Archive for December, 2015

Quiet Contemplation

December 29, 2015

SL4915 Step 22

Now for the face. I pull out a couple of colors that aren’t normally found on my palette, Terra Rosa and Burnt Sienna. My base color is a mix of equal parts of Terra Rosa and Burnt Sienna. Then different proportions of White is mixed in to make the various shades of the skin tones. A little MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the darker shadow mixtures. I begin painting the face by establishing the shadow planes. As you read though my blog you can click on any of the images to enlarge them.

SL4915 Step 23

The jawline is rounded with a brushstroke of Cerulean Blue + White made along the lower edge. The face has three “Color Zones”. The forehead is a little yellower, while the nose, ears and cheeks are more red. This is because the skin in these areas is thinner and blood vessels are closer to the surface. The chin and jawline are cooler or bluer. This is more prominent in men because of their whiskers.

SL4915 Step 24

The whites, or sclera, of the eyes are not pure White. I use a mix of White + Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange for them.

SL4915 Step 25

The irises are made a deep brown mixed with MUD + Cadmium Orange. Then the dark pupil is added in the center.

SL4915 Step 26

The light is coming from the upper left. It is transmitted through the transparent cornea and illuminates the iris on the lower right portion. A little White is added to the brown mixture for the illuminated area.

SL4915 Step 27

The catch light is placed high in the upper left, about 11 o’clock, just at the edge of the pupil. You never want to place the catch light directly in the pupil, it makes the subject look as if they are on drugs.

SL4915 Step 28

My collector didn’t want highlights in the hair. However I’m adding a few subtle ones to give the hair the feeling of glossiness. If there are no highlights at all her long tresses would look like yarn.

SL4915 Step 30

Another special request was to make the dress a deep wine color. After seeing the dress partially painted with the wine color in a previous post they decided they wanted to go back to a deep red, much like was in the original study.

SL4915 Quiet Contemplation 36x24Quiet Contemplation    36″ x 24″  Original Oil Painting

I’m so glad David and Heidi chose to make the change on the color of her dress. All of the surroundings were planned with the red dress in mind. The final piece is much richer than it would have been with the wine colored garment. Jack is the word guy in our family. He came up with the perfect name for our Latina Lady, Quiet Contemplation. Thank you for following my blog. Please remember, feel free to ask any questions you may have! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG







Pots of Flowers

December 27, 2015

SL4915 Step 17

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Jack and I certainly appreciate all of your best wishes! Let’s start on the flowers. Rusty Red-Orange Lilies fill the larger container. They are blocked in with mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep, Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light.

SL4915 Step 18

Following my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last I start painting the foliage around the masses of Red-Orange. The greens are used to help shape the Lilies.

SL4915 Step 19

Sweet Potato Vine tumbles out of the container. The soft green is the complimentary color of the reds in the Lilies and Dress. This means the two hues are opposite each other on the color wheel. Both the Lilies and Dress will appear brighter because of the greens next to them.

SL4915 Step 20

One down, One to go………

VIDEO! Painting the dainty yellow Coreopsis in the rectangular container.

SL4915 Step 21

The floral accompaniment is complete. Thank you for following along today. We’ll finish out our Latina Lady in the next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

We Wish You A Wonderful Christmas

December 24, 2015


“This Christmas let’s give a little Jesus, a thoughtful word or deed,
An act of generosity for someone who’s in need.”
Lisa O. Englehardt

I love that quote. Wouldn’t our world be so wonderful if everyone did that? Jack and I want to take this opportunity to say we appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for being a part of our life. We pray your Christmas is filled with the Blessings, Hope and Joy of Christ.

Mikki and Jack signature JPEG


Starting on the Setting

December 23, 2015

SL4915 Step 8

We’ll begin with the stone wall of the old villa courtyard. My mixtures are shown above. #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. #2. MUD + Ultramarine Blue + White. #3. Mix #1 + more Cadmium Orange + White. #4. Ultramarine Blue + White. #5. Mixture #3 + White. #6. Mix #5 + more White.

