Saturday, December 31, 2011

Painting trees

This last post of 2011 does not attempt to sum up the year, that would take too long and may proof to be tedious reading for many. Instead I chose to highlight (or perhaps confirm) an important realisation on my part - which is my increasing enjoyment of working with young people.

So here is one of the little projects carried out with several of my young friends. They painted a mural at the Home of Peace; an elderly citizens' home in Landeh about twelve miles out of Kuching. The idea was 'planted' by Ivy who thought that the dining room at the Home of Peace looked rather institutional and needed colour.

Sara and Joel designed the 'forest of trees' to be stenciled onto the wall for the younger kids to fill in; colours were selected to imply depth of perception.
I enjoyed the experience of completing the mural with the students (Wen Jin from Ipoh, Shearer and Jay from St Joe, Sean, Sara, Nick and Kieran) despite not drawing a line myself. I felt rewarded by their generosity in donating their time.
We will return to add birds to the forest as requested by one of the Sisters who run the place.

Nick and his Dad adding birds and flowers
with some of the residents of the Home of Peace

Friday, December 23, 2011

Little Black Book

I keep a small sketch book (4x6 inches) for quick sketches during stolen moments of the day; usually during traveling to and from meetings out of town. I tried to keep it updated like a visual journal but it is not always successful; recently I took stock of the entries and posted them here.
The Lasalle College of the Arts - near the Bugis MRT

I have always liked this building; how it addresses the corner with its curve form; did a quick 5 minute sketch when waiting for my lunch to be cooked in a cafe across the street.

Another quick one done in ball point pen near the Floating Stadium at the Marina; after viewing the Dali exhibition at the new Arts and Science Museum.
The 'wings' hovering over the Marina Sands
Inside - we watched the Lion King and ate pizza at the Mozza - culinary and cultural (?) highlights
A familiar place during our stay at Micheal's apartment; sketched from the McDonald's across the street.

Events of the day - some days are just packed with activity and ideas.

Last run at the gym before heading off to Penang for the Run (Nov 2011)

My life at the confluence of books and food at DNA's office.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drawing From Memory

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Steward Lane, Penang

More from the stolen afternoon of sketching in Penang, my attention was caught by the many textures of this elevation. I drew in ink 'on-site' and colored in after I returned to Kuching.
Wan Hai Hotel on Steward Lane


I didn't have my camera with me and forgot to write down the street name but fortunately I was able to find a photo taken by Calvin Kwok to accompany this post.

Monday, December 5, 2011

S(catch) of the Day

I have been busy catching up with work leftover due to my trips away from the office; so I have not had much time to sketch on-site or to finish the sketches from Penang. The only sketching that I have been doing for the past few weeks have been the money making type; sketches to show clients initial ideas, to explain design ideas to students in the office and show a trace of the hand in my drawings These sketches are for a small house in Kuching - and they perform each of the roles listed above.
Pencil floor plan rendered with coloured pencil; total area 168 sq. metres.

A couple of quick sketches drawn up in an A5 cartridge sketchbook - with water colours quickly added in.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Album covers

Sara must have enjoyed the bonding session with me in Penang; as she is still in the office everyday - seated next to me, humoring her old man by typing out my documents, scanning magazines and making coffee. Recently, she took up my suggestion to do one sketch every day in one of my old journals - the result of which startled and impressed me. With the encouraging comments from her peers and myself, she is continuing this habit of 'doing a sketch a day' - coincidentally I was listening to some per-recorded CDs from years ago which I painted some 'album covers'. So, here's a father and daughter exhibition...
book cover "roseanna' by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
sarah brightman by sara

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Work, Run and Family

Sara and I went to Penang for the Bridge Half Marathon; I decided to work in a bit of work and met with a client about a house and gave a talk at the local Architecture school (USM). I also brought my parents along since my Mom has not been since I was in Secondary school. 
At 3 a.m. Sunday, I ran my third half marathon (3:39) - didn't make my target of 2:27. It was a busy few days but I managed to steal away for some sketching on the last afternoon when Sara went shopping with Pris, and Eng Hooi played tour guide for my parents.
Campbell Street Market

Friday, November 18, 2011

You can have the afternoon off!

Song Kheng Hai Hawker Centre

A Fire Look-out tower used to mark one end of Jalan Padungan; now a garish Chinese arch mars the  spot
Today is my birthday and I am traveling to Penang with Sara and a bunch of friends to participate in the Penang Bridge Half-Marathon. After we landed in Penang at 11:30 a.m. - birthday messages started coming in from one or two office friends. To which I replied by telling them that for wishing me 'happy birthday' they can have the afternoon off! And what do you know...more birthday messages came in and I continued telling each of them to have the afternoon off; I guess I ll find out if they did take the afternoon off when I return on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, I recently gave myself the afternoon off and sketched in Padungan; enjoyed the guilty pleasure of a stolen afternoon and re-discovery of the 0.4 Artline pen.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time on my hands

Our flight was cancelled. I was not bothered, happy even. Happy to be held captive with a good book "The Laughing Policeman" (Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo) and my sketchbook. 4 hours till the next plane home, and the only victim was dinner with friends at home.
I tried my hand (again) at drawing people. I need to practice more, I am more at home with buildings and spaces.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


These are some sketches from my visual diary recording Sunday's main activities. The day started at 4:30 with a run out to Eng Hooi's house to meet up for the long run towards town centre. As usual, we got our messages mixed up and he and I did not meet up but ran our own long runs.
It was day light when I reached the Rock Road showroom 
I stopped for the light to change at Saberkas - the big round building on the left and did this quick sketch.

Our Sunday run usually ends at the Hakka coffee shop at the corner of Carpenter and Bishopsgate street for noodles and local coffee.

That afternoon, Sam, Sara, Eng Hooi and I went to Arlene and Mag's new house to help them paint Eggshell, Brilliant White and Moondust on their walls.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sketchbook Project 2012

Peggy and I together with a group of friends have decided to participate in the Sketchbook Project :
"its like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks" Here's an excerpt.

Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the world.
After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.
Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can be a part of the project.To participate and have us send you a sketchbook that will go on tour, start by choosing a theme to the right.

The 2012 Tour

Brooklyn, NY
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
San Francisco, CA
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Los Angeles, CA
Philadelphia, PA
Portland, OR
Portland, ME
London, England*
Melbourne, Australia*
Vancouver, Canada
Toronto, Canada

Project dates

Oct 31st, 2011
Jan 31st, 2012
April, 2012

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Losing yourself

I love the company of people; but sometimes it is necessary to be alone. To fill in the gaps in the day's thoughts. Much like the colouring in of sketches and the adding of shadows and textures that add depth. It is also time to think and lose yourself for a short spell. 
These sketches describe a departure from the day's tasks - as architect, father, husband, tutor. In those spare hours, I can lose myself and be anonymous. A small format sketch book is helpful so that I can always have it with me. And these stolen moments are short so the sketches have to be concise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guangzhou sketches

The Guangdong museum
This is part of Saturday's drawing class - Yasmin showed us photos of her recent trip to Guangzhou, we selected a few and sketched them in class. We played music while sketching; 3 songs per sketch (about ten minutes) I water coloured in later.

Guangxiao Xi (Filial Piety) Temple and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees
Next Week: Cambodia Sketches (1:30pm onwards at DNA)