273 Holbein Watercolour Parrot

I’ve wanted to try Holbein watercolours for a long time, but they are not readily available in my corner of the world. I had to order them in and wait awhile. Living in Western Australia we always joke that WA stands for “wait awhile”.

So after waiting awhile they finally arrived, and to try out the pigments I made swatch cards. I cut up a sheet of watercolour paper into small rectangles, drew a line with permanent black pen, then painted over it with each colour, the bottom section with undiluted paint, the top with dilution. The black line allows me to check the transparency of each colour. I note the name of the colour, the pigment number and lightfast rating. I have done this with most of my different brands of paint, as it gives me a permanent record of every colour and it’s also handy to use for colour matching or selecting a background colour.

This was the basic 18 tube set, with colours I would not choose but the red and green seemed just right for the painting of a little parrot.

I needed a piece of artwork to be exactly 8 x 10 inches finished size for an exhibition, and adding a frame would reduce the painting area, so I googled an alternative way of presenting a watercolour. I found how to gallery wrap watercolour paper onto a small canvas frame. I used Fabriano Artistico 300 g for this “canvas”.

The process – cut the paper large enough to wrap around to the back of the frame – soak the paper before stretching and stapling it onto the frame. The paper shrinks when dry to a nice firm surface to paint on. To finish the painting I applied several coats of wax medium, buffing to a low sheen to give a waterproof finish.

The bird I painted is a Western Rosella, native to our area. I have a special affinity for these birds.

We had noticed a breeding pair flying around our house looking unsuccessfully for a suitable nesting hollow, so once again Mr Google was consulted and the answer found. My clever hub built the perfect nesting box, attached it to the front verandah and the female took up residence the next day. It was a great success. This week three babies flew the nest. It was a real delight being able to watch these birds come and go through the window of our living room.

I wonder now how I could manage without access to the internet. Ordering supplies, googling information and inspiration and sharing art.


250 Finishing UFOs

I decided this past week to finish off some of my ufo’s………unfinished objects 😊 I’m  working my way through the pile. This landscape was from a National Park we visited on our long trip around the country. It has been in the unfinished pile for ages, so now there is one less.  I think I salvaged it and will hopefully sell it at an exhibition later in the year. 

I do have a lot more unfinished paintings to work through and I will be ruthless. If I can’t make them work I’ll bin them.

In the meantime I had a morning with the local pleinair air group at the beach. Fine weather but the wind was a little chilly, which always makes me sketch a lot quicker. The first sketch is watercolour on cartridge paper.

The next one was a little gouache, looking across the bay.

And then I went for something completely different, a larger acrylic on canvas. I haven’t painted with acrylic for a long time and I forgot how much darker it dries, opposite to watercolour. This is 600 x 450 mm or 24 x 18″. Another one for the exhibition?

#205 Doodling or Drawing

It’s official! Doodling is good for you and there are now many reports out there confirming it. 
I’ve never been a wordy person but I’ve always been a doodler,  scribbling while on the phone or simply making marks while the brain is supposedly otherwise engaged.  According to Wikipedia “doodling can aid a person’s memory by expending just enough energy to keep one from daydreaming, which demands a lot of the brain’s processing power, as well as from not paying attention. Thus, it acts as a mediator between the spectrum of thinking too much or thinking too little”.
Sunni Brown has written a whole book on the benefits of doodling and says there’s no such thing as a mindless doodle. The physical act of producing a doodle necessarily engages the mind, opening doorways into the imagination, the intellect, and the oft-hidden centers of insight. 

There’s also a great talk becoming a great artist through doodling by Stefan Bauman on TED here

I guess thats one of the reasons behind the current fad of colouring in books. Its a way of keeping the pencil moving without putting too much thought into it. Calligraphy or drawing letters is also a form of meditative doodling so I guess that’s why I enjoy adding text to my sketches.


This week I also discovered Etegami.  This is a wonderful way to tune out the brain. The speed of drawing is slowed down and you concentrate completely on the way the ink flows onto the paper, on your breathing and heartbeat. With etagami it’s actually better to complete a clumsy drawing than a perfect one.


Because the paper in this journal isn’t meant for wet ink drawing,  the bleed through to the next page was pretty unsightly. So I used the blobs for a mindless zentangle of an imaginary flower. A zentangle is another state of drawing where you go into the zone.  Drawing repetitive designs can be very calming.


You need to be an Aussie to appreciate the jingle on vegemite  – you can see it on youtube. The cat and vegemite sketches were from photos by crispur for the weekly 2 hour drawing challenge on Wetcanvas.


And this one’s just because I like to try and do one portrait a week.


Something we use a lot of, and this time of the year money does seem to disappear a little faster.


Sometimes its hard to think of different things to sketch each day. If you get stumped on what to sketch you can find 400 ideas here.

Finally this will be my last post before Christmas so here is my greeting card from me and him to all of you 🙂 Best wishes for a safe and wonderful Christmas.


157 EDIM #3 and Hawk

Nothing like a challenge to motivate me. Two sketches in one day!

I think I really prefer sketching in a journal just for fun, rather than trying to make “paintings” for exhibition and sale. In a previous life I painted for a living, mainly floral decorator items for a tourist market, taught decorative art and published two art instruction books. You can see my previous work at http://rosjenke.tumblr.com/

I worked hard and made a good living (for an artist 😊). But when I sold my business and moved away from the city I stopped painting for several years. About 4 years ago I discovered the online painting forum Wetcanvas.com and the weekend challenges provided motivation for me to try different techniques, subjects and mediums. From there I discovered the world of blogging and became an avid reader of many blogs – all art related of course. Liz Steel ‘s blog tempted me to sign up for her Sketching Foundations course and from there I discovered Flickr and Cathy Johnson’s Artists Journal Workshop facebook group and Every Day in May facebook group.

What I love about these sites is the interaction and immediate feedback you get when posting a sketch. It sure beats the hassle of painting a maybe saleable work of art, getting it framed, putting it in a gallery or exhibition in the hope that you might sell it and hope to at least cover costs. It’s nice to have people admire your work in person but sales are hard to come by. Maybe I was spoiled when I could just whip out my decorator items and be guaranteed of good sales the same week.

So for now I get my kicks sharing my work online and hope that viewers get a kick too.

Wow, I think this is the longest post I have written. I’m much better at painting than I am at writing. Anyway, here are my 2 for today. Firstly my EDIM No 3 Curtains.


and this week’s Wetcanvas 2 hour challenge.


151 Rainbow Lorikeet

I’ve been finding it difficult to photograph my work successfully lately. I am definetly not a great photographer but my little Fuji Finepix seemed fine up to date. But the last few photos I have taken were on my Samsung Tablet and the colours seem to be much more true to life. I know this is a very colourful pic so it was a good test for camera versus tablet and for me I think the tablet won.
Painted with gouache in one of my home made journal of Canson Montval 300g paper.

Thanks to Pazza for the photo from the Wet Canvas Reference library.

No 99 Blue Wren

Last nights effort. Studying and practising loose wet in wet watercolours. I finally found a use for my WN Smalt Blue gifted to me by my painting pal 🙂


Blue Wren – Watercolour – 22 x 22 cm

This tiny little bird lives in our part of the world and really is this vivid colour in mating season.