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Still.Life: You Light Up my Life!

3 Jun

We did a study of a old rusty (but oh so full of character) oil lantern. Paired up with a couple of bowls. Honestly, it was a pain to paint in all the details on the lantern and getting the colours right, but it was pretty good practise.


As a painting in itself, I guess it wasn’t really anything particularly pretty or “artistic” to look at, and so I pretty much took it as just “training”.

My mum would ask me later when I got home, if I was ever going to “complete” the painting (and those others slowly but surely accumulating in the house).

I shrugged.

I’ll admit that my not returning to the paintings was very possibly due to my own laziness. I had to stop and question myself at some point – was there ANY point in doing what I was doing? Was it pointless? Does it HAVE to make a point? [Haha.. I just made four points in one rambling sentence. Geddit??]

Well, the way I see it. I paint, not to become an “artist” or to sell my works or even for the end product itself. The act of putting paint on canvas, playing with colours, shapes, perception, and simply getting my hands dirty with it all, was quite simply, having fun! At least for me it is.

So there… onwards.

May 19: Oil Lantern with bowls

After a full day tete-a-tete with the oil lantern, trying to translate what it was telling me into colours, lines and what not… this was what I had.


I would love to claim full credit, but as usual, I had huge help with the lantern.

It was challenging to paint the lantern to bring out the dusty, rusty look and even the shape in itself took up quite some time on my part to get right. I am so terrible with proportions! Eeeps.

A comparison.. Before and After teacher's hand

A comparison.. Before and After teacher’s hand

My teacher is amazing.

Well, I find my little joys where I am able to succeed, i.e. the cloth. I didn’t think I was going to paint a realistic rendition of the batik cloth, so I just picked a hue inspired by the cloth and let loose. I didn’t follow the folds in the actual set up either, I improvised because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to replicate exactly. The end product was pretty okay – no?

Oh yes, and the bowls. Gosh… so hard to get the 3D-ness done and particularly when it was on bowls with specific patterns! What do you focus on?

At the end of the session, I wiped the sweat off my brow, threw in my paint stained rag and called it a day. Decent stuff for a training day.

I know I have much to learn still but I believe, as long as I move onward (and not stop), I will always go somewhere.


Wherever I end up.

At least I can say I had fun. ūüėČ


Marching off to a new April: Painting smaller and faster

17 Apr

I’ve been¬†painting in A4 for the past few weeks. Working with a smaller canvas was a refreshing change. I was not only able to finish faster but also train my eyes to work more effectively.


Ironically, working on a smaller surface, I was able to paint more freely, focusing less on the details. Though I do find myself at times caught up in the details (to the point of myopia).

The effect was like zooming in, and taking a tighter cropping of the image. The subject is in clear focus but the surrounding elements are reduced to a complementary blur.

I kinda like it! ūüôā

Here’s a quick look, cause pictures speak a thousand words and really, nobody wants to read about things they can just see instead, no?

Real life versus

DIng ding ding!

Here are the arrangements for the past 3 weeks, followed immediately by¬†my interpretation of it. I have to apologise on the half-done-ness for some of them and the general poor quality of my mobile phone pictures (though it makes my paintings look nicer… hahah!).

March 31: Plant vs fruits #1


March 31: Plant vs fruits #1


April 7: Grapes and wine against a sunflower plate



Apr 14: Plant vs fruits #2



Most of them are still a fair bit from being done, but they are already turning out to be what I see in my mind.

I’m still not very pleased with how my floral and foliage are turning out. Wish I could figure out why! Is it a problem with my colour mixes or just simply my lack of exposure… I’ve done exercises with fruits so I’m pretty confident that I usually can get things right (given the time). But those petals and leaves really trip me up.

Oh well…. I would love to hear comments. ūüôā

Mar 17: A warm palette of flowers and fruits

20 Mar

Hello oil, I’m back again. *wry smile* Made some decent progress today, which was nice… for a change!

Today’s set up


and my work in progress


Two things struck me as I was painting today.

(1) It really helps to have practise, and
(2) I do not practise enough.

Heh~ the main challenge for¬† me is being daring in the application of contrasting shades. I seem to find comfort in “regressing to the mean” when it comes to shades. The dark is not dark enough and the light not light enough.Hence everything kinda looks flat. Maybe it’s due to my personality… or just a lack of confidence?

What can I do?? Other than the obvious – practise practise practise…

It makes me wonder though. At what point does one’s personal way of doing become their style? When you paint or draw, do you have a ideal style in mind to mirror, or do you simply do your own thing and say it’s your unique style?

