Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Eve... Goodbye 2013

It's the last day of the year... what better way to mark it than with a series of sketches with fellow enthusiasts. We went on a sketching jaunt to Chinatown and captured the day's scenes: from early morning to late in the evening.

I started with this piece of the Sri Mariamann Temple along South Bridge Road...

Sri Mariamann Temple, South Bridge Road
Watercolour and ink on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound
... to end with this one of a strangely quiet Club Street on a New Year's Eve evening.

Club Street, Tanjong Pagar
Watercolour and ink on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound

Monday, 30 December 2013

At a Little Cafe at Kampung Glam...

View of La Marelle Cafe from Kampong Glam Cafe
Watercolour on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound

It was a rainy when a small group of us decided to meet Liz from Australia for a bit sketching and coffee. I decided to be adventurous and did this piece entirely with waterbrushes and watercolour.

The result was surprisingly pleasant...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sketchwalk at Dempsey Hill

Saint George's Church
Watercolour on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant
Watercolour on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound
For the last sketchwalk of the year, the Urban Sketchers decided to take on Dempsey: the place steep in history and the land's architectural records of its colonial past. Looking at the lush greenery and resort-like ambience that characterises Dempsey Hill of today, it may be difficult to associate this relaxed and laid back place with the discipline and regiment of the military. It may thus come as a surprise to some that the premises at Dempsey Hill used to be the Central Manpower Base of Singapore (“CMPB”) and former British army barracks. Old-timers may still be able to make out the parade square, and the old CMPB office premise, now a lifestyle destination. They may also remember this as the place where young Singaporean men, some accompanied by anxious parents, reported for their “national service”, that is, compulsory military service, when they had come of age. 

The three-tonners ferrying men to their respective army units, and the anxious recruits with shorn heads may no longer be there, as the CMPB was eventually relocated to the more modern and larger premises at Depot Road in 1989 after 17 years. But for many, the legacy of Dempsey as the first port of call for every young man enlisting for the army will doubtlessly be remembered with nostalgia and fondness. 

Saint George's Church
St George's Church is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Singapore, and was constructed between 1910 and 1913. This Anglican church was built for the British troops in Tanglin Barracks — once the General Headquarters of the British Far East Land Forces. St. George's community currently comprises members from Singapore and many other countries.

The building was constructed from materials imported from England and cost £2,000 to build. The current building dates back to 1910 but there was an earlier St George's built in 1884 near the site of the present church. Both churches were built for the British troops quartered at Tanglin Barracks. Tanglin Barracks was once the General Headquarters of the British Far East Land Forces. After the British forces left in 1968, it was used by the Ministry of Defence as its headquarters before the ministry moved to new premises in Bukit Gombak.

The land had formerly been used as a nutmeg plantation and it included Mount Harriet, a 103-foot high hill on which the church now stands. The land had belonged to William E. Willan and was sold in 1865. However, even before the church was built, an ordained minister for the garrison was appointed in 1871.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

December 2013 Sketchwalk with the Urban Sketchers Singapore

The Urban Sketchers Singapore have voted and the winning location this month is Dempsey Hill. Let's do it slightly earlier this month so it will be cooler. We will meet 9AM at Block 9 on Dempsey Hill, outside Jones The Grocer. There we will have a short briefing and you can spread out in any direction to draw. The area has lots to explore so don't just stick to the main area. At 12PM we will meet back again at Jones The Grocer where we will do our show and tell.

There isn't an MRT to gets to Dempsey Hill but there are some shuttle buses listed on their website (http://www.dempseyhill.com/location.htm) There are also quite a few public buses that pass by. Most of them can be boarded from Orchard Road. And then it is a short ride and walk to Dempsey.

Please see the map on their website for the location of Block 9 (http://www.dempseyhill.com/location.htm)

If you are really lost, you may call Andrew at 91070735. But only if you are really lost. If you are late, no worries, just look for sketchers scattered around the area and approach any of them. I don't think you can miss us.

See you there! Remember the new timing. 9AM-12PM. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

陶光: Finding the Light within Earth's Clay...

The rear of the dragon kiln at Thow Kwang.
Watercolour on Stillman and Birn Delta Hardbound
Thow Kwang holds a relic of the island. It is the last pottery in Singapore that still has a functioning 'dragon kiln' (龙窑). I was very fortunate to attend a pottery workshop hosted by the owner and craftsperson of the pottery, Mrs Tan. Along with other Urban Sketcher enthusiasts, we worked with our hands to mould pieces of clay into our creations and also took some time after the workshop to explore the place and of course, did some sketches...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Scaling for new sceneries: Sungei Buloh

Set done on Stillman & Birn Delta Hardbound
So by now, you must have heard of the crocodiles that have found their permanent home at the North-western coast of the island at Sungei Buloh. While many are concerned about the safety of humans visiting the park, I have to confess to a worry for the reptiles instead: we all know who are the ones who can get really wild and dangerous when in duress or a panic. Clue: it’s not the reptiles.

When I visited Texas a while ago, my lovely host took me to Brazos Bend State Park which really is a nature reserve where crocodiles are a main draw. Crocodiles? Did I hear you exclaim? Well, before you get your scales in a frenzy, the reptiles are so well-fed and taken care of in that they it’s really safe to visit the park any time of the year. How safe? With just some precautions and common sense, you can actually camp in the park at any time of the year without any fear.

So, with the rare sunshine out at this time of the year, I managed to make trip to Sungei Buloh for a bit of plein-aire and actually managed to get three pieces in before the weather turn expectedly dark and drab again. The heat as the sun came out managed to burn off the mist as you can see from the progress of the sketches. And while the sun was out, it was an oh-so-lovely affair with colours and light in a beautiful duet…