Monday, December 5, 2016

Asia-link Sketchwalk 2016 - The Paintings

Last week, I had an amazing time in Bangkok with my sketch buddies. There were over 350 sketchers that attended the event so there were also so many new sketchers to meet. They come from 12 countries: China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, The Philippines, India, Singapore and the host country, Thailand. 

Kwin Krisadaphong, main organiser of festival and member of Bangkok Sketchers, reminded all of us that the event is not so much about sketching, but more the sketchers.  Indeed, I came to Bangkok with that in mind... 4 days earlier, so I can sketch before it's time to mingle with other artists.  During the time of the event, I observed other sketchers, discussed materials, found out what kind of food my friends like to eat, heard their travel stories, their art journey... network, network, network!
Definitely not enough for a 4 day event. 

The passing away of Bhumibol King Rama 9 was the main focus of the locals during my stay in Bangkok. Every local, out of respect for their father King, wore black or white. This gesture is extended to foreign visitors too, but not mandatory.  During the entire year of morning, people from all over Thailand come to Bangkok to pay their final respects to their former King. The area around the Grand Palace gets a little more congested than during other times and services like free hair cut, food and water are available for those visiting the Grand Palace. One can't help but feel the love the Thai people have for their late King. 

Here are my oil paintings during 23 Nov to Nov 28:
A section of Wat Thepthidaram

Tuk Tuk parked at Khao San Road 

Night eating of Wat Sunhat. The lights go off at 10:34pm.

El Chiringuito, near chinatown.  I love this place.

A section of the Grand Palace

A section of the Grand Palace

The last time I saw my Go Pro. :-(  But looking forward to new and exciting times!

I began this sketch and without a moment's notice, it started to pour.
Took me 5 minutes to pack and find shelter. 

Painting in the morning around the Mahakan Fort area

Golden Mount night sketch

 Demo on the last day of the event at C-Asean Center

 Q&A during the demo

Thank you, p Pratana Sangpongchawal for the photos! 

See my ink and watercolour sketches of Bangkok here: 

And finally, as always, I end with a video. Enjoy this timpelapse of 
one of my favourite pieces from the trip:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Asia-link Sketchwalk 2016 - The sketches

The inaugural Asia-link Sketchwalk 2016 finally took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 24 Nov to 28 Nov 2016. Over 350 sketchers representing 12 nations met and sketched to their hearts' content. For many, it was a trip to meet old friends. For others, it was an experience like none other - meeting like-minded people who love sketching.  Never have I seen such fired-up sketchers before: meeting at night to paint after a day's worth of sketching, doodling each other whenever possible, sketching during talks and presentations, drawing food before consuming it (i.e. eating cold food), etc... what nerds. ;-) 

I remembered joining Urban Sketches Singapore in March 2012. That nudged me to go down the path I walk today - being a full time artist.  It was great seeing old faces after a 3 and a half year hiatus from the asian urban sketching scene. For those who do not know where I went, I left for Italy in April 2013 to study Traditional Art, specifically Natural Realism.  I am glad to be back in vibrant and bustling, yet warm and serene Asia. And I was absolutely glad to be a part of this historical event. May the sketchers forge true, deep and lasting relationships for many, many years to come. Not just on an event level, but on a much grander Asian perspective. Looking forward to doing many more things, unheard and unthought of between the 12 countries. 

Here are some of the highlights of my trip: 

Sketching commuters at Changi Airport Terminal 2, Singapore
Have I mentioned I love sketching crowds? 

Enjoying a cuppa on board Scoot's Dreamliner. 2 hours 10 mins to Bangkok only. 

Phad Thai at Thipsamai - a local favourite haunt.
Try their popular Phad Thai wrapped in an egg. They open from 5pm - 2am.
Queues get really long around 7pm to 9pm on weekdays. Forget about
going there on the weekends. :)
See time-lapse here:

Nestled in busy Bangkok is Vanilla Garden in the Ekamai area. It's a good  place to get away 
from the noise for a while. I'm at the Vanilla Bakeshop (next-door) for a cappuccino. 

Demi Concept is a food truck serving fabulous soft ice cream. They are parked right outside
Platinum Shopping Mall with other food trucks. I tried the green mocha and charcoal twist.
All ingredients are from Japan. 

El Chiringuito. I found this lovely shophouse in the chinatown area turned into an Air B&B with a bar.  
It looked so pretty online I had to go see it with my own eyes and paint it.

Kope Hya Tai Ke (โกปี๊เฮี๊ยะไถ่กี่) is a historical coffee shop right in front of Bangkok's Cityhall.  

Once Again Hostel is right around the cultural Bangkok area. If you love to experience art and culture more than shopping, this is a great location (for artists, photographers, writers, etc) to stay in as it's walking distance to most of the heritage sites. This is the cafe called Holiday, managed by Cafe Velodrome in Once Again. 

Mont Nom Sod is a milk and toast cafe. I stumbled upon the original store
near where I live. I had a custard egg and pandan spread toast. Their ingredients
are free of preservatives and they only buy from suppliers they trust.  

Here's a sketch while having local drip coffee at El Chiringuito: 

See my paintings of Bangkok here: 

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Water Great Turnout - IAF2016

The Illustration Arts Fest 2016 (IAF2016) is Singapore's first indie illustration-centric festival and is organised by Organisation of Illustrators Council (OIC) in conjunction with 
Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), LaSALLE College of the Arts; and East London Comics Arts Festival (ELCAF) and Nobrow Press. It ran for 3 days and was held at LaSALLE College of the Arts at 1 McNally Road. 

