Archive for July, 2014


July 31, 2014

Wow! God has so blessed us. I want to thank each and every one of you for your positive thoughts and prayers. You don’t have a clue how comforting it was to hear your kind words. I read your messages to Jack as we waited in the CTU (Critical Transfer Unit) or Jail as Jack called it. Finally got a room late Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday morning Jack showed amazing improvement. Our wonderful doctor looked at him that afternoon and told us. “You have a choice, you can stay here a few more days and be bored to tears or you can go home to write on your Lincoln book. If you go home you’ll have to come back to the clinic so we can check your clotting factors. Which do you want to do?”


So we’re home. Had a fabulous night’s sleep last night. Jack is about 90% back on his ability to speak and is eating on his own like a horse. He had to be spoon fed after the stroke and had a difficult time swallowing. He can even drink water out of a glass now where as he was having to use a straw before.

As we say here in Texas, MUCH OBLIGED!

Big Hugs,

Mikki and Jack signature JPEG

Need Your Prayers

July 29, 2014

The not so good news is Jack had a mini stroke yesterday afternoon. Fortunately we got hold of his Dr. Larry immediately and he told me to get Jack to Methodist hospital stroke unit quickly. We’re only 15 minutes away and it’s considered one of the best in the southwest. The great news is that it seems only the facial muscles on the left side of his face don’t work. He is having trouble swallowing and talking. His balance is also off but other than that there don’t seem to be any other effects. Can you imagine Jack not being able to talk?

Keep us in your prayers. We’ve been up most of the night. Transferred from the emergency room to a “Holding Unit” about 1 AM. Impossible to sleep with all of the activity and tests. Jack is ready to “ESCAPE this Cell!” Still not in a room but getting excellent care. Went home about 4:30AM to feed the kitties and get the laptop so we can communicate. Now I’m back with Jack.

We’ll talk to the doctors later. Whenever they come in?????????????????????????????????? It’s hurry up and wait. But from what I can see he has a great prognosis.

We’re in God’s hands. Please no flowers or gifts. We need your good thoughts and prayers most of all. Hugs, Mikki and speechless Jack

Laying Pavers

July 27, 2014

SG6314 Step 16

The old cow skull brings a nice rustic touch to the courtyard. The dark lintel above the gate accentuates the sunwashed bone painted with mixes of White + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue. My wrist is braced on a mahl stick to steady my hand as I delineate the fine detail.

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Morning Glory Vine cascades over the house, giving a cheery welcome to anyone who enters the front door. I use some special colors here for the blossoms, Dioxazine Purple and Magenta.

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The door and gate have been painted with light and dark shades of Pthalo Blue + White. Now let’s turn to the terra cotta paver floor.

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The entire surface of the floor is covered, establishing the light and shadow patterns. Then I draw the perspective lines into the wet paint with a fine liner brush. This is done freehand, using a mahl stick would limit the movement of my hand. It would be difficult to make the lines straight.

SG6314 Step 20

Adding the horizontal lines separating the individual pavers completes the floor. Moving to the stairs I use the same theory as on the tiered adobe wall: Upright sides darker, Flat top surface lighter. The steps are also made lighter and cooler as they ascend so they will recede. You can CLICK on the image to view it larger.

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The tiled base of the fountain is a mix of Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Blue + White. Like the floor the sides were completely painted, then I came back and added the white grout lines into the blue.

2014-7-27 Back Courtyard 2 closeup

Since we’ve been painting pavers today I’ll share a little of our new garden with you. I’ve been laying pavers there too! Have a great day. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Mixing Adobe

July 26, 2014

SG6314 Step 11

You can see my palette set up above. If you’d like, click on the picture to enlarge it. I use a culinary cart with two shelves below the top surface. My glass palette is 1/4 inch glass placed on a white shelf board, in total it measures 18″ x 48″. Plenty of room for mixing lots of color. Tubes of paint are stored directly below the palette within easy reach. The toilet tissue is used for wiping my brush as I work. A clean brush makes for clean, crisp color on your painting. The adobe colors are mixed from different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. One blob of Ultramarine Blue + White is also made.

SG6314 Step 12

The darker shades of adobe color are worked around the Wisteria. Toward the lower portion of the wall some of the blue mixture is added. This will make it fall back behind the flowers. I also do the same along the upper stairs to make the wall recede.

SG6314 Step 13

Details on the Wisteria are now delineated. Then the irregular stair step wall is painted. The upright parts of the “Steps” are darker than the flat tops. This is because they receive less sunlight.

SG6314 Step 14

I love Southwestern architecture, there are so many unique details that are fun to paint. We found this unusual lintel on an old gate hidden away in Santa Fe.

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The warmth of the adobe walls accentuate the cool colors of the distant landscape. Adding just this bit of warm color makes the field of sagebrush and mountains begin to recede. Do remember, 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

Distant Landscape and Wisteria

July 25, 2014

SG6314 Step 7

The background is painted first, beginning with the sky which is the source of light. The mountain farthest away is made bluer so it will recede. There is a simple rule to help give the impression of depth in a piece of art: Cool Colors go Back, Warm Colors come Forward.

SG6314 Step 8

After the sky, mountains and sage are complete I block in the dark of the door jamb around the gate. This acts as a frame to accentuate the sunlit landscape in the distance. I keep the colors in the background muted following another simple rule: Muted Colors Recede, Intense Bright Colors come Forward.

SG6314 Step 9

The Wisteria is blocked in with several combinations of Dioxazine Purple, Ultramarine Blue and White. Then I come back with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium to paint the foliage around the blossom color.

