My name is Whee Teck Ong and I am based in Singapore but was born in Malaysia, having lived in Singapore for close to 20 years, it is now home. I believe that anyone can learn how to sketch and paint. I started painting in late 2011 and, in many ways, have surprised myself at how fun and how engrossing drawing and painting is.
In the area of work, I started as a programmer and have been in the information technology business for a long time, so it is quite different from my day job whenever I take time out to sketch and paint.
I am still growing my skills and learning as much as possible. I generally work on 5 areas of my development, I’ll summarize as such:
What theories or ideas can I develop further? What knowledge do I lack that could help me with my development as an artist? I generally try to glean from conversation with more mature artists and “steal” from them as much as possible!
Of course, there’s always books, I do have a good collection of art instruction books at home (over 500 books in my collections now!).
This is where it can get very expansive! As you can imagine, I collect brushes, colours, palettes, etc. etc. It is fun collecting artist tools to test and try. I find it fun and interesting whenever I discover a new “toy”, and my art can take a different turn!
I am very fond of Daniel Smith watercolours, they are very intense, very bright, I love their granulating colours, such as Lunar Black, Daniel Smith Quinacridones are out of this world, love them to bits, especially when I am painting flowers, all the shades of reds and purples! Regarding sketchbook and papers, I use Stillman & Birn almost exclusively and Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm papers for my larger works. For brushes, I use quite a lot of Rosemary & Co. brushes. So there you go, my tools in a nutshell!
I am part of the Urban Sketchers Singapore. I hang out often with several them, and I try to sketch as often as I can with them. It is fun and satisfying having a “support” group who are very supportive. We also often go on overseas trip together, it is fun to have found my tribe!
It is not always easy to stay motivated, I occasionally find a hurdle either in drawing or in painting that I cannot overcome.
It could be frustrating, but I remind myself the reason why I paint and why I began my journey into the realm of the visual arts, and then I usually will discover my love for it again. Reflecting on my own motivation is something I constantly do to keep me going.
Developing the right behaviour or muscles for the arts is very important, I constantly place activities in my iPhone calendar to ensure that I spend enough time practising my drawings and my paintings. Although it is very pleasurable to draw, sometimes, I do it when I am not enjoying it as much. I give myself a little push so that I could continue to develop the skills that I need to get better.
If you are stuck in development as an artist, try tweaking one of the 5 Ms above, and see if you could push yourself forward. Good luck on your own journey as an artist! I’m really a believer that everyone can draw and paint, with some practice of course!
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