Png:Sg Trip 14: The start of a New Year

January 28, 2014 | Leave your thoughts

My first day of 2014 was another fun day with some great sketching opportunities… including the chance to sketch some Peranakan ceramics – something that was on my wish list for this trip to Singapore (didn’t get a chance to sketch any last time) More later about this.

My day was spent with very special church friends who I had met at the conference in Penang. They were running a little late to pick me up (politely late!) but as every sketcher knows, a little longer to wait means MORE SKETCHING! My hotel had a very nice foyer filled with all kinds of sketchable objects… so I filled in the time very easily. Trying two things on this page – using more continuous lines and trying to work out a way to use a waterbrush that I enjoy ( I wish I could find a way to get lively washes as the waterbrush is certainly very convenient)

My friends took me to the Gardens by the Bay and inside the two glass houses. Last year I just got to see the outside gardens in my last few hours, so it was great to see the real showcase this time. First: The Flower Dome  WOW! Impressively over the top!  My friends knew that I sketched and that I would want to sketch – in fact I was allowed  “only 20 minutes for a sketch” (a joke…I think!??? but I don’t really want to spend much longer than 20 minutes when with friends anyway) 


When I am on holidays I am always thinking about the next sketch and ready to drop to the ground at any moment when something catches my eye. But whenI am with friends it required more strategy…. it is not just what, but also how and when can I pause for a sketch without pushing the friendship.

Some thoughts in my head:
– I want to walk around with them and chat
– I don’t need to sketch at all BUT I would like to make some record of this occasion
– I don’t need the perfect view to sketch but I want something
– when is a time that will impact them the least

In the end I decided to forgo seeing the whole thing so that I could start a sketch of the bottle trees. I decided on a simple composition so that I wasn’t over committing myself if we needed to move on. (I hate asking friends to wait for me while I sketch.)

Ah! so nice to do something green and decided to leave my ink pens in my bag for a change.


Then we went into the Cloud Forest – even more WOW! As we started walking in, I thought I would get my sketch early and then say I would catch up with them if they wanted to go on. Getting the sketchbook out early for me is often key- the longer you leave it the harder it gets to make the time to sneak a quick one. It was fairly dry so I started… no sooner had I started than the mist started to descend. I found out later that the mist only comes on every 2 hours so it was rather special that we got to experience it when we did. As for my sketch… wet in wet was the order of the day.

After lunch (wonderful yum chaa that I didn’t sketch!!!) we had a little wander around the outside gardens and then we headed to the east coast beach. I was amazed by the army of ships that overlook ‘the beach.’ I include a photo … this was one of those occasions when if I had pulled out a sketchbook initially I could have done a sketch but I was more interested in being sociable! Notice that I am always thinking about my sketchbook… I think this is the most essential ingredient for travel sketching…if you never think about it you will never get it out and it will come home empty!


Late afternoon I joined some of the USK gang again for a little sketching at Whee Teck’s – the Peranakan ceramic’s belong to his wife and I just love the crazy colours! So much fun. Finally I got a chance to catch up with Tia!

We also got a chance to check out the Arter’s warehouse – all those lovely Daniel Smith paints and Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks (oh! I can see one with a familiar label of a teacup I know and love!)

Hmm… must be time for more food! (we are in Singapore after all!) So we headed off for an amazing seafood meal – lots of great food ..but it was a challenging meal. Firstly I am not so great with chop sticks, secondly it was hard /messy food to eat anyway (needed to use your fingers), thirdly I have some ‘bite issues’ of my own at the moment, fourthly I was trying to sketch everything on the table (with messy fingers as well) and fifthly, lots of lively sketch conversation happening and I was trying to be  a part of it and record snippets.

Crazy crazy crazy but a lot of fun! My sketch does need to be notated so that you can work out what we ate as some of these sketches are very rushed! but still I tried and after my attempt the other night I decided to use my sailor pen and a dagger brush. Both of these tools I think are suited to these very quick gestural sketches of food.

What a great night… and I was very honoured to be sketched by Tia! The staff were so interested in what we were all doing so we took the opportunity for a group show and tell photo at the end – this doesn’t often happen at dinner time – I love the colour combination of our clothing in this photo.

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