Archive for May, 2016

Warm Remembrances of Cinque Terre

May 27, 2016

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We’ll plant some White Petunias in the container in front of the Bougainvillea. The shadow portions of the flowers are blocked in first with several shades of White + Dioxazine Purple, White + Ultramarine Blue and White + Pthalo Blue.

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Pure White high lights the blossoms illuminated by the sun. Greens left over from the Philodendron are used for the Petunia foliage. The leaves are painted around the masses of White giving shape to the flowers. Please remember, you can click on any of the images to see them larger.

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The deep centers are made with a small Bright (square) brush dipped in Magenta. If you would like to learn more about the brushes I use CLICK HERE.

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Lilies fill the container in the lower right corner. The blooms are made with mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium. Pthalo Blue and a bit of Cadmium Orange are added into the color from the Petunia leaves to use for the Lily foliage.

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The Geraniums are painted in the same sequence as the Lilies and Petunias; FLOWERS FIRST – LEAVES LAST. Mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red Medium and Cadmium Red Light are used for these flowers that are seen all around the Mediterranean.

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The bright green leaves are mixes of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow.

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Adding unopened flower buds is the finishing touch on the cheery Geraniums.

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Cherry Frost African Daisies are planted in the container on the terrace floor. The flowers are mixes of Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson, Alizarin Crimson + White, Cadmium Red Light + White and Pure Cadmium Orange.

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We are almost done. However, the lower left corner looks a bit stark. The hard edges of the wall meeting the containers draws the viewer’s eye away from the star of the show, the village of Vernazza.

SE1416 Warm Remembrances of Cinque Terre 34x42Warm Remembrances of Cinque Terre       34 inches by 42 inches

So what do you think? The ivy meandering along the base of the wall softens the area, allowing your eye to be drawn to the beach, azure Mediterranean and colorful buildings. Now our collector can enjoy Warm Remembrances of Cinque Terre every day! I really appreciate you following along. HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Brilliant Bougainvillea

May 25, 2016

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The color recipes for the hot pink Bougainvillea are as follows. #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. #2. Pthalo Blue + Liquin – used to add coolness in the depth of the foliage. #3. Three shades of Viridian Green + White. #4. Combinations in several different proportions of Permanent Rose + White. Viridian Green and Permanent Rose are not normally found on my palette. I’ve pulled them out because they are perfect for our Bougainvillea.

VIDEO! Painting the Bougainvillea draping over the retaining wall of our little terrace.

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The long arms of the “Bougie” wave this way and that in the gentle breeze coming off the Mediterranean.

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Philodendrons are some of my favorite plants, they bring such a tropical flavor to any setting. The large, split leaves are painted with warm greens made of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White.

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The muted buildings of Vernazza are starting to “Drop Back” now that warmer and more intense color is added in the foreground. We’ll be finishing up in our next session, hope you’ll come and see how this piece turns out. HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Stately Church

May 23, 2016

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Work continues on the rest of the colorful buildings cascading down the rocky precipice leading to the castle.

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The stately Church of Santa Margherita d’ Antiochia was constructed by the sea in 1318. According to tradition, the church was built because a wooden box containing the bones of Saint Margaret was found on the beach. But at the time, rather than locate the church by the water, the inhabitants of the town decided to build it in the Isolotto quarter. Soon after completion a strong storm destroyed the church and the relic disappeared. In time the box floated back up on the beach at the original point; the church was rebuilt and still stands by the sea today. The majestic belfry, highlighted by the sun, rises up over 125 feet from its rocky foundation by the harbor.

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A terrace overlooks the village of Vernazza. The retaining wall is painted with various mixes of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

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The cobblestone floor is blocked in with choppy brushstrokes. The rough texture will give the impression of the ancient stones. Those nearest the base of the wall are made bluer, or cooler, so they will recede.

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Perspective lines indicating the crevices between the stones are drawn into the wet paint of the terrace floor.

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The floor extends over the edge of the gallery wrap canvas. Having the piece mounted on cardboard makes it easy to handle the wet painting. I lay the entire unit flat on my taboret to paint the bottom of the canvas. If you would like to see the image larger just click on the picture.

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Adding large terra cotta containers finish us up for today. Hope you’ll come back to watch the next session, we’ll be planting the flowers! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


A Rainbow of Buildings

May 22, 2016

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We’ll start today with the closest bluffs. Warmer colors are used so these will come forward from the cooler mountains in the distance.

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One of the neatest things about Cinque Terre is the vineyards terraced down the slopes of the mountains. The broad edge of my large Bright (Square) brush is used to indicate the flat surfaces.

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Boats safely nestle in Vernazza’s harbor. My left hand is braced against the unpainted part of the canvas to steady my right hand, making it easier to delineate the fine details of the water craft.

