Archive for February, 2015

Thirsty Percy

February 27, 2015

2015-2-26 Percy 1

Imagine my surprise when I walked into our kitchen, looked out the window and saw…….an OPOSSUM. Not only that but he was on the TOP of our Rose Arbor. I grabbed the camera and started to snap. As you go through the blog please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger 🙂

2015-2-26 Percy 2

Percy O’Possum, as I decided to call him, had to check out the red bird feeder. It was just a little too far down to snitch any bird seed.

2015-2-26 Percy 3

HMMM, the thistle feeder is within reach, I’ll try it.

2015-2-26 Percy 4

OOPSIE! Down, down, down it goes. This is fun!

2015-2-26 Percy 5Finally, water. Now………how do I get there?

2015-2-26 Percy 6WHEW! Not sure about this, it’s a little more precarious than I thought.

2015-2-26 Percy 7BINGO! Almost there!

2015-2-26 Percy 9Cool, cool water. Man, oh man. Was I ever thirsty!

2015-2-26 Percy 10How’s this for a perfect balance beam performance?

2015-2-26 Percy 11SEE YA!

And Percy O’Possum disappeared from view. I had to rescue the gold finch feeder from behind the back wall of the arbor garden. Fortunately nothing was broken, just refilled the feeder, hung it back up and the goldfinches quickly returned. So now you know what’s happening in our garden!

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

Explosion of Color

February 25, 2015

SB0815 Step 5

The floor is next. The entire surface is covered with the light and shadow pattern. Then the perspective lines are drawn into the wet paint. This is done freehand, bracing against the mahl stick would limit my movement making it difficult to pull the lines smooth and straight.

SB0815 Step 6

Lush Petunias cascade from the containers hugging the chair. The flowers are blocked in first with mixes of Cadmium Red Light + White, Permanent Rose + Cadmium Red Light + White and pure Cadmium Red Light. Moving to the pot in the lower right corner the leaves are painted around the blossom color. Mixtures of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow are used for the foliage.

SB0815 Step 7

I love the cheery yellow chair. The darker shades are Cadmium Yellow Medium + a touch of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow is used for the highlights.

SB0815 Explosion of Color 11x11Explosion of Color    11 inches x 11 inches   Original Oil Painting

After adding the rush seat and back I decided to change the color of the finials on top of the chair to yellow. The red ones were lost against the dark wall. Large white Matilija Poppies fill the spot to the left of the gate. Can you see why some people call them “Fried Egg Flowers”? Explosion of Color is ready to head to Mexico! I appreciate all of your kind comments. Have a wonderful day and hope to see you again soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Fiery Red Gate

February 24, 2015


SB0815 Step 1

Today I’m starting on another piece for our gallery in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. My basic plan is sketched up on the canvas and we’re ready to begin painting. As you read through my blog please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

SB0815 Step 2

Cool light illuminates the background, it will lend an air of mystery to the piece. Making the viewer wonder what is on the other side of the gate. Then the walls are blocked in with mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. More MUD is added in the shadow mixtures. A few strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White are made at the far end of the wall in the corner to make it recede. If you’d like to learn more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System that Jack developed CLICK HERE.


Watch the VIDEO to see how I paint the Fiery Red Gate. Each time the brush is pulled out of view I wipe it on toilet tissue. A clean brush is the secret to crisp, bright colors on your canvas! My wrist is braced against a mahl stick to steady my hand as I delineate the fine details on the gate.

SB0815 Step 3

Morning Glories are made of some special colors I use from time to time, Magenta and Dioxazine Purple. White is added to make the various shades. After adding the leaves the long, dangling vines are pulled into the wet paint of the wall with a fine liner brush.

SB0815 Step 4

A folk art cross, tucked under the draping blossoms, brings a touch of interest to the old wall. Thank you for visiting today. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow and 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!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Rosie and Ruby

February 19, 2015

2015-2-18 Planting Rosie 1

We’ve been waiting for today ever since we purchased our new home. Rosie and Ruby have finally arrived. They are Forest Pansy Redbud trees, some of our very favorites. We got two of the first ones to come in at our local nursery. In our part of Texas we know spring is here when we see the bright magenta pink blooms of the Redbud. The Forest Pansy species of Redbud has the added beauty of incredible purple, heart shaped leaves.

2015-2-18 Planting Rosie 3

The crew dug the hole for Rosie, then made sure she was standing at attention.

2015-2-18 Planting Ruby

Ruby was a little more difficult to plant, a jack hammer was needed to break up the bed rock that is prevalent in our area.

2015-2-18 Rosie and Ruby

So….our special garden babies are snug in their new home.

2015-2-18 Rosie first flower buds

 Rosie already has a few flower buds!

2015-2-18 Rosie and Ruby through arbor

Rosie and Ruby in the lower garden seen through the Rose arbor. You can click on the image to see it larger.

