There are two most important art teachers in my life.  Both are full time artists in Singapore; one taught me Western art and the other taught me Chinese brush painting. My Western art teacher is Mr Tao and my Chinese art teacher is Mr Tan.  Mr Tan is a well known artist in Singapore but hardly anyone know of Mr Tao.  However, to me they are both great teachers and I owe a lots of my painting skills to both of them.  They both have an in-depth knowledge on painting and have unreservedly passed on their knowledge to me.  Both of them have probably saved me years in learning the painting skills, this is especially so from Mr Tao.  Mr Tao does not officially accept student nor collect any tuition fee from them.  He just treats his ‘student’ liked a friend and went on to painting trips with them. He emphasizes a lot on on the site painting i.e. painting from live objects.  So for the ten over years that I was with him, we travelled to Malaysia and China many times.  If we were not out of country we would go to various sites in Singapore and paint.  As for Mr Tan, I would attend a weekly class with him with other students for about 2 hours per session.  Mr Tan’s teaching is also very unconventional, anyone with or without painting experience or skill can attend his class and he does not separate the beginners from the more senior students.  All are treated the same way and same level.  You may be wondering how can that be, surely beginner would not be able to follow his lessons but that was how I picked up my Chinese brush painting skills.  Secondly, he would not systematically teach from simple to complex subject.  It is up to the student, every week each student will submit 2 or 3 paintings of any subject eg. floral, birds, fishes or scenery etc. and he would discuss your painting with you and teach or show you how to do it better.

Over the years I have concluded from both my teachers that though the method of expression differs but the basic painting theory between West and East are the same.  I will share more about my painting experiences with these two teachers at the later post.


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