June 5, 2017

Now work begins on Ashley. Generally women are pinker than men, so I’ve added a little bit of Alizarin Crimson to all the skin tone mixtures. The three color zones still apply, they are just much more subtle than in men. Please remember, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

With the light coming from the upper left, her forehead and bridge of the nose are highlighted. Darkening the shadow side of the nose gives it form. 

Ashley’s arm is more tan, so I use some of the warmer mixes from Pastor Chris’ face here.

Her purple shirt is made from combinations of Dioxazine Purple + Magenta + White.

A couple of colors not usually found on my palette, Burnt Umber and Ivory Black, are used for Ashley’s long, dark hair.

We couldn’t figure out Emma’s blanket in the original picture so Pastor Chris was kind enough to supply me with one of Ashley’s favorites. I took a couple of photos so he could immediately return it home to Emma’s room. We didn’t want the baby’s cover to be gone long enough for Mom to discover it was missing! I bring in some of the purples from the shirt for the knitted bands. The pinker bands are Alizarin Crimson + White.

Emma’s cap is blocked in with a soft green made of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow + White.

I will also have to come back and make some final adjustments on Ashley. The blanket needs some additional work too. Children are NEXT!!!! Hope you’ll come follow along. With Colorful Smiles and HUGS,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


June 4, 2017

We’re ready to begin on Pastor Chris. The color mixtures are laid out on my palette: #1. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. #2. MUD + Cadmium Orange + a little Ultramarine Blue + White. #3. MUD + Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Cadmium Orange + White. #4. Cerulean Blue + White. #5. Mixture #2 + a bit of Ultramarine Blue + White. #6 Mix #3 + Cerulean Blue + White. #7 White + some of Mix #2. #8. Mixture #2 + Alizarin Crimson + White.

Light pours into the painting from the upper left, so Dad’s face will be in shadow. Typically faces have three color zones. The forehead is yellow, mid face is red and lower face is blue. Now, before you fall out of your chair saying, “WHHHHHAAATTTTTT??????? Let me quickly explain, or ‘splain, as Jack would say.  The color differences are VERY SUBTLE. The skin covering the cheek bones and nose is very thin, with blood vessels right under the surface. Therefore this part of the face is redder, especially if the person spends a lot of time outdoors in the sun. 

The blues in the lower face are much more pronounced in men because of their beard. In the picture above I’m painting Pastor Chris’s teeth. It’s always a fine line between getting them too dark and they look dirty. Or too light and then they pop out of the mouth! I paint them as a solid unit, not trying to delineate the individual teeth. That would make them look too much like a picket fence. You may click on the picture to enlarge the image.

My hand rests against the mahl stick to steady it as I block in his nose.

The ears are part of the red, mid portion of the face.

The shirt is made of Alizarin Crimson + a little Ivory Black + White. I want it to be rich in color but not “Jump Out at You” Bright!

His jacket is a warm gray in various combinations of Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. Some MUD is thrown in for the darker shadows. 

Pastor Chris is blocked in, I’ll have to come back and make final adjustments to get his likeness exactly right. But I want to wait until I get the canvas completely covered and everyone else in.

I’d like to thank those of you who have told me my website isn’t working properly. I really appreciate it! Jack and I originally obtained our domain names in 1994! LONG before we owned a computer. BUT….we knew someone who had one. I can’t believe I just said that! Anyway, they were able to register for me; however, was already taken by a realtor in Alaska. So we got for Jack and then had some company build us websites. I remember the first time we saw them on our friend’s computer, it was like magic when he clicked the images and they enlarged! We finally did get our first computer in 1999! Over the years both sites have been through many revisions, updates and additions. Well, seems that links, modules and whatever are all terribly out of date. We were told internally the sites look like cyberspace junkyards! Time to START ALL OVER. Well…..I’m going to take a deep breath and dive in. It may take me awhile but I’ll eventually get back up with a whole new look! Fortunately Jack’s site seems to be functioning alright for now. SO…..BIG HUGS from your soon to be computer geek friend,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG


June 2, 2017

The background is painted first. My color recipes are as follows: #1. Ultramarine Blue + a tiny bit of Pthalo Blue + Ivory Black + a small amount of White. #2. Mixture #1 with additional White. #3. More White added to Mix #2. #4. Mix #3 with even more White!

Light pours into the portrait from the left, so the lightest mix, #4, is used for that side. The background becomes progressively darker as we move to the right.

The darkest mixture, #1, is reserved for the area behind Emma and Ashley. This is planned so the dark will accentuate the light on the tiny baby’s face, the focal point of the portrait.

Using a mix of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin, Ashley’s long dark tresses are pulled into the background. This is done wet-into-wet in order to soften the edges. I’ll come back later and paint the rest of her hair.

Background…….DONE! We’ll be painting people in our next session. Hope you’ll come follow along. HUGS, 

A Mother’s Day Surprise

June 1, 2017

In January my collectors welcomed a new addition to their family, daughter Emma! This picture was taken as Caleb and Ethan met their new baby sister for the very first time. Mother Ashley was absolutely heartsick that the photo didn’t turn out very well. So Pastor Chris asked if there was any way possible for me to make a painting as a surprise Mother’s Day Gift for her. 

Even though the picture was fuzzy I got goosebumps looking at it. The emotion captured is awesome and the lighting perfect for a painting. I said, “Definitely YES, we’ll make it work.” Since there was very little detail in the actual photo I gave him the assignment of going through all of his pictures and finding shots of everyone in similar poses. Pastor Chris did his homework well. Working from those pictures I reconstructed the introduction. The family portrait was actually painted several weeks ago but I couldn’t show the blog until now! My first step is to lightly pencil in the figures on my canvas.  Please remember, you may click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

Next Ashley is drawn with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. 

When Mom is complete work begins on Ethan. The shadow areas are established before adding any details on his face.

Now Caleb is washed in.

And sweet little Emma. I love the way the light coming from the window, in the original photo, falls on her face.

Then Dad is blocked in.

Our family is up on the canvas. At this stage I’m not worried about getting exact likenesses. This is more to make certain of everyone’s placement on the canvas and developing the light and shadow patterns. I see right now I have Ashley’s upper arm too short, I’ll make that correction later. 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!

Love Forever

May 30, 2017

Our first step today is to mix colors for the terra-cotta containers and the Geraniums, as well as the Sweet Potato Vines, that will be planted in them. #1. Three mixes are made in different proportions of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Cadmium Orange + a little Cadmium Red Light for the pots. #2. Ultramarine Blue + White. #3. Cadmium Red Deep Hue + Alizarin Crimson. #4. Cadmium Red Deep Hue. #5. Cadmium Red Light. #6. 3 combinations of Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow.  #7. Pthalo Blue + Liquin. #8. Pthalo Blue + Lemon Yellow + White. #9. Three shades of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium + Cadmium Orange + White for the Sweet Potato Vine.

TALKING VIDEO! Painting the Geraniums Part I.

And here is the second part.

African Daises fill the container on the left. I was originally going to add some tall Gladiolas in the mix. But I soon realized if I did that, the flowers would be so thick they would cover over the Infinity symbol on the chair. I know that “Figure 8” is far more important to my collector than the Gladiolas.

Centers are added to the Daisies. First a solid dot is made with MUD + Liquin. Then I come back and make a smaller, Cadmium Yellow Medium dot in the middle of that. The final touch is a small speck in the center of the yellow with the MUD mix. You may enlarge the picture to see this more clearly, just click on the image.

Love Forever      10 inches by 10 inches

Gary and Kathy can sit on the terrace, sip some wine and go for a stroll on their own private Carmel beach. Their hearts are interwoven for eternity, the honeymoon is never over! Thank you for following along. AND for all of your encouraging words about my new “Talkie” Videos. The general consensus has been “DO MORE!” So I will do as I’m told! With HUGS and COLORFUL SMILES.


May 28, 2017

Hot Pink Bougainvillea, made of Permanent Rose + White, dips down between the weathered beams of the Pergola. As you read through my blog don’t forget, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

After adding leaves to the Bogie above, work begins on the bistro table. I’ve decided to make the top out of tile. The entire surface is covered first, then the lines separating the individual ceramic tiles are drawn into the wet paint.

Sunlight glistens on the wine bottle and glasses. Next, the Magenta seat cushions of the chairs are made. Gary asked if I could add the figure 8 “Infinity Symbol” below the heart design. He and Kathy feel that expresses their love; they like to say, “The Honeymoon’s not over!” And they’ve been married a long time. Isn’t that cool?

The satillo tile floor is painted in the same manner as the table top. The entire surface is blocked in first, establishing the light and shadow pattern. Then the table and chair legs are drawn with a mix of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin.

Perspective lines are pulled into the wet floor with a fine liner brush dipped in the same thin mixture that was used for the legs of the table and chairs.

The floor is complete! We’ll be planting flowers in the containers in our next session…..and I think I’ll have another “Talking” video for you!

But before I go I want to remind you tomorrow is Memorial Day. Many of you will have the day off; most likely celebrating with friends and family by throwing something on the grill or smoker. Please take a moment to pause and remember all of the people who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in this wonderful country. God has blessed us by allowing us to be born in the United States of America. Our great nation and home has been protected by thousands of men and women, giving their lives so we can live in freedom. We are grateful to all of them and their families. Our hearts and prayers are with everyone in the armed forces and law enforcement. Let’s remember them every single day, not just on this particular one. When you see someone in uniform make sure to shake their hand and say, “Thank you for your service. I appreciate your sacrifice.” With grateful HUGS,

Video….WITH AUDIO!!!!!!

May 26, 2017

Painting begins with the sky. Cobalt Blue + White is used in the upper portion while a lighter mix of Pthalo Blue + White covers the area closer to the horizon.  The mountains lining the far side of Monterey Bay are made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + a tad more Ultramarine Blue + White.

OK…..YOU ASKED FOR IT! Audio on my painting video! I have a feeling the audio sensitivity on this video is a bit too high, LOTS of background noise. BUT…I will get there. You’ll have to bear with me as I’m learning. 

