The Boys

SB0616 Step 18

The steer in the foreground is made a deep brown that will be there but not grab your attention. He is basically part of the Threshold shadow across the front of the painting.

SB0616 Step 19

Craig’s face is painted with mixtures of Terra Rosa + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. Blue from his shirt reflects up onto the side of Craig’s face and his chin.

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Jack loves to experiment with new colors. Digging through some of our extra paint I found a color I hadn’t used before, BLUE LAKE. I mixed it with White and loved the result. It’s perfect for Craig’s shirt. Please remember, you can click on any of the images to see them larger.

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My color mixes for Chunky are shown above. #1. MUD + Liquin. #2. Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD + White. #3. Ultramarine Blue + White. #4. Two mixes of Burnt Umber + Burnt Sienna. #5. Burnt Sienna + White. #6. Mix #5 + more White. #7. Burnt Sienna + Terra Rosa + White. #8. Burnt Sienna + MUD.

SB0616 Step 22

A few days after starting to work on this piece I received an email from Craig, the recipient of the Christmas painting.

Dear Mikki,

I’m Craig Ellis and I cannot wait to see this painting. My wife always manages to find a way to express her care and love with her gifts but this one is particularly moving and important to me.

My horse was severely injured in an accident about a year ago and I have not been able to compete on him since. We still do not know if he’ll ever step back into the arena. This is a heartbreaking thing for any horseman but the idea that I will have a painting of him in his prime lessens the pain.

Now I’ll be able to look upon this painting and remember him when he was the very image of power and grace. This means more to me than I can find words to express. I thank you…and I thank my loving, thoughtful wife for making this possible.


Being such a horse lover my heart broke, Sarah hadn’t told me of Chunky’s accident when she commissioned me to do the piece. Nosy me, I had to find out more so I asked Craig what happened. Here is his reply:

Well, somehow or another Chunky got his left rear hoof caught in his halter. He strained so hard to free himself that he tore some ligaments and soft tissue in his left flank – the inner flank, abductor muscles, specifically. He is so powerful and determined…determined like you cannot believe…that he did himself more harm than perhaps another horse would have done.

The injury was pretty severe. I could not ride him at all for about eight months. Slowly I’ve been working him and trying to “condition” him and spur the growth of muscle tissue. He is slowly, slowly, slowly gaining ground. I can walk/trot him an hour at a time and in a couple months I’ll be able to lope him out a little. I’m hopeful that by the end of this season he might be ready to try a little cutting practice. There is a possibility he might compete again but, if so, it will not be until spring of 2017. The good news is that he will probably be rideable for pleasure even if he’s not able to compete.

It is truly sad because he is a spectacularly strong and competitive cutter. He will give you a ride that is positively electrifying…just make your heart pound. He is the finest horse I’ve ever ridden.

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts, I do sincerely appreciate them. Sarah is the love of my life. Lord only knows what she found in me but I’m easily the luckiest man alive.

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I always put my heart into my paintings but this one has an extra measure of love mixed in with the paint.  What a magnificent horse! I’ve never had the thrill of riding a cutting horse but the experience must be truly incredible. And Craig and Sarah are an amazing couple. God has certainly blessed us by allowing me to work with such special people.

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Now Chunky’s legs are in I complete the dust he’s kicking up. The background is dry so I  drag the clumps of dirt, highlighted by the sun, over the darkness behind.

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The fringe on Craig’s chaps dances and swirls with all the extreme action. Finishing out the saddle is all I have left to do.

SB0616 The Boys 18x24The Boys                  18 inches by 24 inches

And….we’re done. The Boys can continue to do the work they so love. I want to thank Sarah for asking me to paint Craig and Chunky, I feel so very honored to be able to capture Starlight Merada at his best. If any of you would like me to do a portrait of your horse, please feel free to contact me at

I want to also all of you to know I appreciate you following my blog. As we say in Texas, “Much Obliged!” HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG




One Response to “The Boys”

  1. Janet Zeh Says:

    This is just amazing Mikki! The subject reminds me of Jack’s paintings but in your own unique style. You’ve really captured the action so well!

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