Archive for September, 2016


September 30, 2016


Do you ever have an “Artist’s Block” and don’t know what to paint? You search everywhere for inspiration but just can’t seem to get inspired about anything? Well….Jack had the perfect answer.

We’ve lived in the Hawaiian Islands three different times, staying on Ohau, the Big Island and Maui. The picture above was taken in front of a giant banyan tree near Lahaina, Maui. When Jack and I lived in Kihei, around the island from Lahaina, we had gone upcountry one afternoon after finishing painting for the day. Stopping at a small store for a coke we ran into a group of artists. Jack overheard them talking about going to the volcano the next day to get INSPIRATION! You know that Jack, he butted in and told them we were also artists. Then he asked, “How do you get inspiration from a volcano?”

One responded, “Oh, it comes from Pele. She’s the Goddess of Fire. Communing with her gets us in the mood to paint!”

Jack looked sorta skeptical with one eyebrow raised and uttered a long, “HMMMMMMMM………”

So another of the artists blurted indignantly, “Well, where do you get YOUR inspiration?”

Jack paused for a bit, making sure he had everyone’s full attention. He then announced crisply, “From FEDEX!”

They all looked totally blank. One of the artists ventured a timid, incredulous whisper, “FedEX?”

Meanwhile I was trying to keep a straight face and not laugh out loud. Jack knew he had them so he didn’t answer right away. Finally he continued in his long, drawn out Texas drawl, “Well…………We get all our bills once a week by FedEX. If we don’t paint, they don’t get paid. That gives us plenty of inspiration. Besides we like to eat. Can’t do that if you’re not producing your art and selling it! Just get to painting, that’s your job. Paint yourself into the mood!”

I’ve got the giggles just remembering the looks on those artists’ faces when he told them that. What a hoot!

Lots of Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


Sissie is a Happy Girl

September 28, 2016


Our baby has become a HEAVY DRINKER. Thank you for all of your suggestions. We went through this a year ago, that’s when we started giving Sissie Tuna Water. I think she has just gotten tired of it. We discovered what worked best this time is canned food in the Chicken/Turkey flavor with extra water added. My, oh my, she is begging for it. You can see her saying, “I love my new treat, it’s YUMMY! And her little insides are working purr-fectly.

I appreciate your help. Y’all are GGGGRRRRRREEEAAAAATTTTT! Hugs,

Sun Dappled Patio

September 27, 2016


Our dear little Sissie isn’t feeling too well, she had to go visit Dr. Weeks yesterday. The baby hasn’t been drinking enough water and consequently become constipated. So she spent the day at the vet’s, came home last night and everything seems to be in working order again. Bless her heart, she is a bit sore today so she’s snuggled in her basket on the refrigerator where she can see me at the easel. If any of you have some hints on how to get kitties to drink more I’d love to know. I’ve been making “Tuna water” for Sissie which has worked well in the past but seems to be losing her interest now. I may try using low sodium canned chicken, she might like the change.

The football helmets are part of Jack’s and my collection. As you know, Jack was dear friends with Grant Teaff, who got our collection started. He told other coaches of my interest in football; we’ve received many personalized helmets and footballs over the years! The helmets are arranged so most of the signatures are on the back where they won’t become faded from the overhead lights.


OK, Back to painting. Roses fill the glass vase on the table. The flowers are mixes of Permanent Rose + a touch of Cadmium Red Light + White. This makes a warm Pink that comes forward of the cooler Pink Bougainvilleas behind the Roses. The foliage is blocked in with a medium size Bright (Square) brush, using the corner to help shape the individual Roses. Would you like to know more about my brushes?  CLICK HERE to find out.


The flat edge of the very same brush is used to delineate the fragrant Rose petals.


