Ros Jenke – Painting Journey



Welcome to my blog.

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. This blog is to record my journey in the process of learning more about painting and will be an ongoing list of my artistic efforts from rough work to finished paintings.  I will attempt to post a few paintings a week – mainly watercolour but gouache, acrylic and sometimes pastel may also appear here.

You can also see some of my previous work at my other site.

I am happy to share my art with you and I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to comment or email me


240 Planning for Bali

I’m heading off to Bali for a couple of weeks and I think I’d like to do some small gouache sketches while I’m there. So today I had a test run of my limited palette of cyan, yellow, magenta, black and white, a “stay wet” palette and different papers to try and decide what might work for me. I looked at a travel website for some photos of Bali and did some quick little sketches from them. These are all only about 9 x 6 cm, much smaller than they appear here.

First one is on 126gsm cartridge paper. It’s not really suitable for my type of painting as it has a tendency to break down if I brush over the paper while it’s still wet.

Then I tried Rains 300gsm watercolour paper. I picked up a pad of this paper recently and while it is reasonably priced and it performed pretty well.

I then used Art Spectrum Draw and Wash 210 gsm paper for the next sketch. I think this is also called Canaletto paper. It wasn’t too bad, fairly durable, but the surface felt a little slick for the gouache.

Looks like the Rains paper will be the one I use. I’ll make up another little journal and I can use it for ink and watercolour as well.

I may also have to rethink the palette idea when I’m there because it’s going to be hot and humid so I’ll just have to see how quickly gouache will dry.

I’m also still doing a few Inktober sketches. I knew I wouldn’t get to do an ink sketch a day for the month even though I started fairly well. This poor little fellow was done in a few stages and sadly ended up being a little overworked. Pigma Micron pen .05, Pentel brushpen and watercolour on Fabriano paper.

A sketch in front of TV last night, from a photo on Sktchyapp on Rains 300gsm paper with a brown Staedtler fineliner and softened with a waterbrush.

I should do this each night instead of wasting time on Facebook or Instagram, the time theives. 

239 Portraits and Plants

Well I started Inktober with good intentions, but as usual for me life gets in the way and I get sidetracked 😄 I did get another 4 portraits done but no way will I get to finish the 31 for October. All the reference photos for these portraits were from Sktchyapp.

One great thing about participating in these challenges is that you get to see a great variety of artwork and different tools used. 

My first portrait sketch is with a Pilot V disposable fountain pen. It has water soluble ink which I didn’t really like at first so I only used it for notes, but seeing what others had posted using this ink I decided to give it a go. The lines were softened with a waterbrush. I really like the effect and will use this again. It will be great for tonal sketches and even adding watercolour over it.

Next sketch I decided to use a bottle of Quink ink and a dagger brush, both of which I’ve had forever. This is water soluble again and has a blue undertone which appeared when I tried to lift a little of the ink.img_1485

The following sketch is done with a small Pentel waterbrush filled with thinned Sepia ink. I’m right handed so I paint with the right hand and hold a water brush with my left, and use this to soften the ink. I dipped the brush into full strength ink for the darker lines.

Another experiment, this time trying a minimalist approach. Basic linework is Lamy fountain pen EF nib, and Pentel brushpen for the hair. Yellow gouache background.img_1505

That’s where the portrait session from photos ended. The following day I caught up with a group of sketchers to do pleinair, but the weather was not obliging. There happened to be a meeting of local spinners at the centre and they kindly allowed us inside to sketch them while they worked. This lady was obviously a talented spinner as she kept the same position (almost) for quite a while, apart from turning her head to chat to others. 

Others were stopping and starting trying to fix up their thread, a bit like jack in the boxes. Even so, it’s a challenge to capture the scene quickly. I used the Lamy pen and Pentel brushpen, along with some “new” water soluble crayons that just happened to fall into my basket. Yes! I am a member of Art Supplies Addicts Anonymous 😂img_1455

The next day I tried some quick sketches of a couple of old blokes. The likeness isn’t great but they do look like a couple of old blokes ……..  I think 😊

And finally I managed to get to do a pleinair sketch, on a fairly rare sunny morning. It is spring here but winter seems to be hanging around a lot later this year. Hopefully we will get better weather for outdoor sketching soon.

img_1540I am learning a lot from live sketching, and there is a lot to learn. But it’s fun trying.

#218 Junk Journal

This week’s post I’m showing you a silly sketch, one I did a while ago, while watching Marc Taro’s tutorial on Craftsy on people in action. It was just on the back of an envelope, messing around with a brush and colour. Then I decided to do an ink sketch (supposedly of Marc) before adding paint. While I do a lot of this messing around stuff I often feel a little sorry that they are only on scraps of paper and even though they are pretty bad I always learn something from them.

24 mar aSo I decided to keep a book just for this purpose. Trying out different techniques, medium,   notes , quotes, whatever. Like how fast I could paint an ice-cream with different brushes and colours, or sketch using felt markers, and watercolour pencil – straight from Lynne Chapman’s latest book on Sketching People. Excellent book I might add.

This junk journal has now become my favourite one. I don’t care what goes into it or what it looks like and I have a record of all my mistakes and discoveries. I should remember to date each page too.24 mar bIn the meantime I also continue with my little daily journal. I used watercolour and ink, with felt marker for the lettering in the next few sketches.22 mar23 marThis one is the one I did after my little practise with watercolour pencils in my junk journal. I actually prefer the paper in my junk journal even though it is lightweight cartridge. This paper isn’t as receptive to watercolour pencils.24 marWatercolour and ink again, with a felt marker for the lettering.25 marWatercolour and ink with a little gesso brushed over to fade out some areas. This was painted from a photo posted by Fish for the Wetcanvas for the 2 hour weekend challenge.26 marThe additional challenge for the weekend was to use some art supplies that you don’t normally use. I did an initial ink brush sketch, then used an old cheap set of oil pastels that I have never really done anything with, so I gave them a go on recycled brown paper in photo album that I found in a stationary store.25marTo finish off the week a late night painting of a pretty crimson finch. The painting started life as a watercolour but it didn’t want to play nicely for me so it morphed into a gouache. You have to love gouache for that. It has rescued many of my failed paintings.27 mar

My posts have been getting rather long these days, but that will probably change shortly. My little journal has only about a week’s pages left. I have enjoyed doing a daily painting or sketch and it has been a great learning experience, but have struggled at times for inspiration. And to find something that will be achievable both with the paper quality and size, but I will continue to paint and post but the quantity may slow down.

#238 Inktober Portraits

First just one last sketch from France, on one of my morning sketch walks.

After having such wonderful  subjects to sketch I was lacking inspiration back home, when I read about Inktober. The idea is to sketch in ink for the month of October and I thought the only way to master ink sketching is to just do it and get more miles on the brush! I’d like to let loose and free up my sketching but I still fall back on my finicky ways. So on with the struggle.

 I decided first to do a blind (or semi blind) contour drawing of the subject with a .5 Pigma Micron pen followed by a brush pen sketch. The first portrait I succumbed to adding gouache so it’s not strictly “Inktober” but I like the effect on the tan Strathmore paper.

 All the photo references are from Sktchyapp.

Pure ink for the next one …. yes!

Ink with a touch of watercolour.

Then brushpen and marker on unknown brown paper that was in this cool journal, which is actually a photo album. I like the fact that I can add different papers in this and can ditch the failures without spoiling the album.

I may or may not keep up the monthly challenge and the subjects might change, but you know me, I like variety 😄

237 Sketches from France

I’m back! Did you miss me? I had a wonderful time in France basking in the late summer sunshine. I didn’t get to do too much sketching while I was there but I did have other things to keep me occupied. The weather was superb, the sunlight on the mountains is really magical, and spending time with my new granddaughter was a very special time. 

But I’m home now, almost over my jet lag and definetly not enjoying the cold spring weather we are experiencing here. It has been the coldest (and wettest) September here for about 45 years. I’m so pleased I missed most of it. It’s a good time to be indoors so I can catch up with a few of my sketches. Most of these I did in my mini journal on my early morning walk,  just a line drawing adding colour later.

