Archive for November, 2015


November 13, 2015

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 10

All that muted adobe color on the walls makes the red door POP! The shadow part is Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep while the sunny portion is pure Cadmium Red Light. There is going to be a Yucca in the planter to the left of the door. I go ahead and pull the dark red shadow into the wet Cadmium Red Light paint.

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The green wreath, the complimentary color of the door, makes the red appear even brighter. Placing complimentary hues, or those across from each other on the color wheel, next to each other is a simple method I use to add vibrancy to my work. Now let’s move to the planter filled with Petunias that rests on the window sill. Blocking them in I leave white canvas where the snow will be. The perky blossoms made of Permanent Rose + White will peep out from under the white blanket covering them.

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WHOOOOOOOOO is that up in the birch tree? A little barred owl has landed on the snow dusted branch. I brace my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the fine details. You can click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

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The Yucca, Prickly Pear Cactus and a cascade of Mums nestle at the base of the birch trunks. Thanks for visiting our studio today. Hope you’ll come back for the next session. I’ll be finishing up Roxie and the Snowman! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

November 11 – A Special Day

November 11, 2015

November 11 is a special day for Jack and me. On this day in 2004 he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and not given much chance to live. Well, here we are, 11 years later and Jack is doing quite well. We are so grateful to God, the doctors, the medical teams and all of our friends who kept us in their prayers. We couldn’t have done it without you. I also want to extend a big, Texas MUCH OBLIGED to all of our Veterans. You and your families have made so many sacrifices to keep us and our great nation safe. HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY!

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 6

OK! Let’s build the adobe structure first. I begin painting the wall with various mixes of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the mixtures for the darker shadows. I drag the shadows of the larger birch branches into the wet paint of the adobe.

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The birch trunks are painted with the same mixtures only in different proportions. More White and Ultramarine Blue and less Cadmium Orange is added to make the white bark. It’s amazing how the same basic mixes can produce such a variety of colors. A large Bright (square) brush is used to paint the trunk. If you’d like to learn more about the brushes I use please CLICK HERE.

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Now that the building on the right, trunk and limbs are complete I go back and finish out the fine shadows of the branches. I want to do this while the walls are still wet, it’s much easier to drag the tiny lines. If I were to wait until the structure was dry the shadows would be rough and bumpy.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 9

Dioxazine Purple is mixed with Ultramarine Blue + a little White to make the window looking out on the snow covered entry. Thanks to all of you who offered more suggestions on saving your leftover paint. One of the main reasons I write this blog is to help artists. It’s wonderful when we can all help each other! HAPPY PAINTING!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG





A Bit of Winter

November 9, 2015

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 1

Today we’re switching back to my commission of the four seasons paintings. Here’s the sketch for the Winter piece. Roxie the dalmatian, who is now in puppy heaven, holds a special place in Jeana’s heart. She wanted to include her as well as birch trees and an owl. I thought the snowman would be fun! You can click on the picture if you would like to see it larger.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 2

I begin sketching the architecture with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson + Liquin. Even though the base of the planter, door and building will be covered with snow I have to establish the ground lines. This enables me to make certain all of the proportions are correct.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 3

After drawing the birch trees I add the wise little owl perched on the snow covered branch.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 4

Now the basic shape of Roxie, sitting by the cheery snowman, is indicated.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 5

The initial oil wash on the canvas is finished, we’ll start applying paint in the next session. In the meantime I’d like to share a great question one of our readers asked:

Can you please advise from your experience how you save paints after your painting for the day is done. I mean when adding liquin or another fast-dry medium the paints left over become sticky and almost dry so are not usable the next day.

Here is my answer…..

Paint dab on knife

First I pick up the leftover paint on the tip of my painting knife.

Paint in cup 1

The dab is then pushed against the side of a large plastic cup. All of the paint I want to save is placed in a ring around the inside. The one shown is a large container that yogurt comes in. You can also use styrofoam cups.

Paint in cup 2

The cup is then filled with water, making sure the dabs of paint are completely covered. This will help your paint to stay usable a little longer. The paint you mixed liquin in will probably last another day or two. Regular oils without any fast drying medium will remain workable for about a week.

Thought this might be a useful little painting tip for everyone! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


A Sense of Serenity

November 5, 2015

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CHILI TIME! The individual peppers are “sculpted” with thick, opaque brushstrokes that form the shape of each one. As you read through my blog please remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.

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Day Lilies dance around the base of the fountain. The flowers are made of mixes of Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson, pure Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium.

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After the strap-like leaves are blocked in I go back and add the centers of the flowers.

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The top of the fountain was first covered as if it had no texture. Then the spiral lines giving it the distinctive “Pineapple” look are drawn into the wet paint.