When painting objects that are submerged in water you have to remember about “Refraction”. The stems of the Roses that are underwater appear to “bend” from where they enter the liquid. When we look at the stem, light from the top of the stem travels directly to our eye. Light from the part that’s underwater is refracted when it goes from the water into the air; it changes direction. So this light comes to our eye from a slightly different angle and the stem looks bent. As Jack would say, “That’s your little lesson for today.” Actually I had to do a science project on Refraction when I was in elementary school! Who would have dreamed it would come back and help me years later?


We’ll plant yellow Lilies in the terra cotta container by the table. Mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson), Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + a little Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow are used. Picking up a couple of the color mixes on my brush at the same time, the colors are “Smooshed” on to the canvas in the basic shapes of the blossoms.


After leaves are added the flowers are highlighted with Lemon Yellow + a touch of White.


Deep centers of Alizarin Crimson complete the Lilies, then I begin working on the Magenta Petunias in the foreground container. Several combinations of Magenta + White make the blossoms while mixes of Sap Green + a little Lemon Yellow + White are used for the foliage.


Silver Pony Foot Vine drapes out of the container. The soft grey green, made of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White, is a nice compliment to the surrounding flowers.


The Philodendron is painted over the side of the gallery wrapped canvas. A large Bright brush is used to sculpt the huge, split leaves with thick paint. Don’t forget, you may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.


The White Daisies are blocked in with mixes of White + Dioxazine Purple, White + Ultramarine Blue, White + Pthalo Blue and White + Pthalo Blue + a touch of Lemon Yellow. The colors will serve as the shadow areas of the blossoms. These mixes need to be dark enough so when I add pure White highlights on the flowers, the illuminated petals will POP!

si2616-sun-dappled-patio-30x36Sun Dappled Patio      30 inches tall by 36 inches wide

TA DA….We’re done! Cathy and her husband will be able sit on their Sun Dappled Patio, enjoying the view of the Amalfi Coast any time they’d like! It will take a few days for the piece to dry enough to ship, then it will be off to its new home! I appreciate all of you following along. Please remember, always feel free to ask questions. One of the main reasons I write this blog is to help other artists. HUGS,

Let’s Get to Flooring!

September 25, 2016


I begin the terra cotta tiles by covering the entire floor area. I want to establish the filtered light and shadow pattern created by the Bougainvillea cascading over the pergola above.


Cathy felt the pavers in the original piece were a little too orange, so I made this floor more of a red clay color. Mixes in various proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + more Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Orange + White were used. The next step on the floor is to make the perspective lines of the tiles. This is done freehand, using a mahl stick would limit the movement of my arm preventing me from making straight lines.


The horizontal lines separating the tiles are also drawn without using the mahl stick. A fine liner brush is used to etch the lines into the wet paint.


Now to paint the bottom edge of the gallery wrapped canvas. My easel and palette are on wheels, making it easy to adjust my painting setup for this situation. I’ve take the painting attached to cardboard and placed it on Jack’s chair.


You can see how the top part of the cardboard rests on the glass tabletop, the lower edge leans on the back of the chair. This elevates the bottom of the canvas making it easier to paint.


After the bottom side is painted with the floor color, perspective lines are continued from the front of the canvas to the lower edge. You may click on this, or any of the other images to see them larger.


Floor is complete! Now to plant Lavender in the large container behind the shutter. Mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White are used for the fragrant flowers. The greens made of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White are painted around the purple helping to shape the elongated blossoms.


Stems and leaves finish out the Lavender. We’re done for today. Thank you for following along. And please remember, always feel free to ask questions!


And since we are painting the Amalfi Coast I thought I’d share a picture of Jack and I there in May, 2004. This is the last extended trip we ended up taking, that November Jack was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. It had metastasized to his spine and he was given only months to live. With God at the helm of our lives, excellent doctors, Jack’s positive attitude and lots of our prayers, plus those of tons of friends, we weathered the storm. Jack and I had 12 more wonderful years together. So you can see, the Amalfi Coast holds special memories for us. It’s fun to paint it for Cathy and remember our delightful travels there. HUGS,

Yellow Walls and Crisp White Shutters

September 23, 2016


The walls are painted with mixes in various proportions of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a little Cadmium Orange + White. You can see how the painted image extends on to the sides of the gallery wrap canvas. And that having the canvas attached to cardboard will make it easier to handle the wet painting.


