Ch’ng Kiah Kiean , known as KK, exposed us to a completely approach than Melanie Riem. Where Melanie focuses on line, KK uses value and texture. Melanie prefers top quality fountain pens, KK likes pens he makes from the jasmine tree outside his home in Malaysia.
We started by learning about the materials he likes. He uses a Chinese ink, which we unfortunately do not have access to, but he was generous in sharing from the extra bottles he brought with him. He likes to soak a piece of gauze with ink in a small jar. In the supply list for the class he asked us to bring twigs and he would show us how to make our own pens. I brought douglas fir, dogwood and madrona twigs. I was pleased to discover that the dogwood worked quite well. KK also gave us each a twig from his jasmine tree (the peeled pen in the photo).
We practiced making different kinds of lines with these twigs. He also likes to dip a stencil brush into an ink soaked sponge to get a grayed texture. This takes a little practice to get just right. Here’s a drawing I did the first day using some of his ideas.
For the first hour of the second day, KK did a demo and we watched in awe as he did a panorama of Elliott Bay on two 12 x 16 sheets of paper. Just a few touches of watercolor added depth and atmosphere. Here’s what he came up with after just one hour!
Then he sent us out to draw. I loved the color of the umbrellas along Western Avenue with the market buildings and brick apartments behind them. It’s one thing to watch an experienced artist create a drawing. I found it difficult to emulate his style with a completely different subject.
With a short time remaining I decided to try the same subject as KK’s demo. This was much easier.
Workshops are great because they give us insight into the way other artists work. It can be useful to try other styles. I’m looking forward to adding some of these new techniques in my work.