Let Me Introduce Myself
Hi, I’m Mikki Senkarik. A Texas Artist, Gardener and Dallas Cowboys Fan. Painting and sketching are the breath of life for me and I can’t imagine living without being able to produce artwork.
My story is a long one that you can read on my website, www.senkarik.com. However; here is a short synopsis. I was sexually abused as a young girl by my biological father. College was a chance to get away from the abuse. I went to the University of South Florida and then to the Medical College of Georgia, earning a Master’s Degree in Medical Illustration. My first job as a Medical Illustrator was in San Antonio, Texas. It was there I met and married my first husband. My professional life was great, but my personal life was in shambles. As with the majority of abuse victims my path led from an abusive parent to an alcoholic and abusive husband.
In 1989 I really began to feel the constraints of the bad situation I was in at home plus the restrictive nature of Medical Illustration. I loved doing the Medical Drawings and enjoyed working with the doctors but the illustration had to be so exact, there was absolutely no room for deviation or inventiveness. Putting this on top of a terrible marriage and all I wanted was an outlet to escape! So I decided to venture into fine art. Horses were my first love as a little girl so I began drawing these magnificent creatures.
I became acquainted with a group of women artists and we decided to do a show at a local mall. One of the people who came through our exhibit was the State Artist of Texas, Jack White. He was very complimentary of my work so I got up my courage and asked him if he would look at my portfolio. We scheduled an appointment at an outdoor Mexican Café for the following week. After patiently looking at all the artwork I presented he said, “I want to tell you two things. First, you are a very talented artist. Far more talented than I am and could be a great painter. Secondly, You are a very sick, young lady.”
I was shocked. I didn’t believe either statement and didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say much except that it was time for me to go. How was he able to see through my false front to the pain in my soul?
A few weeks later Jack contacted the leader of our artist’s group and asked to set up a meeting with us. The Colonial Country Club had asked him to do a show which he couldn’t because of other commitments. So he recommended our group and wanted the Director of the Country Club to come meet us. One of the other ladies had told Jack of my home situation so at the meeting he took me aside and said if I ever needed a friend to talk to he was there.
We became telephone friends and he encouraged me to get out of my abusive marriage. After several months I worked up the courage to leave and get a divorce. Jack helped me find an apartment and was a true friend. He set up an easel, canvas, palette and paints so I could paint but I kept making excuses not to get started. One day he called and said, “I’ve entered you in the contest for the cover of the San Antonio Phone Directory. The deadline is in two weeks. Get to Painting!”
I was mortified. But my professional self took over. I couldn’t miss a deadline. I got the painting completed in time. I didn’t win the cover spot but I was a winner. With Jack’s pushing I started painting.
Our friendship grew. My traveling experience was nill so he drove me all over Texas and shared his love of this wonderful state. He taught me about football and I became a fan of his Dallas Cowboys. We went farther to California, I’d never seen such beauty. I had never been treated so nicely, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Once abused, a victim is always waiting for the inevitable to occur. But it never did. Then one day he said, “I want to show you Hawaii.” We went to all the islands, our last stop was Maui. On the afternoon before heading back to the mainland we drove the narrow, bumpy road to the backside of the island to an area called Lover’s Leap. Standing on the edge of the cliff with his arm around me Jack asked, “Mikki, I would love to spend the rest of my life with you living in places where people go on vacation. AND……… I would love to teach you to paint. Would you do this?” Mind you, we were right on the very edge of some extremely high cliffs. How could I say NO? (Smile).
With God in our lives and Jack’s love, my healing came. Jack said when he started teaching me to paint, “I don’t want to put my hand on your brush. I don’t want you to feel you have to paint like I do. I want you to be your own person.” It is amazing how his philosophy traveled from the canvas into my person.
It’s been a long journey, over 20 years. I seldom have night terrors anymore and my painting has soared. We have lived in the vacation spots and traveled the world. I feel so fortunate to be able to say I’m no longer a victim. That out of the brambles of my former life Jack and I have found the beauty that I’m able to share with the world.
To visit my extensive website www.senkarik.com