Now the wall is painted I come back and finish the Bougainvillea draping down. I love the Hot Pink Bogie juxtaposed against the yellow wall. Please remember, you may enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.


The light and shadow pattern is established on the tall shutters first. Then I come back and delineate the louvers, drawing them into the wet paint. You can see how the hook of my mahl stick rests over the top of the cardboard backing. I can then brace my wrist against the stick to steady my hand as I indicate the details.


The azure water in the distance gleams through the openings between the balusters of the terrace railing.


Large terra cotta containers are added to the terrace. We’ll plant all the goodies in them later because we’ll be laying the tile flooring in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,

A Few Miles South

September 21, 2016


We’ll begin painting with the sky since it’s the source of light. A bright sunny day, my color mixtures for both the sky and distant mountains are shown above. #1. Ultramarine Blue + a tiny bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. #2. White + a little of mix #1. #3. White + Ultramarine Blue. #4. White + Cobalt Blue. #5. White + Pthalo Blue.


The sky is blocked in first. Light pours into the painting from the upper right, therefore the right side of the blue field is made with the lighter mix #5. Moving to the left more of Mix #4 is used. Then the distant coast to the east of Portofino is painted with mixtures #1, #2 and #3.


While the sky is still fresh I start working on the Pink Bougainvilleas. By painting them wet-into-wet I can soften the bracts cascading over the pergola. And it’s much easier to pull the long arms of the Bougainvillea into the sky, it would be difficult to make smooth lines if the underlying paint was dry and bumpy.


Well…..we are going to move the location of our painting a little to the south. 455.8 miles to be exact. When Cathy saw the previous blog and compared the settings of Portofino (6) and Amalfi (5), she decided she would rather have the Amalfi Coast in the background.


That’s not a problem to change at this point. I use my painting knife to scrape off the distant mountains, then paint the sky over the area all the way down to the horizon line.


Now the sketch of Portofino is replaced with the Amalfi Coast! One of the neatest things about this area is all of the lemon trees that are planted in terraces that step down the mountainside. So I just have to add a few of the terraces! You can see this better if you’ll enlarge the image by clicking on the picture.


The coastal village of Amalfi is now blocked in. Terra cotta rooftops are made with single strokes of a medium sized Bright (square) brush. If you’d like to know more about the brushes I like to use CLICK HERE.


The azure water of the Mediterranean is made duller and more muted in the distance so it will recede. The water becomes brighter and more intense as we move closer to the foreground. This follows a simple rule that helps to give the appearance of depth in a painting: Bright, intense colors come forward. Muted colors go back.


The columns supporting the pergola are painted over the distant water. With the background still wet its easy to make the edges of the columns straight and smooth. I’ve also gone ahead and finished the backs of the chairs that are in front of the water for the same reason. We’ve traveled a few miles today; don’t know about you but my feet are tired! Thanks for coming with me. Hugs,


Heading to Italy……

September 19, 2016


One of my collectors saw this piece on my blog and asked me about painting something similar for her. She’d see an oil painting years before with the filtered light on a patio and didn’t purchase it. She’s regretting not buying that piece and so now I’m going to do one especially for her. Cathy’s main focus is the light dancing on the pavers.


Cathy also likes the water and reflections of Portofino in the painting above, so we’re going to put them in the background sans the boats.


Here is my sketch…….


I begin by drawing up the basic architecture of the shutters and columns. A brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin is used. The 30 inch tall by 36 inch wide canvas is mounted on a larger piece of double ply cardboard, making it easier to handle the wet painting. If you like to see how the canvas was mounted to the backing on a similar piece CLICK HERE.