To say that my paintings, as they are now, are in a style of my own would be grossly premature.

As a learner and beginner, not knowing better… I can only be described as learning to ‘talk’. I have a voice but I’m really just babbling nonsense, whilst listening to others and being gently corrected by teachers.

So, till I find my own… I’ll just keep babbling on ~


‚ô• Thank you friends, for staying with this babbling idiot ‚ô•

Citrus Fruit & Root Vegetable Basket in Acrylic

28 Jan

After a long break, it feels nice to be back on the canvas. I thought I’ll experiment with Acrylic again, just to see if I could possibly work with it like I would with oil.

Acrylic is still very new to me. And according to web sources, it is one of the newer mediums used in visual arts, as opposed to oil which is easily centuries old. I wrote in a post some time ago about this medium and my attempts with it. Compared to a year back, my efforts today had me wondering if I have taken several steps backward!

I was having great difficulty in getting the paint to do what I wanted it to do, within the time it dries. It dries too quickly! I found it tough to mix the colour wet and get it to look right when it’s dry.

I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong. But I don’t know what yet!

Perhaps just general inexperience?

Still.Life: Citrus Fruit & Root Vegetable Basket


The colours look really muted, which frustrated me somewhat because it looks so much better when the paint was wet.

I started with a light colour wash for the background and sketched the rest using basic colour blocks. Keeping to a triangular composition, I tried to make my painting more balanced.


I was very distracted by the crease on the left of the canvas, and ended up with a lopsided look.  Haha!

… oh well, a centralised triangle would look weird too anyway, right?

The devil was really in the details and I suspect that it was exactly why I did not do very well with the medium.

I can’t exactly blame the colours I got but I think it didn’t help that I was working with cheaper quality paints. My green and yellows fared better than the reds (I didn’t have an out-of-tube orange and had to mix my own) and browns (clumpy dark brown!).

In the end, I couldn’t finish up the painting, having painted over several layers because the previous rendition just was not living up to my expectations.

Thus, for now, I have thrown in the proverbial (acrylic-paint-stained) towel…¬†I guess, for my own good, I should stick with oil till I have gotten a better grasp of the fundamentals, before I move on to Acrylic.


Anyway, I’m very proud of my dad’s progress in setting up for the Sunday still life sessions and also in his own paintings! It shows that practice makes perfect and that Art is something that, if done regularly, would improve with time.

Jan 27:  Citrus Fruit & Root Vegetable Basket


Well done daddy! ^^

Dec 23: An Asian cornucopia for the New Year

30 Dec

(Note: OK, i’m late in posting this but… Better late than never no?! =P)

One last still for 2012! And imho a rather apt one.

This was what we had to paint – my interpretation being that it was an Asian version “cornucopia”.

Dec 23 - Still Life arrangement

A cornucopia… seriously?

According to trusty Wikipedia –

“The¬†cornucopia¬†(from Latin¬†cornu copiae) or¬†horn of plenty¬†is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form. Originating in¬†classical antiquity, it has continued as a symbol in¬†Western art, and in¬†North America¬†is particularly associated with the¬†Thanksgiving holiday.”

This 17th Century painting by Rubens depicts the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia. A very classical painting no?

Which is to say, it is a auspicious symbol. ¬†Isn’t it perfect for all the festivities and to herald a new year with?

*nod to self*

Why Asian then?

It’s “Asian”-ness comes from how the arrangement depicts tropical fruits from our region, and in place of the horn-shaped container, we have fruits tumbling out a … heh heh… a rice bucket.

How are they the same?

Well, traditionally, it is quite usual to see Chinese families pasting the¬†Chinese¬†character “śĽ°”, which means literally “full” or abundance, onto their rice buckets (or whichever modern day storage container that is being used). It signifies, as my mother tells me, that the family will always have food to eat, i.e. will never grow hungry.



Means the same thing as a Western cornucopia, isn’t it?


SO anyway, I thought it might be a nice idea to have  this auspicious image done up nicely for the new year. And picked up my small canvas to start.

Anyone who thought painting smaller is easier is sorely mistaken…

Despite my best efforts after putting a good few hours into it, the end result was… unsatisfying!

Presenting Still.Life šĻč Asian cornucopia


It looked miserable instead of gracious and… prosperous. And lacking… in what, I’m not entirely sure.

I come to the same conclusion I always do nowadays – I am out of practise! Especially now that my weekly sessions have turned monthly (at best). *pout*

Something to work towards in the New Year perhaps? ūüôā

Anyway, here’s wishing everyone a Happy and Abundant 2013!

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