Textures of Life

22 August 2017

Blog post

Looking at this subject, how can one see beauty in that? It is rusty, raw, edgy. What am I trying to proof with this subject matter?

Before I dwell further about the why, let me tell you how I ‘stumbled’ upon this chains.

As I was walking along the beach across my house, searching for inspirations, I came across this bulk of rusted chains. It was hanging down from a huge tree, camouflaged amongst the branches and leaves.

At a glance, it looked just like any other piece of junk. But somehow, something caught my eyes. Under the brilliant sun, something glittered. I looked through the view finder of my camera and I saw it. I was mesmerised by the textures and colours, nature’s work of art. The term ‘Wabi-sabi’ came to mind.

Wabi-Sabi represents a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that embraces authenticity over perfection. Characterised by asymmetry, irregularity, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty & intimacy, wabi-sabi values natural objects & processes as emblems of our transitory existence. Rust, woodgrain, freckles—the texture of life.


I took loads of photos, at different angles and narrowed down to this. Instead of painting exactly like the reference. I scrapped the background and cropped the subject. I want it to look clean, contemporary, focusing on the textures and colours.



Only when I sat down and started working on the colours that I realised what have I got myself in to? How on earth will I able to do this with colour pencils? Oh, I have my doubts….

Being a stubborn person, I told myself to not think, just do the best I can.


It turned out more than I have expected. But it was not an easy feat. A tiny part of me wanted to give up, another part of me stubbornly persevered on.



It took me 6 weeks to complete this piece. Some days it was a breeze, some, it was a real struggle.

Now, what I am trying to ‘say’ with this piece? It is not just a piece of painting that depict nature’s cycles of growth, decay, and erosion. It is more than that. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time.  Age, damage & natural processes are not seen as flaws, but as deepening & enriching an object’s beauty & profundity. http://(“Wabi-Sabi: The Art of Imperfection.”)

It is a perfect metaphor of human life, we grow, we learn, we age. Beauty is only skin deep, as the saying goes. The knowledge, the lesson we gain from life reflect who we truly are.  For what is more valuable than life experiences?


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