Cathy decided she would like wrought iron chairs instead of the wicker ones in the original. The hearts in the backs of the chairs add a little romance! If you’d like to see this or any of the other images enlarged, just CLICK on the picture.


Drawing Portofino in the background completes our sketch. We’ll begin applying color in the next session. If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to 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!

Colorful Captivation Limited Original

September 18, 2016


I’m back at the easel today working on a Limited Original of Colorful Captivation. This is how the giclee on canvas looks when we receive it from our printer in Florida. It comes rolled in a tube. The overall tone of the unembellished giclee tends to be a little blue. Which is perfect, when I add the bright warm colors they will really be vivid!


I’ve stretched the giclee on a gallery wrap stretcher frame. Then the sides are painted with black acrylic as a self frame. The edge is taped with blue painter’s tape so when I embellish the piece I don’t have to worry about getting paint on the sides of the canvas.


Joy asked that I make the Southwest chair blue! That’s one of the neatest things about embellishing the giclees on canvas, I can make them different from the original painting! This is the reason we call them Limited Originals. Each is part of an edition (LIMITED) but none are embellished exactly the same way (ORIGINAL). I use various mixes of Pthalo Blue + White to make the change from yellow to blue.


Some of the blue is brought down into the floor, giving the impression of the chair reflecting into the wet tiles underneath.


My wrist is braced against the Mahl stick to steady my hand as I enhance the Hummingbirds dancing around the flowers.


All of the flowers in this corner are repainted with lots of texture. Please remember as you read through my blog, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.


The Petunias are embellished with mixes of Magenta + White. Then Alizarin Crimson is used to make the deep centers.


Pure White highlights applied in thick brushstrokes make the Matilija Poppies POP against the Cadmium Red Light gate.


The wispy flowers of the Wisteria are embellished with mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White, Ultramarine Blue + White and Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White.


I’ve pulled the tape off the frame, now you can see how it looks. The framed piece measures 30 inches tall by 36 inches wide.


Our Limited Original of Colorful Captivation is complete. I’ll wait a few days for it to dry completely and then FedEX will come whisk it away to its new home.


Oh My Goodness Gracious, I just looked out the window. I bought some Cat Nip yesterday and am going to put it in a planter by the fountain in the morning. Looks like Molly and Sissie discovered it and have taken a few too many nips. I have TWO DRUNK KITTIES! I swear I can hear Jack’s laughter from Heaven. He could see the planter (in the background to the right of the fountain) that I put the Cat Nip in from his computer. He so enjoyed watching our girls, plus all of the kitties from the “hood”, come partake!


Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


September 15, 2016


Oh my goodness, what a Celebration! September 9th dawned crisp and clear, a special day just for Jack. My heart melted when I saw the beautiful banner our church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran, had prepared for Jack’s service. You can see how pictures were projected on the wall above the alter. And speaking of pictures…. SILLY, SILLY ME….I totally forgot about having someone take photos at our Celebration Service and the reception at our home afterwards. Fortunately in this day of cell phones almost everyone attending snapped a few shots and were more than happy to share them.


Pastor Chris Kennedy gave a wonderful message. One really neat thing he did was share the history of the Apostle’s Creed. He made the analogy the Apostle’s Creed is to Christians what the Pledge of Allegiance is to Americans. The words….The resurrection of the body and the life everlasting…..assure us we will see our loved ones again in Heaven. What a great comfort.


Grant Teaff, former Head Football Coach at Baylor University, was like a brother to Jack. Grant is an amazing speaker, we were all mesmerized by his heartfelt words.


The two have been best friends since 1972 when Grant asked Jack to design a new, uplifting image for the Bears. Here is Jack’s painting of the PROUD, POSITIVE and DETERMINED Baylor Bear. Today it hangs in the Teaff Suite at the new Baylor Stadium in Waco. When Jack introduced me to Grant and Donell in 1991 they welcomed me with giant hugs. I was instantly made part of their family.

