Sentry is ready to go to work, bringing joy and fun to his new home! Thank you for following along. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2013


During this busy season we want to stop and take a moment to reflect. Our thoughts turn gratefully to those of you who have touched our lives. Our Readers, collectors, old friends and new, Jack and I appreciate all of you. In this spirit we say, simply but sincerely ….

Thank You and Best Wishes for a
Very Blessed Christmas
filled with Love, Laughter and the Spirit of Christ

Mikki and Jack signature

Now for A Completely Different Painting

December 22, 2013

A few weeks ago our Fed Ex driver knocked on the front door of the studio as he was picking up a few outgoing packages. He asked, “Do you paint angels? My wife loves them.”

I answered, “Well, I never have but I certainly can. It would be fun to paint an angel for your wife.” That’s one of the neatest things about commissions, I get to paint subjects I’ve never done before!

angel reference

Going through our file of photos I select two different shots to use as reference. I think the picture of Meg Ryan from City of Angels is a perfect model for my angel’s face.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy Step 1

I start by drawing up the angel in a thin oil wash of Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + Liquin.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy Step 2

A blue sky with soft clouds provides a nice background. I make the upper portion of the canvas blue to contrast with the warm skin tones of the face. If you would like to enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy Step 3

The lower part of the gown flows in the breeze, I keep the back edge soft so it disappears into the clouds. A red sash provides a splash of color.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy Step 4

I thought it would be fun to have a dove landing on her outstretched hand.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy Step 5

Now for the hands, arms and face. Dark hair helps to draw the view’s eye to the focal point of the piece: the dove, face and flowers.

SL13213 Everlasting Joy 14x14Everlasting Joy   14″ x 14″    Original Oil Painting

The final touch is a huge bouquet of flowers. Maggie’s special angel is ready to be presented to her on Christmas Eve. So what do you think? Please do let me know! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Medley of Color

December 18, 2013

SL12913 Step 1

This commission is a Christmas gift for John’s other son and his wife. As before the plan is drawn up on the canvas with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + Liquin.

SL12913 Step 2

After the walls are painted I begin blocking in the Bougainvillea. The mass of flower color is painted first with various mixes of Permanent Rose + White. Then the greens of the foliage are worked around the pink areas, helping to give shape to the flowers. Or actually ‘bracts’ as the brightly colored leaves of Bougainvilleas are called. The flowers are tiny and white, not even visible from this distance.

SL12913 Step 3

The shadow of the red door is painted with a mixture of Magenta + Cadmium Red Deep while the sunny portion is pure Cadmium Red Light. The edges of the boards are then highlighted.

SL12913 Step 4

The curved perspective lines on the entry pathway are a challenge to draw. A fine liner brush dipped in a mix of MUD (Alizarin Crimson + Ultramarine Blue) + Liquin is used to etch the fine lines into the wet paint of the floor.

SL12913 Step 5

A blue-green made of Pthalo Blue + Pthalo Green + White is used for the ceramic container. The mass of sunflowers is painted with various mixes of Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Deep. Cadmium Yellow Deep + Lemon Yellow will be used for the petals touched by the sun. Some of the darker color from the container is worked into the foliage to help give coolness in the shadows.

SL12913 Step 6

Pierce and Allison were married on January 31, 2007. So I’ve decided to make a tile with lovebirds to commemorate their special date. Fine guidelines are drawn to help me get the calligraphy straight. You can see this more clearly if you will enlarge the picture, just click on the image.

SL12913 Step 7

The tile is now done, you can see I’ve painted the guidelines out. Don’t you think it’s cool how the birds touching their beaks form a heart?

SL12913 Step 8

White Matilija Poppies line the path to the door. The shadow areas of the blossoms are blocked in with several different shades of blue, lavender and aqua.

SL12913 A Medley of Color 10x10A Medley of Color     10″ x 10″     Original Oil Painting

Pure White highlights the crepe-paper like petals of the Poppies dancing in the gentle breeze. The white flowers look so fresh next to the red door. This garden is ready to bring A Medley of Color to its new home with Pierce and Allison. I’ve enjoyed having you follow along. Hope you have an absolutely wonderful day. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Sun Washed Surf

December 16, 2013

SL12813 Step 1

Another Christmas commission. This one is a gift for a couple who live near the beach in California. Their father contacted us and asked if I had any ideas of what might be fun for them. Well…..I love painting the rocky coast of the Golden Bear State, let’s show that through an open door. My initial plan is sketched up on the canvas in an oil wash.

