Forest At Night

Forest At Night

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65.5x51.6cm, Oil on canvas

Prior to this piece, my paintings had been done in casual fashion, like a hobby you’d do only in your spare time.

This was my first ever serious painting. “Serious”, as in painting with real purpose, with true intent of making a living as a full-time artist.

I made this piece after several weeks of self-study, and one of the first things I learnt was that in painting, black isn’t really black.  There’s no such thing as an absolute black. Instead, there are warm blacks, cool blacks, blacks created with a mixture of different hues. I was mesmerised by the idea that darkness could be made of so many colours. On reflection, I wonder why I wasn’t as intrigued as the brighter colours of light.

I had no hesitation in deciding what to paint. I had been living in close proximity to the rain-forest, and one of my most enjoyable experiences was to walk among the trees at dusk, especially after a storm. The remnants of a once thunderous shower would hang over the forest like a fog, like a soft blanket hugging the trees from the cold. Sometimes, the faint voices of distant thunder could still be heard through the mist.

I had become quite comfortable with mixing earth colours - the likes of red, brown and green. But among my tubes of paint laid a fresh, unused colour named Alizarin Crimson. I thought: why not violet for the night?

Hence, my adventure as an artist began in darkness - not a darkness in dread, but a darkness filled with subtle hues of violet.