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The ancient rock walls of the castle balance on top of the rocky cliffs. I can only imagine how difficult it was to build the battlements without any modern construction equipment or cranes.

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Several different hues are mixed for the colorful buildings in the village. #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. #2. Alizarin Crimson + MUD + White. #3. Pthalo Blue + a little of mix #2 + White. #4. MUD + Cadmium Orange + a tiny bit of Pthalo Blue + White. #5. Two shades of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + White. #6. Ultramarine Blue + White. #7. A couple of variations of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White.

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The colors are randomly placed with broad, vertical brush strokes over the entire area of the hilltop village.

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I come back and begin indicating the sloping roof tops. Isn’t it amazing how the cascade of buildings begins to emerge from the mishmash of color? You can click on the image to see it larger.

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Details of stairs, doors, windows and shutters are now added.

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The rainbow of buildings looks pretty bright at this point. But the colors are actually very muted. They will drop back when the intense, vibrant flowers are planted in the containers on the foreground terrace. Keep watching my blog and you’ll see! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

The Ligurian Sea

May 18, 2016

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The mountains of the Italian coast are made with muted, cool colors. Several mixes of Ultramarine Blue + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + a tiny bit of Lemon Yellow + White. Colors remaining from the clouds are used to paint the distant town of Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre. Please remember, as you read through my blog you can enlarge this or any of the other images by clicking on the picture.

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Here are the recipes for the ocean. #1. Ptahlo Blue + a little Ultramarine Blue + White. #2. A darker shade of mix #1. #3. Ultramarine Blue + White. #4. Three mixes in different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + MUD + White.

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The Ligurian Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the Italian Riviera and the island of Corsica. This body of water is most likely named after the ancient Ligures people. The three shades of Mix #4, which are more muted, are used for the water farthest away. Painting forward I use #1 and #2. The darker mix, #3, is used directly under the distant mountains to give the impression of reflections.

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The tower of Castello Doria is painted while the background is wet. I brace against the mahl stick to steady my hand.

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The color of the Ligurian Sea becomes brighter and more intense as we move closer to the foreground. The closest water is made with mixes of  Pthalo Turquoise Blue + White. This beautiful color is manufactured by REMBRANDT Oil Paint.

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I’ve started blocking in the rocky promontory that supports the ancient castle. Then the beach below is roughly covered. Swirls of surf, rolling up on the beach are painted into the wet sand.

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Now the Ligurian Sea is complete you can see how following the simple rule of Muted Colors Go Back, Intense Colors Come Forward, works to give the impression of depth. Thanks for following along today! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Blue Sky, Soft Clouds

May 14, 2016

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The sky is painted first because it is the source of light for our piece. My mixes are #1. White + a bit of Pthalo Blue. #2. White + Pthalo Blue + a little Cobalt Blue. #3. White + Cobalt Blue. Cobalt Blue is not normally on my palette but it is perfect for skies. If you would like to know more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

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Since the sun is shining into our scene from the left, the sky to the far right is darker. Therefore it is blocked in with Mix #3. Working toward the left I use Mixture #2 in the central portion of the sky.

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The sky at the far left of the painting is made lighter with Mixture #1.

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Here are my cloud mixtures. #1. White + a touch of Ultramarine Blue + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange. #2. White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a little extra Ultramarine Blue. #3. White + MUD + Ultramarine Blue.

VIDEO. Painting the fluffy clouds into the blue sky. Working wet-into-wet allows me to make the edges of the clouds soft and feathery.

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I pull the horizon line of the ocean while the sky is still wet. A mix of Ultramarine Blue + a little MUD + White is used for the most distant edge of the Mediterranean.

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Then a zig-zag is squiggled along the entire length of the horizon line with a small Bright (square) brush. You can click on the image to see it larger.

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A larger Bright brush is dragged along the zig zag, smoothing it out. This makes the horizon line soft and blurry so it will recede. Would you like to know about the brushes I use? Just CLICK HERE to learn more.

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The top edge of the far mountains is drawn into the wet sky, completing our work for today. Have a great evening! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Let’s Go To…….

May 12, 2016


Cinque Terre, a string of centuries old, seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and ancient vineyards cling to steep terraces as fishing boats bob in the harbors below. My collectors sent me a picture they’d taken of Vernazza, hoping I could capture memories of their vacation on canvas.

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Debbie wanted to include lots of colorful flowers but wasn’t exactly certain how. I love the high viewpoint of the photo, looking down on Vernazza. So I suggested a terrace in the foreground, similar to the one in the piece above. Debbie and Jim really liked the idea, but after much contemplation decided to eliminate the table and chairs.

