Archive for January, 2016

Winter in Our Garden

January 29, 2016

2016-1-26 Courtyard from porch

OK, for all of you living in the frozen north this blog is especially for you. It’s January in our garden. No Snow here in central Texas! Roses, Snapdragons and Pansies are happily blooming away.

2016-1-26 Courtyard from under arbor

This is taken from under the arbor in the first picture. I’m looking back toward our fountain courtyard.  Please keep in mind as you go through my blog, if you’d like to see any of the pictures larger just click on the image.

2016-1-26 Yellow Iris

Some of our irises are in full flower!

2016-1-28 Front Garden

In front of our home/studio the garden is also quite happy. Don’t you think the snapdragons in front of the blue containers are striking? The tall red blooms at the base of the oak trees are aloes. Hummingbirds love them.

2016-1-28 Bluebonnet in Snapdragons

AND….Bluebonnets are popping up among the snapdragons. In a couple of months this bed should be filled with our Texas State Flower. I’ve started using leaves for mulch in our garden. We have lots of flower beds and lots of leaves! It’s certainly much less expensive than bagged mulch. And we are getting a plethora of earthworms in the soil. So, that’s the latest news from Mikki and Jack’s garden. STAY WARM! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Plethora of Peppers

January 27, 2016

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 7

The entire surface of the satillo tile floor is covered first. The shadows are established first, then I come back and paint the portion of the floor that is illuminated by the sun.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 8

Perspective lines are pulled into the wet paint with a fine liner brush.

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After drawing the horizontal lines separating the tiles the edges are highlighted where the sun hits them. The large ceramic containers are painted with mixtures in various proportions of Ultramarine Blue + White.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 11

If you’ve followed my blog very long you know I LOVE Sunflowers. They have such a cheerful determination, if I were a flower that is what I’d be! The mass of yellow blossoms is blocked in first.

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The large leaves are mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium. Then the dark centers of the Sunflowers are added.

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Lavender nestles at the base of the rustic ladder. The flowers are made of Dioxazine Purple + White.

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The California Poppies are also painted in my regular sequence of FLOWERS FIRST, LEAVES LAST. The blossoms are blocked in with several mixtures of Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange, Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Light and pure Cadmium Orange. The foliage is painted with some of the greens left over from the Morning Glory Vine + a little Cadmium Yellow Medium.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 16

The deep centers of the Poppies are delineated with Magenta + Liquin.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers 16x19A Plethora of Peppers                   16 inches by 19 inches

Painted with lots of thick texture the chilies now parade down the ladder. A Plethora of Peppers is ready to head off to Exposures Gallery in Sedona! I appreciate you following along. And please remember, always feel free to ask any questions you may have. This blog is for you! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


January 23, 2016

Jack’s newest article has been published at FineArtStudioOnline. CLICK HERE to read RELENTLESS.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 1

Working on a new piece for our Sedona gallery. God has so blessed me as an artist, my collectors keep me busy. I’m juggling between commissions and paintings for our galleries. I’m all sketched up and ready to get started on this one. The flowers are labeled so I don’t forget my original idea when I get further along. I’ve certainly been known to do that 🙂

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 2

First I have to “Construct” the building. Shadows are established first with mixes of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. The adobe in the sunlight is made of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. After the large areas of light and dark are blocked in around the chili ladder I come back with the darker color and extend the tips of the pepper shadows.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 3

Red Chilies always look so positively Southwestern when paired with soft blue doors. This one is Pthalo Blue + White. More White is added to the mix for the lighter portion.

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The Window is painted with the shadow mix from the door with a little MUD added to make it a bit darker.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 5

Magenta Morning Glories tumble down over the old adobe structure. The blossoms have been blocked in first, now I’m painting the green of the foliage around the flowers. The small Bright (square) brush is perfect to delineate the heart shaped leaves. Please remember, as you read through my blog you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

SA0416 A Plethora of Peppers step 6

Deep, dark centers and highlights complete the cascading flowers made of mixes of Magenta + White, Magenta + Dioxazine Purple + White and Magenta + Alizarin Crimson + White. I’ve gone back to the door and added a few heart shaped shadows cast by the leaves. Gives the piece a subliminal “Aire of Romance”. If you would 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


January 20, 2016

Kitties - hug 2

A hug is like a boomerang………..

you get it back right away!


So here is a BIG HUG for today,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Sentimental Treasures

January 16, 2016

SA0216 Step 48

Sunny Sunflowers! Here are my color mixes. #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. #2. Pthalo Blue + Liquin. #3. Two mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow. #4. Cadmium Yellow Medium + a bit of Alizarin Crimson + MUD. #5. Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD. #6. Pure Cadmium Yellow Medium. #7. Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow.

