Painting Kuching in Watercolour

Archive for September 2011

Red Chillies

Posted on: 19/09/2011

Yaay! Success! Red chillies freshly harvested from my garden! And organically grown as well. I used Biogreen 988 fertilizer which the vendor at the Sunday market assured me is also an anti-fungal and anti-feedant because of the neem oil in the formula.

I always prefer a fresh specimen right in front of me so that I can match the colours I see with my paints. Luckily hot chillies like these keep well during the 2 whole days I took. This time I had to dig out from the bottom of the box the opaque colours I seldom use – Winsor & Newton Vermilion Hue, Winsor Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and for the stems, Oxide of Chromium. The shadows are a mixture of Indian Red and Ultramarine and it’s back to my favourite paper Fabriano Hotpressed 140lbs 9” x 12”.


Here’s Du Liniang hanging out at the Peony Pavilion.

I am using the Korean colours and still trying to handle the soft Cartiera Magnani paper. The good thing I noticed is the deep saturation of the colours. Probably I need to go really slowly with glazing, one light thin layer after another and preserve the whites at all costs!

I bought this new Italian paper by Cartiera Magnani because it was slightly cheaper than the Fabriano and the packing looks really classy. See,

“Dal 1404, Portofino Acquerello, 100% cotone, satinato” etc. etc. But, my washes refused to flow, the pigment sank right into the fibres and could not be shifted… was like traditional Chinese rice paper for ink painting.

At the same time, I also bought some new paints made in Korea “ShinHan Premium” in the primary colours of Permanent Yellow, Permanent Rose and Peacock Blue in cheap, generous 15ml. tubes, but alas! only to find that the pigments used were thick, opaque and staining!

What else to do, but splash the paint on – here is a famous scene from Chinese opera, General Guan Yu of Shu. setting out to face the enemy alone in the battle of Jingzhou. I’m following his example – salvaging a unfavourable situation!

Blue Vanda

Posted on: 02/09/2011

I visited the International Orchid Show at the end of July and saw some Vanda Pacharas on display. Actually I find some of these new Vanda hybrids too gaudy with cartoonish colours but I thought this blue purple Vanda Pachara would be a good challenge to paint! After some experimenting I decided to go the Impressionist way, that is, dabs of colour that make up the blue purple spectrum and let the eye mix the colour. I used Holbein’s Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, Permanent Violet and Ultramarine Deep. The yellow is Aureolin and the paper Cotmans Coldpressed 140lbs.


A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

September 2011
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