SG2016 Step 19

My mixtures for the skin tones are all ready to go. #1. Cobalt Blue + White. #2. Cobalt Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. #3 and #4. Different proportions of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. #5. MUD + Alizarin Crimson + White.  #6. Mix #5 + more White. #7. Two shades of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White.

Alex in reference photoIMG_3909






Alex has changed his hair since the original photo was taken, so his dad sent a picture of the new cut. Ted affectionately calls Alex “His Imp” and remarked that his personality shows more in the second shot. OK, the challenge now will be to capture that “Impish” look in the portrait.

SG2016 Step 20

After blocking in the lighter side of Alex’s face I paint his hair with mixtures of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. MUD is added into the mixes for the darkest shades. The background is still pliable so I can keep the edges of the hair soft. I don’t want him to look like he is cut out and glued on the canvas.

SG2016 Step 21

Light pours into the painting from the upper left, transmits through the clear cornea of Alex’s eyes and illuminates the lower right portion of the dove grey iris.

SG2016 Step 22

The catch light is located at approximately 11 o’clock at the edge of the pupil, just under the eyelid. You never want to put the catch light directly in the pupil, your subject will look like they are on drugs. My wrist is braced against the mahl stick to steady my hand as I place the pinpoint dot. You can see this better by enlarging the picture, just click on the image.

SG2016 Step 23

By using the technique Jack taught me Alex’s eyes are full of sparkle. We’re starting to see a little of the “Imp” in Alex.

SG2016 Step 25

Alex’s face is completely blocked in. I’ll come back later and look at him with a fresh eye, then make any final adjustments that are needed. The navy blue jacket is painted with various combinations of Ultramarine Blue + Ivory Black + White.

Spirit Horse card

Ted thought it would be cool to incorporate the Chinese zodiac symbol for each family member. Alex was born under the sign of the Horse; so I’ve decided to embroider a horse on the cuff of his shirt. And what better one to use than the logo Jack designed when I first began painting! Since I was doing equine art he suggested calling my painting business Spirit Horse Studio.

SG2016 Step 26

The horse is flipped and drawn into the wet paint of the light Cobalt Blue shirt with a mix of Magenta + Liquin.

SG2016 Step 27

While the background is still a little wet I take some of the Viridian Green mix I showed in our last session and paint the edges of Max’s shirt. This allows me to keep them soft, which helps to give the figure the appearance of “Roundness”.

SG2016 Step 28

Alex’s trousers are completed and we’re done with him. Opps! I just realized I didn’t paint the hand stuck in his pocket. Oh Well, guess I’ll have to do that in our next session. See you then. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

4 Responses to “Alex”

  1. Bill Gavin Says:

    I was wondering if you would go with the lighter hair or the new photo which seems darker. Your choice works for me. Do you do your own photos and postings? I love following you.

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi Bill,

      I tried to hit a happy medium on Alex’s hair. His dad said the color was “Dirty Blonde”. I’ll leave it up to our collector to see if he wants me to make the hair a little darker. If so it will be easy enough to glaze it with a thin mix of MUD + Liquin once it’s dry.

      Yes, I take my own photos and write the blog posts. One of the main reasons I do this is to help fellow artists. I appreciate your questions and thank you for following along.


  2. Christopher Newell Says:

    You nailed the “Imp” Love the horse spirit.

  3. Terri Says:

    You are so talented! Thanks for describing not only how you are painting, but why you are doing it (like to make Max’s shirt appear round.)

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