Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In May's Leisure Painter

As usual, we in Malaysia get it late. The May edition arrive at the bookstores on May 24. But better late than never!

Okay, let's look at what this month's feature carry. As you can see from the above, there are plenty as usual to learn from across a wide variety of media. Watercolour still rules here.

If you have been following the last issue's back to basic, you should buy this month's edition because Brian Ryder continues with Part 2: Add Colour To Ink Drawings. Here Ryder shows how to use both water-soluble ink as well as non-water-soluble ones.

I especially liked the free strokes in this, as you can see from the last picture on a harbour - Binham, North Norfolk in pen and wash. If you want to know how to achieve looseness and spontaneity in pen and wash, check Ryder out.

Other interesting issues this month is the Lesson in the Landscape by Kari McGowan. Follow step-by-step how McGowan recreate a painting of Dartmoor, fast and loose in watercolour.

There is also a section on painting the face and one on how to draw tulips.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Old Tree By The Lake

This was done of a particular spot at the National Zoo. I saw this old tree by the main lake in the heart of the zoo. There were herons, couple of flamingoes and painted storks around but I have chosen to exclude them to focus on the tree.
The style in this piece was adapted from John Lovett's techniques which I find incredibly fun and easy. I think watercolour should not be laborious simply because if it were, then it would have lost its mysticism. Best way is to let the colours do their work.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Watercolour Class Art Anyone?

Update (15/05)
Are there any more takers? So far we have only three enthusiasts. Are there any more coming? We need at least 7 more to make it worthy for the artist to teach. The class will be held in the city centre, accessible by major public transport. If you wish to join this Class Art for adults, write to me. Thanks.

Good News.

Over the past three months, this site has been receiving numerous enquiries to hold watercolour classes for beginners, particularly adults who would like to take up watercolour as a hobby.

Because of the interest shown by the enquirers, I have spoken to some artists to see if this was possible, to hold an art class on a weekend so that working adults can find time to join. The class would be informal, of course. Not many were keen unless some form of compensation for their time is offered. Otherwise, they, being professionals, would be better off painting.

As such, it is proposed students pay a nominal fee of say RM80 a month for a three-month course. The class is held on Saturdays from say 10am to 2pm and students are taught the basics and the classes conducted outdoors at a venue of the artist's choosing, painting live subjects. This will be a good way to learn watercolour art as it should be.

Well, after much persuasion, one artist, a prominent watercolourist, has agreed to teach watercolour painting. The tentative target month is July and only if there are enough participants.

If you want to pick up watercolour, let me know. Post your comment below. I will see the response before approaching the artist again. Tell me your thoughts and suggestions as to the fee, time or venue in the comment below. You may also write to me via email at

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Marvellous Instructional Piece In Splashing Paint

I have not seen a longer running instructional DVD than I had with John Lovett's Splashing Paint. And having gone through over 120 minutes of 'personal instruction' by Australia's leading artist, in 16 thoughtfully prepared, very detailed lessons, I am quite convinced that every beginner can benefit from it. established painters may also find some gems within.


Because Lovett takes you right from the basics to the many advanced techniques that he uses in his very striking watercolour pieces, loose and simple. For AUD77, I think it is quite a steal, and the good thing about this DVD (as with other DVD learning tools) is that you can go back to it at any time you wish, as many times you want, and get as many refresher courses as you like.

Simple Palm Tree - John Lovett

In the introductory chapters, Lovett covers the basics, talkling about materials and techniques, swiftly. Then he shows how watercolour can be painted simply and loosely - trademarks of his art works.

I love the jazzy background music that accompanies each instruction as i do the little notes that are presented as the artist show you the behind-the-scene work on each piece, takling subjects from simple skies to more complicated street scene and outdoor panorama.

Atmosperic Skies - John Lovett

Whether it is using a one-inch brush or types of paint colour, each session is presented clearly in ways you can quite easily understand - and put to practice. And you learn by simply following his work and, hopefully, come up with something you can be proud to hang on your wall.

I have always wondered how Lovett created the misty air around his pieces, the atmospheric effects that exudes mystery. I found it in this DVD - his secret: gesso and gouache and rubbed in with a hake brush! This was revealed in the chapter Taking Risks, in which Lovett transformed a finished painting into an even better one with loose introduction of gesso and gouache, and detailing the subject to bring it out to the viewer's attention.

Can anything can get more complicated than this? John Lovett's harbour scene.

Another section I find extremely useful is the one on how to simplify the subject. If taking on a full-coloured scenery is daunting, Lovett shows how, by grouping objects of similar values and colours, can help you approach complicated subjects more confidently.

The artist spent quite some time on water and reflections although there is already a specific chapter on reflections alone. If you are sharp, you will be able to see his secrets unveiled as he dabs the paints and splashes them to give impressions of reflections of subjects such as boats on water.

The DVD ends with Lovett teaching you how to set up your studio, from arranging the working table and tapping hte best of natural light to setting framing tables and using artificial light. All these are sensible applications which could easily be overlooked but because they are presented as one of the many tips in Splashing Paint, you would be reminded to give them some thought when you are rearranging your work space for optimum productivity and pleasant painting session.

Splashing Paint can be obtained at

Monday, May 05, 2008

Leisure Painter April - Drawing Children's Faces

One of the most interesting articles in April's edition (yes, we in Malaysia are a deprived lot, receiving the month's edition at month's end mostly!) is that by Juliette Dodd on painting children's faces - one of the most difficult subjects to draw.

In this issue, Dodd shows the way of how to proportion the face in seven steps. Not only are you taught to draw front profiles, but side as well, and these are requirements if you ever hope to draw portraits well and not doing Mickey Mice or Potato Heads!

Another interesting feature I find in this issue is David Bellamy's tips on making your watercolours sparkle. If you are wondering how Bellamy makes his subjects stand out via hilights, this issue will show you how. And oh, there is also an exciting version on keeping sketchbooks - everything all of us aspire to do but never quite get down to it.