SL4915 Step 9

I apply the paint of the rough stones with a lot of texture. It will provide a nice contrast with the smooth skin of the Lady’s face.

SL4915 Step 10

The crevices between the stones are indicated very impressionistically. I don’t want to outline each stone, it would draw too much attention away from the main subject. Next I drag the edges of the hair into the wet paint of the wall to make them softer. If I waited until the wall was drier the lines would be bumpy and rough, not smooth.

SL4915 Step 11

I had originally planned for Gladiolas to soar above the Lilies in the large container. But when I did them in the small, color study I realized they drew attention away from the face of our Latina lady. I replaced them with a lacy palm tree that fits the space perfectly without any distraction.

SL4915 Step 13

Both ceramic containers are painted with mixtures made of various proportions of Pthalo Blue + Viridian Green + White.

SL4915 Step 14

After the edges of the dress touching the containers are painted, the entire surface of the terra-cotta tile courtyard floor is covered. Please remember as you go through my blog, you can click on any of the images to see them larger.

SL4915 Step 15

Next I draw the perspective lines separating the tiles into the wet paint of the floor with a fine liner brush. I do this freehand, bracing against a mahl stick would limit the movement of my arm. Making it impossible to pull straight lines.

SL4915 Step 16

To finish out the floor, horizontal lines are drawn to indicate the crevices between the individual tiles. The front edges of the pavers are then highlighted. We’re done for today. Thank you for following along. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Portrait of a Latina Lady

December 20, 2015

Sketch Boggs color study

We’re going a little different direction today, this is going to be a fun collaboration. My collector wants a painting of a pretty Latina Lady in a red dress for their dining room. I was in a quandary, how to do a sketch. A pen and ink drawing really wouldn’t show what I had in mind. So Jack to the rescue, he suggested I paint a small color study as “The Sketch” to show to our client. Brilliant! The resulting piece is shown above.

SL4915 Step 1

David and Heidi loved the small painting but asked for a couple of changes. The want the dress to be a deep burgandy or wine, it will go with the colors in their dining room better. And… they would like our girl to be looking up so, as David said, “the viewer can see her beautiful brown, Latina eyes.” They also don’t want any highlights in her hair, they would like it to be solid black. My first step is to grid a copy of the small painting to assist in drawing the figure on the larger canvas.

SL4915 Step 2

The grid is also lightly drawn on the canvas with pencil. Using that same instrument I begin sketching our lovely lady up on the 36 inch x 24 inch canvas.

SL4915 Step 3

After getting the entire figure drawn I concentrate on refining the changes to her face. Please remember as you read through my blog, you can click on any of the images to see them larger.

SL4915 Step 4

Using a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin the figure is now drawn.

SL4915 Step 5

The same oil washes are used to block in the planes of her face.

SL4915 Step 6

My wrist is braced against my mahl stick to steady my hand as I draw the details of her eyes.

SL4915 Step 7

So….we’re ready to begin painting in our next session. Hope to see you then! OH, If you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can 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! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


December 14, 2015

Secretariat and Eddie Sweat 4

Eddie Sweat, Secretariat’s groom, was always with the big red colt.

SK4815 step 52

Mixes of Burnt Umber + a touch of Burnt Sienna + White are used for Eddie’s face. A mixture of Cerulean Blue + White is used along the edge of the shadow side of his cheek. This helps to give it roundness as well as make him stand out from Seattle Slew in the background.

SK4815 step 53

Eddie loved caps and hats. I paint the basic shape of his cap first, then draw the lines of the plaid into the wet paint. You can click on the image to see it larger.

SK4815 step 55

After finishing Eddie work begins on Secretariat. Mixes of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + a little Cadmium Red Light + White are used to paint his gleaming sorrel coat.

SK4815 step 57

The checked blinkers are painted with mixes of Cobalt Blue + White left over from Ron Turcotte’s silks.

