Don’t You Love Burros?

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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!

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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.

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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

3 Responses to “Don’t You Love Burros?”

  1. Saartjie van den Bergh Says:

    Hallo Mikki Thank you for sharing so many tips and ideas with us! I will never be as good as you are, but certainly learn so much! God bless and have a fantastic day!

    Saartjie van den Bergh

    082 324 9069

    “Soar like an eagle, higher and higher”

    Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 02:34:45 +0000 To:

  2. MN Says:

    Hi Mikki, I am so fascinated by your paintings and your painting style.. it looks so simple that one is tempted to try. Thanks for such useful tips.. you are extremely generous! Other instructors keep even the simplest of tips up their sleeve, and here you are, giving us such vital points. I am going to try my hand and hopefully will be able to improve my style.

    I have a question, you do not seem to rest in between painting one layer over another. Is it because your oils dry so fast? I do not have a mahl stick, can you suggest how I can stable my arm/hand some other way, when painting details..?

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi MN,
      Thank you for your kind words. Jack and I have been so blessed by God to be able to make a living as artists. We feel its our responsibility to “Give Back” to our fellow artists. As for painted layers over one another, I prefer to paint wet into wet. When painting flowers I have to “Lay” the thick brushstrokes ON TOP of the wet paint underneath. This way I don’t pick up any of the underlying color on my brush and muddy the bright hue of the blossoms. To steady your hand you can rest a finger against a portion of your canvas that hasn’t been painted yet. If you’d like to make a mahl stick get a wooden dowel about 4 feet long. Then cut off the hook of a plastic hanger. Make sure to leave as much of the neck as possible. You can tape the hook to the dowel with duck tape. PRESTO….a mahl stick.
      Thank you for following my blog. HAPPY PAINTING, Mikki

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