Serendipity in Artmaking

Untitled Imaginary Landscape 2018 Mixed Media (charcoal, paper, ink) on Canvas Panel © 2018 suhuixin


Had a fantastic session with Perth’s Karen Frankel at Galleria Art Studio, to explore mixed media to produce imaginary landscapes.

A base image is abstracted, followed by layering multiple combinations of ink, wax resist, charcoal, tissue paper, brown paper. The ‘serendipitous’ nature of the process was emb

raced as a key role in the artmaking experience – ‘creatively exploiting the unforeseen’. The overall compositions were guided by discovering and incorporating unintentional, unpredictable, and unexpected marks that were formed along the way. The process was as enjoyable as the results!

We even had time to explore a simple still life piece while the main piece was left for drying between work stages.

Untitled Still Life 2018 Mixed Media (wax, ink, tissue paper) on Canvas Panel © 2018 suhuixin

The Art of Simplification

“Have no fear of perfection. You will never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

A friend shared this quote as a reminder to the way we work, just as I started with a new canvas today. I decided that the sunflowers are done and I liked the overall outcome, even though I see areas of improvement each time I looked at it. It feels thrilling to embark on a new challenge. This time, building upon previous experiences, to ‘simplify’ and search for more an economic way of painting and communicating the subject.

Ironically, I discover through the earlier paintings that my compulsion to wanting the work to be ‘perfect’, results in the loss of this simplicity in the process.

The process of simplification – from the observation, to perception, distilling, and translating, is not so simple. It is easy to create an image with a hundred or thousand strokes, correcting it in the process, and getting ‘lost’ in the details. Reducing it to the most essential few brushstrokes requires some creative translation, and is more difficult. It involves a fair bit of lateral thinking, being conscious of the way we perceive and reinterpret complex information, forms, tones, colours, composition, and reducing them to a simple and elegant story.

First session for the new exercise, let’s see how many sessions this will take me to complete…

Acrylic on canvas (in progress)

Facing Fears

Nasi Lemak - my favourite local food
Nasi Lemak – my favourite local food

Watercolour has been my most feared and least-favoured medium. I find technically hard to understand and manage the colours, amount of water on the paper, on the brush… the flow, blah blah blah…. Either the colours appear jarring and uncoordinated, the brushstrokes are in a total mess, the shades and tones look odd, or the colours simply bleed into each other.

So, today I thought I might want to push out of my comfort zone and face this fear, and moving beyond it. My goal was being able to master watercolour adequately so I may adopt the medium of choice anytime when I deem is most appropriate for the subject or context. But, it has been hard to stay focus on the goal – so easy to just use the pen.

The hurdle really is taking the first step to building confidence, which often crumbles at the thought of the possibility of discouragement. For the last few times I have tried, I had produce nothing imageable.

Today, we had lunch at the fairly new Coconut Club, highly-rated for its nasi lemak, before we met up with the rest of the sketching buddies at Thian Hock Keng Temple. This version of nasi lemak didn’t disappoint at all, and I thought well-worth ‘recording’ it somehow.

Outcome  was not bad – I see some improvement, though I really dreaded the process to arrive at this. I guess it helps when the subject happens to be your favourite food 🙂

The next step is, perhaps, to maintain the momentum. Will have to find a next favourite subject then.