SK4815 step 58

Secretariat carried the number two on his saddle blanket when he won the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, in 1973. I’ve taken artistic license and made the saddle blankets of all of the horses red for this piece at the Keeneland Race Track. Now that Secretariat’s head is finished I’m going to go back and work a little more on the flowers of the tree behind him.

keeneland paddock in spring 4

Keeneland is so incredible in the spring. Isn’t this beautiful? I especially like the pink Dogwood, I’m going to use it in my painting. I found this shot on Google. Thanks to Wendy Uzelac of EquiSport Photos.

SK4815 step 59

Changing the dogwood tree in the background to pink accentuates the white checks on Secretariat’s blinkers. The white flowers are glazed with a thin mix of Permanent Rose + Liquin.

Now…..for this amazing horse in action. Watch all three races in this VIDEO to see Secretariat becoming the ninth winner of the Triple Crown.

Several people have asked who would win if Secretariat and American Pharoah were in a match race? Watch the VIDEO above to find out who the all time best horse is!

SK4815 Tribute to Champions 24x36

WHEW, aren’t those VIDEOS exciting? And…….here is the finished painting. Jack came up with a great name, “A Tribute to Champions”. What do you think? Thanks for all of your wonderful comments, you have no idea how much I appreciate every one of you. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG





The Historic Paddock

December 11, 2015

First of all , Jack’s newest article is out! CLICK HERE to read Adapt.

Now, for a little history lesson. The beautiful Keeneland Race Track was built during the midst of the depression after the track in downtown Lexington Kentucky closed from years of mismanagement. The goal was to create a unique year-round race environment that would carry on Kentucky’s Thoroughbred tradition for horse lovers of all future generations. The new race track was planned to be a nonprofit community venture in which proceeds would be returned to the racing purse money for horsemen and improvements to the facility. Any remaining profits are donated to local charities. As Hal Price Headley, Keeneland’s first President said, “We want a place where those who love horses can come, picnic with us and thrill to the sport of the Bluegrass. We are not running a race plant to hear the click of the mutuel machines. We want them to come out here to enjoy God’s sunshine, fresh air and to watch horses race.”
20 locations were considered for the new racing facility; the property of Jack Keene, an internationally known Thoroughbred trainer, was selected. First and foremost because Keene was willing to part with the property for far less than its fair market value. The land also included such desirable features as a mile and a furlong private track, combination stone castle and barn, a 100,000-gallon water tank, a roadway and plenty of land for future stables and parking. The ornate gate posts still remain at the park.
Keeneland first day of racing
It all began on October 15, 1936, when Keeneland hosted its first day of live Thoroughbred racing. I’ve included a group photo of the Jockeys. On opening day of the nine-day season, more than 8,000 fans showed up for the races. The diverse audience ranged from locals who simply wanted to see racing in their hometown for the first time in years to titans of business who brought some of their best bloodstock to compete.
FIrst race at keeneland 1936
The first race at Keeneland on Opening day, October 15, 1936 was won by Royal Raiment, who was ridden by J. Gilbert, trained by J.W. Healy and owned by John Hay Whitney. The historical photos shown are from the Keeneland Library Archives. Today Keeneland is known thoughout horse racing circles as one of the best tracks in the world.

SK4815 step 45

SO….. let’s go to the paddock and begin painting. The grassy park-like grounds in front of the saddling stalls have paved rings where the horses are saddled and walked around before the race. Notice I’ve made the grass in the distance more blue, this makes it fall back. The entire surface of the “walking rings” are painted first, then I come back and delineate the lines separating the individual pavers.

SK4815 step 47

A warmer green is used for the foreground. I mixed various proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow so this grass will “Come Forward”. As you read through my blog please remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

SK4815 step 48

Like the grass, the ring closest to the viewer is also made warmer. All of the proceeding steps are based on the basic rule: Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back. This is an easy way to give the impression of depth in a painting.

SK4815 step 49

The pavers are made from recycled tires which gives excellent footing for the horses. Using a fine liner brush I draw the perspective lines of the individual rubber tiles into the wet paint of the ring.

