Sun Dappled Patio


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,

21 Responses to “Sun Dappled Patio”

  1. ana guerra Says:

    Beautiful work Mikki, I always enjoy seeing your work.

  2. Alice Cox Says:

    Our black cat has always refused to drink out of any kitty-sized water bowls; instead he likes to drink from our dog’s stainless steel water bowl, which holds about a quart and a half of water. We think he prefers the dog’s bowl because the large quantity of water in a stainless steel container stays colder and fresher than in a small bowl. Another possible way to get more liquid into your kitty would be wet (canned) cat food, if she’s presently eating only dry chow. Our cat’s diet is half wet food and half dry chow, which works for him. If you do change Sissie’s diet, it would be best to ask your vet how to go about it. I hope you find a solution to Sissie’s problem!

  3. Andrea Holbrook Says:

    Your painting turned out lovely. Pretty as always. Didn’t see a Patriots helmet. You really should have one in your collection.

  4. Terri Says:

    Absolutely beautiful !! I love it !!
    My cats also will only drink from the large dog’s bowl or a dripping faucet. I give them (5 cats) canned Friskies Poultry platter so they can get enough water. That was the only flavor or brand they liked. In nature they get moisture from fresh food and don’t drink much.

  5. Angelica Valentine Says:

    Thank you for sharing your talent and tips with us Mikki. You are an inspiration and I needed that right now.

    1. Do you have a favorite brand of lemon yellow? I have several but they seem a little dull and not very strong.
    2. Could you share some tips on shipping our paintings. In years past I would wait for 6 months before shipping, but I am living in a smaller residence and there isn’t room to hold on to paintings for that long.
    3. Do you apply a final varnish on your work before shipping?

    Thank you,

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi Angelica,
      Thank you for your questions. I use Winsor Newton WINTON Cadmium Yellow Light which is the same as Lemon Yellow in other brands. DaVinci Paint also makes a good Lemon Yellow.

      As for shipping wet paintings, Jack came up with a method years ago. It has withstood the test of time, never have had any damaged. One got smeared when the collector dragged the cardboard from the top of the box across the painting. It was easy to fix and she was extremely careful the second time she received her painting! Here is a link to my blog that shows the packing procedure:

      The canvas is mounted to a double ply sheet of cardboard that is about 3 inches larger, all the way around, than the painting. Here is how that is done:

      A couple of days after I finish a painting I SPRAY it with Grumbacher Retouch Varnish as the final coating. Don’t spray it immediately upon completing your piece, the paint will run. So make sure to wait a few days.

      Hope this helps. I appreciate you following my blog. HAPPY PAINTING, Mikki

  6. Gerry Baker-Tatum Says:

    Hi Mikki,
    I just read about you on your blog! Your life story brought joyful tears to my eyes. God is so great to have put you and Jack together! I am a volunteer in the jails and do church services there. I see so many broken people come back from a life of strife when they are called by the greatest Healer of all.

    I started painting when a European Economics class was cancelled and I took a water color class down the hall instead. I went on to learn to paint in oils. My husband was a designer and artist and my endeavors got him going into art again. We paint together as well as minister together. I am so sorry your beloved has gone on, but am glad that you can carry on such a good work, teaching us all! You really have touched my heart!

  7. Sandy Wegmann Says:

    Your painting is gorgeous!
    I also could only get my cat to drink a lot of water unless I put it in a large metal bowl (the dogs bowl). I did not realize that until the dog passed away and I tried just leaving a small bowl of water out. She would not drink out of the small bowl. I also had to change it daily or she would not drink. Just thought I would let you know that I agree with the other ladies that a large bowl might help.

  8. SDimmick Says:

    Hello Mikki-

    About Sissie, if you feed dry food I’d stop and feed only canned. Or at least start mixing/offering it in gradually. Cats love dry food because the total lack of moisture concentrates the flavor. They say that even the worst canned food is better than good dry food. Cats typically don’t drink enough water to compensate for the totally dry, baked hard quality of dry food. As a result, everything from constipation and worse, crystals in the urine occur. I used to feed dry (Science Diet CD) and now feed only canned (Wellness, Merrick and Friskies Pate ). Canned food is usually about 75% moisture, so even if a cat doesn’t drink enough water they at least get it in their food.

    There’s a great website belonging to veterinarian who loves cats and is an expert on feline diabetes, urinary problems, constipation etc. and she only recommends canned food. It’s truly worth visiting her site – she even breaks down all the qualities of many canned foods which is why I feed what I do.

    Hopes this helps-


  9. kryspettit Says:

    Hi Miikki! I am a watercolorist who is transitioning to oils. I love the medium and also enjoy watching your demo here. Can you tell me what you use to finish your paintings? Do you use Damar varnish?
    Much thanks. And love and hugs to you — sorry to hear of Jack passing. He was a great inspiration to me when I read his columns in Professional Artist. I still use his marketing tips.

