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Visual Arts

Pretty Exciting Stuff: Watercolour Painting

An introduction to the medium with artist Ong Kim Seng


Published: 4 Aug 2021

Time taken : ~10mins

Episode 1: The Sky in Shades of Blue

What’s the secret behind mastering strokes, creating compelling compositions and realistic depths in watercolour paintings? Embark on a watercolour painting journey with Singapore’s most eminent watercolourist, Mr Ong Kim Seng, as he shares more about his artistic career with design student Karina.

Video reproduced with permission from the National Arts Council.

About watercolour painting

The roots of watercolour painting can be traced as far back as the Old Stone Age, where prehistoric humans painted cave walls with charcoal and other natural pigments. With the development of paper and developments of techniques, watercolour established itself as an independent art form in Asia around the 4th century. While varying kinds of watercolour painting developed across different cultures, the British school of watercolour became popular in the 17th and 18th century, and has since become the foremost method of watercolour around the world.

About Ong Kim Seng

Ong Kim Seng, was born in Singapore and has been a full-time artist since 1985. He has participated in group and solo exhibitions at Singapore and in the United States, China, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Middle East, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the ASEAN countries. Ong is the first and only Singaporean to have won six awards by the prestigious 138-year-old American Watercolor Society (AWS), of which he was conferred membership in 1992. He is also the only Asian artist outside the US to be admitted into AWS.

Further exploration

Read a brief history of watercolour painting.

Find out more about the Singapore Watercolour Society.

Explore the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings, comprising 477 watercolour botanical drawings of plants and animals.

See how conservators treat and preserve a watercolour painting from 6th century B.C.

Learn a few watercolour techniques for beginners.

Pretty Exciting Stuff

Commissioned by National Arts Council (Singapore), Pretty Exciting Stuff is an ongoing video series featuring conversations between everyday Singaporeans and our talented visual artists. Get to know our local artists and their mediums and see what goes on behind the scenes of this exciting stuff called visual arts!

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