Return of the big canvas

7 May

With longer sessions, I usually take on a larger canvas. It is often a test of stamina and it is easy to get discouraged after hours of work.

However, I am a firm believer of measuring progress not by one’s destination but by the journey. As long as you learn something yea?

Plus, I have a “secret weapon”!


A good teacher! ♥ 洪老师 ♥

As a beginner, it is normal to feel overwhelmed. At such times it is necessary to pause and take a step back (often literally), and it really helps to have an experienced eye guide you and help pull you along. It’s amazing how Teacher is able to catch on to problem areas and dive right in to help, yet never being critical and always encouraging. I’m truly blessed.

April 8: Tumble of apples, blood oranges and pears


Last Sunday, after struggling all day, I finished with… these few blobs of colour.


As a painting, it was so far from being completed, it would take another 2-3 sessions to get it right. I was feeling frustrated… my fruits look nothing like the way I wanted them to… there was much left to do with the basket…

But from a learning point of view, it was otherwise a good day.

Take a look at the jug again.

In my eyes, the jug was white. But what I missed was that in painting, white is never really just white! It’s a simple logic that often gets forgotten.


I forgot about environmental influences..reflected colours… everything I ‘knew’ flew out of the window in my distress.

Fortunately, Teacher was there to save the day. While I ended the session with yet another incomplete painting adding to my stack, I learnt something.

And all is still good. 🙂

May 5: Wooden mystery box

Earlier this Sunday, it was a full day session again.

It was a pretty complex set up with the ornate wooden box with lots of intricate details, coupled with the flowers, bottles, vase, stones and aromatherapy burner… I almost didn’t know where to start.

But eventually I did. I reminded myself that this is a journey.


Teacher gave us pointers on the topic of shadows. How does one know where and how to start?

Well, firstly, find the direction of light. On the side of the object that would likely cast a shadow, pick up a dark shade (he recommends using burnt umber and a dark blue mixed, rather than black) and confidently place the paint onto the canvas in a thin line.

Thereafter, pick a middle shade (between shadow colour and the colour of the surface upon which the shadow is cast) and softly blend the edges. Note also that the shape of the shadow takes the shape of the object.

Like so…


And thus ends another fruitful session.

Hope you learnt something today! 🙂

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