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Korea Haenyo Sea Diver Woman Surreal Expressionist Painting


On a cab ride in Jeju, a friendly uncle driver enthusiastically told me that the island is known for 3 things: rocks, wind.. and after struggling with the korean-to-english translation app on his iphone.. women.  He meant the famous  - sea women divers who fight against the wild waves for a catch. In the old days, many men in Jeju were lost at sea. They also had to pay heavy taxes, so the diving trade eventually passed over to the women who became the main breadwinner.  A declining trade today, with tourism contributing to most job opportunities, the haenyo declined in numbers. With an average age of 65, the iconic ladies continued to ... » Read More

Those were the days


Title: Those Were The Days (O46)Description: A surprise encounter with an old cinema during a visit to Tainan, Taiwan, evokes many a happy childhood memory of the cinemas of old in Singapore. I love the old cinemas for their handpainted cinema billboards and wanted to be a billboard artist when I was young. 2010.Medium: Oil on Ready-to-Hang Canvas.Dimensions: 76 x 60cm.Purchase at: www.saatchiart.com/yenPrints available: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/2766830... » Read More

Messages from the Past


The old township of Lugang in central Taiwan is a charming place to visit, not too touristy and most of all, the character of the old shops in all kinds of odd shapes and sizes are retained and selling a fascinating array of colourful knick-knacks and stuff. I was thoroughly enjoying myself browsing the shops with my friends when I spotted a Japanese photographer taking a picture of a beautiful door of a closed foresaken-looking storefront. With the whistling winds, the fluttering red pieces of paper gave the place a mysterious feel that seem to transport me to the days of old. I decided to shoot the storefront from the side in order to capture... » Read More

Blooming Happiness


Flowers, flowers, flowers everywhere! Gleeful were my friends and I when we discovered this field while taking a walk in the countryside at Jiji in Nantou, central Taiwan. And the warmth and joy of that afternoon was what I seek to capture in this piece, with a touch of enigmatism added to the final oil work, as I wondered what was the source of our happiness that day. Was it the flowers? Was it the setting? Was it the company? Was it the strange shaped building yonder? Or was it simply the surprise bouquet combination of it all?Title: Blooming Happiness (O43, SA37)Description: Taiwan series. From a visit to Jiji, Nantou, in Central Taiwa... » Read More

Red Chinese Temple Houses Painting


An expressionist piece that I had to paint twice to get the feeling that I wanted to achieve right, which I will leave to the viewer to interpret.The scene was inspired by a picture that I took at the beautiful Confucian Temple in Tainan, south Taiwan. Red is a colour that I have found to be very beautiful and expressive since I started this Taiwan series and never more evident than in this work which I thoroughly enjoyed its richness in my execution.Title: The Way (O45, SA30) Description: An expressionist piece inspired by the Tainan Confucian Temple in Taiwan. 2010.台湾行台南孔庙之“道â€... » Read More

Spanish Courtyard


The quintessential Spanish Courtyard.. which we got an 'overdose' of at Cordoba, a gregarious city that positively overdoes itself when it comes to patio contests every spring, with the central patio of homes - an architectural feature in fashion since the days of the Romans to combat the hot climate and continued by the Moors - being decorated to manic hilt with loads and loads of overhanging pots of blossoms and plants.The overflowing embellishments do attract attention, notably the touristy type, but what truly intrigues me is the fascinating courtyard structure itself which, like a stage, seems to beckon with mysterious drama abound, perhaps a... » Read More

B is for Barbastro


Barbastro, a little place that we passed by en route to the Spanish Pyrenees, was quiet and run down in some parts.  But the buildings and architecture hint at a rich history of times gone by when it must have been a lustrious place.  The ancient walls and passageways must have seen many a battle from its Celtic origins, then Roman times when it got its name, to Islamic conquest as part of the Visigoth kingdom, then the Christians, reconquering by the Moors, and finally the Reconquest again when it became a bishopric seat..I especially love this building and its narrow archway, full of antique elegance and magnetic character, like an enticin... » Read More

Juxtaposition


After doing a sweet impressionist painting on Girona, I had to do something a little subversive on the spanish enclave.  I am not sure why, it's just an emotional outlet for me.  So Juxtaposition was created.The buildings and structures are from the Girona jewish quarter but placed in a surreal swathe of matisse-influenced, almost carnival, colours.  Girona wasn't always picturesque postcard pretty.  The city is said to have undergone 25 sieges and been captured 7 times.  Therein lies the contradiction and strangely, also the aura behind the ancient architectural pieces of this historic place.  Saccharine yet tumultuous, pr... » Read More

