Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2nd Putrajaya National Watercolour Exhibition - Finally!

Remember the 2nd Putrajaya National Watercolour Exhibition 2007? It was to be originally held sometime in May but has now been confirmed for Nov 26 to Dec 14, from 11am to 6pm daily at the Annexe Gallery at the Central Market Kuala Lumpur. This note came from the organisers to this writer.

Wonder when and if the 3rd (2008) event will be held.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drawing Lessons

Most beginners who want to paint tell me that they find difficulty in drawing. Some don't know where to start, others don't know where and when they should stop.

Although there are great books on drawing, as many as you can find on painting, the marvel of the internet age also affords us artists new areas of exploration.

One such site that I find most interesting is located here on learning how to draw.

Although the articles are a bit heavy on theory, read them with an open mind and you will be amazed on the many things about drawing that you may not have realised.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

On the way to Kuala Kubu - Ulu Yam Dam

This is a scenery of the Ulu Yam Dam, located in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. I cam across this while on the way to the Kuala Kubu Baru town. This piece is a study of the clouds and the misty hills beyond just after a storm.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Anti-Drugs Poster Painting Competition 2008

A piece in the spirit of watercolour by Liew Yoke Hui of SMK Jinjang. This piece won first place in the Lower Secondary School category.

There is a lot of talent among children as evident from the recent nationwide Anti-Drugs Campaign Poster Painting Competition held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

I had the opportunity to attend the state finals and was given the chance to speak to a number of judges and art teachers there. The medium of painting comprised soft pastels/crayons and watercolour/poster colour(gouache).

More than a dozen students were selected from 12 district champions qualified for the finals from which the champion will represent Kuala Lumpur at the National Finals in Kota Baru later this year.

The judges must have had a tough time deciding who should rightly win based on the high quality of the paintings. I know I was at a loss for words looking at the variety of subjects and colours each had chosen to paint their message on such a grim subject as drugs. The art teachers have taught their students well, indeed.

Although there were great similarities between the subjects, there are also some gems among the lot. Many should have won but were not picked by the judges for reasons best known to them. But there was certainly no lack of originality and unique concepts in this finals.

One thing I saw at this competition, which I think is very unhealthy, is how some parents become too involved in wanting their children to win - to the extent of bad mouthing their children's rivals' work that were selected. Even the judges were not spared.

My advice to these parents is not to take part in such competition if it drives so much stress into themselves and their children. The prize money is not much - only a few hundred ringgit - and certainly not worth the gripe nor the bragging rights should your child win.

The desperation to see a winning work in the hands of their children is not doing anything to encourage the latter's love for art. In all likelihood, your children is going to despise art for the misery their work brings upon them in terms of scolding from you parents!

Anyway, here's a video of the final winners. These are good in my opinion - what more could you ask for from teens from 13 to 17?

Mysterious Watercolour

Once in a while, a gem emerges unexpectedly. This piece of painting was sent to me eight hours ago from a Mr Clive McDonald.
Clive said: "As far as I know it was commissioned by a distant relative of mine in the late 19th or early 20th century, while working in Malaya (then called) and has been passed down the family ever since."

From my limited experience, and knowledge, and insufficiently inadequate, I am afraid, I think this is a picture of a highlands Chinese farm. It could be anywhere from Cameron Highlands to unknown places of lesser altitude. (Or it could be in Japan - the architecture looks like those of old Japan, I feel)

Amazingly, this is a pretty accurate rendition of a farm house. The plants you see are probably some kind of vine - maybe longbeans? - and those with yellow flowers, I am guessing, are what Chinese mustards, called choysam in cantonese or sawi in Malay. At maturity, the flowers are lemon yellow in colour although here they appear to be quite a lot planted on such a small bed. I don't know what the blue flowered plants are though.
Look underneath the eaves of the house - the tiny bunch of poles are bamboo used for making trellises for for climbing plants. I am more certain that this is a local scenery. There is a signature which appears to be a Chinese name, with a seal.
I am not sure what the seal's inscriptions are because the image is too small to decipher - and because it is written in old Chinese script, it is even harder to understand. The signature also does'nt ring familiar.
I cannot say who is the painter and if anyone out there knows or have a collection of paintings of similar signature and style, please share your views with Mr Clive McDonalds. This picture could be worth a fortune, who knows?

The signature

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Where Can I Get Information On KL Festival On The Net?

You may call this bitching... but where the heck can I get information on one of the biggest arts festival in Kuala Lumpur, supposedly to be held this month in the capital and sanctioned by the Government?

Google it and you will get to a daily's news piece on June 29. But the domain name that points to the organiser's website ends up in a nought.

Considering the hoo-haa created about the City Hall wanting to wifi entire Kuala Lumpur, one wonders how an event as big as this could go missing on the web!

At the very least, last year, there was a domain to which you could find out more.

Wonder the logo is still the same like last year's (below)?