Accidental artists, destined painters


  • Metro News
  • Monday, 29 Jul 2019

Tan (centre) with the artists at The Accidental Artists exhibition.

THEY are from as diverse backgrounds as full-time homemakers to a former beauty queen but they are united by a love for art.

That’s how 24 accidental artists came together along with their teacher, Jennifer Tan, to exhibit their works at a week-long show at Ken Gallery in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

On display were 80 paintings that not only expressed the individuality of the artists but also reflected women empowerment.

Tan, a former flight attendant, said she had not planned on becoming a full-time artist but found the calling too strong to ignore.

‘Magnificent Horse’ is an oil painting by Leong Wei Ching.
‘Magnificent Horse’ is an oil painting by Leong Wei Ching.

“We call ourselves ‘The Accidental Artists’ because we chose to pick up a brush and paint.

“No one knew where it would lead us but as we grew in confidence and found our preferred styles, we produced enough art to exhibit,” she said.

Tan believes that everyone can paint, even without a formal education in art, and she encourages everyone to pursue it.

Ng’s oil and acrylic piece titled ‘Floral Sensation’.
Ng’s oil and acrylic piece titled ‘Floral Sensation’.

“Painting does not only help self-expression but also boosts self-confidence,” she said at the launch of the exhibition.

“Many of my students who at first said ‘I cannot even draw a line!’ changed after seeing their works at the end of our classes, their confidence elevated.

“Our art classes have always prioritised personal development; our sessions are about inspiring, supporting and emboldening each other.”

Tan, who has held exhibitions in Malaysia and abroad, said this latest exhibition was to celebrate the works of her students, and the paintings were auctioned starting at RM800.

Among them were three pieces by former Miss Malaysia World Emmeline Ng, who said her heart had always been in art.

This work simply titled ‘Resting’ is by Tan.
This work simply titled ‘Resting’ is by Tan.

“I used to draw when I was younger, but I did not pursue it and instead went into banking and finance.

“But I found that my chosen career did not give me the same sense of joy as art did. So I decided to pursue interior designing, which is a form of art,” she said.

Ng, who leans towards abstract art, told StarMetro that she started painting a few years ago in an attempt to present a personal gift to a friend.

After using acrylics for sometime, she wanted to refine her techniques and decided to give oil painting a try by taking classes from Tan.

Zhang focuses on a pair of fish and titled it ‘Partners’.
Zhang focuses on a pair of fish and titled it ‘Partners’.

“I know a lot of people would not have imagined themselves as painters but if you have the desire to do it, find a teacher and go for classes.

“You just need to be daring enough to take that first step,” she added.

Housewife Lily Zhang said the most magical part of a painting was how it could be interpretated differently by the artist and people who viewed it.

“In our first class with Tan, she showed us a picture of a house and asked us to paint it using our own interpretation.

“The resulting works were beautiful as each of us painted the house differently,” she said while showing a collage of the paintings from their first class.

For Zhang, her paintings are also a way of express her love to family and friends.

An ethereal work from Hsiao Pei titled ‘Surf Me Right’.
An ethereal work from Hsiao Pei titled ‘Surf Me Right’.

“As a housewife, I do everything for my family. It is my way of showing my love to them but I wanted to express it differently, so I tried my hand at painting.

“Besides, painting allows me to find myself amid the hectic hours of taking care of my family.”

She added that her family members had also picked up some painting techniques from her.

Meanwhile, homemaker Sherine Lok said, “About two years ago, I attended Tan’s workshop called Artreprenuer. It was to inspire people to teach art to children.”

An inspired Lok has since opened her own studio teaching children acrylic and graphite painting.

“After awhile, I decided to learn oil painting and I have plans of introducing this technique to the children.”

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