Around Easter time Ice Plant blankets the shoreline in the Carmel area. The bright pink is awesome. I use a mixture of White + Magenta to make a muted pink cascading over the rocks. You may click on any of these images if you’d like to enlarge them.

ANOTHER VIDEO! Painting the heart shaped back of the wrought iron chair.

The chairs will be finished as the areas behind them are painted. Next the Pergola is constructed.

Bougainvillea trunks wind around the massive columns supporting the wood beams.  We’ll add the colorful, bright pink bracts in our next session. Please let me know how you like the new videos and if they’re helpful. With Big Hugs and Colorful Smiles!

On to Carmel!

May 24, 2017

A new commission today! My collector saw this painting on my blog and decided he would like to surprise his wife with a similar piece!

This VIGNETTE of Carmel also caught his attention.

The piece is on a 10 inch by 10 inch cradled panel with the sides painted in black acrylic. We start by sketching up the basic plan on canvas. Gary decided a pergola would be cool instead of the arch. After establishing the horizon line I draw the basic architecture with a brush dipped in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. Please remember, you may enlarge any of the pictures, just click on the image.

He suggested an opening in the courtyard wall to imply steps and an easy access to the beach below the terrace. Bracing against the mahl stick steadies my hand as I delineate the round back of the wrought iron chair.

The wine bottle has been drawn with a thin mix of Sap Green + Liquin. The wine is a wash of Alizarin Crimson + Liquin. Some of this mixture is pulled over the Sap Green to give the impression of wine remaining in the bottle.

The rocky shoreline of the Carmel coast is drawn in the distance, flowers are labeled and we’re ready to begin painting in our next session. Hope you have a wonderful day. With Big Hugs and Colorful Smiles!

Whispers From the Past

May 22, 2017

Red Corn Poppies burst out from the rocks beside the Heron petroglyph. The foliage is made of combinations of Pthalo Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium while the blossoms are blocked in with Cadmium Red Deep and Cadmium Red Medium. The blooms dance high above the leaves, therefore I reversed my usual sequence and painted the Leaves First and Flowers Last.

California Poppies clamor over the rocks to the right of the sweet bunnies. Their cheery blossoms are mixes of Permanent Rose + White, Permanent Rose + Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Orange. Some of the reds left over from the Corn Poppies are used for the blooms in shadow. Greens from the cactus make the leaves.

Deep centers are added with a mix of Magenta + Liquin.

Blackfoot Daisies snuggle between the two gourd pots. The flowers are blocked in with mixes of Dioxazine Purple + White, Pthalo Blue + White and Ultramarine Blue + White.

Jeana asked if I could add some bluebonnets somewhere in her painting. The bank with our herd of deer is a perfect place! My wrist is braced against the mahl stick to steady my hand as I delineate the little white “Bonnets”. Please remember, you may click on this or any of the other images to see them enlarged.

Another request was a Blue Jay, so here he is getting ready to land on an aspen limb.

Whispers From the Past     16 inches x 36 inches

Wouldn’t it be neat if those petroglyphs could talk? It would certainly be amazing to hear their “Whispers From the Past”! It looks as if the deer have heard them! I appreciate you following along, your questions and all of your kind comments. Y’all are wonderful! HUGS,


May 21, 2017

Jeana and I had originally talked about Yellow Black Eyed Susans in the container by Charlie. But now that the Yellow-Gold Aspen in the background are finished I realize that won’t work. If we were to also have Yellow in the foreground our painting would not have any depth. The basic rule, Warm Colors Come Forward, Cool Colors Recede still works however. The Red-Orange Rudbeckia I’m planting here are warmer and brighter than the cooler Aspens in the distance. 

After dotting the centers in the Rudbeckia, I let the heart shaped leaves of a Sweet Potato Vine dangle out of the container.

Now for some fun details, Petroglyphs! 

Jack and I used to live in Long Boat Key, not far from where Jeana lives. Herons are everywhere in that part of Florida. We used to have one that was a regular visitor in our yard, I’d feed him strips of raw bacon. At feeding time he would bang on our glass door with his nose (beak). So we named him “Nosey”! I thought it would be fun to put him on the container below Charlie. Please remember, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

Jeana loves Owls and I thought this ancient design was cool.

So an owl is etched on to the container next to Charlie.

Quail are special little birds. When we lived in Arizona a hen raised her brood in our back courtyard. After they grew up I’d throw bird feed out for them in the evenings and call “HERE QUAIL!” They would come running from all directions, the plumbs on their heads bobbing wildly! It brings a smile to my heart thinking of those sweet little babies galloping across the Arizona desert.

So we’ll have a hen and a couple of chicks parading across the gourd pot protected by Mr. Chippers.

Petroglyphs…..DONE! Next will be planting the flowers sprouting out of the rocky foreground. Hope you’ll come watch. But before we close for today I’d like to share a video with you. 

I’ve been working with a Chinese Discipleship Bible Study at our church, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran. I invited some of the group for tea in my garden yesterday. Fei surprised us with an impromptu singing performance. Though you’d enjoy this beautiful ancient love song from China! Listen closely at the end, you’ll hear a soft howling in the background. That’s MOLLY! She was sitting on the deck right behind us, singing along! Hugs,