2013-3-6 Redbud

Now this was taken at our old home when the Redbud was just breaking out in bloom.

2013-5-7 rose arbor 3

And here’s the Redbud with its gorgeous foliage on the right. This is also at the old house. The Rose Arbor to the left is covered with Peggy Martin Roses. Peggy Martin Roses survived being under sea water for a week after Hurricane Katrina. Growers decided to produce them in enough quantities so they could be sold to the general public. The neatest thing is they have NO THORNS! We have Peggy’s planted on the arbors at our new place. Can you see why we’re so excited about Rosie, Ruby and Peggy? Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what’s going on in our garden.

AND… Here is Jack’s latest article for Fine Art Studio Online. To read Emotion and Reason CLICK HERE. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Let’s Travel to Greece!

February 16, 2015

LO A Touch of Greece step 1

Today I’m embellishing one of my Limited Original giclees. This is a high quality digital reproduction of my painting A Touch of Greece. I’m going back in and enhancing it with oil paint. Even though each piece is part of an extremely limited edition, the hand embellishing makes every single one different. Therefore the term “Limited Original”.

LO A Touch of Greece step 2

The first step is to glaze some sections of the giclee to make the color richer. Glazes are made with Oil Paint + Liquin. I mix two very thin pools of color. One is Magenta, I’ll use it to make the clouds around the setting sun glow. The Cobalt Blue mixture is to enhance the blue dome of the church.




As you watch notice how my wrist is braced against the mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the fine detail.


LO A Touch of Greece step 3

The reflections of the setting sun are intensified.



LO A Touch of Greece step 4

The final step is t0 embellish the long streamers of the bougainvillea, illuminated by the setting sun.

LO A Touch of Greece 1-49  30x24A Touch of Greece       Limited Original

We’re done! As soon as it dries I’ll add a final protective coat to our Limited Original, then it will be ready to head for its new home. Remember, you can click on any of the still images to view them larger. Now I have a question for all of you. If a picture is worth one thousand words, how much is a video worth? Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Red Roses for Valentine’s!

February 13, 2015

2015-2-12 Red Roses for Valentines 1

That Jack is full of surprises. He hauled me to the nursery so he could help pick out my Valentine’s present! RED ROSES. Right next to my Christmas Irises that are still awarding us with joyful blooms. Well….. Alright. You might not be able to enjoy the Roses at this moment but check out the picture below.

knocokut-rose-tree-star-400This is a mature Double Knock Out Rose Tree we found on

Isn’t ours going to be pretty? We’ll have Red Valentine Roses from Spring til Frost, which in this area is November, December or sometimes as late as January. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to all of you. Jack and I appreciate you more that you’ll ever know. Thanks for following along. BIG HUGS,

Mikki and Jack signature small  JPEG

Something Special for Our Readers

February 11, 2015

SB0715 Step 4

I’ve decided to make the window partially open. It seems much more inviting to the viewer. As you read through my post please keep in mind, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on them.

SB0715 Step 5

Several mixtures of MUD + Cadmium Orange + White are made for the rough cobbles covering the street. I use lots of texture to give the impression of the ancient stones. Cadmium Red Light is added to some of those mixes for the terra cotta pots sitting on the window seat. A stroke of Ultramarine Blue + White is drawn along the edge of the container to make it appear round.

SB0715 Step 6

We’re going to have Naturtiums tumbling out of the containers. The fragrant flowers are blocked in with Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Light.

SB0715 Step 8

The round leaves of the Nasturtium are mixes of Cadmium Yellow Deep + Ultramarine Blue + White. The Philodendron wandering along the base of the wall is a crisper green made of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow. Then I turn my attention to the sweet little burro. I pull out a special color that I don’t normally have on my palette for his shiny coat, Ivory Black.

OK, Now for that SOMETHING SPECIAL I promised. Many of you have asked that I do a video as I paint. Well, here you go…..



I pulled out the manual on our camera and figured out how to do the video, aren’t you proud of me? If you, my readers, hadn’t been pushing me I’d never have done it. As Jack says, I’m like an ostrich. I’d rather stick my head in the sand than learn any new technology, I’m so computer challenged 🙂

SB0715 Flores del Sol 11x11Flores del Sol      11 inches by 11 inches   Original Oil Painting

What better than to call this little gem Flores del Sol, “Flowers of the Sun”. Thank you for following my blog. AND…keep a watch out. I’ll be adding videos from time to time thanks to y’all. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Don’t You Love Burros?

February 10, 2015

SB0715 Step 1

Couple this cute little fella with baskets of Sunflowers and how can you not smile? Today we’re starting on another piece for Galeria de Arte 5ta Avenida in Mexico. I have to confess, I was having so much fun drawing the basic plan up on the canvas I forgot to stop and take some progress shots! OPPPPPSSSSSS!

SB0715 Step 2

The dusky pink walls are made of various mixes of Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson + White. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the mix for the shadows. And speaking of shadows, one of our readers asked a great question about them. Do you have any insights to share on shadow placement and how you go about determining your light source and shadow placement when planning your paintings?

