Singapore Trip: My big day

January 14, 2013 | 4 Comments

This day, Friday was a very big day for me, not in terms of how much sketching I did but because of what was going on in my head at the start of the day and what I had achieved by the end of it.

I started out trying to sketch a little like Mr Loy, the amazing watercolourist I had visited the day before. I had studied his painting of this building/ scene a lot in his studio and wanted to try to paint without my ink lines and achieve his sense of light and colour. I did the left side of hte page as a warm up(ink first and broad loose strokes) and then tried to go slow. It just didn’t work for me… I didn’t enjoy the process and ended up adding inklines over the top. Perhaps the end result is not as bad as I felt it was at the time, but I did not enjoy doing it… too slow and not spontaneous enough. This is just not the way for me to paint…I can’t do traditional methods – I want to be free and spontaneous!

I was thinking of doing another one, but fellow Urban Sketcher Su Min had turned up and we went off to have some food (as you do in Singapore) and meet another sketcher.

Combo page of food, and bits and pieces… the Buddist temple I sketched from the shelter of an awning during a storm. This is a rare example of painting with a waterbrush.

I met up with Paul Wang and while waiting of course I sketched… in the non stop sketching mode now – (or so I thought) He then took me around to try a local speciality (yes, more food) which I had to sketch… didn’t it.

Paul encouraged me to try something different and this page includes some of those- working wetter and mixing yellow and blue on the page. The red sky with salt created patterns was done at our next stop.

Although this was a bit of a half hearted page (ie. sketching while waiting, sketching while talking and eating), I was pleased with the result! Especially because it was a change for me to try something quite experimental within one of my sketching trip books – trying to create consistency through my travel sketchbook is something that I like to do, so taking a risk with an experimental page is a big deal for me.

Next… still threatening to rain, wet ground etc so we ended up in a great coffee shop. A large table to spread out on was perfect. Paul kept pulling things out of his bag for me to try.

I intend to write more about the importance of this little sketching session but in summary I feel like I was given the key to open a door I have been knocking on for a while. The page on the right is done on a sheet of 400gsm Cotman paper that Paul gave me (I stuck it into my book)

What a fun and totally relaxing way to spend an afternoon and this period of experimentation and trying new things really really gave me a great creative buzz – I was working in a more relaxed way this afternoon but still just going with the flow of spontaneity (particularly on the sketch on the left)

Some of the things that I picked up from Paul are written on the left. BTW we both have the same watercolour heroes- Shirley Trevena and Charles Reid… so a lot of these are things that Paul has picked up and developed from them. I have some of their books but have never really been disciplined enough to try out their ideas for myself. It has been exciting over the last year or so to watch Paul absorb their ideas and incorporate into his own work… and of course very special for me to have him share it with me – I know I am very privileged! Thank you Paul!

On the back of some of the things, I had done in the café… I tried another go at the view of the yellow mosque from my hotel…ah! I was SOOOO excited by this painting. The challenge for me now is to see how to implement these things into my normal crazy travel sketching… so the rest of my Singapore sketches record this journey….


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