Despite the monsoon season creeping in, I was grateful to be able to set up a booth at the Illustrator's Market on Saturday and Sunday. It gave me the opportunity to see what the local illustrators are doing in their basements and allowed me to get to know some of them better. My booth was right by @Violet1202 - a concept artist I thoroughly adore! 

Half an hour before the show opened on Oct 29, 2016
with the amazing Samantha a.k.a. Violet1202

New works out including this new bookmark for 
buyers of my 2nd publication, Ciao Firenze! 

Great to see familiar faces drop by to say Hi! 

Made new friends like Kopi here. Incidentally, 
he's right under my works painted with coffee.

Lots of visitors turned up despite the monsoon rains. 

I managed to squeeze in this sketch of the view behind my booth. 

The future looks really bright for artists in Singapore!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by my booth.  Your support definitely keeps me going.  I may have made a good call to use Singapore as a base now to make art. Looking forward to a day when I can see this line of work under the Professional category of a any fill-up form.  :) 

Coming soon, tips on setting up a festival/ fair booth.  Till then... Ciao! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sketching Hong Kong... Disneyland

I was in Hong Kong about 2 weeks back. My goal was to paint in my favourite theme park - Disneyland.  I've always had a soft spot for it ever since I first stepped in to the park when I was 7. When I was old enough to know that you can actually get a job designing the Disney theme parks, I was just about to finish college.  I had missed the boat.  Then, I studied Graphic Design with a focus in Environmental Design. 

When I took an Animation programme in 2009, I majored in Concept Design. For my final year project, I chose to conceptualise Disney Island. And spent a really fun 1 year designing it.  I even spent an afternoon showing the concepts to Imagineers in the Fall of 2011 all the way in Glendale, California. I never got that job. 

Back to Hong Kong. 

I spent some time walking around and sketching what I saw in the city too. The first half of my stay was in Kowloon and the second half was on Hong Kong island. It was great to be moving around as an artist.  There was so much to see, sketch and ... umm... eat.  Last time I was here about 8 years ago, I was producing a documentary and was filming the raw footages I needed for editing.  And this was during a time that I wasn't accustomed to even holding a pencil/ ink pen. 

Here are some of the highlights of my trip: 

Here's sketching the famous Tai Cheong Egg Tarts. 
Gotta do it quick so it'll still be warm when I'm consuming it. 

Another popular cafe to dine in. 

Long queue at this ice cream vending machine. 
Overheard that they are only 5 such trucks in HK. 

You gotta love these trolley buses.

I got yelled at for taking a chair to sit on to sketch this make-short shop. 
And when I requested to purchase a drink, the owner said NO. :(

I wished I had a really really really long canvas. :)

Here's checking-in to Disneyland. I thought I could from a previous courtesy email I wrote to customer relations, but security said "No Easels". So I went in without one. 

First piece was to sketch Main Street Station

Here's right outside Hyperspace Mountain doing a sketch over coffee.

A new ride Mystic Manor based on the old Phantom Manor.

One of my favourite moments was sitting next to a little Snow White 
white painting the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Here's the Time-lapse of me painting the Sleeping Beauty Castle... without an easel. ;)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wexford's Art in the Open

It took me 2 years to get here. The timing was really bad last year (2015) that coincided with a workshop that I was assisting in Florence. Same for this year too with the Repin Academy workshop ending on 29 July, but I decided to leave the workshop 2 days early and slip into Art in the Open (AITO). The instructors and professors at Repin were extremely upset I had to leave early, but I wasn't going to sit and wait for 2017's AITO!

After 21 hours of travel and 3 plane rides, I arrived drained in Dublin International. I wasn't quite there yet. I headed for Zone 14 at the Airport (near a church) where I catch the hourly Wexford Bus.  The last stretch is 3 hour scenic journey by bus. Thank goodness I wasn't driving! At precisely 9pm, I made my way to the T. Morris Bar for Day 3's BBQ Night. It was a grand welcome with 2 hamburgers and a couple of sausages! :) I was famished. 

I began the festival proper on Day 4. 

Schedule of AITO 2016

Participants check in at Passage East and get their canvases stamped for the Paint Out

There were at least 150 over painters in this year's festival. This was my morning piece.
See me sketch live!! 

Signs throughout tell onlookers what's going on

It's another 90 mins to 5pm (when the bus picks us up) to head back to Wexford

Day 5: Workshop with Marc Delassio at Curracloe Beach. A scene from Saving Private Ryan was shot here.

Back to Wexford to stock up in everybody's favourite Art Shop - Spectrum

 Tony and Trish run the shop and they have some of the most interesting finds

Saturday was Quick Draw. About 76 of us took part in this.

They just remind me of the Corrs... 

The crew preparing for the exhibition in the town Old Library

In between paintings, I'd be documenting the town in ink. Love this building called the Greenacres Restaurant which serves food and has an art gallery too.

I love Premier's Fish and Chips - sold this sketch.

When in Ireland... 


Here's a sketch at live at one of the pubs in Wexford.

Great painting locations (minus the July rains), great people, great art. I definitely would like to return here God-willing. It's just that many things happen during the summer so I have to choose wisely. If you are interested in Plein Air and whether you ink, oil, watercolour or pencil, this festival is worth getting to.  Google search "Art in the Open, Wexford."

For more of my daily oil postings, go here:

For more of my daily ink sketches, go here: