By Vanessa Choo

Call it a left-hander’s trait or blame it on my Sagittarius zodiac sign, but I have always loved experimenting with new ways to channel my artistic energies. Some of my earlier ventures include jewelry making, acrylic painting and even the odd origami. However, nothing really seemed to stick, until almost a year ago, I decided on a whim to try watercolour painting one day. This was one of the rare times my impulse did me good as I had finally discovered my artistic calling and, boy, has it been an adventure since.

I made many mistakes in my early days and it took me some time to truly appreciate the beauty and versatility of the medium.  Each time I hit a road bump or felt discouraged, Vincent van Gogh’s words came to mind: "As practice makes perfect, I cannot but make progress; each drawing one makes, each study one paints, is a step forward." Eventually, I found my footing and that was when my artistic journey began to really take off. I now feel more confident now each time I pick up my brush.

I am still very much an amateur in the bigger scheme of things but I decided to challenge myself and put my hobby to good use by selling my art pieces during the SingHealth President’s Challenge Charity Bazaar. I sold over 100 art pieces, raising close to $2,000 – a figure far more than I could imagine!

Incredibly humbled by the experience and support, I continue to share my love for watercolour painting with as many people as I can.
If you would like to get started in watercolour, here are five tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Materials – Invest in good brushes and paper as it really makes a difference. Watercolour paints range from school- to artist-grade but don’t break the bank. Get the student-grade ones at a reasonable cost for a start.
  2. Get to know your supplies – Knowing how to handle your brush and paints will get you started on the right footing. Test out how opaque your paints are and how they behave on paper, and learn how to use your brush to achieve the type of strokes you desire.
  3. Basic techniques –Take classes or refer to free online resources such as on YouTube and Instagram for the basic techniques to master. 
  4. Start small – Rome was not built in a day and so you should not attempt to become Picasso right from the start. Begin with smaller projects, such as painting simple leaves or fruits, to help you build skills and confidence.
  5. Experiment – Art is never about being perfect; it’s about learning how to express yourself. Be open to try out different techniques – who knows, you might discover something new and exciting!

Keen to try out watercolour painting?
Stay tuned to the Worklife page for a session of Art jam with Vanessa coming up soon. Who knows? You may just find your hidden talent!