Saturday, April 29, 2006

Serene Lake

This piece was an experiment in capturing images of rocks underwater. The scene was a section of the Taman Negara (National Park). Strong colours were used so that I can feature the submerged rocks.

Painted April 28, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006

This Old Boat - A Study of Light and Shadow in Watercolour

This old boat was found abandoned on the beach. The portion near to the right is the back of the boat, and the small piece L-shaped piece is the rudder. It is a simple boat design. The protruding piece with a black hole in the centre is where the stem of the rudder steering is embedded in.

From the design, it would be a rowboat with perhaps three or more passenger. Why it was abandoned, I am not sure. Perhaps it has outlived its usefulness?

The clump of tree root washed ashore was painted into at lower left to provide contrast to the more or less structured form of the boat.

So, what do you think? Comments welcome.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fisherman at Work - How do artists keep their skill?

This is an imaginary piece based on a photograph. It was a picture of an old fishing boat, by the beaches of Kemaman in Terengganu.

The fisherman, the palm trees, and the figure in the distance, are all added in. The sunset, too.

As you can see, I have fared not too well again. (Well, if you have anything to say, drop me a comment, huh?)

It's funny but after such a short time of not painting, every step is a painstaking effort. I wonder how professional artists cope with not painting or drawing. After say six months of not working with your painting, how do you start? Where do you start?

Pray tell.

I know of one artist who carries a technical pen in his shirt pocket everywhere he goes. Every minute he could glean out of his day, he draws. On envelopes. On discarded bus tickets. On catalogues he gathered at Immigration check points during his travel. On anything that permits.
And all these, bits and pieces of his existence and encounters with life's realities, are translated into drawings which he may or may not paint later.

Is this how artists keep their wits about them? And skill too? Use your skill or lose them to time?

This piece was painted on April 23.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kelantan Traditional Fishing Boat

Did you know that the Kelantanese traditional fishing boats are the most colourful and they have the loveliest designs?

These fishing boats are painstakingly built from memory by skilled boatsmen who learn the trade from their forefathers.

During the monsoon months when the sea is too rough for them to go out, these fishermen cum boatmen spend their days working on the intricate patterns on the body of the boat, ie. the hull. Strips of colour, laid down in perfect harmony, one by one.

This is a very simplistic drawing of one such boat which can be seen in Kelantan, particularly Pantai Dasar Sabak. I drew this one using Pentel oil pastels and this is the first time I am using them, so excuse the roughness.

Drawn April 17, 2006.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Where can you get good watercolour materials?

IF you have been browsing the local art supplies market, I am sure you have narrowed down to two cities where you can get good watercolours stuff. One is Penang and another, Kuala Lumpur.

However, Kuala Lumpur, unlike Penang, has been traditionally disadvantaged by the limited by the number of good art suppliers. Recently, however, I was pleasantly surprised by the emergence of another art shop in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

Art Friend, located at the UE3 complex along Jalan Loke Yew, towards Cheras side, is the latest addition to the local art supply scene.

I have been to this place and checked out some of the prices of material, from paper to watercolours. And I think they are reasonably priced here.

If you are a fan of Daler-Rowney, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the range available here, especially where watercolours are concerned.

Apart from the wide range of pan-colours, it also sells tubes - and the price is pretty competitive at below RM7.00 for the student colours.

Despite the rise in other prices, I am glad to say, this shop has decided to keep prices low for artists who are already hard hit by the price hikes in their lives.

Art Friend too has other items like special water buckets (from RM5.00 to RM15.00), box-easels from RM60 above, papers of various poundage and prices, and other watercolour implements.

And what makes it unique, Art Friend also sells other art stuff, from painting to, well, wall painting. Crafts implements are also sold here.

There are other art-related materials sold here, from wall stencils to fashion beads. You will be amazed. And the good thing is, the prices are kept low.

And if there is one artist's friend, then it is Art Friend - and hopefully it stays that way.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Refreshing Watercolours by Calvin Chua

In his preface to the catalogue of artist Calvin Chua Cheng Koon’s solo, currently being at the Balai Berita (NST) in Jalan Riong, the chairman of the Malaysian Watercolour Organisation Dr Wong Seng Tong described the artist as “the most talented, takes art seriously, works deligently and participates actively in the art scene.”

And it is not difficult to see why at Chua’s exhibition. One marvels at the almost realistic images of buffaloes, logs, old structures, statues and nature Chua has managed to capture in both oil and watercolour.

While both his oil works and watercolour pieces are equally striking, one cannot help being drawn to the latter. Chua is truly a master (he taught at his alma-mater the Kuala Lumpur College of Art before going professional) when it comes to rendering the subjects he sees around him – from old vases to morning glories. His strokes are confident and bold, and his subjects are captured to the finest detail, almost to perfection.

Calvin Chua was born in 1961 in Kedah and received training at the KLCA, graduating with a Dip. in Fine Art. He is now a full-time artist and member of various watercolour organisations including the Singapore Watercolour Society. Since 1982, he has participated in various exhibitions in Malaysia and abroad, for practically almost every year. He collections have been collected within the country and abroad.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Can you learn watercolours via CD?

Can you learn watercolour via CDs? Well I think you can. Not in the old days when lessons take ages to arrive and the pictures come static, ie from photos and drawings.

Today you can. With the advancement of technology spurred by Internet growth, softwares allow tutors to record "live instructions" in CDs or live-streaming via various computer-friendly softwares. You may be a thousand mile away and it makes no difference as you can learn almost anything - as if you are right there beside the teacher as the art class unflod before your eyes, in full motion picture format.

And on the Internet, you get plenty of CDs offering to teach you about painting, but where watercolours are concerned, I can recommend one which is really unique and offers great value for money.

If you are a beginner to watercolour (or someone who wants to go back to it), check out Peter Saw's Interactive Watercolour website.

Veteran watercolourist Peter Saw's Interactive Watercolour CD offers various levels of learning experience - from beginners to medium-advanced learners who seek to master this fluid medium. The trees in the picture are among the lessons - doodles and actually painting - in Peter's Interactive Watercolour.

I have seen this CD, used it and recommend it to anyone seeking to learn the finer strokes of British watercolour.

For beginners, especially, I think it is a good value for money. Peter takes you through a whole series of painting several objects in various styles.

What is interesting is that Peter uses movie files to get his lessons across. And in watercolour, this is priceless. Being shown how a painting is done, or errors corrected, helps a lot in the learning process and progressing from that.

One thing that makes Peter's CD offering unique is the lively forum which he has set up for his "students" - you learn from the CD and you meet other users . You get to ask questions - including directing them to the master himself. And he answers them!

Perhaps the most fantastic thing about this arrangement is that you can show your works to your peers who are your critiques. And here in lies the uniqueness of this programme - with each stroke you learn from Peter's instruction, you gain self-confidence by analysing your work and allowing others to analys

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Water under the Bridge

This is another of my new pieces, drawn from memory.

Sometimes things have a strange way of cropping up from your memory and when you get the chance to record them, visually, this is the result. It can be interesting or a disaster or both.

I am not sure where I saw the scene before but it was quite vivid so I thought I give it a try.

Painted April 2, 2006