The Alfa Man…

Just to update a recent commissioned painting… a portrait of a man with his brand new hot car.

Actually, this is going to be the birthday ‘gift’ to the man from his good friends. How thoughtful, huh?

So… how about if I let you take a peek to the painting’s process?

This painting is sized 20″ x 15″, done with Watercolor on Acid Free watercolor paper.

Well, I’m glad that’s out of my way now. I’m glad I could alter the background mess without much disaster. And to be honest, I love how the car turned out. It looks quite solid and bright. I hope my client will be happy with the result too :).



Posted by on June 19, 2011 in Home


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The Pink Kite of Hope

I came across an inspiring photo of a girl holding a kite and thought… Yes! This would be perfect for the figure painting which I planned to do with a little experimentation. Like I mentioned in the previous post- I was itching to paint a figure… and after reading a few lessons at Susan Harrison-Tustain’s site, I was even eager to try something new. Her paintings were really awesome and she generously shared some tips about her precious painting techniques in watercolor and oil there.

I’d like to record the steps I’ve taken for this painting. So, here goes..

Firstly, I did the pencil sketch of the little girl with the kite in her hands. The sketch was quite light.. plus the bad lighting.. ugh!

Then, using Susan’s technique of ‘yellow’ paint mapping, I painted the whole paper with the yellow paint. According to Susan, this method could give more ‘glowing’ effect to our painting later on. The part with darker tones, we should give it more yellow concentration at the base.

I also planned to limit my colors… so when my base dried, I laid down a few of ‘major’ colors for the painting. Then I put more colors on her hair, face, t-shirt and batik sarong which she wore like a long skirt. I must say I was quite proud of myself that I didn’t ‘follow’ the photo 100% (yay!). In the original photo, the girl was not wearing batik and the shirt’s color was different too.

Then, more concentration was given to the quiet wall…

At this point, I was a bit apprehensive because I knew I wanted to do something different with the kite. For me, the kite was a ‘symbol’. You know, like freedom or happiness… but how should I stressed my point..? Of course, I could just leave it empty and let my viewer’s figured it out. But let’s just say, I wanted the kite to ‘speak’. So I played around with an idea… what if I tried a bit of ‘collage’ work?

So, I played around with a few newspaper cuttings.

A few themes ran through my mind. Of course there were loads of issues in regard of children. I just needed to pick out one.

So,here what I had so far… I guess, my point was to bring across some positive elements for bringing up a child in this world. At the end, we could only but HOPE. No one knows what the future holds, really.

Hmm… I might have used quite a lot of yellow until the skin became quite ‘orangy‘. But there’s no doubt that the yellow base has helped to give the glowing effect.

This painting, for me is still in progress… because I think the shadow should be darker… and the wall could be improved a bit more with some textures and stuff. The hair.. maybe needed some darkening too.

What  do you think…?

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Home


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Delightful Reds

Most of the time, I avoid wearing Red. I think the color is very attractive and most of the time, eyes will be drawn to anything with the color Red. As a result, my wardrobe has become a mix of dull, black & white, pastel and earth colors. I’d rather blend in than stuck out like a sore thumb in a crowd. However, in paintings… Red proves to be a delight!

Recently, I paint quite a lot of flowers. Many people find looking at  flowers to be most therapeutic… now, try painting them and you may feel the same too! Not only that, I also note that I feel more confident in mixing colors that I seldom used and in making the abstract backgrounds. In a way, painting flowers has somewhat become my field of experimentation with techniques and colors with this aqua medium.

Hmm… now my hands are itching to paint figure again!

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in Home


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Mister Jay in Black & White

A quick update on a recent commissioned black & white pencil portrait.

My client’s dad is now almost 70… Well, I thought I saw a film-star when I first saw his much younger photo :).

Happy Drawing, everyone!


Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Home


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Sweet Surrender…

“… your light

softly touches my skin

basking me with your tender warmth

wrapping me with your hot love

in a quiet burst of

sweet sweet surrender…”



Posted by on May 2, 2011 in Home


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The Thin Line Between Art & Illustration

I’ve never dreamt of becoming an illustrator (and I’m not exactly one too just yet).  But the truth is, I’ve been drawing and coloring for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I drew out of my imaginations.. sometimes I painted what I see (life or print) and tried to capture the feeling or whatever the inspiration was… to the canvas. Sometimes I was confused whether I was producing Art or Illustration.

A Fairy in My Imagination

A Girl I Saw Playing in the Village

When I have decided that I wanted to be able to make a living out of my passion in painting.. yes, I thought I would become an Artist. I should be seriously finding my niche, sharpen my painting skill, be more observant of  ‘life’ and what makes of it. I also thought I should be able to think and see differently from what others are seeing… in some ways. But the world is cruel. Life as an Artist is quite challenging when you still don’t know which path you should take… or more importantly, what kind of Artist are you?  When you have nothing to share on the canvas.. who will buy your art works? When no one knows your art works.. who wants to hire or pay you? And some people still think it’s easy to be an Artist… ?

Along the way of making Art, I’ve forgotten how enjoyable creating characters and stories out of my imaginations because I was too busy with more ‘serious’ artworks.  I was ‘stuck’ for quite some time while producing paintings.

I feel glad to be able to blog, meet great artists online, read what established and popular Artists/ Illustrators are up to, plus take up some Artful Online Challenges… because it helps to broaden my horizon in the Art field. Really, I’m so thankful. It’s like I’m slowly clearing out the clogged drains in the backyard of my Panji Alam house.

It was ever confusing on the issue of whether you’re an Artist or an illustrator. Are illustrators considered Artists… and vice versa?

Some people say that- Artists paint what they want; Illustrators paint what the client wants. Most of the time, an illustrator will paint or draw something to go along with a story written/ spoken/ observed. He or she will be paid doing it… or sometimes, not (if he/she did it for personal satisfaction). Illustration, by definition, is a creative process that is a service for a client.

Tailleferlong from wrote that, Fine Art is defined as a service to the artist’s own vision. Illustration is thought of as a profession whereas Art is considered a way of life. Hmm… that’s quite true, isn’t it?

Some think that all Illustrators are Artists but not all Artists are Illustrators. Get it? Artists for the most part, create art for art sakes. If someone wants to buy the art works the artists created, it’s because of he/she likes what he sees or for any personal reasons. But what about ‘commissioned’ paintings? They are not considered illustrations, are they?

James Montgomery Flagg, one of American famous artist and illustrator was quoted, “The only difference between a fine artist and an illustrator is that the latter can draw, eat three square meals a day, and can afford to pay for them”. Haha.. that’s a good one!

While sculptor David Smith said, “Art that meets the minds and needs of other people is commercial art. Art that meets the minds and needs of oneself is fine art.”

At one time, someone told me that in ‘real’ life, you can’t see ‘lines’- meaning, things around us are distinguished by forms, depths and spaces in between.. so if your drawing or painting shows ‘lines’- for example, outline of a face or a tree, etc…; then, it is an illustration. Is that so? That got me into thinking, what about Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol ? They are considered as Pop Artists and not illustrators… (?).  What about Norman Rockwell ? I thought his paintings were as real as they get but he was known as American most beloved illustrator and in fact, “thought of himself first and foremost a commercial illustrator.”

Norman Rockwell, one of my favorites!

Once I received an email saying how good a ‘ draftsman’ I was, after looking at my painting. Hmm..  I never thought of myself as draftsman before, really. I wonder why he thought of me as that. Is it because most of my paintings are drawn from real scenes and people?

I have met some people with a perception that Illustrator is somewhat lesser than an Artist. But does she/he know how financially well off an illustrator can be compared to a surviving artist, sometimes? There are also some illustrators who would feel offended if they are not considered artists. That should not be the case, I think. No matter what you do, are doing or have done; you are basically an Artist. Talented or not… skilful or less… now that’s a different matter.

Sometimes, this is what I think- do whatever you love and can do… and if you can earn your living by doing it.. keep on doing it and you can be one happy multi-talented Artist at large! Why must we confined our world into who is artist and who’s not? Just don’t let yourself starved for something that you believed in. It’s just important to be YOU. In today’s world, it seems… the more important matter is about The Thin Line Between Living and Surviving.


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Home


Mistakes NOT to Make as an Artist

First of all.. please bear with me for I want to copy & paste something that I think very important for me to remember if I were to live a life of a creative being. I got this from Laura Hollick’s SOUL ART Studio. Laura Hollick is an artist, a shaman and more.. Many creative souls are being inspired by her blog because she’s able to put into words what many artists may not be able to.. especially stuff about having creative blocks and where to go with one’s gifts… and the best thing is she always have a set of questions to get us going.

Laura Hollick Dancing with the Wind. Photographed by Johan Wigt.

You may enjoy many great pictures of her too over there.

Anyway, here’s one post she did last year that will serve as a reminder to me and many aspiring artists alike:

“Being an artist is an ongoing evolution. It is a life path with moments of total bliss and moments of complete frustration. When I reflect back on what I’ve learned so far, I can see some things that, now knowing what I know, I wouldn’t consciously do again. Here are the….

10 Biggest Mistakes I’ve made as an Artist

1.Comparing myself with others.

I made this mistake for years!   Comparison is detrimental to the creative spirit, it shrinks power. Being your own authority strengthen true power and unleashes your creative genius.

2. Selling before I was ready to sell.

This was a big mistake! I felt the pressure to make money so I sold art before I had fully ‘been’ with it. Now I honor my own process and let the art go when I’ve had enough time with it.

3. Lowering my prices because I was afraid no one would buy.

Ouch!  This is a painful mistake. This is more about limiting beliefs than anything.  The greatest damage comes when we let our unconscious, limiting beliefs run our lives.  The way I cleared this mistake was by investing in myself and seeking help to clear my limiting beliefs.

4. Keeping it all to myself.

I have two storage rooms full of ART!  Now I can see that this is a mistake to keep it all tucked away, I need to let my art out more.  It is easy to keep our art all to ourselves, but we need to remember we are channels for divine creative spirit, it is our responsibility to share what flows through us.

5. Assuming people wouldn’t get it.

This mistake stunted many connections and blocked many opportunities. I wouldn’t bother talking about my art because I thought it was going to be a hassel because they probably wouldn’t understand anyways. As an artist, part of our job includes educating and enlightening others about our art.

6. Feeling ashamed about the way I spend my time.

As an artist there is a lot of time spent doing absolutely nothing. I used to feel ashamed about this, because I thought I was supposed to be productive.  Now I understand how important “nothing time”  is to the creative process.

7. Skimping

Sometimes I would buy really cheap supplies because I didn’t want to waste money. Then I would be so upset when I created a masterpiece painting on a cheap canvas.  It is a mistake to skimp on your art. Now I make sure I have quality supplies for everything I create.

8. Seeking Validation

Looking for others to tell me if something was good or not, weakened me as an artist.  Only when I decided I was in charge of my own value and worth did my creativity really take off.

9. Thinking locally

My art career started locally which was a blessing. The mistake was staying local for too long.  Now I see the importance of reaching a much wider audience. The internet has made that possible and completely annihilated that mistake.

10. Forgetting the People!

Although art is often a solitary process, it isn’t complete until it has been connected and shared with people.  I made the mistake of thinking my art was just for me, when in truth spirit moves through me to serve a greater purpose.  When I forget the people, I forget my purpose.

Recognizing mistakes liberates us from them.

What mistakes have you made that you can learn from?

Today you can start fresh.  Let your biggest mistake guide you to your power and purpose by claiming the teachings it offers.

What is one mistake you would like to acknowledge and release?”

Thanks Laura.. for generously sharing yourself with others upon taking this creative journey.


Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Home