SL12813 Step 2

The sky is painted first. Then I work forward, blocking in the water and rugged coastline. I’m using La Jolla as my model, the azure water there is so beautiful. Oh, I almost forgot. If you’d like to see any of the pictures larger, just click on the image.

SL12813 Step 3

The scene through the doors is complete, I think the tall La Jolla palms are really cool. Climbing Roses tumble over the terrace wall. Then the dark building and Trumpet Vine act to frame the sunlit ocean.

SL12813 Step 4

And…what else but Red Doors? John has a piece with them and mentioned his boys love the vibrant color.

SL12813 Step 5

The light and shadow pattern on the floor is painted first. Then I come back and draw the perspective lines of the tile into the wet paint. This is done freehand with a fine liner brush. The vanishing point for the terrace is far, far to the right of the painting on the horizon line.

SL12813 Step 6

The horizontal lines separating the individual tiles are drawn next, then I highlight the edges touched by the sun. Marshall (John’s son) and Jamie were engaged this year on the 4th of July. So I’ve decided to work a tile into the planter wall with the date.

SL12813 Sun Washed Surf 10x10Sun Washed Surf    10″ x 10″   Original Oil Painting

Time for planting. White Daisies and Purple Salvia fill the planter and terra cotta containers. Listen closely. Can you hear the surf, washed by the sun, crashing in the distance? I’m ready to go sit on the terrace wall, dangle my feet over the edge and enjoy the ocean breeze. Thank you for following along today. Hope you’ll come back soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Give the Gift of a White Christmas

December 15, 2013

SL12613 - SL12713 Step 1

These are my last two EMBRYOS available for Christmas Gifting. The auctions on eBay are for 5 Days, they will end Wednesday evening, December 18 beginning at 8 PM Central Time. This allows time for the paintings to ship to you so they can be wrapped and tucked under the Christmas tree.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the eBay auctions.

SL12613 - SL12713 Step 2

The walls are made a dark shade of adobe to give more contrast with the white snow. It’s fun working on the two pieces together as if they are one painting. If you would like to see any of the images larger just click on the picture.

SL12613 - SL12713 Step 3

As the English Ivy is blocked in I leave the blank canvas showing in the areas where the snow will cover the foliage.

SL12613 - SL12713 Step 5

The southwestern style bench has a tall back, just the perfect spot for a Gecko with a curly cue tail. It is so neat to paint the chili ristras and high desert plants covered in snow.

SL12613 - SL12713 finishedWinter’s Cloak                                 Blanket of White

NOW…..Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

SL12613 Winter's Cloak 6x6Winter’s Cloak   6″ x 6″   Original Oil Painting

Don’t you love fresh snow? It’s so peaceful in the early morning, illuminated by the first rays of sun. Here is your opportunity to enjoy the beauty without any cold or shoveling! Let the little Santa Fe Style Gecko bench, wrapped in Winter’s Cloak, bring a spot of color to your wall.

SL12713 Blanket of White 6x6Blanket of White   6″ x 6″   Original Oil Painting

A red door juxtaposed against sunlit snow seems especially radiant. All the plants appear magical, covered in a Blanket of White. The brightness of the yellow orange Mums, iced with snow, adds warmth to the wintery scene. Muffled sounds and a hidden cardinal ‘chipping’ as he rustles in the draping ivy add to the mystique. Do you love winter but live in a warm climate? Here is your opportunity to enjoy the snow all year long in your home or office.

SL12613 Winter's Cloak 6x6. with tape

Both pieces measure 6″ x 6″. Don’t worry about framing them, these little gems have finished sides and are ready to hang on your wall.

The EMBRYOS are designed to be displayed individually or as a pair. These original oil paintings retail in our galleries for $390 each but to make it more fun we’ve started the bidding on both auctions at 1 cent. That’s right, ONLY A PENNY! The auctions are staggered 7 minutes apart so you can win one or both Original Oil Paintings for your home or office. AND…..If you win the PAIR OF EMBRYOS we will give you FREE SHIPPING! Don’t linger, the first auction ends Wednesday, December 18 at 8 PM Texas (Central) Time.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the eBay auctions.


Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Azul Courtyard

December 14, 2013

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 15

The flowers of the White Daisies are blocked in with soft blues, lavenders and aquas. This mass of color will provide the shadows of the white blossoms. To see this larger just click on the picture.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 16

Warm Green leaves are painted in and around the blossoms. Then the petals touched by the sun are highlighted with pure White. The final step in painting the Daisies is to add the bright center in each bloom.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 17

The Sunflowers, Nasturtiums and Agave are painted as a group, working from one to another. The Sunflower blossoms were blocked in to begin with, followed by the Reds and Oranges of the Nasturtiums. After adding the broad leaves of the Sunflowers I paint the Gray-Green Agave with mixtures in various proportions of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 18

Dark centers immediately identify the large yellow blooms as Sunflowers.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 19

Round leaves complete the Nasturtiums. Next I move to the container of Geraniums. These are painted in the same sequence as the other blooming plants: Flowers First, Leaves Last. Working in this order makes it easier to keep the flowers bright and clean. If I blocked in the leaves first my brush would pick up some of the green when painting the blossoms, muddying their color.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard 24x30Azul Courtyard     24″ x 30″     Original Oil Painting

Pink Hollyhocks fill the space to the right of the Yellow door. AND….We’re done! What a fun and happy piece, I guess it shows I had a lot of fun painting it! A Big, Texas MUCH OBLIGED to our collector for asking me to paint Azul Courtyard.


Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Love Birds

December 13, 2013

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 8

Dioxazine Purple is another one of those special colors I add to my palette from time to time. It is perfect for painting the blossoms of Wisteria. The mass of purple blooms is blocked in first as you can see at the upper left. On the right I’m painting the leaves around the flowers, helping to shape them.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 9

The individual petals are then delineated using the corner of a small Bright (square) brush. You can see this better by enlarging the image, just click on the picture.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 10

The entire surface of the floor is painted with the light and shadow pattern. I’ve let some of the color from the door and wall reflect down into the floor, giving the appearance that it’s just been washed. The perspective lines of the tile are drawn freehand into the wet paint of the floor.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 11

The horizontal lines separating the individual tiles are dragged straight across, using the same fine liner brush as in the previously step.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 12

Now for the surprise! Kent asked for a tile on the wall with the number 1019 for their wedding date. I’ve decided to add a pair of Love Birds. A heart is formed in the space between them as they touch beak to beak. Notice the tiny dot just above their heads, this was made so I’d know where the center of the tile is. When I’m finished I’ll paint the dot out. My wrist is resting on a mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the detail. A mahl stick is an important tool artists use, CLICK HERE to learn more.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 13

Now for the numerals. The tile area was painted first so I can work wet-into-wet. This makes it easy to draw the design of the birds and numbers. If the background of the tile was dry it would be very difficult to make smooth lines.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 14

Jack just pointed out that the birds actually look like swans. Hey, that’s pretty cool. What do you think? We’re done for today. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and help me with the gardening. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Blue Walls, Red Borders, Yellow Door

December 12, 2013

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 4

My colors are mixed for those wonderful blue walls. As a base I’m using Cobalt Blue, a color that is not normally found on our palette but is perfect for this particular painting.#1. Cobalt Blue + a touch of Pthalo Blue + a bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. #2. Cobalt Blue + a little Pthalo Blue + White. #3. Mix #2 + more White. #4. Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light + MUD + White. #5. Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light + White. #6. Mixture #5 + more White. If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 5

After the light and shadow patterns are established on the blue walls I begin working on the red bordering the door and window. If you would like to enlarge the picture just click on the image.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 6

The green window is Pthalo Blue + a little Cadmium Orange + White. I keep the color muted so it will fall into the shadow. The dark area of the door is Cadmium Yellow Medium + Cadmium Orange + a little MUD.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 7

Pure Cadmium Yellow Medium is used for the portion of the door in the sunshine. WOW, aren’t those primary colors stunning! This is such a fun departure from the adobe walls I normally paint. Thanks for following along today. 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!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG