Posts Tagged ‘Art Lessons’

Chimayo Morning

April 22, 2015

2015-4-20 First Strawberries 2

STRAWBERRIES! Our first of the year.

2015-4-20 First Strawberries 1

They’re almost ready to eat. We can hardly wait, just hope Ms. Mockingbird doesn’t get to them first 🙂

SD1515 Chimayo Morning Step 7

Jack and I have taken tons of reference pictures over the years. BDC (Before Digital Cameras) we mainly took slides. We have some great Poplar Tree 2x2s, just have to pull out the trusty slide projector to view them. You can see my set up above. I project the image on the wall behind my easel. That’s Jack’s painting over the mantle, he did it especially for me. Don’t you think Peace in the Valley is beautiful? You can click on the image to enlarge it!

Watch the video above to see how I paint the Poplar Trees!

SD1515 Chimayo Morning Step 8

The leaves of the Red Corn Poppies are painted first, opposite of my usual method. Then the thick brushstokes of the brilliant flowers are gently “Laid” on top of the underlying paint. If I pick up any of the green I immediately wipe it off the brush, I don’t want it to muddy the intense color of the blossoms.

SD1515 Chimayo Morning Step 9

I go back to my regular sequence of Flowers First, Leaves Last to block in the White Daisies in the foreground.

SD1515 Chimayo Morning 14x14Chimayo Morning     14 inches by 14 inches

Yellow and Orange centers finish out the Daisies shimmering in the early morning sunlight. Isn’t it amazing how the warm flowers in the foreground make the cool colors behind them drop back? Thanks for following along. Hugs,

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Winter’s End

March 22, 2015

SC1215 Celebrate Spring Step 1

Spring is here! Today I’m starting on the second in a quartet of Santa Fe Seasons paintings. It’s a commission for a delightful couple who live in Santa Fe. The first piece was for Winter. If you’d like to see Farolito Shadows CLICK HERE.

SC1215 Celebrate Spring Step 2

After establishing the ground line of the building I begin drawing the bench. Perspective lines delineate a rectangle on the floor, giving me the corner points for the legs. The sketch is made in a thin oil wash of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. The canvas has been primed with acrylic rather than gesso, giving it a slightly slick surface. This makes lifting any errant lines off very easy. All I have to do is take a clean brush dipped in thinner and wipe them away.

SC1215 Celebrate Spring Step 3

One special request was a hen with little chicklets. I will admit it’s my term, have called the downy, yellow chicks that ever since I was a little girl!

SC1215 Celebrate Spring Step 4

Well, the basic plan is all sketched up and we’re ready to start painting in the next session. Hope you’ll come watch. 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!

Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG



Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul

November 22, 2013


The courtyard of Casa Azul is the theme for my eBay auctions this week. The lovely cobalt blue building was the birthplace and home of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Jack’s portrait of her is shown above. Casa Azul is now a museum dedicated to her art. Recently I was commissioned to paint a larger piece of Casa Azul. I’ve never painted a garden with blue walls and a yellow door so these EMBRYOS are my color studies.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 1

The two pieces are worked on at the same time, as if they were one canvas.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the auctions.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 2

My color is mixed and I’m ready to begin painting. The mixtures are #1. Cobalt Blue + a touch of Pthalo Blue + White. #2. Mix #1 with more White added. #3. Alizarin Crimson + a little Cadmium Red Light + White. #4. Mix #3 with MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson. #5. Mix #3 with more White. If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 3

The blue walls are painted first, establishing the light and shadow patterns.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 5

Mixtures #3, #4 and #5 are used for the red borders around the door and window. Cadmium Yellow Medium + a little Cadmium Orange + Mud makes the shadow on the door. I use Pure Cadmium Yellow Medium for the sun lit part. The background of the wall tile is painted first, then the design is drawn with a fine liner brush.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 6

Dioxazine Purple Wisteria works well with the blue courtyard walls. After painting the terra cotta containers the tile pavers of the floor are added. I’m especially pleased with how the color from the door reflects down into them.

SK11413 - SK11513 Step 7

More gardening. What fun to explore the possibilities of flower combinations in the electric courtyard setting.

SK11413 Sunny Greetings - Boisterous Garden A

This has been so much FUN! Take delight in the brilliance of Frida Kahlo’s famous Casa Azul. Let Sunny Greetings and Boisterous Garden color your life every day. Remember, to see this or any of the other images larger just click on the picture.

