Painting Kuching in Watercolour

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As you can see I couldn’t get very much done over the Raya holidays! I am still painting in the shadows and deepening colours here and there. It’s an intuitive process so I cannot explain it more exactly.

I took a break from all those blue glazes and started layering on the pinks.  I am using Holbein’s Opera and Permanent Mauve. The tips of the bracts are a light green so I layered on Gamboge Nova and then Phthalo Blue. The white fruits are shaped with a very diluted wash of the same green mixture.

Now you are being to see the subject of my painting- it’s a kind of ornamental banana!

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!


A rank amateur self-taught watercolour artist

July 2017
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