Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Guardian of the Flame

(300MM X 410MM)
I was in Kuala Sepetang, Taiping, not too long ago and whenever I am there, I would pay a visit to the charcoal factory lying just outside the town that was once known as Port Weld. This is the picture of the guardian of the flame tending to the fire at the kiln during the second stage of charcoal baking.
The entire process of making charcoal takes about three weeks with several firing stages. This is in its final week when the door of the kiln will be sealed shut using bricks and the temperature gradually brought down. It takes an experience person to gauge the temperature. Too high and coal turns to ash. Too low and the coal will be smoky.
The job is back breaking, the surroundings smoky, hot and even hazardous. But for someone of limited education, this is the only option in a town where high-paying jobs are few and far in between. And for the sake of his family, the guardian of the flame has to keep the fire going.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Mood and Atmosphere in Watercolour

I may be biased but I think watercolour, as an artistic medium, can depict mood and atmosphere no other medium can. I did this piece after reading about the homes of the Orang Asli in Kelantan that have been ravaged by uncontrolled logging activities. It features an Orang Asli watching two others on a raft going downriver. It was done with a combination of browns and blues, in various tonal values.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Self-Portrait Should Be Approached Without Inhibitions

Just for the fun of it. This is like a jigsaw puzzle. Drawing from a photo is not tough but getting into a messy picture can be trying. Thankfully I managed to complete this self-portrait in wastercolour with the dots and dashes and washes, keeping as many elements in the picture. I'm quite happy with the foreshortening of the legs and the skin-colour. Self-portrait is a tough subject to approach, one that should be tackled with reckless abandonment, I think. If you are restricted by any inhibition, self-consciousness will end your artistic journey before you could lay the first colour.