SK11513 Boisterous Garden 6x6 A

Juxtapose lots of flowers next to the blue walls and a cacophony of color explodes. Bring this Boisterous Garden into your life or that of a special someone. Senkarik EMBRYOS make great gifts that will bring smiles for years to come.

SK11413 Sunny Greetings 6x6 A

Add a spot of color on your wall and let the little sun face tile welcome you with Sunny Greetings.

SK11513 Boisterous Garden 6x6 with tape

Both pieces measure 6″ x 6″. Don’t worry about framing them, these little gems have finished sides and are ready to hang on your wall.

The EMBRYOS can be displayed together or individually. These original oil paintings retail in our galleries for $390 each but to make it more fun we are starting the bidding on both auctions at 1 cent. That’s right, ONLY A PENNY! The auctions are staggered 7 minutes apart so you can win one or both Original Oil Paintings for your home or office. AND…..If you win the TWO EMBRYOS we will give you FREE SHIPPING! Don’t linger, the first auction ends Sunday, November 24 at 8 PM Texas (Central) Time.

CLICK HERE to go directly to the auctions.


Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Immersed in Spring

July 28, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASG4913 Immersed in Spring step 1Beautiful Spring! The earth wakes up and flowers come alive. Our front patio overflows with Red Corn Poppies, Bluebonnets, Laura Bush Petunias, Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia Greggi and fragrant Mountain Laurel. A quick sketch is made to compose my idea. I decided to move some California Poppies from another area to the foreground of this piece. You may click on any of the images to view them larger.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring step 3

The basic plan is drawn up on the canvas in a thin oil wash. I extend the rock wall to fill the entire left corner because the adobe color will make a nice neutral backdrop for the brilliant chair and flowers. Then I begin painting the Mountain Laurel, Flowers First, Leaves Last.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring step 4

I’ve decided not to include the Red Salvia Greggi, instead filling the background with the purples of the Mountain Laurel and Mexican Bush Sage. These cool colors will drop back behind the chair and the warmer, more intense flowers in the foreground.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring step 5

The Petunias are blocked in with mixes of Magenta + Permanent Rose + White and Permanent Rose + White. Working near the edges I continue the design onto the sides.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring step 6

The flowers of the Red Corn Poppies are added, then California Poppies bring a bright blast of warmth to the foreground.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring 14x14Immersed in Spring     14″ x 14″    Original Oil Painting

I love sitting in this little courtyard totally Immersed in Spring, enveloped by the fragrance of the Petunias and Mountain Laurels.

SG4913 Immersed in Spring 14x14 Sides 1SG4913 Immersed in Spring 14x14 Sides 2Immersed in Spring is another one of my paintings for our annual Collector Event at the Santa Fe Art Collector Gallery, 217 Galisteo Street. We’ll be there August 30 and 31. Hope you can come. If you would like to RSVP for the Collector Gala at 4PM on Saturday or want to receive a catalog of the show paintings just email us at We’ll send the catalog out about a week before the show, I still have a lot of pieces to paint 🙂

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!

HUGS, Mikki Senkarik signature JPEG

Distant Village

June 29, 2013

SF3213 step 4

The sky is completed first, then I paint forward on the Azure Mediterranean Ocean. I follow a simple rule in painting the water: Muted Colors go back, Intense Colors come forward. To make the color of the water in the distance muted I use mixes of Ultramarine Blue + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. In the middle distance a mix of Ultramarine Blue + Pthalo Blue + White is used. Closest to the front of the painting the water becomes more intense, or brighter, with mixtures of Pthalo Blue + White.

SF3213 step 5

The under wash of the vines is dry so I can paint around them without dirtying the color of the water. I let a ray of sunshine splash across the surface of the ocean, illuminating the hills and the tiny fishing village of Cassis in the distance. Remember, you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger 🙂

SF3213 step 6

The fields of vineyards in the background are painted with cool blue/greens. I let the light hit the most distant vines. After the solid mass of color is blocked in I draw the rows into the wet paint.

SF3213 step 7

The vines on the front hillside are painted with cooler greens in the far back, getting warmer as they come closer. I paint them loosely, allowing some of the under wash to show through. The warmest greens made of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Yellow Medium are reserved for the vines on the right since they are closest to the viewer. The grapes are also made cooler in the distance with mixes of Dioxazine Purple + Ultramarine Blue + White. The ones in the immediate foreground are pure Dioxazine Purple + White.

SF3213 step 8

Dangling bunches of grapes are added on the right and the posts supporting the vines are completed. Tomorrow we’ll plant the field of Red Poppies!