A Backstreet in Cordoba


The subversive mood just got a little darker. For reasons unknown, I am attracted to this street in Cordoba, an otherwise boisterous city in southern Spain teeming with tourists at the famous Mezquita area.  I love the place, but it gets a little heavy at times, and this quiet lane beckons with the odd fountain of an animal atop, a mythical beast I think.Again I am painting over a previous canvas that didn't work well. Strangely, I love the green glow it provides which I leave simmering through the whites giving a rich undulating texture to the piece.  It's probably an acquired taste to like this one but it's a personal favourite.  Tit... » Read More

On a Latte Afternoon - Impressionistic Spain City Girona


On a latte afternoon.. that was the feeling given me by Girona, a city in northeast Catalonia Spain.  A photographer's paradise, historical architectural gems a-plenty, lyrical botanical gardens, not outrageously stunning, but quiet and soothing.  Dancers on the cathedral steps, a spontaneous street band by the river, a lady with a baby pram strolls by, a wedding couple posing for their most precious moments, the sounds of celebration, nobody's in a hurry, all inter-mixing like a lyrical dance play, alluring and addictive, much like the many ice-cream palours on its streets :)So that was how I painted Girona..Title: On A Latte Afternoo... » Read More

Camino Medieval Castle Town: Colourful Ainsa


I thought I was done with painting Spain but a re-visit this year traversing the aragon pyrenees to the south rekindled the passion, and so it was that I started with the most memorable place that embellishes itself into my mind, and heart, forever.. Ainsa.A little village in the Camino Aragones (see my Spain Camino series), Ainsa was once the capital of the medieval Kingdom of Sobarbe.  With a colourful tumultous history, the town saw in turn the imprints of the Celts, the Romans, the Muslims and finally, the Christians in the Reconquest of the Middle Ages. I fell in love with it at first sight, drawn to its beckoning mystique and sense of ... » Read More

Camino Ainsa Houses: Jello & Yolk


Was I thinking of food when I painted these two? Maybe.. unconsciously ;p  The idiosyncratic names seem to stick whenever I look at them.Together, the works depict the quaint stone buildings in the little village of Ainsa, capital of the medieval Sobarbe Kingdom, at once mystical and drawing in its aura yet strangely familiar oriental to the asian in me.  Maybe it was the mix of influence of the Celts, Romans, Muslims, and Christians, who in turn left their mark here.  I almost thought the Chinese were here as well.  And the Chinese phrase 古色古香 (literally, antiquity colours and smells) came oft to me as we explore... » Read More

Bell City & Uneven


Yes, bell city.  That was the impression that the southwestern port city of Cadiz gave me.  Maybe because one of the first and most exhilarating views that I had of the place is up from the windy Torre de Poniente where the distinctive tower bells of the Catedral de Cadiz overlook in various sizes over the panorama that is the glittering white Andulasian enclave of Cadiz lined by a blue Atlantic strip.I feel compelled to paint the city in light and imbued these 2 pieces with the hues of the place.  There is no one single overwhelmingly stunning feature but the sum of Cadiz is a pleasant one and we loved the atmosphere and festivitie... » Read More

Pastel Landscape: Soulful


Buildings have souls, or so I believe.  How can they not when they are created by the imagination of humans who surely would have infused their emotions into their handiwork?  How can they not when they blend into the earth and root their existence with nature for time immemorial, oft longer than its creators?  How can they not when real living families dwell within their healing shelters and whisper untold secrets into the walls?  And so it was that these beautiful dwellings spoke to me when I chanced upon them by the river in the lil' town of Samos, famed for its monastery on the Camino route. And I had to render it thus.Title:Â... » Read More

Portrait Painting - The Chef


It has been a long time since I painted a portrait. I am seldom tempted as the face has to have a lot of character for me to be inspired. But when I stepped into this quaint little tapas pub on my Spain Camino trip, the traditional character of the place immediately struck me, and even more so when I caught sight of the fiesty chef-cum-owner in a whirl of activity entirely in his element.. I knew I would paint him.But first I had to get his picture executing his fine art.  It was no easy feat as he was aware and the movement simply heightened to a blur. I could only muster a couple of quick shots aimed at the overall pub setting so as not to be... » Read More

Red Spanish House - Windows of the Heart


We were only here for a supplies refresh before we continued on our Camino pilgrim journey and to visit the churches in this once important medieval town. The churches were closed but the lyrical name - Villafranca del Bierzo - should have given us a hint of the delights we were to discover here. Beautiful nooks and corners, elegant balconies with flowing flora, unusual adornments and unique architecture.. Most of all, this house captured my heart at first sight. The different shapes and sizes of the windows and their seemingly haphazard placing intrigued me immensely. I wonder what the interior is like. Is each room also oddly sized? Who li... » Read More
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