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Hi! I use SPRAY Grumbacher Retouch Varnish as a final coating. You have to wait a couple of days after you complete your piece or the paint will run. Jack and I have used this spray varnish for years with excellent results. Thank you for your kind words, I’m so glad Jack’s marketing tips are still helping you. It’s hard to even imagine how many artists around the world he has inspired! What a generous man. One of these days we will all be together again in Heaven. Hugs, Mikki

  10. Fran Says:

    I just want to mention that placing kitty’s water bowl in another location away from the food, was successful for our purr babies. The master bathroom seemed to be the favorite place. Sort of duplicates seeking out a watering hole in the wild. Also, the electric fountain type water dish was a very big hit. All the best!

  11. Angelica Valentine Says:

    Thank you for the reply Mikki. I will check out the Winton and DaVinci paints. In years past my husband would build wood crates, he went to be with the Lord in 2002. He was my biggest supporter, cheer leader, inspiration and co-worker in my painting career. The method you provided for packing is something I can handle to get work shipped out. I also love the planning lesson on mounting the work before painting. Thank you so much!

    I remember using the Grumbacher Retouch Varnish and that will work perfectly.

    My last art gallery was on Cannery Row in Monterey. I gave it up because my son needed me more and I couldn’t take care of both. We lost everything except each other…God is/was the glue that held us together. My son had been waiting for more than 35 years for a life saving heart-lung transplant (we didn’t wait by choice). We needed a miracle and it took that long. He is in life long recovery but his smile makes every day an event. I haven’t been able to bring myself back to my easel for many reasons…then a few days ago I came across your website. You don’t know me, but you are helping me to put my broken pieces back together.

    The one lesson I have learned from being married to a loving guy is that they leave a great deal of themselves in our lives and hearts forever. Your memoirs here are a beautiful tribute.

    Sending joy to you, Angelica

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Dear Angelica,

      Oh my, I just want to reach out and wrap my arms around you in a HUGE HUG. God has so blessed you and I by giving us a soulmate. Like your husband, Jack was my mentor, biggest cheerleader, always knew the right thing to say to get me back on track and would defend me to his death. Not everyone has the pleasure of this kind of relationship. I know you miss your husband as much as I do Jack. The most comforting thing is we will see them again one day in Heaven. And you are so right …they occupy a big, permanent space in our hearts.

      I’m so glad your son finally got his transplant. As a caregiver myself, I have a little understanding of the heavy load on your shoulders. God Bless You, your son is lucky he has such a loving and dedicated mom.

      I’m thrilled you found my blog, God works in amazing ways. It’s wonderful you are getting back to painting. Please feel free to ask questions anytime. We can help each other put the pieces of our new lives in place. God has his plan for us, we just have to trust and follow his footsteps. With Love, Mikki

  12. Angelica Valentine Says:

    Dear Mikki,

    Thank you for this beautiful note. Your hugs are truly appreciated. I agree we have both been blessed with a good guys in our lives. Yes, I do miss Robert very much, but I know he is watching over me…he taught me so much and his words come back often to remind me of the lessons.

    I went through domestic violence in a previous very abusive marriage. Your story is all to familiar to me. A few years ago I was invited to become a professional public speaker. The organization paid for the training and this opened the door to teach not only victims and survivors but the psychologist, advocates, lawyers, police and medical staff dealing with domestic violence today. This became a piece of my healing. I am so, so sorry you experienced this Mikki. Thank you for sharing.

    My son is doing all he can to encourage me to get back to painting again. I have so many great memories of him going to art exhibits with me from age 5. He loved to engage people into conversations even at that age. We traveled up and down the East Coast so that I could show my work and make a living. God worked that miracle…I could have never provided all the care my son needed had I not become an artist. William was born with only half of his heart…he was given only days to live. Less than 3% of babies survived to see their 5th month after birth. God fills all of our lives with miracles if we take the time to see them. Having this experience has taught me to be grateful every morning I wake up and have another “do over day”!

    I am thrilled too! Without a doubt God brought me here. Painting is our gift from God. I look forward to sharing and learning as we put the pieces of our lives together in our new lives. Rest assured, I will have some additional questions for you. I so much appreciate all that you have shared already in your website.

    With Love to you,

  13. Jody Says:

    I really like what you’re doing with this piece. I feel like I’m sitting there overlooking the water, I’ve just come back to painting and I’m staying with watercolor for now – I love what water and color can accomplish. I so appreciate your comments and tips! Thank you!

  14. Nadya Says:

    Hi Mikki. You are so kind to share your art experience and I appreciate your tips a lot!! Mikki, some of my painting is dry already and I still would like to finish painting and some parts to re-painting. What do you recommend to do? What do you do? Thank You!

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