Archive for December, 2013

Are You Familiar With Frida?

December 11, 2013

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“Are you familiar with Frida and the movie about her?” This was the question I was asked by a new collector. He had just gotten married and wanted to commission a painting as their wedding gift. Kent continued, “We just love Frida and the courtyard in the movie that had the blue walls. Can you paint one of your pieces with lots of flowers, blue walls and a yellow door? Oh, and can you put a house number by the door with 1019. That’s our wedding date.”

“Absolutely,” I replied. “That will be a fun challenge.” By the way, that’s Jack’s portrait of Frida above!

Casa Azul 6

This is the courtyard at La Casa Azul where Frida grew up and lived with her husband, Diego Rivera.

Casa Azul 3

The famous blue house in Mexico City is now a museum dedicated entirely to Frida Kahlo and her art.

Sketch Kent

My first step is to put our ideas down in sketch form. Our collector loved it so let’s get to work on the canvas. Please remember as you go through my blog you can Click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 1

The basic outline is drawn up on the canvas in a thin, deep purple, oil wash made of Alizarin Crimson + Ultramarine Blue + Liquin. The rows of color lined up on the left side of my palette are from my previous painting. The oils stray fresh for several days in the open air. I’ll use a lot of that color in this piece.

SL12513 Azul Courtyard Step 3

Notice I moved the Agave to the left edge of the canvas. It gives a better balance to the painting than where it was in the initial sketch. The round shape of the Agave directly below the roundness of the White Daisies would look like two basketballs on top of each other. I’ve also made the door tile a little different, it’s going to be a surprise for our collector!

Before we finish up today I want to share a really wonderful “FEEL GOOD” Christmas story with you. CLICK HERE to read about it. Make sure to scroll down and watch the Youtube video. Jack and I absolutely loved this. As he said, “It’ll warm the cockles of your heart!” ENJOY! (I apologize for all the ads. I couldn’t figure out how to link the story without getting them 😦 )

We’re all drawn up and ready to begin painting in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

HUMMINGBIRDS on eBay

December 10, 2013

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven Step 1

Many of you have said such wonderful things about the Hummingbirds I’ve put in a couple of recent commissions. Thank you so much for your kind comments. Several have also asked me to put a Hummingbird in one of my eBay pieces. SO….here we go for this week’s special 10″ x 10″ eBay painting. After sketching the basic design on the panel in an oil wash I begin painting the sky and the scene through the open doors of the courtyard gate.

CLICK HERE if you would like to go directly to the auction for Hummingbird Haven

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven Step 2

The distant field is covered in a blanket of Purple Asters. Mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White in several different shades are used for the soft flowers. The adobe building is constructed, then the gates are painted in a bright blue made of Pthalo Blue + White.

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven Step 4

The courtyard floor is made up of irregular Mexican Saltillo Tiles. I let some of the blue from the gate reflect down into the tile, giving the appearance the floor is wet with dew. Magenta Morning Glories cascade over the adobe wall, a nice compliment to the cool Asters in the distance.

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven Step 5

By planting Red Penstemon at the foot of the gate I’ve been able to attract a couple of delightful Hummingbirds to the restful garden.

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven 10x10 closeup

Aren’t Hummingbirds fascinating, zipping and zooming around the garden? Their happy little squeaks and the hum of their wings make my heart sing. You can click on the image to see it larger.

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven 10x10

The garden is filled with flowers, making a Hummingbird Haven you can enjoy every single day. Here’s your opportunity to bring the joy of these happy little birds into your life or that of someone you love. Senkarik Original Embyros make unique gifts that are sure to please.

SL12413 Hummingbird Haven 10x10 with tape

Hummingbird Haven measures 10″ x 10″. As I mentioned before it’s larger than the ones I usually do for eBay. You don’t have to worry about doing any framing. The EMBRYO is painted on a cradled panel with finished sides, ready to hang on your wall.

An original oil painting this size normally retails in our galleries for $490. To make it more FUN we are starting the bid at 1 Cent. That’s right, ONLY A PENNY. But don’t linger, the auction ends Sunday Evening December 15, at 8 PM Texas (Central) Time.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the auction for Hummingbird Haven

HAPPY BIDDING!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


A Nifty Little Easel

December 9, 2013

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One of the most important tools an artist can use is a mirror in back of them. I turn and view my painting constantly as I work. By looking at your work in reverse it switches the image from the inventive side of your brain to the analytical side. This allows you to honestly critique your art is if someone else painted it. It’s very easy to see if proportions are off or lines aren’t straight. We’ve always kept the mirror I use for painting on an easel with wheels and just rolled it behind me when I’m working. The easel is a metal one with small plastic wheels that we’ve used for several years. It has been getting more and more rickety. Jack and I have worried about the easel breaking and the mirror crashing to the floor. With two black cats we don’t want to chance seven years of bad luck!

On Black Friday we received an email from Jerry’s Artarama with a coupon. Jack said, “Why don’t you go online and see what they have?” So….I did.

Nifty little easel 2

Found this cool little easel with great BIG wheels. Compact, sturdy and reaches full height. The regular list price is $399.99. Jerry’s price is $169.99. Then I had the coupon for $35 OFF and they give FREE SHIPPING. The clocks????? Oh, everybody asks about those. We put them up because we work with galleries and collectors all over the United States. This way if I have to call a client in Florida at 9AM their time I can phone at the correct moment. We used to label them but we don’t worry about it anymore. They are lined up like a map. The one on the left is the west coast or Pacific time zone, the right side is the Eastern time zone. Mountain and Central time zones are in between.

Nifty little easel 1

When I’m finished painting for the day I tuck the mirror in the corner by the front door of the studio. Our new little easel fits here perfectly, the old one was really too big.

Perplexed about getting an easel? Maybe you live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of space. Perhaps you have a son or daughter artist that needs one but you don’t want to spend a lot of money. This is a nifty little easel. It also converts into a flat surface to use for watercolor or pastels. The Mirage All Media Easel can be purchased online at Jerrysartarama.com. Again, the regular list price is 399.99, Jerry’s has it for $169.99. AND…. if you watch their site they offer coupons for more savings on a regular basis. Best of all Jerry’s gives FREE SHIPPING. Just CLICK HERE for more information on the easel, they have lots of pictures of the different ways it can be set up. There is even a video that shows you how to assemble the easel. Hugs,


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Let All Your Cares Slip Away

December 8, 2013

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Fresh White Daisies fill the large terra cotta container. Their shadow cascades across the back of the Adirondack Chair. Various combinations of Pthalo Blue + White are used for the bright chair. The right side of the upper back is made a little bit lighter than the left. This is because the back is rounded, sunlight catches the upper right corner more than the left.

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Bracing on my mahl stick to steady my hand I draw the lines separating the boards in the back of the chair. What is a mahl stick? CLICK HERE to find out.

SL12313 Step 8

Laura Bush Petunias tumbling out of the low planter provide a perfect place for a Hummingbird to stop and snack. You can click on the picture to see it larger.

SL12313 Step 9

The piece is signed into the wet paint of the floor. Notice how I brace my hands on the easel as I make my signature. In this picture you can also see how the floor and flowers are continued around the side of the painting.

SL12313 Step 10

The soft green foliage of the Corn Poppies is painted first. Then I come back and “Lay” the thick brushstrokes of the blossoms on top of the leaves and chair in the background. I have to be careful not to pick up any of those colors on my brush as I paint the flowers, they will muddy the bright reds.

SL12313 Let Your Cares Slip Away 14x14Let All Your Cares Slip Away     14″ x 14″     Original Oil Painting

AHHH…. Sit back in that big comfortable chair, enjoy the sunshine, take in the fragrance, watch that precious little hummingbird and Let All Your Cares Slip Away. I’ve enjoyed having you visit our studio. Hope you’ll come back again soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Our Aqua Adirondack Chairs

December 7, 2013

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People love the aqua Adirondack Chairs on the front patio of our studio. They are especially striking in the spring when the Poppies, Salvia, Texas Mountain Laurel and Petunias are in full bloom. You may click on this or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

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Our collector saw a painting I had done of the front garden with one of the chairs at my annual Collector Event in Santa Fe. He asked if I would do a similar piece as a Christmas gift for his wife. Since the distinctive chair is the main focus it is sketched up first.

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The flowers are labeled so I won’t forget what I’m supposed to paint. In the excitement of working on a piece I’ve been known to put in the WRONG ones. OPPS!

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The rock wall is blocked in first. Working forward the Salvia, the flowers that are furthest back, are painted. The design is continued over the edge of the gallery wrap canvas.

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If you’ve ever smelled the fragrance of Texas Mountain Laurel you know it is unforgettable. I don’t know if this makes any sense but it smells sorta like grape bubblegum tastes. Mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White are perfect for the Wisteria like blooms. The mass of purple blossoms is blocked in first, then the green leaves are painted around the flowers.

SL12313 Step 5

Delineating the individual petals completes the Mountain Laurel. That’s all for today, please do come back tomorrow to follow along. I think a hummingbird just might come passing through!

AND…..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!

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A Touch of Joy

December 6, 2013

SK12213 Step 1

Don’t want to hassle with huge crowds and messy weather??? Jack and I invite you to Christmas shop with us on eBay from the comfort of your own home. For those of you who have been asking for a piece that is a little larger than the 6″ x 6″ EMBRYOS I normally post on eBay here it is.

To go directly to the auction for A Touch of Joy CLICK HERE.

SK12213 Step 2

In Feng Shui Red is a fire element, the color of warmth, excitement and passion. Red is also traditionally associated with joy, good luck and fortune. So after painting the soft adobe walls I start work on the Red Door! Let’s bring all those good things to this piece.

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I think these wrought iron hinges and door latch are so cool. We photographed them years ago in Santa Fe.

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AND….. make sure to check out the heart made by the two little doves on the wall tile!

SK12213 Step 5

Trumpet Vine cascades down, draping the wall with rich color. The ceramic container is now painted with mixtures of Pthalo Turquoise Blue + a tiny touch of Viridian Green + White.

