My Joo Chiat Corner art series (part 2)

​The art journey inspired by Van Gogh continues with the depictions of the nooks and corners around my studio in the peranakan enclave, Joo Chiat, in eastern Singapore..  

The exploration begins within my studio where I was inspired by a neighbour to garden. Twas another trials and tribulations journey for one not predisposed to green fingers and a therapeutic journey to have some finally flourish and adorn my window view :)  As well as inspire me to paint still life!

                                    Kalanchoe of Joy, 24x18 inches, oil on canvas

With these yellow florals I had bought for chinese new year looking mightily familiar to me ~ reminiscent of a certain master's famous sunflowers ~ Kalanchoe of Joy was born with a composition that is a nod to Van Gogh, no less. The companion piece, Orchid of Life, is a special one as the Singapore national flower is an orchid. It was pure joy to watch these elegant blooms open one by one. And to paint them :) 
                                     Orchid of Life, 24x18 inches, oil on canvas

Enough smiling with the flowery, the next works are literally corner pieces. To live up to my art series' namesake, kidding ;p There is a beauty to architecture in corners. They anchor the place and provide a fascinating study of the crossing cultures and historical mix of the place. I believe that buildings are alive and witnesses to the tumultuous happenings around them in the passage of time. I don't like straight lines and so in spite of my love for painting buildings, they are never mathematically structural and always organic to my surreal feel for the sights and sounds of the scenes that touch me.

Joo Chiat Corner, 24x36 inches, oil on canvas 

Joo Chiat Corner holds a dear childhood memory to me. Twas an old bus route that I used to take with the bus huffing and puffing at the turn, oft getting stuck due to some parked vehicle. The same bus still goes by today but the road is now an improved one-way with a nice pavement. I miss the shops of old with the bustling traditional trades but I also like the mix of old and modern today with the contrasting architecture at both sides that have seen the times change. On the left we have the more Malay-Islamic style buildings leading to Geylang Serai. On the right are the more Chinese ones with some truly beautiful peranakan residences down the stretch. Joo Chiat Road itself is a bridge between malay Geylang Serai and chinese peranakan Katong areas, 2 distinct cultures. And so we have an interesting melting pot of 2 colourful architectural influences at this lovely corner that inspired my whimsical take. 

Just further down Joo Chiat Road is an iconic shophouse in an angled corner, a 1928 building with impressive chinese dragons overlooking the buzz in the shops below. The building was originally bright yellow when I moved into the area and then painted over beige white which annoyed me at the loss of colour. But one day when I was walking by in the twilight, the dark mahogany motifs came alive and struck me how delicately intricate they were with many unknown ancient creatures woven into them if one were to look carefully. The motifs of this building are simply beautiful no matter what new paint coats adorn them or how the shops below have changed from traditional trades to a hip coffee joint today. And it is this slice of history, this moment in time, that I am capturing in The Corner Shophouse, just as the architectural beauty itself is a timeless testament travelling from the past to the present.

Pretty Alley (koon seng road), 24x18 inches, oil on canvas, SOLD

Insta enthusiasts and tourists often make a beeline for the Koon Seng Road shophouses near the middle junction of Joo Chiat Road, oft said to be the most colourful picturesque street in Singapore. If one really takes the time to explore the area, the real gems are the peeks of these peranakan beauties from the many backlanes and corridors. I stumbled across this Pretty Alley that frames possibly one of the most photographed green and pink houses with high alley windows dancing towards them together with the arching lamppost. My feline friend in the picture would agree with me that it is a beau-ootiful view :) 

Corridor View (koon seng road), 24x18 inches, oil on canvas

Finally, my sojourn ends with an entrancing Corridor View framing the last shophouse in the famous row. It's an intriguing one with a view within a view within a view, if you can spot what I am saying ;p

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