Hello! I’m Nay Aung from Myanmar. I live in Yangon, one of the major cities of our country. I’m interested in various kinds of art, especially drawing and painting. I’m a doctor practicing at my own clinic every evening, running the small business and have one smart kid, but fortunately, I have my spare time for painting and I can still paint.
I’ve painted since I was in my primary school years. My father bought a box of 12 color watercolor pans and a small brush for me probably when I was 12 years old. I first met watercolor at that time. During summer holidays, my father sent me to his friend who was the professional artist in my home town, Taunggyi. I’ve studied the basic and advanced drawing lessons there.
In our country, at that time, most parents did not appreciate their children who had drawing and painting as a hobby. They thought that their child became an artist and lost interest in education. I am always thankful to my father who believed me that I could handle my hobby and also education. Usually our summer holidays lasted for three months and I always drew the whole day at our master’s studio every summer until my high school years. I got just enough drawing skills, but didn’t have enough time to get watercolor lessons from my master in my home town.
At medical university, Yangon, I met some friends who were also interested in art. My horizon of knowledge on art was wider than when I was in my home town, but I had very little chance to do painting there. I’ve made a few and they were all watercolors.
After graduating from medical university, almost a decade, I didn’t do a single painting. I didn’t know what was the main reason of not wanting to paint. Actually there were many influencing factors that stopped the inspiration to paint during these years. Although I didn’t paint, I frequently wandered to local galleries at Yangon to see others’ paintings. I’ve also collected some books on art, both paperbacks and e-books. I’ve already read and read again these books but I just couldn’t do any painting.
In 2012, I visited one of the famous galleries in Yangon accidentally and there I bought a DVD named “Watercolor On Location”. It was a demonstration DVD and the artist’s name was difficult to pronounce for me. I wasn’t serious about the DVD at the time of buying, but after seeing the demonstration, the artist called me to the extremely wonderful and magical world of watercolor. He woke my hobby up which fell asleep for almost a decade. I explored the web and I found the masters who influenced me until today. Yes, Joseph Zbukvic, Alvaro Castanet, Herman Pekel and David Taylor. “Mastering Atmosphere and Mood in Watercolor” became also one of my favorite instruction books.
This time I had a clearer vision for falling in love with watercolor again. To catch the light, to express the mood and to create the magical atmosphere. These are the desires that drive me again to paint with watercolor. I want to make the impressions with watercolor. For me, there is no other medium that gives the satisfying result like watercolor. Its spontaneity and freshness makes me an addict. It is fun when you lose and gain alternatively your control while painting with watercolor.
I’m painting for my pleasure because watercolor gives me the freedom to enter a wonderful world which is different from the real world. Clearly, I also understood that you can’t run from something that is part of you. Maybe you can hide for certain periods from it, but it’ll find you again someday. Currently, I have no formal education in watercolor and I’ve done what I feel best for the painting.
Regarding my painting materials, for the last two or three decades, we didn’t have quality art supplies in our country. Many professional artists got their art supplies from their foreign friends or they could buy when they visited other countries. During university years, I used the Winsor & Newton paints (from China). I used the brushes from local brush makers and they were not good for watercolor painting. Just one or two art supplies shops in Yangon, and we could buy some artist grade paints there, but the prices were not affordable for me at that time.
Today, more quality art supplies are available in Yangon. We have some online agents who can sell these supplies. We can buy any famous brand of watercolor in Yangon. But currently, I use the Camel artist’s watercolor which is very cheap and suitable for practicing. My palette contains Ultramarine, Cobalt, and Cerulean for BLUE, Crimson Lake, Scarlet Lake and Vermillion for RED, Yellow Ochre, Gamboge and Lemon Yellow for YELLOW. Sap green and viridian are used for GREEN. Burnt Sienna and Sepia are also used for increasing the tone.
I’ve already bought new sets of Van Gogh watercolor tubes and tried to paint. For paper, usually the Renaissance watercolor pad (200 gsm) is used because it is available at nearly every stationery store. But my favorite is Daler Rowney paper (300 gsm) although it is expensive for me. I used Monet and Mont Marte mop brushes and Van Gogh round brushes. Of course, a lot better than university years! I never use small brushes except for some details. Small paper and big brush is my approach to watercolor nowadays.
I love a loose and free painting style, and I think it is the best part of this medium. If you’re interested in “ISMs” of Art history, let’s say it is the impressionist’s watercolors.
And last, but not the least, I’m glad that I found the place where I can share my painting experiences and listen to others who have the same passion and dreams. Thanks Charlie for your creation and inviting me as a guest artist! Hope you guys get something fun and inspirational from this post!