Archive for September, 2017

Junior Gardeners

September 29, 2017

The floor is painted with mixes in various proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange. White is added into the mixtures for the tiles washed by sunshine. Then the lines separating the pavers are drawn into the wet paint with a fine liner brush.

MUD + Ultramarine Blue + a little Cadmium Orange + White is used to make the wooden wheel on the wheelbarrow. Waiting to paint the wheel until the floor was finished makes it much easier to keep the round edges smooth.

More White is added to the wheel mixes to make the rough textured, wicker basket that holds all the garden tools.

I wouldn’t be caught out in the garden without my red gardening gloves and straw hat with matching band! You may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

The kitty in the flower pot is painted with some of the mixes leftover from the lighter portions of the satillo tile floor. A bit of Cadmium Yellow Medium has been added into those colors to make that baby a little warmer. Her face and legs are white so she’ll show up in the dark interior of the container.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Tiger Kitty – Part 1

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Tiger Kitty – Part 2

Junior Gardeners   14 inches x 14 inches

Kittens are so much fun in the garden. They always seem to be smack dab in the middle of everything, delighting us with their antics! These two “Junior Gardeners” are being especially helpful with planting the turquoise wheelbarrow in this Tuscan courtyard! CLICK HERE to view Gallery 1870’s display of “Junior Gardeners”. I appreciate you following my blog and thank you for all of your wonderful comments. God has truly blessed me! HUGS,




CLICK HERE to view Gallery 1870’s display of Junior Gardeners.

Foxgloves, Nasturtiums, Geraniums and Petunias

September 27, 2017

The foliage of the Foxgloves is painted around the washed in flowers that are now completely dry. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow are used for the leaves.

OK, let’s work on those pretty pink blooms of the Foxgloves. Mixes in several combinations of White + Permanent Rose are used to paint the striking, tubular flowers. Deep centers are added with a mix of Magenta + Liquin.

Nasturtiums tumble out of the wheelbarrow beside the tall spires of the Foxgloves. The fragrant red orange blossoms are mixes of Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, and Cadmium Red Light + Cadmium Orange. Some Cadmium Orange is also mixed into the greens leftover from the adjoining flowers for the disc shaped leaves of the Nasturtiums.

It’s fun drawing all of the little tendrils and vines into the wet foliage of the Nasturtiums with a fine liner brush. Please remember, you may click on this or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

Cadmium Red Deep + a touch of Magenta is used for the darkest red petals of the Geraniums. Cadmium Red Medium is perfect to block in the rest of these garden favorites.

The sunlit petals are highlighted with Cadmium Red Light, then leaves are blocked in with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow. A few brushstrokes of Pthalo Blue + White are added here and there to bring coolness into the depth of the foliage.

Stems and flower buds finish out the Geraniums. Next the mass of Petunias is covered with mixtures of White + Pthalo Blue, White + Dioxazine Purple and White + Ultramarine Blue. This color block will provide the shadow portion of the White flowers.

Pure White highlights are added to the blooms illuminated by the sun pouring into the painting. The deep centers of the Petunias are delineated with Alizarin Crimson. Thanks for following along today. And just a little sneak preview, I’ll have a couple of Video Demonstrations in my next blog showing how I paint one of those cute little kitties! HUGS,

Playing in the Garden

September 26, 2017

I’m starting a new piece for our gallery in the Napa Valley, Gallery 1870. Gardening and Kitties just seem to go together, at least they do around the White Senkarik Studio. The wheelbarrow is from Tuscany, this is going to be a Tuscan Garden Scene. But it really could be anywhere you find flowers!

I grab an empty flower pot from my supply to use as a model for sketching the plan up on the canvas. A brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin is used for this step. The table to the left of my easel is perfect for placing “Models”. It’s also a good, protected place for paintings to dry. Our little furry girls can’t walk in the wet pieces there. 

We’ll put some well used garden gloves and tools in the basket to the right of the wheelbarrow.

The kitties are sketched in next. Their basic, circular shapes are made first, then details are added.

An oil wash of Permanent Rose + Liquin is used to rough in the mass of color for the Foxgloves planted in the Wheelbarrow.

Our painting plan is up on the canvas and we’re ready to begin working in opaque oils.

The initial wash on the Foxgloves has dried overnight; the thickly textured wall can now be painted around the blooms without any of the pink bleeding into the surrounding color. The rocks are painted very impressionistically, in fact it almost looks like an abstract. Especially if you enlarge the picture, just click on the image. I can assure you, this is about as abstract as I’ll ever get. I just don’t think that way very well at all.

Light grout indicates the stones that comprise the wall. I use the blocks of abstract color to guide me in shaping them. The corner of my large Bright (Square) brush is used for the thin grout lines.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Painting the Wheelbarrow.


Wheelbarrow is painted and we’ll start planting in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch! 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!



Rock House Homestead

September 22, 2017

Wild Sunflowers are next, my color mixtures are shown above. #1. Three shades of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + White. #2. Two combinations of Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). #3. A couple of mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + Lemon Yellow. #4. Pure Lemon Yellow.


Morning Glories twine around the rough cedar fence post guarding the drive up to the Homestead. The flowers are several combination in various proportions of Magenta + White. The leaves are different shades of Ultramarine Blue + Lemon Yellow.

Accentuating the deep centers of the flowers with Magenta and drawing long, twisting tendrils finishes out our Morning Glory Vine. You may click on this, or any of the other pictures to see them larger.

Alizarin Crimson + White is used for the Wine Cups on the left side of the painting. Greens left over from the Morning Glory Vine makes the foliage.

A little Cadmium Orange is added into some of the Bluebonnet leaf mixes. This makes a soft gray-green for the Cactus nestled by the Wine Cups. By saving my color mixtures I can reuse a lot of the paint, not much is wasted by the time I complete a painting.

Lemon Yellow blooms glow like jewels. Then needle-like spines, backlit by the sun, are made with my fine liner brush. Just a few are indicated here and there, to give the impression of the sticky characters.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Bluebonnets – Up Close and Personal

OPPPSS!!!! In my video I said I put the painting on my taboret to work on the lower edge. When I got it off the easel I realized it was far too large to go there. So I braced the painting on Jack’s desk chair to paint the bottom of the gallery wrap canvas. That’s Jack’s painting of Texas Ranger, Leander McNelly, in the background. One day it will hang in the Texas Ranger Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, along with several other Ranger pieces Jack did.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Blocking in the Indian Blanket Flowers

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Finishing the Indian Blanket Flowers

Rock House Homestead  24 inches by 30 inches

The old “Rock House Homestead” now resides in a field of Texas spring wildflowers. Doesn’t this make you want to grab a glass of iced tea, sit in the porch swing and enjoy the view? Listen carefully, bet you can hear the birds singing!

Here’s how the two paintings will look together! I’m excited for the “Rock House Homestead” to join its companion in their new home. Before signing out I’d like to extend a big THANK YOU for all of the wonderful comments everyone has made. I really appreciate you following my blog. AND PLEASE, always feel free to ask questions. With Colorful Smiles,

Blanketed in Bluebonnets

September 21, 2017

Today’s session begins by painting the large leaf plant that we saw in the 1936 photograph at the base of the stairs. I don’t have any idea what it is but it’s fun to paint. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + a little Lemon Yellow are used. If you’d like to see the picture larger just click on the image.

Now for the field of Bluebonnets. My usual sequence of “Flowers First, Leaves Last” is followed. Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Dioxazine Purple + White are used in the most distant part of the field. The middle portion is Ultramarine Blue + White and those beautiful flowers in the front are Cobalt Blue + White. Then I come back and add the foliage with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White.

The winding road is painted with some of the darkest mixtures left over from the old Rock House. The far end of the road, where it disappears into the Bluebonnets is made cooler, or bluer, so it will recede.

The Bluebonnets, illuminated by sunlight streaming into the painting from the right, are highlighted. All I had to do was put additional White into the original mixes used to block them in.

A few bunches of Indian Paintbrush pop up here and there.

The crowning touch on the Bluebonnets is to top them out with White Bonnets! Those in the direct sunlight get pure White caps. A bit of Ultramarine Blue is mixed into the White for those flowers in the distant shadow, this makes them fall back.

The Bluebonnet field is in it’s full glory. Jack and I discovered something interesting when we lived in Floresville, not far from Panna Maria where the Rock House Homestead is. The native Bluebonnets in our area didn’t have the little White bonnets! In the height of spring the Bluebonnet fields surrounding Floresville are Bonnet Less!