JW Taos 24-250 16x20

AND….Don’t forget. The auction for the hand embellished and signed Limited Original of Jack’s Oil Painting “Taos” ends tomorrow night (Sunday) at 8 PM Texas Time. That’s the Central Time Zone. CLICK HERE to go to the auction. Happy Bidding! Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

Gecko and Cobblestones

June 25, 2013

JW Taos 24-250 16x20

Before we begin painting I want to let you know about an EXCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY to own a Jack White. On our eBay auction we are offering this Hand Embellished Limited Original on Canvas of Jack’s beautiful oil painting “Taos”. To view the image larger just click on  the picture. Hurry, the auction ends Sunday, June 30 and the bidding starts at only a penny. That’s right, 1 Cent! CLICK HERE to go to the auction.

JW Taos with reverse signature

The Limited Original is unframed with plenty of canvas for stretching. Not only is the piece titled and numbered with the edition at the top border, it bears Jack’s unique reverse signature. This was how he had to sign his trademark gold leaf “Echruseos” because they were done on the back of glass. The signature appeared in the correct direction on the front of the gold leaf. When the Limited Original is stretched in a traditional manner the labeling will be upright on the back of the piece. To go to the eBay auction for this piece CLICK HERE.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 11

Now let’s get to work. I brace against a mahl stick hooked over the top of my easel to steady my hand as I paint the Gecko tile design.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 12

The window in the foreground is a mix of Ultramarine Blue + a touch of Dioxazine Purple + White. The light will spill into the painting from behind the dark building on the left. Terra cotta containers are painted with mixes of MUD + Cadmium Orange + Cadmium Red Light + White.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 13

For the floor I begin working on the upper level of the porch and paint forward. The upright planes of the steps are made darker, the top surfaces are lighter because the sun hits them more directly.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 14

The sunlit portion of the cobblestones are made cooler toward the back and become warmer as we paint forward.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 15

Next the shadow across the front is blocked in. Notice the back of the shadow area is cooler so it falls back. I lay the paint in with rough, textured strokes to give the impression of irregular cobbles.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 16

The cracks and crevices between the cobblestones are loosely indicated with touches of MUD. I don’t want to outline each and every rock. I let my brush dance along the edges of the rough brushstrokes to give the impression of the cobbles. There is more detail in the foreground with less and less as the floor recedes.

SF2813 Flooded With Light step 17

Cobblestones….DONE. Hope you’ll come back for our next session. I’ll be planting. Why don’t you bring some gardening gloves and come help? Hugs, Mikki Senkarik


Tiling the Courtyard

June 17, 2013

SF2913 Step 17

The upper level of the courtyard is blocked in first. The back part is in shadow, I paint the tile nearest the wall cooler so it will recede. The sun streams across the front portion of the floor, the warmth makes it come forward. The basic tile mixtures are made from varying proportions of Cadmium Orange + MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. I use blues leftover from the water to add coolness into the floor.

SF2913 Step 18

The upright planes of the steps are made darker because they receive less light from above than the flat, top surfaces. The upper step is touched by the sun, the other two remain in shadow. Then the lower courtyard, completely in shadow, is painted with warmer mixes made by adding a little Cadmium Red Light to the paint used on the upper level. I make a few brushstrokes of Ultramarine Blue + White near the back of this level so it recedes.

SF2913 Step 19

Perspective lines are drawn into the wet paint of the floor. I do this freehand with a fine liner brush. Using the mahl stick would limit the movement of my hand, making it difficult to pull a straight line.

SF2913 Step 20

The next step is to delineate the horizontal lines separating the individual tiles.

SF2913 Step 21

The edges of the tiles are now highlighted and the floor is finished. Can’t you just feel the toasty heat of the sun warmed tiles under your bare feet? Tomorrow we’ll do some more planting, hope you’ll come give me a helping hand. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik


Ancient Stone

June 15, 2013

SF2913 Step 9

Here’s a closer view of my setup. The glass palette rests on a white board placed on top of a culinary cart with wheels. The two shelves give me plenty of room to organize my paint. You can see the basic colors lined up on the shelf directly below the mixing surface, handy to grab when I need more. The toilet tissue is used to wipe my brush. I do this every two or three strokes and immediately throw the paper away so my hands don’t get dirty. A clean brush makes for crisp colors on your canvas. The mixes for the stone walls are laid out on my palette.  #1. Ultramarine Blue + White. #2. Cadmium Orange + Ultramarine Blue + White. #3, #4, #5 and #7 are mixed from different proportions of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD + White. #6. MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + White. GO COWBOYS!

