Saturday, 26 June 2010


I was supposed to have written this entry before I left for my holiday, but I forgot. Seeing how there’s internet access in my hotel room, I thought I should take the opportunity to write a quick note.

I’m currently in my 3rd day of my 11-days Portugal-Spain tour and have just finished the Portugal leg of the trip.

My itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 – Hong Kong –> Lisbon
Day 2 – Lisbon –> Cape of the Rock –> Obidos –> Fatima –> Belem Tower –> Discovery Monument –> Jeronimos Monastery
Day 3 – Lisbon –> Commercial Square –> Evora –> Seville
Day 4 – Seville –> Spanish Square –> Gibraltar –> St. Michael Grotto –> Costa del Sol
Day 5 – Costa del Sol –> Granada –> Alhambra Palace –> Generalife –> Cordoba
Day 6 – Cordoba –> Consuegra –> Toledo –> Madrid
Day 7 – Madrid –> Segovia –> Aquaduct –> Alcazar –> Madrid City Tour
Day 8 – Madrid –> Valencia –> City Tour
Day 9 – Valencia –> Barcelona –> Monastery of Montserrat
Day 10 – Barcelona –> Olympic Park –> Montjuic –> Sagrada Familia –> Quell Park –> Casa Battlo –> Monument de Colon –> Hong Kong
Day 11 – Hong Kong

I’m trying to do some sketching, but finding that it’s quite hard to do with a tour group. However I’m taking plenty of pictures which I would be sketching from when I get home.

So just letting you know why I’m MIA, and if I don’t get another opportunity to go online (we’re in a different hotel each night), I’ll see you guys when I get back.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

blog hop - kelly's art journaling

Kelly at Kelly's Art Journaling blog is hosting an artist blog hop. Read on if you want to join in.

watercolour exercise – a french alley

 Watercolour Exercise - a french alley

This is one of the more complicated watercolour exercises that I’ve done so far.

The perspectives are a bit wonky, but I’m pretty proud of my efforts. I need to remember that even for exercises I need to have more care in the original sketch as it can ruin the whole painting.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

EDM #243 – a pillow

EDM #243 - May 30, 2010

And you thought that I forgot about my EDM exercises, LOL

This is actually a cushion on my sofa, but since I sleep on the sofa most days technically this cushion is also my pillow.

I used the same colour theme as a previous exercise I did although in a warmer tone (I’ve been reading up on my colour theories), and I must admit I like the cooler blue-grey in the previous exercise more than the warmer purple-blue in this one. I also didn’t realise how dark this picture would come out. No worries, will try to do better next time around.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

watercolour exercise – a windmill

Watercolour exercise - a windmill

Not following any instruction, I just tried to do a complete watercolour painting using this picture.

I did not stick to the colours in the picture (ie. local colours), trying instead to use a simpler palette. Even then, mixing watercolours is hard; I just couldn't get the grey I had in mind onto the palette.

On a side note, I learnt something interesting while reading up on “watercolours for beginners” sites. It’s not advertised much, but you really have to prime your palette before you put any paint on it (I’m referring to the physical palette on which you mix your paints as opposed to the choice of colours for a painting).

Most new plastic palettes have a film over the top which doesn’t accept water very well, this means that watercolours tends to bead or slide from the surface. When trying to mix colours on the palette, the paint won’t leave the brush, leave it just loaded with colour.

Some suggests scratching at the surface, however that just leaves ugly looking grooves on the plastic which the paint will stick to – and not much else. I find that rubbing at the surface with a tissue (may need some elbow grease) until the surface becomes matt will be sufficient. I was thinking of posting up a picture of my palette, but it’s really quite grotty at the moment XD

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

watercolour exercises – a lighthouse and a farm field

In my search for videos on painting in watercolour, I found If you’re not careful you can lose yourself in all the tips and advices on this site.

Anyway, I followed the instructions in this series of videos for this very rough watercolour piece.

Watercolour exercise - a lighthouse

In the video they make a wash of colour seem like such an easy thing, but as you could see my sky and sea are all blotchy and stripy. It was also quite strange to draw the sketch with watercolour and a brush, but as long as the lines are faint, you can paint over it without much problem.

The following is a continuation of the exercise above.

Watercolour exercise - farm field

This was even rougher than the sketch above, and again you can see I’ve completely botched up the sky. But I liked how the field look 3D (albeit rough and primary-school-ish).

A thing I learnt from these videos is that when trying a new technique, when practicing, it is best not to be too caught up in making the rest of the picture pretty. I need to paint a picture to put the technique into perspective (ie. I need to paint a rough field to practice the 3D effect, not just painting curved lines on a blank piece of paper), but I shouldn’t be too caught up with the rest of the picture or I would never get any practicing done.

Monday, 7 June 2010

watercolour exercise – a hat

Watercolour exercise - a hat

After my dubious effort at John Lovett’s foliages exercise, here’s my attempt at doing a hat.

Still having trouble controlling where the colour is to go. I find that less water is better, I can always add more water later and can control the paint, if I have a wet page, the paint just spreads… and not in a good way.

I really like the colour combination in this, the grey/blue really brings out the yellow.

However the hat didn’t come out as battered as it was supposed to be.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

watercolour exercise – trees and foliages

I’ve never been fond of watercolours, I thought watercolour paintings were boring and washed out.

It didn’t help that my first experience with the medium was with the primary-school-grade watercolour pans. The watercolours were so hard it took buckets of water to soften and even then the pigment was so washed out it was near non-existent. Is it any wonder that I run screaming the other way whenever I hear watercolours being mentioned?

Then I stumbled onto John Lovett’s site.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Does that painting look boring or washed out to you?

So after poring through all his tutorials and a myriad of YouTube videos, I succumbed and bought a set of Royal Talens’ ArtCreation Expression watercolours.

ArtCreation Expression water colour set 12 x 12 ml

Yes, these are tubes and not watercolour pans – baby steps, baby steps.

My first few attempts at using watercolour was disastrous and was more a play of paint and colour on a page. As I wanted watercolour to be more than another medium to create colourful backgrounds, I realise that I have to practice (and practice and practice).

So here’s the result of my first exercise (taken from John Lovett’s site):

Watercolour exercise - foliage

Now I was still getting used to how watercolours change when it dries and the “painting” above looked really weird while it was still drying, so I tried again (below).

Watercolour exercise - trees

As could be seen, I’m still having trouble controlling how much water to use XD

So I’ll need more practice and my next few entries will most likely record my attempts at using this medium.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

muji chronotebook

How this entry came to be:

Chronotebook - Exterior

This is a Muji Chronotebook. It doesn’t look like much, but the idea is so interesting.

Instead of your run of the mill daily planner where time is arranged in a linear fashion, the Chronotebook organises time in a circle.

Chronotebook - Interior

You can make pie charts or just draw a line/arrow to the time, a much more flexible (and visual) system than the usual method of pre-ruled lines on a page.

MUJI Chronotebook - Usage

It’s an quirky concept and something I really want to try out, though I can foresee some problems for me personally.

I’m not a person who has a very active schedule. What this means is that there will be many many blank pages intersected by the occasional fully packed day (usually weekends). I must admit that this problem is not restricted to the Chronotebook, it’s pretty much my problem with any day-per-page planner.

There isn’t any feature for monthly or weekly overview in this notebook, which means you can’t do a lot of pre-planning (easily), or mark any multiple-day events. Not a big negative against the notebook, but can be awkward if I want to mark in a five-day holiday. {edit: unless I convert a page into a week/month view, the dial in the centre would be separated into seven/thirty-one sections… hmm… food for thought}

How I can see myself using this notebook is as a journal;. It’ll help me record how much time I’ve spent on certain activities. It would also be useful on days when I want to really micro-manage my time (if only this notebook was out when I was in high school or Uni – perhaps I should take up a Master’s Degree, just to test out the notebook ;p).

As a scheduler, it would be more useful for me to stick with the usual week-per-page scheduler and to draw a dial on the certain days when I need to micro-manage. {edit: or use the dials as monthly/weekly organiser until I come to a day when I need to micro-manage}

In fact, while writing this entry, I found a site called (please note the original item only have one “no” in the spelling) which provide templates of the centre dial. You can print the dial onto any circular sticky labels and put that in your preferred notebook. Otherwise you can print out full pages with the chronotebook in the centre.

For now, I’m going to try the dial method in my normal scheduler first – if it works, I might look into my local Muji store to see if they stock it.

More links to the Chronotebook:

Friday, 4 June 2010

mistake/fixed? – grunge wings

Unfortunately I do not have the before/after photos for comparison, but below is a page that I’ve mucked up but managed to fix through sheer perseverance.


You may need to enlarge the above picture (click on it) to see what I’m talking about, but there are two rectangles on the page, one on the top left hand corner of the page and one on the bottom right. Those are the remains of ticket stubs (I can’t even remember for what) that I stuck on the page. I found out, first hand, the reason you do not use double-sided tape to stick things you are later going to paint over; they bubble.

Not only did it bubble, but they stuck to the other side of the page and peeled off. I suddenly had two gaping white holes in my page.

My solution? Brayer over it (this was during the time when I brayered over everything. However I was careful to leave details in the background (ie. the wings) to show through.

The black-over-white text helped complete the grunge-up look.

acrylic exercises

Last week I was poring through all of Tim Gagnon's Youtube videos on painting in acrylic.

I tried to duplicate the technique in this video, although on a much smaller scale.

Acrylic exercise - a shadowy forest

I didn't proceed through to the final step - putting the highlights into the grass - for a few reasons. The perspective in this painting was slightly different from those in the video and the depth of the foreground in this painting is shallower; the highlighted grass would seem out of place.

I really had trouble drawing the trees. The trunks never looked right to me. I would have to practice sketching more trees to get the angles right.

I also found that paint has to be fairly fluid to do straight lines. My brush and paint was too dry and I ended up with feathery lines where the paint skipped over the page. I’m most likely to going to give this another go and see whether I get better results.

Acrylic exercise - clouds
I didn’t really like the way the background was going on this page, so I decided to test out Tim Gagnon’s cloud painting technique.

Whereas in the previous exercise my brush was too dry, in this exercise my brush was too wet; there was too much paint. I couldn’t get the feathering that Tim was doing in the video. I was also too impatient, I didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry when building the opaque sections of the cloud. Instead of layering paint, I ended up pushing the paint out, making the cloud way larger than planned.

Although neither page worked out the way I expected, I felt like I’ve accomplished something. I guess figuring out how some things don’t work is also a kind of achievement.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

experiment - depth/layer

failed attempt - depth/layer

I had an image in my mind but I couldn't replicate it on paper; I wanted to create layers of yellow and orange squiggles on the page, some overlapping each other, others weaving in and out.

I think there needs to be more forethought to where each squiggle needs to be, and what it's doing, before I put paint on paper.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Last entry I posted pages made whilst doing the Layer Love lessons. The following pages were my attempts at doing layers before I joined the class.

brayered page #2
brayered page #1

These pictures were taken quite a while ago, but there was a period of time when I really loved doing brayered backgrounds. I found that the brayered paint quickly builds layers without muddying the colours.

brayered page #4

As the acrylic paint builds up on the brayer (I don’t wash them as I should) it creates texture on the brayer which results in interesting patterns.

brayered page #3
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