Colours of life

Joee Cheong expresses her love for nature by making sustainable art supplies

06 Jan 2021 / 10:57 H.

WITH a stroke of a brush, artist Joee Cheong brings the beauty of flowers, plants, fruits and leaves to life. Her paintings are intricate, with various hues of colours ranging from vibrant shades to soft pastels.

Cheong’s paintings featuring natural landscapes, roses, peonies, avocados and even fish are simply delightful.

She explained: “I love nature and find it relaxing to study and paint as a subject. There are endless possibilities with botanicals and natural landscapes.

“I have always enjoyed art as a child, and started learning from classes in school, and a short term art class, after school. I used to look at photographs of landscapes and tried to paint or sketch them with my tools.

“After I enrolled into university to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Psychology, I lost touch with drawing and exploring art, but I picked it up again once I started working.

“I had the time to draw, and it became a hobby for about four to six months before I started my art business.”

In almost all her artworks, Cheong prefers to use watercolour.

“Personally, I enjoy the fluidity and flow of watercolours, which cannot be replicated by other medium. Watercolour is such a transparent medium, which brings a magical touch to the artwork,” she said.

Colours also play an important role in her art.

“Colours bring out emotions and feelings. Playing around with a variety of colours helps one to express their thoughts and feelings.”

Cheong loves to paint nature, and she also cares for the environment. This inspired her to produce handmade sustainable watercolours and art supplies, including sketchbooks and papers.

“I am starting to expand my own line of handmade art supplies, and I am hoping to further to create more. I have always wanted to make art sustainable for our environment.

“The birth of my own line of handmade art supplies and watercolours is for that very reason. I am able to control what goes into the making of the items, and how I package and share them with others.

“I also dedicate a small amount of my profits to an organisation that helps to conserve and preserve our environment. I hope to create more paper [products] and maybe even brushes someday, with sustainability in mind.”

Cheong produces artist-grade, lightfast watercolours, with a natural granulation that can be layered from thick to thin.

According to her, each colour uses fine quality pigments, the natural watercolour binding medium made from the sap of acacia trees and distilled water, mixed using her own recipe. No fillers are added during the making process.

She said: “It is different from conventional or synthetic watercolours made in factories, as it is handcrafted from natural earth minerals, and therefore the colour paints differently from conventional watercolours, and spreads differently on paper.”

Cheong also conducts art classes for beginners at the Joee Cheong Creative Studio, as well as through social media platforms.

She also believes that social media has been a perfect platform to teach and exhibit artworks, for both artists and craft makers.

“Definitely, it has been a great platform to market my products and services. It has also allowed me to connect with people who love my work, in a more personal manner,“ said Cheong, who has gained 23,600 followers online.

“I love that I am able to empower others to learn the art and find their creativity by expressing [themselves] through an art form, and with online teaching, I am not limited to a location or certain people. I can reach more [people],” she added.

Finally, she shared a tip for beginners: “Keep practising and don’t give up, no matter how difficult the journey seems.”

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