Painting the Sunflowers, FLOWERS FIRST, LEAVES LAST. One of my collectors called just as I was getting ready to put the finishing highlights on the blossoms at the end of the video; I had to cut it a bit short!

SA0216 Step 49

Here are the Sunflowers all finished out. You can enlarge the image to see it better, just click on the picture.

SA0216 Step 50

Jeana also wanted to include a pair of Cardinals. I use Mr. Chippers, one of the regular visitors in our garden, for my model.

SA0216 Step 51

White Petunias fill the foreground planter. They are painted in the same sequence as the Sunflowers. Working in this order keeps my flower colors crisp and clean. If I painted leaves first my brush would pick up the green as I blocked in the blooms, making them muddy.

SA0216 Step 52

Mrs. Chippers nestles at the base of the Petunias to feed on some Sunflower seeds. Mr. Chippers keeps watch. He’ll sound the alarm if Nathan or the Hawk decide to come their way.

SA0216 Sentimental Treasures 30x40Sentimental Treasures     30 inches by 40 inches

We’re DONE! Sentimental Treasures is full of special memories that Jeana will be able to enjoy for years to come. Don’t you like the name Jack came up with? He always steps up to the plate for me, I’m so blessed to have him in my life. As we are blessed to have our readers who follow both of us. A great big Texas, “MUCH OBLIGED” to all of you!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Keeping Watch

January 15, 2016

SA0216 Step 43

The tile base of the fountain is first painted with mixes of Ultramarine Blue + White. Then the light grout lines are dragged into the wet paint. I’ve also brought of few strokes of the deep blue down into the tile floor. Some of the water has splashed over, reflecting the base. You can click on the image if you would like to see it larger.

SA0216 Step 44

Nathan, one of Jeana’s fur babies, keeps watch over the courtyard. He’s acutely aware of the Hawk coming in for a landing but also knows that as soon as the Hollyhocks are painted he’ll be hidden!

SA0216 Step 40

The lucky four leaf clover made of hearts is for Jeana’s mom. This is one of the main reasons I love collaborating with my collectors; it’s so fun working all of the special elements into their paintings. And this one is chock full!

SA0216 Step 45

Now, let’s get those Hollyhocks painted so Nathan has some cover. The pink flowers are blocked in first with several shades of Permanent Rose + White.

SA0216 Step 46

Mixtures of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow are used for the bright green foliage.

SA0216 Step 47

OK, we’ve got the Hollies done so our “Watch Cat” is now undercover! Not much more to go…..we’ll finish up in the next session. AND, I’ll even have a VIDEO! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Splish Splash

January 13, 2016

SA0216 Step 34

Let’s get to laying saltillo tile. The entire surface of the courtyard floor is painted, establishing the light and shadow pattern. The distant level, outside the gate, is made bluer so it will recede. I also add some brush strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White at the back edge of both the front courtyard and the shadow across the foreground for the same reason.

SA0216 Step 35

Next the perspective lines are drawn freehand into the wet paint of the floor. I can’t use the mahl stick here, it would limit the movement of my hand and make it difficult to pull a straight line. You can see this better if you enlarge the image, just CLICK on the picture.

SA0216 Step 36

The painting is laid flat on the taboret to paint the bottom edge of the gallery wrap canvas. The perspective lines are continued over the side. Having the wet painting attached to cardboard makes it MUCH easier to move. I can handle it by holding the cardboard and avoid getting any paint on my hands.

SA0216 Step 37

After the perspective lines are drawn the horizontal ones separating the tiles are delineated. The edge of the individual pavers where they are illuminated by the sun are highlighted.

SA0216 Step 38

The turquoise containers on the outer terrace are filled with California Poppies. Following my usual sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last I begin with the blossoms.

SA0216 Step 39

California Poppies also reside in the pots directly behind the fountain. The blooms have been blocked in already, now I’m painting the leaves. I use my Bright brush dipped in various greens to work around the Oranges and Reds, shaping the blossoms.

SA0216 Step 41

The fountain is painted with several mixtures of Viridian Green + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. The edge of the shadow side of the bowls is lined with Ultramarine Blue + White. This helps to give the appearance of roundness.

SA0216 Step 42

The splish, splashing water is dragged, straight down, over the edge and on top of the flowers in back of the fountain. I let the brush skip and dance over the bumpy, textured paint of the blooms to give the feeling of flowing water. Can’t you just hear the happy music it makes? BIG HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG



Day of the Hawk

January 11, 2016

SA0216 Step 26

Morning Glories are so beautiful, I think their heart shaped leaves are really neat. The blossoms are made with mixtures in different proportions of Magenta + a touch of Dioxazine Purple + White. The distinctive foliage is painted with Viridian Green + White.