SK12213 Step 6

I choose to plant Sunflowers in the container because they look so vibrant next to the red door. Besides they make a really nice combination with the azure pot. The long, strap-like foliage of the Daylilies has been painted. In this step I come back and carefully “Lay” the thick brushwork of the blossoms on top of the leaves. I don’t want to pick up any of the green on my brush, it would muddy the flower color.

SK12213 A Touch of Joy 10x10A Touch of Joy   10″ x 10″   Original Oil Painting

If you’ve followed my work very long you know I absolutely love Red Doors. A Red Door makes such a happy and welcoming entrance. Add bunches of flowers and the setting becomes touched with joy. Christmas is right around the corner. Here’s your opportunity to bring A Touch of Joy into your life or that of someone you love.

SK12213 A Touch of Joy 10x10 with tape

This EMBRYO measures 10″ x 10″, it’s larger than the ones I usually do for eBay. You don’t have to worry about framing A Touch of Joy. It’s painted on a cradled panel with finished sides, ready to hang on your wall.

An original oil painting this size normally retails in our galleries for $490. To make it more FUN we are starting the bid at 1 Cent. That’s right, ONLY A PENNY. But don’t linger, the auction ends Sunday Evening December 8, at 8 PM Texas (Central) Time.

CLICK HERE to go to the auction

HAPPY BIDDING!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


DOTTIE

December 3, 2013

SK12013 Dottie Step 6

A rich Burnt Umber made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + White is the base for Dottie’s coat. More White is mixed in for the highlights, extra MUD is added for the darker shadows. After painting her nose with Ivory Black + White I block in the head.

SK12013 Dottie Step 7

As I work down her neck and shoulders the edges against the background are softened. This helps to direct the viewer’s attention to her head where I’ve made the edges sharper and more crisp. The shoulder on the right is made cooler, this also sends your gaze to the warmer tones in Dottie’s face.

SK12013 Dottie Step 8

Melissa and Jerry were just married in October. As a little special touch I work their wedding date into the collar.

SK12013 Dottie Step 9

And….. I love Dottie’s tags, they are fun to paint.

SK12013 Dottie Step 10

Now for the eyes, the soul of a portrait. The entire globe of the eye is painted dark with MUD + Liquin. Since the light is coming from high above the catch light is placed at almost 12 o’clock, just under the upper eyelid. Remember, to enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image.

SK12013 Dottie Step 11

The second step is to highlight the iris where it’s illuminated by the sun. The lightest portion is directly across from the catch light.

SK12013 Dottie 14x14Dottie       14″ x 14″     Original Oil Painting

Animal portraits are so fun to do. I love capturing their personality on canvas. Melissa and Jerry made a special trip to bring Dottie by our studio just so we could meet her. That really made a difference in painting her portrait. Have a wonderful day and Thank You for following my blog. Jack and I appreciate all of you. Hugs,

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Portrait of a Puppy

December 2, 2013

Dottie Head

Dottie is the sweetest little dachshund. Her parents have commissioned me to paint her portrait. I love the sun catching her face in this shot.

Dottie neck and chest

I’ll use this photo for her neck, collar and tags.

SK12013 Dottie Step 1

After lightly penciling in some basic landmarks I start an oil sketch with a thin wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SK12013 Dottie Step 2

The shadow patterns are established with the same oil wash. If you’d like to see any of the pictures larger just click on the image.

SK12013 Dottie Step 3

The sketch is finished. It’s not a complete likeness at this point, I’ll make adjustments as I continue working.

SK12013 Dottie Step 4

The background is mixed from various combinations of Alizarin Crimson + Viridian Green + White + just a touch of Pthalo Blue.

SK12013 Dottie Step 5

The lighter area behind Dottie’s face is kept fairly dark in order to accentuate the facial highlights. Tomorrow we’ll start painting on her. Hope you’ll come follow along. 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!

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Sunlit Beach

December 1, 2013

SK12113 Step 10

The dark stone archway serves as a frame for Stiniva Beach. The door is made a more muted blue so the viewer’s eye will go to the crystal clear, azure water below.

SK12113 Step 11

The entire surface of the terra-cotta tile floor is blocked in first with the light and shadow pattern. The warm colors of the floor make the cool ones in the background recede even more.

SK12113 Step 12

Perspective lines separating the tiles are now drawn freehand into the wet paint of the floor.

SK12113 Step 13

Horizontal lines delineating the individual pavers are put in next. Then the edges of the tile caught by the sunlight are highlighted.

SK12113 Step 14

Bright Bougainvilleas cascade over the arch and doorway. The mass of flower color is blocked in first with mixtures of Permanent Rose + White, then the green foliage is worked around the blossoms.

SK12113 Step 15

Rich Magenta Petunias accentuate the light sand of the beach. Moving to the foreground the cheery Yellow Sunflowers are planted.

SK12113 Sunlit Beach 14x17Sunlit Beach       14″ x 17″     Original Oil Painting

Geraniums fill the large container on the right and we’re done. Sunlit Beach will be on its way to our collector tomorrow. What fun to work with Terry to surprise her son with warm memories of the island of Vis for Christmas. Remember, if you would like to see any of the images larger just click on the picture. Thank you for following along, hope you’ll come back and visit our studio again soon. Hugs,

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