Jack White Celebration VIDEO: Part 1 Tim Eickstead, Director of Operations at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, was so gracious to make a video of our Tribute. Now those of you who couldn’t attend can join in the Tribute to “Our Jack”.

Jack White Celebration VIDEO: Part 2

Jack White Celebration VIDEO: Part 3

Again I’d like to thank Pastor Chris Kennedy, Pastor Doug Bielefeldt who was in charge of the music, Paula and Sarah our singers who sounded like Angels, Tim, Elaine, Grant and everyone who came offering love, hugs and support. Thank you for making this Tribute to Jack a true Celebration.


Al Kolodziej and Grant. Al and his wife, Elaine, are the owners/publishers/editors of the Wilson County News. We met them when we lived at our previous home in Floresville and have become good friends. Elaine also gave a beautiful tribute to Jack. She took these pictures at the church. Somehow she managed to escape having her picture made.


When the Service was over we all headed “Back to the Ranch”! Karl Massey, Sarah Jarvis and Lesli McBride plopped down and got comfortable in the rockers on the deck. Don’t forget, as you read through my blog, you can enlarge any of the pictures by clicking on the image.


“Angel Ann” Wylie is a dear friend who Jack and I met soon after we had gotten together. She’s been a real “Angel” in our lives. Don’t know what I would have done without her these past few months. Leslie, in the picture above, is Ann’s daughter.


Dallas and Christie Jarvis are our granddaughters. Sarah Jarvis is their mom and Karl is Dallas’ boyfriend.


When Les Herrington was a young boy, Jack lived next door to his family. Jack bought Les his first pair of contact lenses, then he let the 14 year old drive his brand new Jaguar! How’s that for a good neighbor? Jennifer Young is an artist we started helping with her career many years ago. We are so proud of how successful she’s been both as an oil painter and a mom! We just wish her husband Dave and daughter Eva could have come.


Grant’s daughter Tammy and her husband, Russ Bookbinder, are on the left. Back by the mirror are our neighbors Panna, Amy and Destiny. Our friend Carolyn is beside Grant, she took most of these pictures at our home. I’m visiting with a couple from Kenedy, TX, Maggie and Truett,  who have a fine art gallery there. Jack has given them advice over the years. Grant laughingly said he is the original Cookie Monster and was trying hard to not reach out and eat them all!


After the reception Dallas and Christie decided to go see “Jack White” Street in downtown San Antonio. Patrick, Christie’s boyfriend, is on the left. The girls’ Uncle Damon, Jack’s son, is on the right. So we had a great day of Celebration for “Our Jack”. Several of our friends stayed for the weekend, everyone headed out Sunday afternoon. I’ll admit…I was just plum’ tuckered out! I think the last few months have finally caught up with me! Fortunately I’ve had wonderful friends, family and Our Lord to help me through this tough time, thanks to every one of you. With GIANT HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


September 7, 2016

Carmel studio

It’s amazing, even though several weeks have passed since God took Jack home to be with him in Heaven I’m still receiving messages of love and support. You all have been so wonderful in helping to keep my spirits lifted. You’ll never know just how much I appreciate your comforting words and virtual hugs.

Artist Promo Shot

This Friday, September 9 at 1 PM we will honor Jack White and Celebrate his incredible life.  A Master Artist, Author, Teacher, Coach, Mentor and Friend to so many. Only God knows how many lives he has touched. Just to remind you, the Celebration of Jack’s Life will be held at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, located at 6914 Wurzbach Road in San Antonio.
JW Happy Jack Road
It makes my heart glad knowing Jack is whole, healthy and happy again now that he is with Our Lord. I hope you can come share in our love for Jack and celebrate his new life in Heaven. But if you can’t attend in person please keep us in your thoughts and prayers at 1PM on Friday. Have your own celebration, honoring this amazing man who has touched us all with his giving spirit. God Bless You,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG