Let Me Introduce Myself

Mikki with Breathtaking Retreat  Original Oil on Canvas 6′ x 8′

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

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54 Responses to “Let Me Introduce Myself”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Dear Mikki

    Thank you for your response to my silly request regarding “Off to the races” I am passionate about horses and have dipped my hand in breeding racing Thoroughbreds. I have horses in my blood. I became nearly obsessed with the pattern and have searched high and low for it. I so appreciate your response to me and I will pursue my search. Your technique is great and I also Like flowers. Probably we are nature lovers as well as animal lovers. I will keep my fingers crossed to find more of your works and hope to aquire one some day. Thank you for taking out time to respond. Keep up the good works. Email at anytime. Sincerely,

    Kathy

  2. josh lance Says:

    Great site, Mikki. Showing your process is a valuable gift, i never get tired of it, and your work has always been so colorful and incredible. You inspire me, thank you.

    Ciao,
    Josh

  3. Teena Says:

    You always take my breath away! I’m so proud to own your work.

  4. KVSTAS DENDRINOS Says:

    thanks

  5. danny and maggie hancock Says:

    hi mikki,
    after see our new painting we must say that you have been blessed with an incredible gift. thanks for making the world a brighter and happier place. all the best to you and jack.
    danny and maggie

  6. Lori Woodward Simons Says:

    Hi Mikki!

    I spent an afternoon with you in Carefree a number of years ago. You and Jack took me out to lunch and he advised me on art marketing. It was a wonderful visit for me.

    An artist commented on the Canvoo.com/buzz forum (about our mentors) and she pointed to your blog. I didn’t know you had one, but I’m glad I found it.

  7. Mary M. Covington Says:

    You have the best blog I have ever seen. Love to see you make progress on your paintings. Perhaps I’ll get the nerve to start painting too. I just do pencil now. Am 70, so I guess I better not wait too long. Thanks again

  8. Sheila Says:

    Just happened, whilst browsing, to come across your blog and am totally in awe of your paintings. Absolutely gorgeous; alive; vibrant; happy; full; I can taste them! Wonderful! I’m not an artist myself, but you know, one does come across lots of art….I have never been so inspired by any other art as I am yours. I can just about step inside and be a part of it.

    Thank you for posting these for others to enjoy!
    Warmest wishes to you.
    Sheila

  9. Elaine K. Says:

    So glad I “found” you and Jack — so glad Jack led me to your blog. Love the way you are able to tell your story, warts and all. I’m sure that, to do so, is cathartic and has released you to the free expression in your paintings. Love them!

  10. Jim Cryan Says:

    I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your color system
    and technique.

  11. joycedodd Says:

    Thank you! Mikki, let me know if you ever have another event in Santa Fe or wherever! Your blogs are so super, more than any teachers or books! You make mixing colors so simple. Painting everyday makes for greatness and fun and relief from the outside work…you are proof of it!

    One day I hope to meet both you and Jack.

    Thanks for telling me where to find trumpet vine and sun warmed, etc. joyce dodd harcharik

  12. Sandra Says:

    Mikki,
    Your story brought me to tears. I had an abusive situation growing up and a mentally abusive husband. I finally met my “angel” nearly 19 years ago. He supports my painting 100% and keeps me at it even when I don’t think I can do it. I feel so blessed. Thank you for sharing your story!!! God bless!!!

  13. Quilter K (@QuilterBear) Says:

    Mikki, I was sexually abused by my father, as well as 6 other people, before the age of 5. I was then emotionally/mentally and physically abused by him after that as he was in an accident and was the victim of a Traumatic Brain Injury. I didn’t know that was what was wrong with him, as I thought I was just a bad person since he vented all his rage toward me.

    After I was married (to an abusive man who had secret gay trysts), I began counseling and eventually graduated from college and became a therapist myself. My specialty was grief and trauma resolution, and often used art and painting as a means of therapy though I, myself, was creative in other ways such as writing and crafts. I recently, at the age of 54, was diagnosed with a brain disorder myself and had to retire but have discovered watercolor painting on my own.

    Your story has inspired me so very, very much! Thank you – I will try harder now to make time for painting and learning (I have been learning from books and experimentation). I love your blog! This was my first but certainly not my last visit!

  14. Tammi Vaughan Says:

    What a very touching story! Both you and your husband are blessed to have found one another. I would love to know just exactly what Jack saw within your Art that first time in order to make the comment he did.

  15. Victoria Says:

    Hi Mikki ,

    My name is Victoria and I am a young artist. I never tried oils because I never had to exposure to it . However I am very inspired by your work and they are tremendously beautiful ! , I love your styling of painting , its very motivating as I am now trying my hand at realistic painting.
    I have to admit you produce fantastic work and your definitely a blessed and skilled artiste and I am learning a lot just by watching your step by step process of cool to the back and warm to the front.
    I just wanted to post this to say thank you for inspiring me even further in exploring realistic styling and for having this wonderful site with your amazing art work.

    Looking forward to seeing more from you ,
    good wishes,
    Victoria 🙂

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Victoria, I’m so glad you like my blog. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. The main purpose of my blog is to help artists like you. Happy painting! Mikki

  16. same Says:

    Mikki, your story brought tears to my eyes. I quit art about 8 years ago to take care of my Mom, she had Alzheimers. She passed away in May. I have yet to start back with my art, but you give me hope that I will. And knowing your story, your images are all the more beautiful. I hope to be able to purchase one of your paintings in the coming year. I have read through your entire blog, and want to thank you for sharing. It was a fun read, and inspirational.

  17. Kathy Leigh Berkowitz Says:

    Wow, Mikki –
    You are truly a survivor. I too am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it inspires me that you are so transparent with your story. What beautiful work you do! Thank you for being a blessing, Kathy Leigh Berkowitz

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Kathy,
      Bless your heart. I’m sorry for the pain you had to endure. It was hard to expose my story for the world to see but it has been well worth any fears I had. We’ve heard from survivors from all over the world, both men and women. Jack and I are so glad we can give them hope and let those that have been abused know healing is possible. Thank you for following my blog.
      Hugs, Mikki

  18. Jody Poehl Says:

    Love your story and your artwork you can check out mine on Facebook under my full name only I have 2 sites so you will have to make sure you’re at the current 1. My wall photo on the current 1 is a woman standing with flowers with mountains behind her. Thanks -Jody Poehl…

  19. TK Says:

    I found your blog by accident, Mikki, while searching for a reference for horse proportions… and gosh, what a happy accident it was. While reading one of your tutorials I felt both peaceful and excited, if that makes sense. Your light really shines between these brush strokes.
    This story has touched me deeply, too—it’s time for a long, slow breath, I think.

    Thank you for being here and for sharing with all of us.

  20. Steve Abramson Says:

    Mikki, I love your work. The paintings are ask bright and cheerful. Looking at your work is inspiring to starting painting again. I have only been painting for a few years and consider myself at the student level. My doctor recommended it after a brain injury stopped me from working three years ago. I am bothered by you being a Cowboys fan since I live outside of Houston.;) my daughter is also a MCG graduate in physical therapy. I look foreword to reading your blots.
    Sincerely,
    Steve Abramson

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Steve,
      Thank you for your wonderful comments. If you ever have any questions please feel free to ask. And Jack and I do cheer for the Houston Texans as well as the Cowboys!
      Hugs, Mikki

  21. Katheryne Says:

    Good to see your paintings are still going. How does one take that final step and really heal? I keep floundering. I’m painting agai, and having my First art show in New England now, and . I thank you for the encouragement and your story. I could really use some professional/personal advice if you have time.
    Katheryne K. Sharp

  22. Ann Montgomery Says:

    I’m a retired CPS caseworket. I was adopted and physically and emotionally abused by my adoption mother then at 18 married and the abuse continued until I got a divorce. I’ve read your full story and happy life is good for both of us. I now have a sweet relationship with my bio mother.

  23. Özden Koyutürk Says:

    Hi Mrs.Senkarik,
    you are send from heaven to me,because you paint the pictures, i like to paint my hole life but i can`t ,i never studyed painting or sketching.
    I do paint for myself at home without knowledge because i like to paint ,its my passion and excatly the picture you paint i would like to paint,maybe someday.

    Thank you for being online and god thank you that you gave her to us to see her beautyful fine art pictures.

    Best regards
    Özden Koyutürk

  24. teena Says:

    nature gave humans and animals vision
    but while spreading the palette of rainbow hues
    it clumsily or accidentally dropped the colors
    relishing only the human eye.
    Resigningly, the animals chose to live with black and white,
    but the creative human went amok, coloring this, coloring that.
    Among them, enhancing and tinting,with the midas brush
    the artist senkarik surpassed nature itself,
    bringing more color and beauty than nature itself.

  25. Francis John Says:

    Words cannot express the beauty that is in your soul to paint pictures. My blessings now and always…Francis John..+++

  26. binary options demo Says:

    I was very happy to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this
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  27. Laura Saxon Says:

    Dear Mikki, Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am a survivor and an artist who has been struggling this year. It’s good to see your example of the healing power of art.

  28. Rita Mamayek Says:

    I read your story and was saddened to hear if your abuse as a young girl.. but so glad you met Jack and have a wonderful blessed life..praise the Lord. I love, love, love, your paintings and art..a f/b friend sent me your site so I could see your work. I only started painting 3 yes ago and have just started thus year to take online art lessons. But the instructors..though full of lots of info only like to paint in the loose style and I like to paint more detailed.. so also have been looking on how to add more color in my paints..I love color, but again the artists that use lots of color are also more impressionistic and the my friend send me to your site. So just wanted to say I will be watching paint. And I love your style and colors. Also so very glad you have a wonderful life now. God Bless.

  29. Rita Mamayek Says:

    Dear Mikki,,thank you for sharing your story…it must have been terrible for you…but am so glad you have found a wonderful man and live in the places most of us only dream about. Your artwork is fantastic and I love all of it..I am trying to learn to paint and use more color myself…with very little accomplishment..I am mostly self taught..but this year have taken some online lessons and have seen a few artists who really use alot of color..I also want to learn how to do that. but the instructors I know only paint mostly impressionism and I like to paint detail like you.. so now maybe I can watch how you paint and learn to use more color myself..

    Again thank you for sharing your story and your paintings..God Bless You.

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Rita, Thank you for your kind words. It was hard to tell my story to the world but we’ve gotten messages from all over the world from men and women who were also abused. It’s worth all the pain if I can offer even one person hope. God has truly blessed both Jack and me. If you ever have any painting questions please feel free to ask. Hugs, Mikki

  30. katecruisedesign Says:

    I’ve just found your website after searching for a tutorial on colour mixing. Your story is so sweet, I’m so happy you met someone who helped you both personally and professionally. And your paintings are beautiful, I love your use of colour and how it so accurately portrays light and shade.Thanks for taking the time to share your story, your paintings and your tutorials!

  31. Daph Hobelman Says:

    Mikki, your spirit comes through your work. Thank you for the rays of hope and faith that come from you.

  32. Paola Says:

    Hola Mikki, soy Paola deBuenos Aires, Argentina. Tengo 38 años, estudie Trabajo social, soy mama de 6 chicos, trabajo en el ministerio de seguridad, y estoy comenzando a pintar. Amo las plantas como vos, pero como alquilo, cada vez que me mudo voy dejando algunas de mis plantas. Estoy enamorada de tus pinturas!!!!! Son hermosas, bellisimas, fascinantes. cada vez que miro uno de tus cuadros me dan ganas de meterme en uno de ellos. Amo los colores, las flores, admiro la facilidad con la que realizas f us trabajos. Este ano empece un taller de pintura y mi primer cuadro , el cual aun estoy pintando , es un collage de unas cuantas de tus pinturas. Nunca admire a nadie, pero vos sos increible. Amo tus pinturas, besos, desde Argentina.

  33. Paul baudry Says:

    Hi Mikki,
    I just found your sight last night and I’m in awe! I have just started painting….only 3 pieces so far. I’ve had only 2 each 5 hour lessons and it was an eye opener for me because I have never picked up a brush. The local artist here on Ambergris Caye never told me what each type of brush was for, so I just had to guess. Last night I watched YouTube and saw what you did with either flat or bright brushes. I never had a clue how they were to be used, so it’s been a battle for me.
    I just want to say that you really inspire me and I have seen a lot of art on the net and I will remember yours the most….so vibrant, and perfect in every since….even down to the drawings. I really do admire your paintings and your new life. God Bless!

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Thank you Paul, for all of your kind comments. First of all Ambergris Caye is one of Jack’s and my ALL TIME FAVORITE places. We were there several years ago and fell in love with it. It was like stepping back in time. How wonderful you get to live there. Just in case you haven’t found it here is the link to my blog on our double primary color mixing system:
      https://mikkisenkarik.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/our-color-mixing-system/
      Using these colors is the reason my paintings are so vibrant. Please feel free to ask questions, I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability. HAPPY PAINTING, Mikki

  34. Paul Baudry Says:

    Thanks Mikki, for the offer for help. I will check out the sight and do some studying. I do have a famous artist in the family from Paris, Paul Jacques Baudry, but I didn’t know this till just recently. My grandfather was from Paris and this was his dad.
    I work in Africa for 2 months on and off as an engineer and stay on Ambergris Caye on my time off. I still have my home in Biloxi, Ms. Thanks again……you are just awesome!

  35. dawnmarie Says:

    I just wanna say that I was reading some of your post and looking at your little baby paintings and they are beautiful. I’m so glad your Jack put you out there. Absolutely beautiful work. The colors!

  36. Allan Jaworski Says:

    Surfing throughanatomy drawings I came across your secretariat slides. I followed that horse and when Penny, Firestone and Mellon were organizing a Virginia Thoroughbed Association dinner in 1979, the Big Red horse was Hallowed. Anyway i was a scenic artist from 1981-88 and well rabbit glue and tempra powders became obsolite with latex paints. I did studio paint with oil on Canvas as well. My point is now at 60+ years, benn to NM and SantaFe at NPS, i pucked up painting again in thr last 6 years. Imy father did watercolor cards by a trick I taught him doing stagecraft. Set up ten cards and repeat the same brush stroke onbwach following yoir original as key. He would make amazing 20 and 30 identical watercolor cards. Peole loved him, r.i.p., 2008.
    I developed a style of show art. I buy myskin and stretch size with RV roof white rubberized paint, glue long and short sides with vinyl carpet adhesive and put grommets along sudes like banner or tarps. I opaque in the dark draw and marker the sketch.ed Use acryilic colors and can roll and set up displays wiyhin days. Just wanted to be neighborly to say some things. Allan, from Enterprise Alabama, formerly from Johnson City TX, Alamogordo, Carlsbad,Los Alamos, NM Amarillo,TX, and Chicago, Il.

  37. Odilia Calzadillas Says:

    Dear Mikki,
    This morning as I sat down to have breakfast I gazed on your painting and thought to google you… When my husband and I took a trip to Maui (years ago) we stopped by your studio to look and we were so impressed with your work. There was a gentleman there that told us you did beautiful horses on canvas. I remember talking to you and explaining what we wanted on canvas. You painted for us “Ladies First” 1993. We love this painting . We thank you again. God Bless

  38. Tomas Anton Says:

    Dear Mikki,
    I have found your web site last year. It was short time after I decided to start with painting as a hobby (in my age of 56). But pictures of your works changed everything for me! Your way of painting and artistic feeling is fascinating. From your paintings I can feel the sun in your heart and in your soul. You are a big inspiration for me and I am trying to follow your technique now. Thank you very much, you showed me the way. God bless you.
    Tomas

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Tomas, What a wonderful comment. WOW, you’ve made my day. Thank you. Hearing from readers like you and knowing I’ve been helpful is the reason I continue to blog. Please feel free to ask questions. HAPPY PAINTING, Mikki

  39. delicasm Says:

    Hello. I just read your life’s synopsis. Thank you for sharing. I’ll go read the in depth story after my comment. I’m no artist, I’ve never had training. But, I just started painting purses, bags and totes to sale to add to my income. I’ve searched the internet for tutorials and lessons. I stumbled onto your site and I must say I love your instructions. I get your emails and have learned a lot. Thank you. So, digging around here I finally read about you and I’m glad to met you. I too am a abuse survivor and am finally with someone who helps me in my healing process. We a polar opposites however, she does not paint, draw, stretch or does it interest her one bit. Except for what I complete. Boy oh boy, she raves and rants like I was a Picasso first rate student. LOL. Lovely and supportive. Anyway, I just wanted to write and share with you. I love your work and now I love your life journey as well.
    Again, thank you for sharing. I’ll be ordering your instructional book very soon. Can’t wait.
    Have a lovely day, and Happy Painting.
    Donna.

  40. Mizanismail Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and your art work is amazing. I am your fan

  41. Kim France Says:

    Hi Mikki,
    Up until 2016, I lived a life of pretty much just work and family. At 54, it dawned on me my lifestyle was not balanced or well rounded. Just last month I stopped at an art store on my way home from work and (completely out of the blue) bought paints, brushes, and a few canvases to try my hand at painting. I feel like I’m seeing things for the first time! Every time I take a moment to really LOOK, I see colors and shadows and beauty that I never noticed before. Now I’m like a spunge trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible so that I can learn a bit more every day. I came across your blog and practically did a happy dance! Your technique, your colors, your subject matter, ALL radiate HAPPINESS AND SUNSHINE AND HOPE….I have almost read your blog way back to the beginning…..and I will continue to follow you so that I might have a tiny bit of your talent rub off on me…..and, if not….at least I’ve had the pleasure of it all…..Thank you for blogging, Mikki. YOU ARE AWESOME.

  42. rachel williams Says:

    Dearest Mikki,

    I want to thank you for acknowledging God (so gently) (but it screamed to me) as being responsible along with
    your cherished husband, for your joy and peace today.
    Thank You, Thank You, You have such a devoted audience and God is obviously using you to honor Him and plant that seed of Faith in
    others as they read of your gratitude and your gift of discernment that you used to realize it all comes from Him (including your beloved
    husband).
    Thank You Lord, for this sweet lady;
    Lovingly,
    Rachel Williams in Baton Rouge, La.
    new artist and lover of horses (like you)

  43. Thameur Says:

    You are Angel

  44. Dee Burton Says:

    Mikki, I just saw the notice of Jack’s death. I haven’t met either of you, but through a few emails to Jack and you, I feel that you are friends. My heart felt very heavy to learn of Jack’s passing and hope you have found comfort in your work. I originally contacted Jack to let him know that I have had (for years) one of his gold leaf paintings. It has brought much joy to me and I want to thank both of you. I am sure that Heaven is covered with beautiful paintings now. With fondness, Dee (Texas).

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Dee, Thank you for your kind and comforting words. I have lots of paintings to do which is the best thing for me. I’m glad you’ve had the enjoyment of owning one of Jack’s gold leaf paintings; they are so awesome. We had a beautiful sunset the other evening. I think God put Jack in charge of getting all the artists together and they splashed the sky with incredible color. Hugs, Mikki

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