Ros Jenke – Painting Journey

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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

 

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 😄

234 Keeping up the Habit

Some days sketching time just gets frittered away, so this week I decided to try and do a daily sketch, even if it is just a few minutes. I also want to get quicker and achieve a reasonable likeness with portraits so I grabbed a few more images from Sktchy, and timed 15 minutes per sketch. These were done with a 7B pencil in a Moleskine journal. Some are more successful than others but it’s all good training for the sketching muscles.

Then a messing around page in my Strathmore toned paper journal.  I had a messy transfer from the previous page when I didn’t wait for the white ink to dry. So I did a couple of imaginary faces to try out watercolour and coloured pencil on this paper. I used Sktchy again for a couple of 5 min ink and pencil sketches.

I’m still finding my way around Sktchy, sort of like the new kid on the block. I just found out that there is a weekly challenge there as well.  This is my sketch for last weeks challenge – Pentel brush pen and gouache on Strathmore toned paper. I decided I like the use of the toned paper. It seems a little more forgiving than white.

If you are interested in quick sketching portraits I found David Rankins 5 minute method very helpful. Another helpful tutorial is with Gary Faigin on Craftsy. 

And while I’m in the quick sketch mode I did a quickie contour sketch in brown ink with a bit of watercolour splashed on. This was from a photo on Wetcanvas for the weekend challenge. I’m quite enjoying doing these contour sketches in ink. I used to be nervous about putting pen to paper without the crutch of a pencil outline first but it is in fact liberating, and it’s surprising how it turns out sometimes.

During the week I met up with one other sketcher and we managed to get a 45 minute slot of sunshine before the rain started again. Well, it is winter here on the south coast, so when you get a bit of sun you have to go for it. This sketch was of a local historical building,  in a Strathmore mixed media journal, with Preppie fountain pen and brown ink.

Now I’m getting into the habit of quick sketching I have my moleskine journal and pencils on the coffee table beside my chair in the lounge. It makes it so much easier to grab those few minutes to sketch.

233 Weekly Sketches

I keep trying to improve my figure sketching by trying different techniques and media. It keeps it interesting, and maybe someday I’ll what works best for me. For the following sketch I used a waterbrush with gouache and watercolour pencils.  This was from a photo in the weekend challenge on Wetcanvas.


I had another look at  Lyn Chapmans Sketching people book again for some more inspiration. This really is a great book with loads of information and examples. Sktchyapp once again came in handy for providing different images for my victims. I wouldn’t dare post them there and offend anyone, but they provide good subjects for quick practise. These are all sketched directly with a waterbrush, watercolour and watercolour pencil on top.


The blue blob in the middle of the next page resulted from me dropping it onto a freshly filled palette. That is a swatch of MGraham ultramarine blue and after scraping off the excess paint it looked a bit like a figure, so I used the waterbrush to make it into one 😄 I thought I might as well do some more and just continued using the waterbrush to do some doodles.
Trying yet another idea, this time contour sketching with a Preppy fountain pen and brown ink, with a touch of watercolour over. 


And lastly, a change from people sketches, a pleinair outing at an old building in town.  This building served as a store and office for the nearby convict-hiring depot in the 1850s. It’s framed by a couple of enormous Moreton Bay Fig trees.

I’m always disappointed with what I achieve when I’m out sketching on site but when I’m back home away from the scene It doesn’t seem so bad. I guess I just can’t compare it against the original 😄

232 Pet Portraits and Sketching

Something a bit different this week – a Sktchy portrait first up. I really want to be able to capture faces quicker than I am doing at present, so by tapping into Sktchyapp I can find thousands of photos to use for practise. I had great intentions of doing several quick practise sketches each week but I only managed one this week. Just a 2b pencil on cartridge paper.


In my town Thursday morning has now become a regular Meetup with a few other artists for some local sketching. As we are in the middle of winter only a few diehard sketchers braved the chilly winds in the centre of town this week. I’m getting a little more comfortable sketching in public, and don’t really care if I’m making a spectacle of myself anymore. I find it interesting that previously people would just pass by, but when they see you sitting there sketching, the same people will stop and chat about drawing and art in general. 

I sat opposite the town hall and sketched it with a Uniball Eye pen on Canson Montval paper, then added the watercolour at home where it was a bit warmer. We actually had a couple of hours sunshine so I was able to capture the shadows from a photo I took.


I also managed to finish a painting I sketched last weekend. This cute little fellow was from a photo by Shadoe posted in the weekend challenge on Wetcanvas. I tried to capture his personality as well as his likeness. Painted on Arches cold press watercolour paper.

As an animal lover I do enjoy painting dogs and cats. This got me thinking during a visit to our local veterinary clinic early last week. While I was in the waiting room I thought it could do with a bit of animal art displayed on the walls. That got the brain ticking over. Maybe I could get a few pet portrait commissions if I displayed one of my paintings there. It would help a little towards the vet fees too 😄.  They were happy to do it, so as a result I am now in the Pet Portrait commission business. I’ve updated my Pet Portrait  page. Have a look and tell me what you think.

231 Compact Sketching Kit

I’ve been busy with stuff other than sketching this week. Exciting things like planning for my trip overseas, to welcome my first grandchild. I would like to do some sketching along the way, to fill in the transit hours –  19 hours flying time plus 2 hours at Doha airport. I don’t want to be lumbered down with taking stuff I may not use I decided to make myself a new kit, with just the bare essentials.

I wanted my kit to be compact, minimal and light, something I could slip in my handbag and use to sketch on the plane and hopefully a few sketches in the area. I don’t expect to have much free time for sketching while I’m there but I want to have stuff on hand if the opportunity arises.

 Yesterday I spent time designing and sewing a kit to hold my pencils, pens, palette, waterbrush, journal with room for a couple of extra items in the top flap. This is made from an imitation leather, to fit a 21 x 14 cm Stillman and Birn Alpha journal. I tossed around taking my lighter hand stitched 21 x 21 cm journal but decided the S&B has so many more pages I can scribble away to my heart’s content without worrying about running out of space. It will also fit the square one if I decided to take that instead as I do prefer the larger format. I painted the sketch below in the S & B journal, trialling the kit using the same tools.


My watercolour pencils have been modified – cut in half and glued together so that I can have 12 colours in 6 slots.

Much as I like my existing travel palette with 21 colours I decided I could make do with just 3 – Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Pthalo Blue. I decided to add a few others for convenience and I couldn’t do without Ultramarine Blue. I made an insert I made to fit in a tiny credit card holder, with a thin piece of sheet plastic or Perspex and fashioned the wells with hot glue. I can slip it in and out if I want to change the colours in the palette. I know you can buy these online but postage to Australia is a killer. Hey, it’s not fancy but it cheap, and it works 😄

I squeezed the colours from tubes. Some colours (winsor and Newton) I added a tiny drop of honey with a toothpick, then stirred thoroughly. This settles the paint into the well. The honey stops the colour from drying too hard and makes them much easier to rewet. Other colours MGraham already have honey added. 
Using a small clip the palette can be attached to the book leaving hands making it much easier to sketch/paint in restricted places.


The only other painting I was able to do this week was a pleinair sketch, well sort of. It was such a cold and blustery day for our group Meetup that we sat inside a local cafe and sketched the outside view.

230 Weekly sketches

I was enticed back to the weekend challenge on Wetcanvas last week after some time ( thanks Christine 😊) and chose a photo of an everyday scene for the 2 hour challenge. As I am also doing paintings for #Worldwatercolormonth I decided to use the month to try out different papers. This one is on Strathmore mixed media paper. It takes washes really well and dries fairly fast, which is how I like to sketch/paint so I don’t know how it stands up to layering.

Then I chose a photo from Sktchy for a rather quick painting on Fabriano Artistico. This is lovely paper which holds the moisture for a longer period, allowing nice wet in wet merging, as seen under the cap brim. img_0760

Another portrait from Sktchy. Loved the colours this lady was wearing, but I’m not too sure about the likeness. If you can’t see the original photo you’ll never know 😄 I used Bockingford paper which I didn’t enjoy it one bit. It seems like blotting paper to me, and is very difficult to lift any colour off. Where I attempted a small area the surface started to disintegrate.img_0801

I needed a break from portraits so in preparation for my upcoming trip I decided to see if I can do a believable sketch of my view in 10 minutes, using a dark sepia Pitt artist pen and colour with a waterbrush, then just using the brushpen to sketch the geranium pot on the deck. I think 15 – 20 minutes all up, so I can do it. I just have to have the confidence to put it to practise  😄. 

The page then needed something else so I added a little bird and some lettering to fill the page. This practise page is on Arches hot press paper. Not bad stuff!

I really should post more often and I won’t have so much catching up, but I’m not good at keeping up to date. I’d rather be messing with paint than writing stuff. So here is this weeks Wetcanvas 2 hour challenge – on Saunders Waterford paper. It’s great to paint on, and doesn’t dry too quick which is good for the colour mingling you can see in the background.

I used a different technique with this painting, mainly with a 3/4 inch flat brush. A few people were interested in the background so I thought I’d add a couple of images and hopefully explain what I did. I used the 3/4 inch flat brush with plenty of juicy colour, placed the tip of the brush on the edge of the line and pressed the bristles down almost flat against the paper. Reload the brush with more yellow or blue and placed the brush next to the first stroke.

For variation I dipped one side of the brush into yellow and the other side into blue, and dropped other colours into the still damp paint. Here I used some turquoise and quinacrodine gold. 

I enjoyed painting with that larger flat brush, so much that I might even have to see if I can find a flat waterbrush and play with that.

#229 A portrait, a city view and boats.

Firstly another  portrait from the Sktchy app, in watercolour and graphite on buff Stonehenge paper. I like how this paper gives the mid tone allowing white highlights to be added.


Early in the week we had a quick trip to the city for a few days and I was lucky to meet up with the new Urban Sketchers group for a quick sketch in Kings Park overlooking the city. It’s always fun to meet up with others with a similar interest/obsession 😄 which is helping me overcome my trepidation about sketching in public, and enjoy the process.  I am also getting used to people peering over my shoulder and making a comment.

Then back home into the cold south on another sketch outing, I managed to find a sheltered spot in the sun out of the breeze. I actually got quite warm sketching while rugged up.


Our maximum temperatures in winter here vary from about 12 to 19c though it often feels a lot colder with our prevailing southern wind. Some hardy locals go swimming all year round. Me, I’m like a cold blooded lizard looking for a warm sunny spot, so I was quite happy doing this sketch.