Firstly, a walk into the nearest village which has a small town square where I sat and did a quick sketch of a hotel, then tried some little figure sketches of people walking. Sorry the images are so large. My journal is only 16 x 11 cm so the sketches are in reality quite small.

Another hotel.

Next morning I walked through the forest and came across a mini farm with a few animals. I tried to coax the goat closer with a handful of weeds. That’s when I discovered what stinging nettles were! The sting lasted all day.

One weekend we visited another village. I sat on the balcony and sketched this pretty house opposite. I loved the architecture of these alpine buildings, each one different and so pretty with their flower boxes full of bright blooms.

Another early morning Sketchwalk.

And finally, while I was overseas Strathmore released another of their online tutorials with Will Terrell, sketching with markers. I didn’t have any markers with me at the time, so I watched the videos and did the figure when I got home. It’s meant to be a cartoon or caricature but I have great difficulty exaggerating features, but I guess it’s all practise. It was fun anyway, a real mix of markers, coloured pencil, brush pen and gouache, on Strathmore grey toned paper. 16 X 23 cm

I still have a few more sketches to follow in my next post.

236 Travel Baby

Well, it’s been a while, but I’m busy with other things. Namely this beautiful child who happens to be the most gorgeous little being. Do I sound like the doting grandma? I did travel a long way to meet her. This is my first sketch of her and I’m sure there will be more. 

I have never liked air travel, mainly because when you fly from my part of the world, most of the flights are long haul, and always include a layover of some hours. This last one was 11 hours flight, one stop before the second leg of 6 hours.  I did use my time waiting around airports sketching people. It sure makes the time go faster and it beats reading or facebooking or whatever everyone is doing on their smartphones or devices. I’m actually looking forward to sketching airport people on the return journey 😊

I’m still in France, making myself helpful most of the time but I have managed to do a few early morning sketch walks while the family is still sleeping.

These sketches were done in my mini handmade journal with cartridge paper. I quickly sketched a few outlines with a Uniball pen and added colour later back in my room.  

There will be more sketches in the next post but I thought I’d include a portrait I did just before packing for my flight and didn’t get around to posting it. This was from a photo by Sky Wartooth on Sktchyapp.

Gouache and pencil on Arches cold press.

235 A week of portraits

This week has been a week of portraits. Since discovering Sktchyapp I seem to be engrossed in sketching people. In the evening instead of watching a mindless tv program I grab a journal and pencil, pick a photo from Sktchy’s never ending stream and limit myself to a 15 minute sketch. These first 3 were all done in a Moleskine journal with a 7B pencil.

Then as I like to try something different, the next 2 sketches were done on Strathmore toned paper, first buff then grey, with an ink outline, and watercolour pencil and brush pen on top.

Each week a photo is chosen as a challenge on Sktchyapp. A beautiful photo was provided by Nadyia Duff for this week. I decided to do a semi blind contour drawing first. This is done looking at the photo and not the paper you are drawing on, while drawing a single line without lifting the pencil off the paper. I love doing these to loosen up.

After the fun I did a proper attempt, starting with a pencil sketch and using the colour of  Stonehenge paper for the skin tone, then adding a little bit of shading in transparent gouache with thicker paint for the eyes and hair.

It’s all very well working from photos for portraits but when it comes to sketching real people in real time it’s another matter. I tried some cafe sketching one morning, but people keep moving, especially if they think you’re drawing them and get self conscious. Oh well, it’s good practise and fun playing with a magic colour pencil and waterbrush.

I also managed to get out for a quick sketch walk. I wanted to test run my little palette I attached to my towelling wrist band with Velcro to see if it worked. And it does. One hand holds the journal and the other the brush. No trying to juggle palette and book in one hand. And I ocan fit the palette, journal and pen and phone into a bum bag. Super lightweight sketchwalk 

I hope I get to use this on my travels. Wish me luck. This may be my last post before I’m off for a month. If I’m able I’ll post to my Instagram account. That’s if there’s anything worthwhile to post 😄