Here’s my reply:

Jack and I make it a point to study shadows all the time. In fact we have a file of shadow photos. When he started teaching me to paint he said, “Think of sunlight as water. Imagine you have a bucket of sunshine, splash it across the painting. It will light up the objects it splashes on. The area behind the object won’t get wet, or any light. Therefore it will cast a shadow.”

One rule that Jack swears by is to have the light come into the painting from the left. This is because we read a book from left to right. You follow the light through the painting. Then make a dark upright on the far right of the piece to “STOP the Light” from flowing off the canvas. A tree in a landscape or in my case a stand of hollyhocks by a door. I usually have the light coming from the upper left but for variety I will bring it in from the upper right side.

You can cut out a little sun face to stick on the easel above your painting as a reminder where the light source is. The next time the sun comes out drive around your area and observe the cast shadows, this really helps when you are making up the light in a piece.

SB0715 Step 3

My little burro piece has the light coming from the upper right. The trunks of the Bouganvillea on the left edge act to STOP the light. I’m fascinated by the stonework, like the border and window seat here, that is found all over Mexico. Can you imagine the skill of the craftsmen who carve the beautiful stone architectural features? I think I can truthfully say it’s much easier to paint than to make in real life 🙂

Now….. I hope you’ll come back and visit my next blog. I have a special surprise for all of you. See you! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Time Worn Steps

February 8, 2015

SB0615 Step 12

The wide leaves of the Calla Lilies, a favorite in Mexico, compliment the red doors and make them appear brighter. This follows a basic rule of color: Placing a color next to the complimentary hue on the color wheel makes it look more intense. Compliments are colors that are directly across from each other on the wheel. Red is across from Green, Blue from Orange and Purple from Yellow.

SB0615 Step 13

I use the corner of a medium sized Bright brush to shape the Lilies. The color is gently “Laid” on top of the underlying paint. I don’t want to pick up any of that color and muddy my flowers. If you’d like to learn more about the brushes I prefer CLICK HERE.

SB0615 Step 14

Pure White is reserved for the highlights on the Calla Lilies. Then the Lavender is blocked in with Dioxazine Purple + White. The green-gray foliage is made from various mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

SB0615 Step 16

Petunias and Philodendrons fill the container closest to the steps. Holding the Bright brush flat enables me to form the heart shaped leaves of the tropical greenery. A brighter green of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow is used for this foliage. Various mixtures of Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + White are used to block in the Petunias.

SB0615 Step 17

Yellow flowers always look so crisp juxtaposed by a red door. Coreopsis works here perfectly!

SB0615 Time Worn Steps 20x30Time Worn Steps   20″ x 30″   Original Oil Painting

Deep Red Geraniums complete our courtyard garden. Don’t you wish those Time Worn Steps could talk. The sharp edges have been smoothed by hundreds of footfalls over the years. Don’t you think the stories they’d tell would be fun to hear? Thank you for following along. AND….don’t forget. If you’d like to see any of the pictures larger just click on the image. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Mysterious Stairway

February 6, 2015

SB0615 Step 5

Before we get started I have a request. One of our readers emailed with a question about our kitty, Ziggy. Well, is my face ever red. I accidentally deleted it before I replied. OPPPSSS! Monica, would you please email again so I can give you a proper answer? Thank you 🙂

OK, let’s get back to the easel. Now the walls are complete I can add the Trumpet Vine cascading down.

SB0615 Step 6

I love the decorative stone lintel over the door. I use several mixes of White + Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD for the shadowed areas. The part of the pillar in the sunlight is made of White + a little bit of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange.

SB0615 Step 7

Anyone who reads my blogs very often knows I like Red doors. The shadows are Cadmium Red Deep while the highlights are pure Cadmium Red Light. My wrist is braced against a mahl stick to steady my hand in order to define the edges of the individual boards. What is a mahl stick? CLICK HERE to find out.

SB0615 Step 8

Hand forged wrought iron ring pulls add the finishing touch.

SB0615 Step 9

Steps disappearing behind the arched opening give an air of mystery to our courtyard. HMMMMM, where do they go? They are made cooler as they ascend so they’ll recede. An easy to remember rule makes painting steps quite easy. The upright plane is darker than the top of the step. This is because light from above illuminates the flat surface. Less light hits the sides, or risers, therefore they are darker.

SB0615 Step 10

The Mexican tile floor is first covered entirely, establishing the light and shadow pattern. The terra cotta colors are made from mixes in various proportions of MUD + Cadmium Orange + White. Ultramarine Blue is added toward the back edge to make it recede.

SB0615 Step 11The crevices separating the tiles are drawn into the paint of the floor while it’s still wet. A thin, fine liner brush etches into the paint, giving the appearance of grooves between individual pavers. I appreciate you following along. And please, always feel free to ask questions. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG