Painting Kuching in Watercolour

Archive for January 2010

Many years ago I caused a stir with some drawings for The Sarawak Nature Society.
I got interviewed for a local weekly.
The reporter (Heidi Munan) liked the painting of my dog Sugar. Here is the picture she wrote about –

Sugar had this cool & calm personality. She would plonked herself down on the doorstep, put her head round the door and looked at us imploringly to hurry up with her makan already.

I did this last portrait of her in 2000 when she was 17 years old. That is 120+ doggy years! We had her put to sleep when life became difficult for her. Poor Sugar, everybody was so sad, even her vet was in tears.

The news article



Posted on: 07/01/2010

Here is my painting of the coelogyne orchid from the tree in the park, done over the long weekend. Composition needed a lot of thought as the flower growth is lax and rather floppy. I also wanted to paint the dappled sunlight. I had wanted to leave the background my usual stark white with the long green leaves showing up the white flowers but this made the background distracting so I decided to go all dark. This was done on Fabriano Artistico Bright White 140lbs hot pressed paper, a fine satiny smooth surface, good for painting fine detail but difficult to handle. The secret is to wet the area first and float on a light wash of colour. I wasted a couple pieces of paper before I got the hang of it, and at RM5.00 per piece, a very expensive lesson!

12 x 9 ins, Fabriano Artistico Bright White 140 lbs hot pressed paper, with Holbein colours. The shadow colour is a mixture of light red and indanthrene blue, very versatile, you can go warm and cool depending on how blue or red.


Posted on: 06/01/2010

Big trees are being chopped down in Kuching.
We found this clump of Cymbidium finlaysonii with a 4 foot long flower spike. A friend wanted it for his garden, but not before it made a detour to my house for the weekend, where I stuck it up the gate post, not having a tree available.

I am still thinking about the placement of my name seal. I am getting to be like one of those ancient Chinese scholar painters, slowly stroking their wispy beards as they ponder – bottom left? or right? Is top right too Yang? Centre left too Ying? There is too much movement in the leaves. Bottom near the flower – would it block the painting’s qi? Might not the red seal weaken the red in the flower? Maybe I should paint in the gatepost after all? Maybe a hovering insect on the bottom right – a bee, butterfly or dragonfly?

Why are there no hummingbirds in S.E. Asia?

See, the decision could take months!

Size 14 x 20 inches
Fabriano Artistico Bright White paper 140 lbs
Winsor & Newton, Holbein paints using only the transparent pigments – for the leaves, successive layers of aureolin, alizarin and phthalo blue, raw sienna, burnt sienna and sepia. For the flowers, raw sienna, new gamboge and alizarin.


A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

January 2010
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