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Archive for January, 2008

Can we define what a good painting is.

Posted by ngwoonlam on January 23, 2008

What is a good painting?

At first I wanted to say Good Art, but I think that 100 times more complex.

So let me just retrict this topic to paintings.

When I started learning how to paint, I learnt a lot of fundamental skills; like tones, colors, light and shadows, design concepts, observation methods, space, ……. I can’t say they are rules. They are probably like a language to me. And then, I learnt to use them more and more. I find them more and more complex.

After that, in order to resolve many complex problems, I had to learn from old masters. Therefore, I learn old master painting techniques, design concepts, space construction and art history.

And there, I learnt more about contemporary art movements. And I found that all the visual language I have learnt doesn’t seem to serve any purpose because nobody could or wants to define what is good.

Hence I would like to open this discussion — Can we define what is a Good Painting?

Today either the post-modern art in New York or contemporary art in China are in rigorous movement. Everyone is talking it. I don’t see much painter skills in most of these artworks though the ideas or concepts might be nice. I have to agree that they have good historical value like pop art. Museums will collect and display them so they feature sky high prices. I can understand that.

Just have these doubts :

Do musuems collect only history; or they collect good paintings or they collect good paintings with good historical value?

Do students go to art musuems to learn just history of art or skills of art or both?

Do you go to art musuems to see skillful paintings or history of paintings or both or none of the above?

Like to share everyone’s thought. Thanks!!!

Ng Woon Lam


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Painting Design Concepts and Composition Tips

Posted by ngwoonlam on January 22, 2008

Painting Design Concepts and Composition Tips

Viewpoints – Changing viewpoints is one way that I love. It naturally alters my dead and formulated thinking. Different viewpoints : Look up, look down, look behind, look closer, look further

Creating a problem – I try to create a problem in each painting composition I work on. This enriches my visual dictionary progressively. Once a while, I like to work on a large painting and create a large problem. It is a good benchmarking method to measure my progress.

Changing tonal keys or dominant colors – Generally, I find tonal structures and dominant colors determine the mood of a painting. Keying in brighter or darker with different color dominant could complete alter the character of a painting.

Doing the opposite – I believe this is the most powerful method to improve one’s design ability. Staying with pre-defined formulae or rules stops me from exploring. Taking risk doing the opposite things best describes what ‘composition’ is all about. I like to elaborate my points with examples below.


  • I like to paint large and loose paintings; I force myself once a while to paint small 8”X8” still life for the whole day. I have stay focus on the subject and learn to observe carefully. I always see things that I have never seen before.
  • Most plein air painters like to work only they see nice the light and shadows patterns. I once worked on location when the rain was pouring, that truly expands my colors and approaches in watercolor.
  • I like complex subject matters. So sometimes, I force myself to paint a simple single object still life.Try out many more opposite things against your preferred and you will truly enjoy the risking taking journey.
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    Commemorating A Decade – Telok Kurau Studio Singapore 古楼画室 走过十年

    Posted by ngwoonlam on January 10, 2008

    Commemorating A Decade

    Telok Kurau Studio Singapore

    古楼画室  走过十年

    1997 — 2007

    Opening  : 26th Jan 2008 at 10:30am (Sat)


    Telok Kurau Studios,

    91 Lorong J, Telok Kurau, S425985


    26th Jan to 24th Feb 2008,

    Daily 11:00am to 6:30pm

    Contact  : Ms Lim, 63486133

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    Singapore Watercolour Society Founding Member Artist + Late President Gog Sing Hooi

    Posted by ngwoonlam on January 7, 2008

    Gog Sing Hooi

    Singapore Watercolour Society Founding Artist & Late President

    Gog Sing Hooi Singapore Watercolour Society Founding Artist & Late President

    Gog Sing Hooi Singapore Watercolour Society Founding Artist & Late President 

    SEE more  Gog Sing Hooi’s Paintings

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