Sketch - Hunter

Here is my sketch!

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The piece will be painted around the edges of a gallery wrapped canvas measuring 34 inches by 42 inches. The horizon line and wall of the foreground terrace are drawn first. I’ve attached the canvas to a piece of double ply cardboard so it will be easier to handle when it is wet. Want to know how I did that? Just CLICK HERE to find out.

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Next I begin establishing the distant landscape. The basic elements are sketched on the canvas with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

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The general shapes of the flowers on the foreground terrace are now indicated.

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My “Road Map” is ready. The simple sketch will keep me going in the right direction as I work on the painting. I’ll begin applying paint in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. 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!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Glimpse of Arenal

May 8, 2016

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The curved pathway is covered entirely in thick juicy brushstrokes, establishing the light and shadow patterns.

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A fine liner brush dipped in a mix of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin is used to draw the lines separating the irregular pavers into the wet paint of the walk. The curved perspective lines are drawn first, followed by the horizontal cracks between the individual tiles. You can click on the image to see this larger.

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The canvas is taken off the easel to finish the bottom edge. Having the painting mounted to cardboard helps in handling the wet canvas. Would you like to see how I attach the canvas to the double ply cardboard? Just CLICK HERE to find out.

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White Orchids grow behind the Pagoda. Since the flowers float above the foliage I paint the leaves first. Then the White of the exotic blossoms is gently “Laid” on top of the wet background.

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Magenta centers and curly stems finish out the Orchids. The water in the small pond is first painted, then work begins on the Pagoda. The color of the legs is “Pulled Down” into the water to give the impression of reflections.

SD1316 A Glimpse of Arenal 14x14A Glimpse of Arenal     14 inches by 14 inches

A few Water Lilies float on the surface of the pond and we’re………DONE! As soon as A Glimpse of Arenal is dry enough to ship the surprise painting will be off to Jeana’s sister. I appreciate you following along and all of your kind comments. Keep coming back! Big Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

A Lucky Kitty

May 6, 2016

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Dutch Irises fill the planter at the base of the left column. The flowers are blocked in first with mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Magenta + White.

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The foliage of the Irises is then painted. Since they will show through the slats of the bench I go ahead and cover the area entirely. Ivory Black is used for the Oriental Bench. My left hand rests on the unpainted part of the canvas; offering a steady support for my right as I delineate the details of the back. The Black slats are dragged over the wet paint of the flowers behind.

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Highlights are added to the bench with a mixture of Ultramarine Blue + White.

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Red-Orange Daisies nestle of the foot of the Bench. They are blocked in following the same sequence as the Irises: Flowers First, Leaves Last.

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When the foliage is complete the yellow centers of the Daisies are added.

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Now for the “Lucky Cat”. His body is made of White + Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange and White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). Pure White is used for the highlights on his face, paw and right shoulder. A fine liner brush dipped in Cadmium Red Deep is used to paint the interior of his ears.

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Our little feline is finished, he’ll be ready to bring Jeana’s sister good fortune as soon as I get the rest of the piece done! If you’d like to see this or any of the other images enlarged just click on the pictures. Have a wonderful day. Big Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Sakura Cherry Blossoms

May 4, 2016

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The soft pink blossoms of the Sakura Cherry Tree are blocked in with mixes of Alizarin Crimson + Magenta + White and several shades of Alizarin Crimson + White.

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The gnarled, knobby truck is fun to paint! You can see how the image extends onto the side of the gallery wrapped canvas.

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Highlights on the delicate petals of the Cherry Blossoms are indicated with a mix of White + Alizarin Crimson. The corner of my small Bright (Square) brush is used to make the thick, textured brushstrokes. You may click on this or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

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The roof of the arch is a grey-green that will make the red of the columns appear brighter. I’ve used mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Alizarin Crimson + Ultramarine Blue) + White.

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I made the distant peak of Arenal more blue or cooler. It was a little too warm and wasn’t receding into the background. This follows a simple rule to give the impression of depth in a painting: Cool Colors Go Back, Warm Colors Come Forward. The long fronds of the palms are painted directly over the wet mountain.

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Heart shaped leaves of Ivy cascade from the trunk of the Cherry Blossom Tree.

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Mixes of Cadmium Red Deep + Magenta, Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Medium are used for the arch.

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The red of the arch is more muted than the bright plumage of the Male Cardinal so he will stand out!

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The frames, as well as the light and shadow patterns on the panels that will bear the Japanese characters are blocked in first.

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The calligraphy is then drawn into the wet background with a fine liner brush dipped in Ivory Black.

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The symbols on the panels stand for HOPE, FAITH and LOVE. That’s it for this session. Thank you for following along today. Big Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG