Archive for the ‘Original Oil Paintings’ Category

A Day for Thankfulness

November 25, 2015

2015-11-25 Front entry

THANKSGIVING……The calendar sets aside one day a year for giving thanks. But Jack and I are thankful for each and every one of our friends like you, all 365!

We also want to express our appreciation to all of those in the Military and Police Forces who keep us safe. We know you make incredible sacrifices in order to protect us.

God has so blessed us. Have a safe and Wonderful Thanksgiving and….GO COWBOYS!

Mikki and Jack signature small JPEG


Sketching Citation and Seattle Slew

November 24, 2015

SK4815 step 15

Today I begin working on Citation, another triple crown winner. I’ve decided to make the numbers on the saddle blankets the ones the horses were racing under when they won the Belmont, the third leg of the Triple Crown. You can see I’ve changed Secretariat’s  to the numeral 2. Citation came out of gate 4 when he won the Belmont.

SK4815 step 16

Citation knows the race is imminent. His jockey, Eddie Arcaro, keeps the big bay with tossing head and rolling eyes under control as he circles the paddock.

SK4815 step 17

The groom is having to step along pretty quickly to keep up with Citation! Please keep in mind as you read through my blog, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.

SK4815 step 19

In the background Seattle Slew is having to be held back by his handlers. These horses know they will soon be flying at full speed around the track at Keeneland.

SK4815 step 20

Now I draw in Citation with the oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

SK4815 step 21

Jean Cruguet is adjusting his saddle in preparation of the race.

SK4815 step 22

The oil wash sketch is complete. I’ve shortened Lucien Laurin and his assistant who is saddling Secretariat. I’ll begin painting in the next session.


But before I close for today I want to let you know our publisher is offering a special promotion just in time for your early Christmas shopping. You can save 20% on any of our books in PRINT. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to the e-books. All of Jack’s art marketing books are available under this offer.  All you have to do is enter the promo code HOLIDAYS20 when you check out. The offer is good through Midnight on Monday, November 30.  CLICK HERE to go to our book store, make sure to check out all four pages.


This special offer also includes Jack’s newest book, ABRAHAM LINCOLN! Just remember to use the promo code HOLIDAYS20 at checkout. Thanks for following along! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Sketching Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte

November 22, 2015

SK4815 step 12

Secretariat’s trainer was Lucien Laurin. Here he’s going over some last words with Secretariat’s jockey, Ron Turcotte, before the race.

SK4815 step 13

Ron’s silks are washed in with the same Cobalt Blue + Liquin mixture that I used on Secretariat’s blinkers.

SK4815 step 14

After getting the wash in finished I realized I made Lucien a little too tall. One of my astute readers did also, she sent a comment reminding me he was no taller than a jockey. Cheryl is absolutely right, Lucien was a jockey in his younger days in Canada.

Secretariat Lucien Lauren 4 ron turcott

Here is a picture of Lucien with Penny Chenery (Tweedy) and Ron Turcotte. Secretariat’s trainer is a bit taller than Ron, who was also from Canada. I’ll make the adjustments before I do the finished painting of the famous trainer.

secretariat 9

Cheryl also mentioned that the trainer usually saddles the horse. Again she is correct, my dilemma was I didn’t want Laurin’s back to the viewer. So I decided to have his assistant trainer, Henny Hoeffner, saddle Secretariat in my painting. I found this picture on, he’s in the yellow cap behind Secretariat. I’ll make him a bit shorter too. Then Laurin and Turcotte could anchor the lower left corner of the foreground. It’s a cool spring day at Keeneland, perhaps an old back injury caused by a fall in a race is bothering Lucien and he trusts his assistant with the saddling duties. But rest assured, I’m certain Lucien will check the girth before Ron is given a leg up! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Sketching Secretariat

November 21, 2015

SK4815 step 6

The building and trees in the background are sketched with a brush dipped in an oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a liberal amount of Liquin. Even though many of the archways of the curved saddling shed will be covered by trees or horses I draw all of them in. This way I can make sure the architectural proportions are correct. Please remember as you go through my blog, you can enlarge any of the images by clicking on the picture.

SK4815 step 8

As I was planning the sketch for this piece Jack and I watched American Pharoah win the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Keeneland. That is how Pharoah is spelled, the owners misspelled it when they registered him, it has remained that way. I knew David was also watching and zipped him an email asking who his three all-time favorite race horses were. His reply was almost instantaneous, “Secretariat, Citation and Seattle Slew.” SO…..I had my horses for his Keeneland painting. Let’s start with Secretariat. Drawing him with the oil wash I decided to move him a little to the left so he won’t be so close to the edge of the canvas. You can see the shadow of the pencil sketch.

SK4815 step 9

A wash of Cobalt Blue + Liquin is used to delineate the distinctive blue and white checked blinkers of the Meadow Farm Stables owned by Penny Chenery. It’s funny, I’ve always associated Secretariat with Claiborne Farms but he never raced under their silks. He stood at stud and was later buried there.

SK4815 step 10

Eddie Sweat was Secretariat’s regular groom, I definitely wanted to include him holding the big red colt.

SK4815 step 11

Secretariat and his handlers are roughed in, tomorrow the sketching will continue. Hope you’ll come back and watch. AND……If you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post you can 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! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

From Squirrels to Race Horses

November 20, 2015

One of my readers came up with a terrific solution for our SQUIRREL WARS! If you weren’t aware of our battle just CLICK HERE. But back to Fran’s VIDEO, it had Jack and I rolling on the floor with laughter. We definitely have to get one of these horse head feeders. Thank you Fran :) And Charlene, I always throw some extra seed down on the ground especially for Mr. Squirrel!

SK4815 step 1

I couldn’t have a better lead in for my next collaboration. My collector lived a good portion of his life in Lexington, Kentucky, home of the beautiful Keeneland Race Track. This piece will go in his “Man Cave” along with other horse racing memorabilia. I’ve been so excited about this commission, those of you who have followed my career know I started out painting horses. To paint the Keeneland Paddock, buzzing with activity just before a race, is a dream! It was so fun going back through all of our race horse reference to plan the composition. The pen and ink sketch is shown above.

SK4815 step 2

The painting is going to be 24 inches by 36 inches. How do I transfer this complicated sketch to the canvas? Well……here is the answer. I make a grid on a copy of my sketch. I don’t use the original, it will be given to my collector as a gift with the painting. The grid is quite simple, first I draw a diagonal line, using a ruler, from the lower left to the upper right corner. Then a corresponding diagonal is made connecting the other two corners. That establishes the center of the sketch. Next both an upright and a horizontal line are made, intersecting that center point. Each quadrant is broken down into a grid using the same method.

SK4815 step 3

A grid is drawn lightly with a pencil on the canvas following the same system. To see this better you can click on the image to enlarge the picture.

SK4815 step 4

I begin sketching the subjects up on the canvas. I start with the figures and horse in the foreground. The grid helps me get them in the proper place.

SK4815 step 5

Now I draw the people and horses in the background, making certain they are in proper proportion to the ones in the foreground. The pencil sketch on canvas is done. The rest of the background will be drawn with an oil wash in our next session. Hope you’ll come watch. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG



November 18, 2015

Jack’s newest book ABRAHAM LINCOLN: His Dark Side Exposed is now available for sale. Just in time for your Christmas gift giving!


That’s Jack’s painting on the cover! And….. as a special for all of our readers, collectors and friends you can save 20% on ABRAHAM LINCOLN: His Dark Side Exposed until Thursday, November 19 at midnight. Just enter the promo code PRESALE20 when you checkout.

Do your shopping early and avoid the crowds. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a special someone in your life. Or maybe even you!  CLICK HERE to go to our bookstore page. Just remember to enter the promo code PRESALE20 when you checkout to receive the 20% savings. BUT don’t linger, the special savings ends tomorrow night at midnight! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG



November 17, 2015

2015-4-25 Fountain courtyard from ramp 2

Jack and I love feeding and watching the birds that visit our garden. We regularly have Finches, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds and our Cardinals, Mr. and Mrs. Chippers. As winter approaches we’ll soon start seeing brilliant yellow Gold Finches. The feeder in our fountain courtyard has a weight sensitive perch so doves and squirrels can’t devour all of the seed. They are limited to what drops on the ground. An ideal situation for our feathered friends. You can click on the picture if you’d like to see the image of our fountain courtyard larger.

But that Mr. Squirrel is cagey, he figured out how to steal seed from our smaller feeder in the kitchen garden. So we put our thinking caps on and came up with an idea to make a baffle out of a clear Tomato Juice bottle. This should work, watch the VIDEO to find out.

Drat! That little toot got to the seed. Jack said I think if you could find a way to anchor the lower edge of the bottle to the cross bar of the feeder he couldn’t get down on it. So I cut slits on either side of the bottom and slipped them over the cross bar. The baffle won’t move, PROBLEM SOLVED. You can see in the VIDEO.

We fixed that little fella. Until I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window……….

GRRRRRRRRRRRR! Jack said, “This is WAR!” Then he went on eBay and found our solution.

Squirrel Wars 4

A large, flat baffle. I wish I could have seen the first time Mr. Squirrel tried to get on the feeder. Must have been a hoot! All I know is he no longer steals all the seed out of our feeder. He politely stays on the ground and eats all that dropped by the birds. But I do have to admit, I miss his acrobatic antics. And that’s the news from Jack and Mikki’s garden. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Silent Sentry

November 15, 2015

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 14

Sage is planted behind Roxie; its darkness will accentuate the sweet Dalmatian. You can enlarge the image by clicking on the picture.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 15

Next the snow is completed. Notice how I’ve made that nearest the door a cooler blue made of Pthalo Blue + a touch of Ultramarine Blue + White. Moving to the middle ground mixes of Ultramarine Blue + White are used for the shadows. Then in the foreground a little Dioxazine Purple is added to the Ultramarine Blue + White mix. This makes it warmer, following that simple rule: Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Go Back. Surprisingly it works even when painting snow. A darker mix of the Ultramarine Blue + White is used for Roxie’s path of deep paw prints. Pure White is used for the sunny highlights on both the snow and snowman.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 16

Roxie is painted with the same warm whites I used for the birch trees. To refresh your memory, they were made of Ultramarine Blue + a bit of Cadmium Orange + White. This makes her stand out from all of the surrounding cooler Whites. Ivory Black is used for the Dalmatian Dots. I just had to add a heart shaped tag hanging from her collar!

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 17

I’ve never painted a snowman before, it’s fun! The base color of the plaid muffler is Viridian Green + White.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 18

The Cadmium Red Deep stripes are carefully “Laid” on top of the Green. This is so my brush won’t pull the underlying Green into the Red, making it muddy. Cadmium Red Light is used for the highlights.

SK4715 Silent Sentry 14x14Silent Sentry        14 inches by 14 inches    Original Oil Painting

Gold stripes finish out the warm muffler. Roxie glances up at the Owl, a Silent Sentry keeping a watchful eye over everyone below. I’ve really enjoyed this piece, it’s neat to paint something a little different. And don’t you love all the special touches Jeana has added? Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


November 13, 2015

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 10

All that muted adobe color on the walls makes the red door POP! The shadow part is Alizarin Crimson + Cadmium Red Deep while the sunny portion is pure Cadmium Red Light. There is going to be a Yucca in the planter to the left of the door. I go ahead and pull the dark red shadow into the wet Cadmium Red Light paint.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 11

The green wreath, the complimentary color of the door, makes the red appear even brighter. Placing complimentary hues, or those across from each other on the color wheel, next to each other is a simple method I use to add vibrancy to my work. Now let’s move to the planter filled with Petunias that rests on the window sill. Blocking them in I leave white canvas where the snow will be. The perky blossoms made of Permanent Rose + White will peep out from under the white blanket covering them.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 12

WHOOOOOOOOO is that up in the birch tree? A little barred owl has landed on the snow dusted branch. I brace my wrist on the mahl stick to steady my hand as I paint the fine details. You can click on this or any of the other images to see them larger.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 13

The Yucca, Prickly Pear Cactus and a cascade of Mums nestle at the base of the birch trunks. Thanks for visiting our studio today. Hope you’ll come back for the next session. I’ll be finishing up Roxie and the Snowman! Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

November 11 – A Special Day

November 11, 2015

November 11 is a special day for Jack and me. On this day in 2004 he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and not given much chance to live. Well, here we are, 11 years later and Jack is doing quite well. We are so grateful to God, the doctors, the medical teams and all of our friends who kept us in their prayers. We couldn’t have done it without you. I also want to extend a big, Texas MUCH OBLIGED to all of our Veterans. You and your families have made so many sacrifices to keep us and our great nation safe. HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY!

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 6

OK! Let’s build the adobe structure first. I begin painting the wall with various mixes of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) is added into the mixtures for the darker shadows. I drag the shadows of the larger birch branches into the wet paint of the adobe.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 7

The birch trunks are painted with the same mixtures only in different proportions. More White and Ultramarine Blue and less Cadmium Orange is added to make the white bark. It’s amazing how the same basic mixes can produce such a variety of colors. A large Bright (square) brush is used to paint the trunk. If you’d like to learn more about the brushes I use please CLICK HERE.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 8

Now that the building on the right, trunk and limbs are complete I go back and finish out the fine shadows of the branches. I want to do this while the walls are still wet, it’s much easier to drag the tiny lines. If I were to wait until the structure was dry the shadows would be rough and bumpy.

SK4715 Silent Sentry Step 9

Dioxazine Purple is mixed with Ultramarine Blue + a little White to make the window looking out on the snow covered entry. Thanks to all of you who offered more suggestions on saving your leftover paint. One of the main reasons I write this blog is to help artists. It’s wonderful when we can all help each other! HAPPY PAINTING!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG






Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,483 other followers