Here’s a picture taken in our backyard in Floresville. If you’ll enlarge the picture by clicking on the image, you’ll see they have no White hats! Soon after moving in we seeded the flower beds we built close to the house with traditional, White topped “Texas Bluebonnets”. We never had a clue the native ones didn’t have them. Didn’t realize that until we had a banner wildflower year in 2010, the fields around us were covered with “Bonnet Less” flowers. This is probably more information than you’d ever want to know about our Texas State Flower but there you go! HUGS, 

Rock Work

September 20, 2017

In reality, the property the Old Homestead resides on is relatively flat. BUT….we’re matching this painting up with a hill country piece. That’s the fun of being an artist; we can change this landscape to be a bit more hilly. The slope in front of the barn and tractor is covered with Bluebonnets and White Thistle Poppies.

The rest of the cornfield fills the space between the barn and the house.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the Oak Tree to the right of the Rock House.

Mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White are used for the tin roof. The more upright plane of the house roof is darker, the flatter porch roof catches more light from above so it isn’t as dark.


The right side of the building is warmed by sunlight streaming into the painting.

More Ultramarine Blue and MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) are added into the lighter rock mixtures to use for the shadow side of the house.

Now, let’s add the porch swing! You may click on the image to see it larger.

Railings and support posts complete the porch.

Steps and the vine cascading from the porch roof almost finish us up for today.

Just have to pop the two pieces in Photoshop and check them out. Will need to make a few minor adjustments on placement of wildflowers but other than that I think we’re good to go. Hugs,

Painting the Sky, Barn and John Deere

September 19, 2017

We begin painting with the sky. There are two reasons for this….One, it’s the main source of light. Two, the sky is in back of everything else. Makes sense to do it first, then “Paint Forward” from there. Mountains, then trees, etc. My color is mixed and we’re ready to start. #1. White + a touch of Mix #2 + a tiny bit of Cadmium Orange. #2. White + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson). #3. White + Pthalo Blue + a smidge of Lemon Yellow. #4. White + Pthalo Blue. #5. White + Cobalt Blue. Just so you’ll know: Touch, Tiny Bit and Smidge are Jack White technical art terms!

The blue portion of the sky is done in three zones. The lightest mix (#3) is used nearest the horizon, #4 for the middle part and #5 for the darkest area at the top of the painting.

The shadows on the clouds are Mix #2 while the highlights are Mixture #1.

The most distant cloud is completed first, then I “Paint Forward” to finish the rest.

The hills in the background continue on to this painting from the companion piece. They are made with White + Ultramarine Blue. The coolness of this mixture makes them recede. Next the oak trees behind the barn are painted. Part of the cornfield extends behind the barn. My left hand is braced on the unpainted area of the canvas, providing a steady support for my right as I delineate the sunlit tassels on top of the cornstalks.


Another VIDEO DEMONSTRATION! Amanda’s Grandfather’s favorite John Deere Tractor.

Back to Adobe Photoshop……Looks like everything is lining up the way it’s supposed to. Please remember, you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger. Thanks for visiting my online studio today! HUGS,

On to the Canvas

September 18, 2017

I begin by sketching the basic architecture of the building with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. A T-square placed on the top edge of the canvas is used to make certain the upright lines are straight and…well….upright!

The door and windows are symmetrical. To find the center point of the building, diagonal lines are drawn from opposite corners of the first floor. The intersecting point of the two diagonals falls in the middle of the door. 

After establishing the support posts of the porch the steps are added.

Amanda specifically asked that I include the porch swing. In reality it hangs at the other end of the porch. However, since we’re adding vines like in the old photo, I’m moving the bench to this spot where it can be seen. And those swinging in it can enjoy the view as well!

Another request was to include her granddad’s favorite John Deere tractor! You may click on the picture to see it larger.

The wildflowers in the lower left corner of the painting must meet up with the ones in the companion piece. So I’ve taped an image of it to the canvas to sketch in the “Plan for Planting”.

Thank goodness for Adobe Photoshop, it allows me to view the two paintings together to make sure everything lines up properly! OPPS! My barn and tractor behind the old Homestead are a bit too small so back to the easel……

So here we are, everything is the proper size now! I got an email from Amanda today with an update on the history of the “Rock House”. The information is from the Historic American Buildings Survey and is dated 2/12/1937:

“The name “Whetstone” is carved in the stone forming the landing of the front entrance steps. The house was built as a ranch house, and apparently was built by a man by the name of Whetstone. The house contains three rooms in a row, and a semi-basement. The house is flanked on either end by chimneys built flush with the exterior walls. Roof is pitched about six to twelve and was, in all probability, covered with cypress shingles; it is now covered with galvanized iron. Walls are built of native limestone of a fairly smooth texture, stuccoed on outside and plastered on inside. Floors are of random width tongue and grooved pine. Window frames, door frames and panels, etc., are cypress, windows are twelve light, double hung. A porch about twenty five feet long extends across the Southeast front.” 

The photo above, as well as the other one that was posted in my previous blog, was taken in 1936 and they think the girl sitting on the porch is Amanda’s grandmother, Florence. The number in the pictures is actually the reference number for the Historic American Buildings Survey, not the year the photo was taken. So that’s your little History Lesson for today! HUGS,

A Family Heirloom

September 16, 2017

I’m starting on a really cool collaboration today. Amanda and Bryan asked me to paint an old rock home that has been in Amanda’s family for years.  The house was built around 1845. Then Amanda’s dad’s great grandfather, Frank Manka, bought it around 1870. It was so fun looking at pictures of “The Rock House” at various times in its history.

Amanda especially loves how vines draped down over the porch in 1888. Please keep in mind as you read through my blog, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

Over the years the old homestead suffered. The property remained in the family but no one lived there, the rock house fell into disrepair. 

Recently the family restored the stately old homestead to its former glory; a welcoming place for gatherings and making happy memories.

Here is my sketch. We’re adding bunches of wildflowers as well as a barn and cornfield that reside elsewhere on the property. 

This painting will hang with another piece I’ve done for Amanda and Bryan. The two will work as a diptych. The Texas Barn painting is already in their home SO…..I put the sketch next to the painting in Adobe Photoshop to make sure the perspective between the two is correct.

I had to plan ahead before letting Amanda and Bryan take the companion piece home. I made pencil notations along the adjoining edge of this canvas as to the placement of clouds, mountains, trees and masses of flowers. If all goes as planned this should aid in matching up the two compositions. 

The painting will be done in a gallery wrap style with the image extending over the edge and on to the sides. Attaching the canvas to a piece of cardboard makes it easier to handle the wet art. The picture above shows my painting setup. Jack’s and my studio has always filled the “Living Room” of our home, no matter where we lived. People are quite surprised to step in the front door and be in the midst of an art work place! We’re ready to begin sketching the basic plan up on the canvas. Hope you’ll come watch. 

AND…..If you would like to receive an email every time I publish a new post please feel free to subscribe to my blogCLICK 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!


Warm Breath of Summer

September 14, 2017

Geraniums burst out of the terra cotta containers. These are also blocked in Flowers First, Leaves Last. There is a definite reason to work in that order. If the greens were painted first I would pick up some of that color on my brush when adding the reds, making them muddy. By blocking in the reds first and painting the foliage around the blossoms, the flowers remain bright and crisp.

Sweet Potato Vine tumbles out of the Geranium pot on the bench. The heart shaped leaves and shadows bring a subliminal touch of romance to the painting. You may click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

The large blossoms of the Sunflowers are blocked in with mixes of Cadmium Yellow Medium + a bit of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson), Cadmium Yellow Medium + MUD + Cadmium Red Light and pure Cadmium Yellow Medium. 

After the leaves are painted with mixes of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Yellow Medium the large centers of the flowers are added. A mix of MUD + a dab of Sunflower color is used.

Zinnias snuggle up to the wrought iron bench in the lower right corner of the painting. The flowers are mixes of Magenta + Permanent Rose + White and Permanent Rose + White.

Warm Breath of Summer  14 inches x 14 inches

A few years ago Jack and I bought some dwarf Sunflower seeds. We knew they wouldn’t grow very tall but assumed the blossoms would also be smaller. NOT TRUE, the flowers were huge! How delightful to have those large, cheery blooms down lower where you could just feel the “Warm Breath of Summer” as you walked by! Check this out at Gallery 1870