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Sweet Potato Vine is such an interesting plant. It is so wonderful the way it wanders and drapes around the other plants in the garden. The long tendrils are indicated with a fine, liner brush.

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California Poppies are painted in my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last. The bright blossoms are mixes of Cadmium Orange + Permanent Rose + White, Permanent Rose + White and pure Cadmium Orange.

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A mix of Magenta + Liquin is used to delineate the deep centers of the Poppies.

SJ4615 A Sense of Serenity 36x24

Magenta Canna Lilies fill the large terra cotta container in the foreground. I’ve simplified the upper bowl of the fountain so the water cascades in a more random manner.  The falling streams of water in the former design would have looked almost like a picket fence. Now that the foreground is completely finished you can see how the “Threshold” works. Feel A Sense of Serenity as you walk through the garden, past the bright Turquoise door, to stand in the arch and enjoy the view of the Carmel Mission beyond. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Laying Tile

November 3, 2015

SJ4615 step 26

The Thunbergia Vine has soft blue-purple, Vinca like flowers. Now the washed in foliage is dry I use several mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White to paint the lovely blossoms. When those are all in I’ll finish out the leaves with mixtures of Sap Green + Lemon Yellow + White.

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Lavender at the base of the wall is blocked in with Dioxazine Purple + White. Now….let’s lay the tile. The entire surface of the courtyard floor is covered to establish the light and shadow pattern. A few strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White are added near the back edge of the shadow to make it recede.

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A simple rule is followed for painting the steps: The upright plane of the riser is always darker than the top of the step. This is because more sunlight hits the flat surface on top of the step than the upright side.

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The long perspective lines separating the tiles are drawn freehand into the wet paint of the floor. I don’t use the mahl stick here, it would limit the movement of my hand preventing me from making the lines straight.

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Next horizontal lines are pulled with the same fine liner brush. Please remember, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.

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While I’m on this level of the courtyard we’ll plant the bright red Geraniums in the terra cotta container by the door. They provide a cheerful welcome on the porch.

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The lower courtyard in the foreground is in shadow. We call this a “Threshold”. Think of being outside of your home on a warm summer night. The front door is open, revealing the brightly lit interior. Your gaze is drawn over the darkness of your lawn, across the threshold of the door to the light inside. We use this same theory in directing the viewer’s gaze through our paintings. By making the foreground in shadow, your eye is immediately drawn to the light on the upper courtyard and Turquoise door. Then the light in the background draws you to the Carmel Mission illuminated by the sun. The effect of depth will be even more apparent when the foreground is completely finished. Enjoying having you follow along! AND…..I really appreciate all of your comments. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Couleur du Jour – Bleu Turquoise

November 1, 2015


SJ4615 step 20

Now the background is finished I can complete the window. Heidi loves Turquoise so I’ve pulled out a special color just for their painting, Phthalo Turquoise Blue. Or in French, Bleu Turquoise Phtalo! The Rembrandt Oil Color is manufactured in Holland. It’s perfect for the window, shutters and door.

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The vine cascading over the courtyard wall is washed in with Sap Green + Liquin. This makes a translucent base for the foliage and will give the feeling of depth in the vines. I’ll come back and paint opaque leaves, as well as flowers, when the wash is dry.

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After blocking in the courtyard wall I paint the shutters. These are the same color as the window, Phthalo Turquoise Blue. I’ve made two shades by varying the amount of White mixed in. My left hand is braced against the unpainted portion of the canvas to steady my right hand as I draw the lines of the individual boards. Remember, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.

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My collector decided that the figure took away from the Mission in the distance. Heidi said if she were visiting this wonderful courtyard in real life she would ask the lady on the steps to move so she could take a picture. She wants to be able to “Walk” up the steps and through the painting, not have someone else already there. She’d like sit on the steps herself and enjoy the view!

Many people have asked why I don’t include figures in my gallery paintings. This is exactly why. Jack came up with a wonderful term that explains the feeling……I want my paintings to have “Wanderability”. The viewer can mentally move through the piece; exploring every nook and cranny while taking in all the details.

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So…….say goodbye to the flower girl!

VIDEO. Painting the Turquoise door with mixes of Phthalo Turquoise Blue + White.

VIDEO. Adding the wrought iron door handle. I use MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) with a little Liquin mixed in. The highlights are made with White + a touch of Ultramarine Blue.

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A terra cotta container, filled with Geraniums, will soften the sharp corner formed by the building and steps. Notice how your eye moves more easily through the painting, drawn to the Carmel Mission in the distance. That’s all for today, hope you’ll come back to visit our studio soon! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG