Texas Sunrise


We’re staying right here in Texas on my easel today. This is another commission, a portrait of the recipient on his first horse, Kristen. My collector sent me a picture of him sitting on a different horse, watching as the sun welcomed a new day. As you can see there’s not much detail. Meagan and I discussed various options and she gave me free rein to develop the composition.

We decided to have Chance and Kristen in a field of bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country. I have lightly drawn horse and rider with pencil on the canvas. Now I begin sketching the background with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (2 parts Ultramarine Blue + 1 part Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. 

I’ve printed out my reference photos and taped them to the easel. The painting is 12 inches by 16 inches on a standard canvas. After blocking in the rocks in the foreground I start working on the horse. Please remember, you may click on this or any of the other images to see enlargements.

My goal at this stage is to establish the basic anatomy of the horse with the oil wash that was used for the background. I’m very careful to get Kristen’s distinctive blaze correct.

Now I begin drawing Chance.

The oil sketch is complete. I raised the hills up, so they come in behind Chance and Kristen. This will provide a dark background that will accentuate the sunlight tipping Kristen’s mane and rump.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Painting the sunrise sky!

The closest bluff is painted with a wide range of colors. All of the different greens are made with combinations, in various proportions, of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Orange + White. I’ve added MUD into some of those mixes to make them duller. Blues from the distant hills are also used as well as some mixtures of MUD + Cadmium Orange + White.

Notice how the blue hills drop back, while the warmer colors in the closest ones bring them forward. This demonstrates a basic rule of painting: ‘cool hues recede, warm ones come forward’. As Jack would say, “That’s your little lesson for the day!” Thanks for visiting my studio. Hope you’ll come visit again and follow along to see how this painting turns out. 

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Thank you for subscribing and have a wonderful day! With Big Hugs,


© Senkarik 2020


8 Responses to “Texas Sunrise”

  1. Athira Says:

    Wowwww wonderful👩‍🎨
    I think its more beautiful that original snap👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

  2. Carole Kabrin Says:

    Nice gesture. I just love the thick paint snd the strokes!! C.

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Mikki Senkarik Says:

    Thank you!

  4. Gisela Hoener Says:

    Absolutely beautiful.

  5. Geri Lawhon Says:

    Just a superb painting.

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