Saturday, 19 August 2017

Travel Sketches (Singapore July 2017)

Travel sketching is about keeping a visual diary and telling stories about places and experiences. Here are sketches I did while in Singapore in July to attend the USk10x10+ASEAN50 Sketchmeet.

I have many old ties to the Cairnhill Road area. One of these is the house (extreme left) where I got haircuts at a friend’s hair salon in the 1960’s. 

It’s now a restaurant. A raised step on the other side of road was a convenient place to sit to sketch this scene.

Meeting up with old primary CHIJ schoolmates has become a regular feature of my visits to Singapore. The group has steadily grown over the last 10 years as everyone retired and had more time to socialize. Friendships rekindled after so many years take some nurturing so each meeting has taken my relationships with these old friends a little further. I sketched the back of my old school on the way to lunch with some of the old schoolmates. 

The school has now moved to a new location but the original school buildings have been restored and now forms a tourist precinct called CHIJMES. (Read about the history of the school by clicking on the dots on the right side of the web page here).

The former school chapel is now a popular choice for wedding receptions. I caught a couple of weddings the day I was there and sketched (as quickly as I could) one photoshoot. 

Here’s the old school chapel steeple done on another visit using pencils (a bit of a departure for me from my usual pen). I try to visit the old school a couple of times on each of my trips to Singapore as walking the passage ways fills me with nostalgia. Each time I think what if this is my last visit. 

The sketch is all a bit wonky as I was perched on a thin ledge looking up with my sketchbook on my knee. 

The Book Cafe was a quiet out of the way place to indulge in morning tea and do a sketch before visiting the David Hockney exhibition “A Matter of Perspective” at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI). I hadn’t realized that the STPI had been set up by American master printmaker Kenneth Tyler in 2002. He had worked extensively with Hockney in Los Angeles. This morning tea felt like a nice reward for successfully getting around using Uber and the GPS on my phone. 

The STPI is housed in a restored 19th century warehouse along Robertson Quay along the Singapore River. Coming out from the building I was met with the sight of this awesome foot bridge across the river – Alkaff Bridge. It is shaped like a tongkang (the light bumboats used to ferry goods along the river until 1983) and named after a prominent Arabian family of the early 20th century.

What better way to pass the time when caught in a torrential rain storm? Eat and sketch of course. I sketched this selection of Malay cakes (all green ones on this day) and a cup of tea at the Courtyard Cafe, National Gallery. Unfortunately the nearby hands-on exhibit for little kids made it a really noisy sojourn. 

I joined USkSG for one of their regular Saturday sketchmeets and found myself sketching along South Bridge Road in Chinatown. 

The Sri Mariamman Hindu temple dating back to 1829 is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Next to it is the Buddha Tooth Temple and looking the other way, the Jamae Mosque.

A Christian church is not too far away. The multicultural aspect of Singapore is what I like most about the place.

Emerald Hill is one of my favourite areas. It’s a conservation area of Straits Chinese architecture from the turn of the 20th century. Except for a few businesses towards the bottom end, the buildings have mostly been turned into private residences. This red building stands out on the street and is an antique shop. Many an Urban Sketcher has drawn this building.

Here is a rather distinguished pristine white residence. 

#LamyPen, pencils, watercolour, #MoleskineWatercolourAlbum, 5x8.25ins. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

USk10x10+ASEAN50 Sketchmeet

In July I attended the week long USk10x10+ASEAN50 Sketchmeet in Singapore. 10 workshops for the 10th anniversary of the Urban Sketchers global movement and the 50th anniversary of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). 

I signed up for 4 workshops: 

With Pramote Kitchumnongpan a sketcher from Thailand who draws with ink onto sprayed coloured wet backgrounds.

With Tia Boon Sim from Singapore who is the panorama guru of Urban Sketchers. Here is a sample of her work.

With Achilles Estremos (also known on Facebook as Uhky Uhky) a Filipino plein air watercolorist who paints scenes as if they had a raking light source. 

and with KC Lee, Kuala Lumpur sketcher extraordinaire of expressive urban scenes. Here is one of his sketches.

Here are some photos taken at the workshops.  The enthusiasm was uplifting.

All these 4 instructors have very distinctive ways of working which are way out of my comfort zone. I tended to try to sketch and paint like them during the workshops…with disastrous results. Looking back now that I’m home, it’s up to me to decide what new ideas I want to incorporate into my own work and see what works and doesn’t work with my own style and subject matter.

There was a call for submissions for an exhibition “We Draw ASEAN Together” which went with the 10x10 event and I had 3 sketches selected for the show. They will be exhibited at the gallery at Glocal Connect Village, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore until the end of August 2017. Here some last minute touches.

My 3 sketches which were selected. These first 2 probably because they were the only ones submitted of moving subjects.

This third one made it in the "single colour" category.

Altogether it was an awesome week. There is great camaraderie within the Urban Sketchers global community and it was great to catch up with old sketcher friends and make new ones from among the attendees who came from several countries.  

At the closing ceremony:

And a wonderful video of the last day (thanks to Parka):