In a strange way I have the strangest superstition … like not starting a new year with chores or events I do not like, which I have control over and doing more of the things I like.
So for 2013, I wanted to revisit a hobby I had when I was a child: painting
At 12 I had produced at least 8 pieces of oil painting and had won numerous competitions for oil pastels and poster colour. My first oil pastel commission was a 8 piece collection of ethnic people of Malaysia, many of which had excessive creases and folded skin. It’s a pity I can’t relocate the film photos of them, but I recalled my mom (who is vain and takes offense to wrinkles then) saying, “why must you keep drawing old people?“
I have no recollection how much I was paid, but I sure felt rich at the age of 11 as it bought me my first real oil painting “set” of:
- Winsor & Newton Artist oil colours essential colours in cadmium red, phthalo blue, cadmium yellow, phthalo green, burnt umber, titanium white, zinc white and Payne’s grey.
- 3 palette knifes
- 3 Filbert brushes
- linseed oil
- natural/ organic turpenoid (not the cheap turpentine I had been using from the good ol’ neighbourhood hardware store)
- professionally treated canvas!
The latter was such a joy.
With limited budgets, I used to buy the “canvas” sold in one of those one-stop shops that sells demented grandfather PJs pants to sleek coconut hair oil and MR 9.90 canvas shoes.
These “canvas” were meant to be covers of iron boards back in the day when Brabantia ironing board
was unheard off and not oil/ acrylic painting. It lacked texture, but hey as an 11 year old with a ridiculous chocolate hoarding addiction
then, affordability and lunch money only stretches so far. Without proper primer, I used to “steal” the leftover white emulsion paints in the garage my dad had abandoned, which created a greater awareness of the various hardware items that would influence me greatly in my university days.
I’ve never been good at water colours.
Perhaps the only water colour images I was exposed to as a child growing up was Chinese water colour and those lame landscapes of the sea, the harbour, the cottage garden type. None of which got my blood pumping. Hence, I never quite went down that route.
My various attempts were pathetic.
I had dismissed it as a natural thing as it’s quite difficult to switch from heavy mediums and intense colours to controlling lightly tinted water on paper.
Something like being able to play both tennis and ping pong well.
However, subconsciously, I have been painfully aware and attracted to watercolour works by illustrators of travel journals … and Moleskine
The thing is Moleskine
only entered the Malaysian
market a couple of years back… by which time, professional day job had taken over my life … and if I may say, the pricing is day light robbery by all accounts.
I had contemplated about it for a long time, prodded by the decision by my travel mate who thought it would be a great idea to start journaling our travels starting from the Balkans.
Interesting to note, neither he nor I lugged our Moleskine – Travel Journal along.
He had brought a palm sized thin notebook – freebie from some Bank would be my guess.
But over time, I did attempt some journaling on the Moleskine – Travel Journal.
Admittedly, this was driven solely by the cost of the damn thing … hence the guilt of not using it.
I started off with Sri Lanka
, Hong Kong and a partial entry of a 4×4 Road Trip. These were done in the scrapbooking style.
But as of yesterday, I decided to try my hand at watercolor sketching of Sarajevo.
As the slightly thicker than onion skin thin paper pucker and dry … I looked up the travel photo this morning … gulp, gulp, it’s confirmed: I am demented! My memory of the building (reproduced below) is anything but …
Great thing is I am Malaysian.Sigh
We have lots of ethnic and religious calendars – I can always start over if things don’t work out many, many times in a Gregorian calendar year!
Phew! Suddenly things don’t seem too bad…
And hopefully through osmosis I’ll be able to be improve as I upload great travel illustrations by inspirational illustrators, architects, just plain talented folks in my co-authored (to be launched) new blog in 2013: Geek’s G-Spots