Plein Air at Little India, Singapore

We found a shaded spot near Syed Alwi Road and Desker Road. 2 huge trees towered over an area that looks like a park with plenty of sitting spaces. We settled on an unoccupied bench that overlooked a row of shophouses about 50m away. The spot we chose was well shaded from the sun and we reckoned the sun wouldn't move in not after a couple of hours. I decided to try painting oil on location this time. You can see the setup, and what I brought from the image below. Nothing too complicated.

The paints I brought out with me can be seen here. I forgot to bring my black and white so this trip I have to do without it. The hues are: Azo Yellow Light, Azo Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, and Permanent Green DP. I have a transparent PVC box that closes air-tight to hold all the tubes of paint, including my painting medium and palette knives, and a used sardine can that will hold the medium when I paint. A DIY palette tray table holds everything within reach, and secures firmly onto the easel.


The easel allows me to paint while sitting down on the bench as well as standing up. When the sun shifted in, I have to move the setup backwards and into the shade. Fortunately this could be done with ease and I moved everything in one go.


Here's the setup with the painting. I painted on a gessoed board measuring about 24cm X 33cm. To transport the wet oil, I have another unused board, similar in size to be placed over the painted one but with small block of wood sandwiched on both sides at the edges. Then binder clips were used to hold them together. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture)


Since I am painting without the use of white and black hues, in my painting, I treated oil like watercolour, leaving my white areas untouched, and to paint with different values of blue, I simply used a lot more medium to mix a glaze for the shadows. The other colours can be lighten by adding yellow. While I have 3 different yellows, I could mix quite a variety of greens and oranges.

Here's the completed painting, left as it was done on location. I was tempted to lighten slightly the blue facade but decided not to later on. It took about a week to dry, still not completely dried yet. So far I like the result and how the painting turned out. I would probably try the method of leaving the canvas as it is for light areas again in my next painting.

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