Painting Kuching in Watercolour

Archive for October 2017

I painted a new and simpler version of the sunbirds and pigeon orchids. This is the female bird. I will be working on the male bird picture but have decided not to do the baby bird because it is so itty bitty and will be swamped by all those flowers, leaves and stems!

This was painted on paper I found at a local store – “Campap” 300gsm 229x305mm acid free with high quality cotton fibre. I would rate it good, easy to paint on, well sized so mistakes are easily lifted off. I used the Korean brand “Shinhan” premium watercolours.



Posted on: 14/10/2017

I rescued Toffee in 2015.  I noticed this toffee coloured skinny little dog seeking what little shelter she could from the hot sun by lying in shadow cast by a neighbour’s gatepost. She literally shook with fear when I approached but hunger overcame fear, and slowly over the next two days, she finally trusted me. Nobody came looking for her and nobody responded to my “Lost Dog” notices. So she became my dog! A check up at the vet showed she was weak and  anemic from tick fever, so we had to treat that before we got her spayed and vaccinated. Now she is healthy and happy. She has become a favourite in my neighbourhood. And despite the fact that her first ever car ride was to the vet where she was poked at with various instruments and needles, she still loves car rides and will jump in at every opportunity! It’s also funny how when we stop at traffic lights, other drivers or motorcyclists will smile and point when they spot her looking cheerfully out of the car window!

This is a quick sketch done on the Cartera Magnani paper I bought some years ago. The paper sizing had gone and it had become blotting paper – couldn’t do any washes! I made up some hot starch and “primed” the paper surface, but the starch dried unevenly. But I could paint on it though with some difficulty. You can see the brushstrokes because the washes soaked right in and couldn’t be moved anymore!


Posted on: 08/10/2017

Another fast sketch of an approaching storm on 140lb Arches cold press paper. It’s very expensive paper which I bought online intending to paint my collection of phalaenopsis orchids.  I thought the surface would be similar to Fabriano’s cold press, but it’s not! It’s rougher. I might do the ironing trick again, but first, try out on a quick sketch! There were a couple of spots here and there that resisted the washes but it could be due careless handling with my greasy sweaty hands! Anyhow Arches lives up to its premier reputation.  

So my rambler rose painting cockled with a big crease! After mulling over whether to continue painting or to chuck it in the bin, and after researching what other artists do to straighten such paper, I decided to try the ironing method. Makes sense to me, after all, the Fabriano paper is 100% cotton rag! So I put the painting face down on a old bedsheet, dampened it with a water spray and ironed out the creases. Then I placed a heavy board on top of the steaming paper and left it for some hours. Viola! Paper is flat, creases hardly visible so I completed the little butterflies and continued cleaning up the colour runs with titanium white. Now I wondering if the paints have been affected in any way by the heat. Looks okay though my use of titanium white has made the painting look more like a vintage gouache than transparent watercolour!

Meanwhile the actual rambler rose is putting out new growth. I bought it quite cheaply at the Stutong market and am growing it in a big pot. The flowers have the typical nose tickling rose scent which fades away by the afternoon. The little butterflies are the very common chilades pandava. 


A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

October 2017
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