SK4815 step 50

A shadow falls across the grass and ring in the very front of the scene. This acts as a “Threshold”, the light behind it draws the viewer’s gaze into the painting. We’re almost finished, I’ll work on Secretariat in our next session. ‘Til then…. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Lucien and Ron

December 6, 2015

Secretariat Lucien Lauren 12 is wonderful for doing research. This picture shows Jockey Ron Turcotte with Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner, and his trainer, Lucien Laurin, after winning the Kentucky Derby on May 6, 1972.

SK4815 step 38

This gives me an idea of what Lucien would be wearing. I’ve made his jacket more of a blue-grey, mixed with different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Ivory Black + White. The white of his shirt is first blocked in, then I come back and draw the stripes into the wet paint with a fine liner brush dipped in a thin mix of Magenta + Liquin. You can click on this or any of the other images to see the pictures larger.

SK4815 step 39

Now the basic light and dark patterns of the trainer’s face are blocked in.

SK4815 step 40

A few touches of Cobalt Blue + White are made on the shadow side of his face. This helps to “Round” his brow and chin.

SK4815 step 41

Moving to the jockey, I start painting Ron Turcotte’s face. Cadmium Red Light is added on his cheek. Full of excitement and anticipation before the race the young jockey’s face would be a bit flushed.

SK4815 step 42

I got a sweet comment from one of my readers saying I had the wrong number on Citation’s saddle blanket. He was actually carrying #4 when he won the Preakness. He wore 1A when he won the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes because he was coupled with Coaltown, who was scratched before the race. OPPPS, my reader was absolutely correct and I really appreciate the comment. I watched the video of Citation winning the Belmont several times and was so caught up in the magical beauty of his smooth run I totally missed the number. DUHHHHHH! My readers are wonderful, keeping me straight. And believe me, I need all the help I can get.

So…..let’s get that number changed! It’s easy enough to make the 4 into a 1A.

SK4815 step 43

Back to Ron with his blue and white silks. I use mixes of Cobalt Blue + White for the checks and stripes.

SK4815 step 44

Trainer and Jockey are finished, thanks for following along. AND……If you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can 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! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Devil’s Red and Royal Blue

December 3, 2015

SK4815 step 33

Now let’s begin work on Citation, the rich blood bay colt. For 25 years, his name was synonymous with an achievement that seemed unattainable. Every year as the Kentucky Derby approached we’d hear sportscasters saying, ” _____ is trying to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Citation won in 1948.” It went on, year after year. During that time five presidents occupied the White House. Horses would win the Derby and Preakness, but falter in the Belmont Stakes. When Secretariat finally achieved the seemingly unreachable accomplishment, the long drought only emphasized the brilliance of Citation’s Triple Crown victory. Citation went on to become the first millionaire in the horse racing world.

SK4815 step 34

Throwing his head in excitement and rolling his eyes, Citation knows he’ll be on the track soon.

SK4815 step 35

Devil’s Red and Royal Blue, the colors of the famed Calumet Stables. Mixtures of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta are used for the shadows while Cadmium Red Medium makes the lighter portion of the jockey’s silks. Cadmium Red Light is reserved for the highlights of the soft fabric shimmering in the sun.

SK4815 step 36

A less intense Red mixed of Alizarin Crimson + Magenta + White is used for the saddle blankets and the covers the grooms wear.

SK4815 step 37

Citation’s groom has to jog to keep up with the fiesty colt. He sports the number 4 that was on his saddle blanket when he won the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown. The day had dawned clear and the track was fast. Citation’s jockey Eddie Arcaro said, “The only way I can lose this race is if I fall off my horse.” That almost happened when Citation stumbled out of the gate, nearly throwing Arcaro!

You’ll enjoy this short VIDEO on Citation that shows all three races of the Triple Crown. Make sure to watch the start of the Belmont…’ll see the stumble that almost snatched the race away from Citation. It would have prevented him from becoming the eighth Triple Crown winner. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG