For my final I really wanted to see if I could catch motion and paint an impression that I get when I see the everyday ongoings of my local environment. I was really inspired by the research that I had done for Final Year Project of the way everyone experiences culture in each constant moment as we live our lives.

I used to feel, when I was little, that Singaporeans were generally in such a rush (which could translate to being “kanchiong” and “kiasu”), and I’ve very often had negative receptions to that. But today, I kind of relish this part of Singapore as a necessary cultural process for Singaporeans. I do not see it so much as something negative but I’ve come more into terms about how it simply reflects Singapore’s rampant desire to advance and develop.



Personally not the most comfortable medium. I don’t like ink especially with a brush because it’s really quite unforgiving and ink with a brush makes my strokes unpredictable and uncontrollable. I attempted a piece before this and found myself adding too much, so I redid it and stopped where i thought was necessary with figures disappearing into the front of the queue. Also really starting to get into the subject matter of usual local Singapore scenes of people doing everyday stuff.

For this assignment, I wanted to capture a mundane moment, almost candid as if someone sneaked a picture of me while I was drinking coffee at my dining table at home. But at the same time i wanted the painting to be self aware of itself being in a picture. So, my body is kind of tensed with hands in less natural positions. The rigidness i also wanted it to be expressed in brushstrokes that are made visible that kind of visually vibrate in their spaces instead of directionally flowing from one direction of brushstroke to the other. The rigidness I also tried to express in the contrast of the rigid subject with a wispy kind of background to create some dynamic relationships so as to bring out the qualities of the different brushstroke types.

Here are some works that I found mostly from the web that inspire me. They’re not necessarily artists that I really love, but I love the things that I’ve observed from the works.


Jenny Saville 

I love the hands on this particular work. Full of flesh digging into flesh. Knuckles can be clearly identified even when the image is this small.

I really enjoy the different directed planes of tone and colour that bring out the fleshiness of the figure. Clearly need deeper knowledge of anatomy to have brushstrokes appreciate the way flesh moves forwards and backwards as it exists in space.







Adolph Menzel

I love this guy. I Googled “Adolph Menzel Sketches” and I thought, this guy is disgustingly good. His live sketches have so much precision. His sense of light is on point. I think when it comes to naturalism in perceiving things, I could look through at Menzel’s sketches and be totally inspired to get my level of drawing up a little more.

What I love about these live sketches is in the rawness of the mark making that we can see in his observation drawings. Another thing that I really love about these sketches is the way he doesn’t make his sketches perfect. Like in the first picture, the mini drawing of the man’s face on the top right; I can totally see how he did these for the joy of understanding what he was perceiving instead of making it a “perfect” kind of drawing.





Kehinde Wiley

I don’t particularly like Wiley’s work. But what I like about his work is that to me, while it is naturalistic, it also loses a lot of small natural details that I find in other paintings and yet it still works as a naturalistic style. I’m not entirely sure why it works the way it does, but my guess is that while his paintings show an observed anatomical knowledge, they lack information about how the different parts of the anatomy work with each other in the painting. So the gestures of his models can appear more symbolic than natural, and that works for him as an artist.

Looking at the supinated hand, it looks kinda plastic to me and it looks sausagy. But it works because it makes sense and it retains enough natural anatomical information for it to register into people’s minds that it is a representation of a “real” hand.

John Currin

Weird hand gestures are always interesting to me when done well. I think they work well for Currin because aside from the believable sense of anatomy and light, his subtle gestures are so effectively captured. I really enjoy the way those thin hands connect to the wrists and the wrists to the arm that harmonise with the entire gesture of his figures.

Jana Brike

Another one with weird hands, although slightly different.

What I really love about her paintings is in the way she paints hands touching flesh in subtle intimate ways. It probably comes with the elegant gestures of her hands and the tender rosé flesh tones.

Another thing that I feel is a huge contributing point to her paintings is in how her subjects are lighted up as if in a studio while being in a nature setting. I think that adds to a dream-like quality because it lets our minds know that it isn’t while it is happening before our eyes.





Kari-Lise Alexander

I feel like her style is kind of an in-between between Brike’s and Wiley’s.

What I’m really interested in here is in the lighting of her subject. Light clearly comes from above as what we think comes from the sky, but her reflected light of blue is intense. It gets me to think about using reflected light almost as importantly as it does with the main light source. It doesn’t just help us identify the subject in space but it really contributes to the mood of the drawing or painting.

Detail of anatomy is there too. Even in the subtle shift of tones and hues in the arm and the forehead indicate how it is round rather than flat.



Sabin Howard

This guy’s a sculptor. It’s really amazing for me to see how muscle groups have been defined closer to something that is geometrical.

Definitely knows the body muscles and how they turn into each other. It looks like it’s a very intent method of studying anatomy with drawing? I’m honestly not very sure how he even begins because to me it’s as if all the shapes just co-existed in his mind and he simply put them out and they all sat really well on the canvas.









Kevin Wueste

I think Wueste to me, is a very standard example of an artist who knows how to bring out form with core, cast shadows and reflected light.

But what I really like in some of his drawings is in how natural and calm they look. That probably comes with gesture, but it is quite puzzling to see how that is captured so well.











William Orpen

He’s done many portraits but i picked this one because I liked how the visible brushstrokes work (also because there are hands).

The brushstrokes have direction that annotate where something turns. But they don’t just turn, they work in tones and hues of brown and grey around muscles and joints. It makes me think about what he painted first. It would be the darks first, but even so, he keeps changing colours. How does that practically work while constantly having to change brushes while keeping the directional brushstrokes?






Stanley Spencer

I feel that his style is similar to that of the first image by Saville. But what I think is different is that his style is less particular about how the planes change as light is reflected from them.

However, his style still indicates where the joints are, and where a muscle or piece of fat curls into the body or away from the viewer.

I picked Spencer as a different example from Saville because I personally feel his person more present in his paintings. And i think that comes from his style that is less particular about plane changes, being less “correct” and having more creative liberty than being a perfect realist painter.

I’d like to write a little about this assignment because this was the most challenging one out of the four and it made me learn some things that I’d like to note down in point form here before I forget.

1. Time pressure affects my quality of sketching — Stress affects markings.

2. Time pressure need not affect my quality of sketching — With a good understanding of time management and being able to appreciate the little amount of time I have to sketch, I should still be able to take efforts to maintain the basic principles of proportion and perspective.

3. Drawing 30 heads of different angles of the same person is not easy both in terms of result and in accepting that I am weak in certain poses of the face — It is necessary to accept my lack of skill so that I am not rash and hasty in my mark making. I must remember that observing the object comes before my ego as an artist.

4. Accept that I am human with a limited amount of energy — Rushing for time, I drew quite a number of heads in one seating. It caused me to lose stamina, and with the loss of energy it was difficult to overcome the mental boundaries that limited my way of observing and marking down effectively what i observed. This is also why time management is necessary.