Painting Kuching in Watercolour

First a pencil drawing 

Then the yellow layers go on. I use a big brush to lay on broad washes of yellow. I may spent a few days painting only yellow shades from light to deep. The flowers are a bright pink so are left unpainted.  No yellow there.

Then I add the red layers. The red may be cool or warm depending on how dark the shadow areas will be.

Then I add the blues. Which makes the yellows and red turn green and brown!

From here on I will be spending days adding layers of blue. Again the shades would be either cool or warm and I will be using Phthalo Blue, Peacock Blue, Cobalt Blue and Ultramarine Deep. Also the brushes I am using get progressively finer as I refine the details.

Recently I was given this paphiopedilum orchid. It grows and flowers well in the Kuching heat. No idea of its name though, probably a variety of a paphiopedilum chamberlianum, judging from the leaves and the three flowers which open in succession over a period of several weeks.

It was fun to paint the rose pink pouch and the black hairs on the petals! Holbein paints and Fabriano Classico paper 14″by 20″.

I had been working on this and I think I have made it too complicated. Now I think I should split it into 3 bird portraits – papa bird, upside down feeding mama bird and baby bird surveying the world!

Painted with Holbein paints on Fabiano Studio paper which is not, luckily enough, the best quality paper in my possession, now that I have to redo things differently!

Time Out!

Posted on: 13/02/2014

Apologies, readers!  I have no time to do watercolours the past few months – I am renovating my kitchen.  Will be back painting when the dust settles.  By the way, I rescued another two abandoned dogs….!!

Doing 3-D

Posted on: 29/05/2013

I have been planning this new sunbird and pigeon orchid painting.  I am still on the pencil draft stage, trying to work out the placement of the white pigeon orchids so I can get some depth to the painting. I am also still undecided on the background.


As I meditate on this 2-D problem, my hands are busy on working on something 3-D!


The pansy from a vintage tatting pattern book.  I had to crack my brains a bit trying to make sense of the vintage instructions.  Looks good, doesn’t it?  Using size 20 cotton thread, it’s about 7 centimetres across.

We don’t have pansies here in tropical Malaysia, but I am thinking if I tweak the colours it would look like some exotic orchid! I am tatting 3 pieces to sew on my cotton hat.

Pam Palmer’s Festival Elephant

Time to pay homage to tatting teacher and designer Pam Palmer!  I am so pleased to be able to tat up her design masterpiece, the Festival Elephant, in full colour glory.  Now that Lizbeth brand threads are available in so many colours, tatters should tat more Festival Elephants!


I was aiming for a fabulous Southern India colour scheme here.  I have appliquéd it onto a piece of red silk and intend to make this into a wall hanging by sewing the silk onto the centre of a dark blue 4 foot cotton dhurrie table runner, if I can find one!  Otherwise it’s going on a cushion. Wish me luck!


My attempt at Susan Armitage’s Poppy. As usual, the orange tones doesn’t show up well in the scan. I used Winsor & Newton’s Orange instead of the Schmincke’s Translucent Orange recommended, and Holbein’s Cherry Red instead of Daley Rowney’s Perylene Red. It was fun painting the crinkles on the petals and hairy stems and leaves.

Back online!

Posted on: 08/03/2013

Some time ago, I managed to get hold of this mangosteen fruit complete with stem and leaves and was happy to be able to paint it from life. However I couldn’t get the leaf colour right and then I was interrupted mid-painting and couldn’t get back to work on the problem further. I put the picture in a cardboard box to keep off the dust until I could find time to work on it.

 Well, today finally, aside from many other stuff, I got my computer repaired, all applications installed and working and here is my painting half eaten by some insect pest!  They are everywhere, not only on my orchids! 

 This insect had redone my brushwork by eating most of the green paint off the leaves and stem, and even did some realistic insect damage tracks on the fruit itself. 

 I can’t find whatever it is anywhere, could it be dead after ingesting Holbein’s Marine Blue, Viridian and Aerolin? Or did Dioxaxine Purple did it in? The name sounds poisonous enough!Image



A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

June 2017
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