SA0216 Step 27

Highlights of Magenta + White are the final touch on the flowers.

SA0216 Step 29

Jeana loves Hawks so we decided to have one “drop in”. I want to drag the feathers of his wings into the wet paint of the sky. But it has been several days since I painted the sky and it’s fairly dry. This is one reason I save my dabs of left over paint. I just repainted the part of the sky around the hawk so I can work wet into wet!

SA0216 Step 30

It was fun figuring out the shadow of his wings on the top of the adobe wall. Our mighty Hawk is just about to take a perch there; a perfect place to survey the courtyard.

SA0216 Step 31

An Iroquois symbol is on the tile over the door. The basic white of the tile is first painted with the light and shadows. Then the design is delineated with Magenta.

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The door is two shades of Pthalo Blue + White. After the light and shadows are in I pull the lines separating the boards of the door into the wet paint with a fine liner brush.  Please remember, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.

SA0216 Step 33

I love the way the blue of this gate and door looks with the Morning Glories and Wisteria. It also picks up the hues of the Sage in the distant field. AND…since blue is the complimentary color of orange the distant hills, brushed by the sun, appear richer. I appreciate you visiting our studio today. Hope you’ll come back soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Wisps of Wisteria

January 9, 2016

SA0216 Step 18

The adobe wall of the courtyard is now constructed. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White are used. The stairwell is made bluer so it will fall behind the walls in front of it.

SA0216 Step 19

Some of the neatest elements of Southwestern architecture are the “Stair-step” details. The upright plane is made darker than the flat, top surface because less sunlight illuminates it.

SA0216 Step 20

The wrought iron lantern and holder are drawn into the wet paint of the wall with a mix of MUD + Liquin. I brace against the mahl stick to steady my hand. What is a mahl stick? CLICK HERE to find out.

SA0216 Step 21

Jeana requested a deer Shaman to represent her father. It is also painted with a wet-into-wet technique. Working while the adobe paint is still wet allows me to make smooth lines.

SA0216 Step 22

Wisteria is a staple of spring in Santa Fe. I use mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White for the initial block in of the blooms.

SA0216 Step 23

The foliage is painted with mixtures in various proportions of Viridian Green + Cadmium Yellow Medium. I like working with Bright or Square brushes. I use it flat to cover broad areas; the corner is perfect to shape the leaves. To learn more about the brushes I use just CLICK HERE!

SA0216 Step 24

A smaller Bright brush delineates the individual petals of the Wisteria blossoms.

SA0216 Step 25

The wispy Wisteria cascades over the courtyard wall. The adobe (basically yellow) is the complimentary color to the Blue-Purple flowers, making them appear more intense. Thank you for following along today. Hope to see you again soon. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Painted Ponies

January 6, 2016

SA0216 Step 7

My first step is to paint the sky. Since it provides the source of light the sky influences the mood of the entire painting. The weather report today calls for lots of sunshine and no clouds.

SA0216 Step 9

Painting forward from the sky I’ll do the distant mountains and bluffs next. My color mixes are shown above. #1. Two mixes of White + Ultramarine Blue. #2. All of the colors in this group are made from various proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange + White. #3. Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. #4. This group of mixtures are all different proportions of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. Isn’t it amazing how many variations you can get from mixing just a few basic colors?

SA0216 Step 8

Sunlight enters the painting from the left, illuminating the red rock bluffs.

SA0216 Step 10

Dark trees are placed at the base of the bluff to accentuate the horses.

SA0216 Step 11

Now for the little Buckskin pony. Here are my paint mixes……#1. MUD + Liquin. #2. Two shades of Ultramarine Blue + White. #3. Ivory Black. #4. Two mixes of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White.  #5. Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. #6. Mixture #5 + White and then more White.

SA0216 Step 12

Painting the nostrils of this pretty baby brings back warm memories of rubbing a horse’s soft, velvety muzzle and feeling the tickle of whiskers against my hand.

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Jeana’s family includes both Iroquois and Cherokee. So she asked if the horses could have some special Indian symbols painted on them. The Buckskin has a red hand on his shoulder representing her mom, a warrior. The red ring around his eye gives him all seeing vision. You can click on the image to see it larger.

SA0216 Step 14

Moving to the Appaloosa, I block in the white body first.

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Next the spots of the Leopard Appaloosa are painted with Ivory Black into the wet body.

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The black hand on the Appaloosa’s shoulder is for Jeana’s Godmother Betty, a healer.

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The horses are surrounded by Sagebrush, so typical of the New Mexico landscape. This is the one of my most favorite stages of these “open gate” paintings. Jack and I think it looks so cool when the background is finished and the rest of the piece is still just sketched in. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG