On our recent visit to the National Art Gallery, we came across an artist setting up shop at the lobby. His name was Osman Akbar, fulltime artist and consultant, and he was invited by the Gallery to demonstrate his watercoloring skills to interested visitors. We were particularly interested because we love painting with watercolors as it is quick, simple and unpredictable – you do not really know what your end result is going to be due to the unpredictable element of paint mixing with running water!
And the artist acknowledged this fact which makes painting in this medium an especially interesting experience. Looking at the various paintings displayed by the artist, we could see that he was a master of “kampung” sceneries. Paintings of kampung houses amidst coconut trees and boats floating lazily near the beach, are some of the common motifs. His artworks show good amounts of raw energy, with excellent play with light and shadows, making the paintings come truly alive! During his demonstration to a group of us and children from a local music and art school, he gave tips on preparations, choosing paints and brushes, and the techniques of applying paint to water (wet-on-wet) or paint on paper (wet-on-dry). It is fascinating to see how the different colors merge into one another to create new color tones. It takes practice, practice and more practice! And do not be afraid to experiment. Paint with all your heart – feel the scenery, the soul of the place or objects, and transfer these feelings onto the painting! These are the advice from a self-taught veteran artist who has been doing this since he was a young student. He encourages young students to learn the techniques of watercolor painting as it is not expensive, and not difficult to achieve.
Learning from experienced artists as well as from good books on the subject would make a significant impact on a student’s learning. He also took time to view some of the children’s sketches and gave them encouraging words of advice. After the inspiring session, we headed towards Lake Titiwangsa nearby and the kids immediately launched into their sketching of the lakeside view. It was perfect weather for outdoor art – breezy with the sun behind the clouds. The girls continued with the painting of their sketches at home. All in all, it was an inspiring outing for all of us! Here are some of the pieces we managed to complete today. Enjoy!
Osman Akbar’s contact: 2-6-3 Menara Seri Cendana, Jalan 2/56 Keramat Wangsa, 54200 KL. Tel: 016-9169796