Painting Kuching in Watercolour

Archive for December 2009

A quiet pool

Posted on: 31/12/2009


My brother tries his luck at a quiet pool “somewhere in Pending”. Of course he is not saying exactly where. Look at the crowds with fishing rods at any likely fishing spot on weekends and you will understand why he is cagey.

My challenge in this painting was the sparkling dewdrops and misty atmosphere of early morning. I didn’t quite managed it as you can see. I am thinking of repainting it and using a toothbrush to spatter masking fluid all over the background before floating on a green wash for the grasses. Oh well, I’ll have to wait for another day! I am out of time again.

14 x 12 ins on Cotmans 140 lb coldpressed paper with Winsor & Newton watercolours.

Kpg. Goebilt

Posted on: 31/12/2009

During the National Day holiday, I came across this fishing boat, freshly painted, flags flying, shining in the late afternoon sun at Kampong Goebilt. Not a soul in sight, has everyone gone to the parade?

14 x 20, Cotmans Watercolour cold pressed paper 140 lbs and W& N and Holbein watercolours. The water and the jungle were built up with many layers of New Gamboge, Phthalo Blue, Hookers green, Dioxazine violet, Vermilion and Sepia. I used a natural sponge to dab on the leaves.

This was quite challenging to paint and took quite a number of Sunday afternoons. The bright mauve colour was slowly built up with light washes of permanent rose, mauve and quinacridone magenta. For the fuzz on the flower centres, I stippled on the colours carefully, leaving bits of paper untouched. The colour of the leaves was gradually built up with successive glazes starting with aureolin yellow, magenta, marine blue, indanthrene blue and sap green. The waterdrops were added last, with only 4 dabs of titanium white for the highlights.

The flowers smell of raspberries! I saw some canes on sale at the Sunday market – this orchid only flowers on the old canes, so don’t think that stallholder is pulling a fast one on you with a sad, dingy looking plant.

Watercolour, size 10″ x 14″, on Fabriano cold pressed paper 140lb, Winsor & Newton + Holbein colours

Fruit Season

Posted on: 23/12/2009

Buah Engkalak – much less daunting to paint than durians and rambutans! It was fun to paint the little green caps, after which these fruits ended up as a nice snack. I did think of painting the seed and pulp but then I ran out of time. The usual sad story of a weekend painter – always out of time.

9 x 12 ins, Fabriano Studio coldpressed 140lbs paper, with Holbein and W&N watercolours (No! It’s not Opera, it’s Permanent Rose with little glazes of New Gamboge)


The state’s official flower, a.k.a. Orkid Normah. This is a portrait of a plant that has been growing in my garden for many years.

9 x12 in, Fabriano Studio Coldpressed 140lbs, Winsor & Newton watercolours

Don’t ask me, I don’t know the name of this particular cultivar.

It was a lot of fun to do the red spots. I got my canna specimens from my neighbour next door. When I told him what I wanted them for he said “Take all you want! There’s more round back!” A good patron of the Arts!

9 x 12”
Holbein watercolours on Fabriana Artistico cold pressed bright white 140 lbs paper Gamboge Nova, Cherry Red and Perm. Alizarin, Ultramarine Blue Deep

Red Canna

Posted on: 16/12/2009

Phew! this was tough. I did 3 attempts before I was happy with this one. The difficulty – capturing that bright velvety red. The deep purple stems were very easy to paint in comparison, and I finally found a use for my tube of Holbein’s Shell Pink – perfect for that white powder on the stem (I know there’s a botanical term for this powder but I can’t remember it!).

I wonder why bright reds are such difficult shades to reproduce. Not only is it difficult on paper but also to manipulate digitally on my scanner and screen. Or could it be my eyesight/brain, that I am uniquely able to detect such subtle differences that most other people are oblivious to. Capturing this red in watercolour involves first a layer of alizarin crimson for the shadows, then Gamboge, followed by successive thicker washes of Cherry Red. All are transparent pigments chosen for their luminosity. I waited for the paint to thoroughly dry, before lightly washing Vermilion over all the petals. This is a opaque granular pigment, which gave the petals a velvety look. Vermilion is poisonous stuff, big label there on the tube!
12 x 9 inches
Holbein watercolours on Fabriana Artistico cold pressed bright white 140 lbs paper
Holbein watercolours: Gamboge Nova, Cherry Red, Perm. Alizarin, Vermilion, Ultramarine Deep, Shell Pink


E.LIM


A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

December 2009
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