SF2913 Step 10

I love my easel, it allows me to lower and raise the painting so I don’t have to reach too high which would strain my shoulder. If you would like to know more about the easels we use CLICK HERE. The piece is put down to the lowest level to paint the top portion. Brushstrokes of the various dark mixtures of stone color are made randomly in the shadow area of the wall. Then I come back and loosely indicate the crevices of the ancient stonework.

SF2913 Step 11

I’m following another simple rule here: Cool Colors Go Back, Warm Colors Come Forward. The back edge of the receding plane of the archway is painted more blue, or cooler, than the front part so it will go back.

SF2913 Step 13

Now we’ll let a few rays of sun brighten up the wall over the door.

SF2913 Step 14

The shadow of the red door is painted with a mix of Magenta and Cadmium Red Deep. The portion glowing in the sun is pure Cadmium Red Light.

SF2913 Step 15

The building is constructed, now we can begin planting! The flowers of the Trumpet Vine are blocked in with Alizarin Crimson + White, Cadmium Red Light + Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Orange + Alizarin Crimson and pure Cadmium Orange. The paint is all smooshed together, I want the area to be covered with a jumble of color.

SF2913 Step 16

The foliage is painted around the flower color, then I come back in and add the highlights on the blossoms touched by the sun. Can you see how the cool blues of the water in the distance fall in back of the warmth of the red door and Trumpet Vine in the foreground courtyard? That little rule about cool colors going back and warm ones coming forward does work to give the feeling of depth in a painting. That’s all for today. Hope you’ll come back and visit our studio tomorrow. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

The Jewel

June 14, 2013

SF2913 Step 5

Since the sky is the source of light I begin painting there. Cobalt Blue + White is used for the upper portion of the sky which is darker. Near the horizon the sky becomes lighter and yellower, here I use a mix of Cobalt Blue + a tiny bit of Pthalo Blue + White. Clouds hover near the distant shoreline, the base color is Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + MUD + White. MUD is a deep purple made of equal parts of Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson. If you would like to learn more about our Double Primary Mixing System and why we came up with the name MUD CLICK HERE.

SF2913 Step 6

The finishing touch on the sky is to add the highlights on the fluffy summer clouds. By painting them wet into wet I can soften the edges, making them drop back. I follow a simple rule for painting the water, Muted Colors Recede, Intense Colors Advance. The most distant water is made duller with mixes of Ultramarine Blue + MUD + White. Coming forward I use Ultramarine Blue + White, then Ultramarine Blue + Pthalo Blue + White, shown above.

SF2913 Step 7

The water in the foreground is brighter, or more intense, than that in the background. It was made with a mix of Pthalo Blue + a tiny bit of Lemon Yellow + White. I let the sunshine illuminate the distant point, the foreground bluffs will be in shadow so it will glow.

SF2913 Step 8

La Jolla means “The Jewel”, it’s one of Jack’s and my favorite places. Painting this wonderfully beautiful cove for our collector brings back many warm memories. Have a great evening. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik

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!

Let’s Start Painting

June 3, 2013

SE2513 Expression of Beauty Step 12

I begin with the roof. Several mixes of Ultramarine Blue + Cadmium Orange + White are used to block in the rough cedar shake shingles. A few randomly placed strokes of Ultramarine Blue + White give them a weathered look. As you’re reading through my blog please remember if you would like to enlarge any of the pictures just click on the image.

SE2513 Expression of Beauty Step 13

Dark lines separating the individual shakes are made of MUD (Ultramarine Blue + Alizarin Crimson) + Liquin. A lighter version of the shingle color is used for the highlight. Next the shadow on the adobe wall under the eaves is painted. After delineating its truck the Bougainvillea is blocked in with mixtures of various proportions of Magenta + White.

SE2513 Expression of Beauty Step 14

The foliage is painted in and around the Magenta, forming the bracts of the Bougainvillea. Following this sequence, Flowers First, Leaves Last helps to keep the blossom color crisp and clean. If the greens were done first, my brush would pick up some of it as the flowers were painted, making their bright color muddy.

SE2513 Expression of Beauty Step 15

The finishing step on the “Bougie” is to add highlights on the leaves and bracts glimmering in the sunshine.

SE2513 Expression of Beauty Step 16

The adobe wall is now covered with mixtures of Cadmium Orange + MUD + a touch of Pthalo Blue + White. More MUD is added into the mix to make the darker hues. If you would like a detailed explanation of our Double Primary Color Mixing System CLICK HERE. We enjoyed having you visit our studio today, hope you’ll come back soon. Hugs, Mikki Senkarik