SG6314 Step 10

Most of the wisteria is blocked in, you can enlarge the picture to see it better. Just click on the image. I have to stop a little early today. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and follow along. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Ideas are Everywhere

July 25, 2014

SG6314 Step 1

One question I hear on a regular basis is “Where do you get your ideas?” If you keep your eyes open you’ll find them everywhere! I share magazines with a good friend of mine. I was reading Carolyn’s Phoenix Homes and Gardens when I turned a page and SHAZAAM, this lovely courtyard appeared. What a wonderful idea for a painting!


SG6314 Step 2

This piece is going to be the show stopper for my Collector Event in Santa Fe this year. Pulling out my sketch pad I jot down my ideas. You can click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

SG6314 Step 3

I begin by drawing the basic plan up on my canvas. All of my basic colors are laid out on the glass palette below the easel. The blobs of color on the side are leftover from the previous painting. To find out more about our Double Primary Palette CLICK HERE.

SG6314 Step 4

Just like building a home I construct the main structure first, then add the landscaping. All of the basic layin is done in an oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) mixed with Liquin.

SG6314 Step 5

The chili ristras are washed in with Alizarin Crimson.

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We’re all drawn up and ready to begin painting. Can you see the modifications I’ve made to make this scene more “Santa Fe”? Have a wonderful day and thank you for visiting our studio. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Year of the Family

July 13, 2014

SG6114 Step 16

The foal is painted with mixes of Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. The light and shadow patterns are established first.

SG6114 Step 17

Anyone who has ever been around horses knows the soft, velvety feel of their muzzle. Since the foal has a blaze I use a mixture of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White here. Please remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.

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The white on the foal’s left front leg brings it forward of his body. The shadow on his shoulder and barrel will accentuate the light-colored rabbit.

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The fluffy, little bunny is painted with some of the mixtures left over from the mare. I just add a bit more White and MUD into them.

SG6114 The Year of the Family 24x30

Our little group is on Bluebonnet covered hill overlooking a field of Sunflowers. The final step is to finish out the lush White capped, Cobalt Blue flowers. I debated for a while on a title for this piece. But Jack, the official namer of this organization, came through again. He said it’s a portrait using the Chinese symbols for the year each member of the family was born. Why don’t you call it “The Year of the Family”? I love it. What do you think? It’s been fun painting horses again, I want to say thank you to our collector for asking me to do this. AND…. I certainly do appreciate you following along. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Working on Mama

July 12, 2014

SG6114 Step 11

Today’s session begins by blocking in the Bluebonnets and grass around our little family. I pull out a special color, Cobalt Blue, for our state flower here in Texas.

SG6114 Step 12

Now, let’s start on the horses! The basic colors of the mare are various mixtures of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + more Ultramarine Blue + White.

SG6114 Step 13

I Brace my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand as I delineate the eye. Since the light is coming from the upper left the catch light is placed about 11 o’clock at the edge of the pupil. The light then illuminates the iris on the opposite side. To see this better you can enlarge the image by clicking on the picture.

SG6114 Step 14

Ivory Black is used for the mane and legs of the bay mare. A little Pthalo Blue + White is mixed into the Ivory Black for the highlights. The next time you see a lady with long black hair observe how the highlights go toward the blue tones. This also holds true for black on animals.

SG6114 Step 15

Mama is done. Thanks for following along today, hope you’ll come back and watch as I finish up the colt and rabbit. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Painting Forward

July 11, 2014

SG6114 Step 6

My usual approach to starting a piece is to “Paint Forward”. This means I begin with the sky, it sets the lighting for the painting. Moving forward the most distant mountains are painted with Ultramarine Blue + White. The coolness of the blue makes them fall back. Then the closer ridge is completed. The Live Oak Trees are painted over the sky and mountains. Working into the wet paint behind them allows me to make the edges soft and feathery.

SG6114 Step 7

The field of Sunflowers is blocked in with muted Yellows made of different proportions of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. Then the  foliage is painted around the yellow, helping to shape the blossoms.

SG6114 Step 8

Dark centers are now added. It’s amazing how this simple touch immediately turns the blobs of yellow into Sunflowers. If you would like to see this or any of the other images enlarged just click on the picture.

SG6114 Step 9

The muted greens of the Live Oaks are the complementary color of the Rooster’s comb and wattles. This makes the Red appear much more intense than if there was just blue sky in the background.

SG6114 Step 10

The lighter value of the sunflowers helps to define the dark body and tail feathers of the Rooster perched on the Mare’s rump. We’ll start on the horses in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Family Portrait with a Little Different Twist

July 10, 2014

SG6114 Step 1

One of our long time collectors contacted us with a special request. He wanted me to paint a portrait of his family. But not the usual photographic likenesses, the twist was to design a composition based on the Chinese symbol of the year of their birth. What a cool idea! This is one of the main reasons I love collaborating with our collectors, it makes me think out of the box.

SG6114 Step 2

Mom and one of the sons were born in the year of the horse. A Mare and foal was the perfect solution. Dad is a Rooster, the other son a Rabbit. Ted loved the initial sketch, now I draw the basic plan up on the canvas in a thin oil wash.

SG6114 Step 3

Since Jennifer is a Texan I’m putting a couple of massive Live Oak Trees in the distance.

SG6114 Step 4

She also loves Sunflowers and Bluebonnets so both will be incorporated into the landscape.

SG6114 Step 5

We’re all sketched up! We’ll begin painting in our next session. Thanks for following my blog. 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