WITH his brush moving gracefully over the canvas, it looked as if Long Thien Shih, 68, was enjoying himself painting and drawing every fine line and detail.
Completely relaxed and comfortable in his space, Long engaged in lively conversation with his portrait subject Miss Tourism Czech Republic Lucie Klukava.
Long was one of the 60 artists participating in Malaysia’s biggest portrait-drawing event, Life Portrait Drawing of 60 Queens by 60 Artists, held at the National Visual Art Gallery (NVAG), Kuala Lumpur.
Delegates of the Miss Tourism International 2013 visited the gallery to view artwork and sculptures of Malaysian artists and to have their portraits drawn.
“This competition is a fantastic and innovative idea to promote our culture to the contestants,” said Long.
Klukava said, “It’s really exciting to have my portrait painted by a famous painter. I love the portrait and I wish I could bring it home with me.”
The event started with a presentation of garlands to the delegates followed by a lively performance by Drumline — a drum band from the armed forces.
National Visual Arts Development Board chairman Datuk Mahadzir Lokman hoped that the delegates would enjoy the art of Malaysia.
Curators took them on a tour of the current exhibition, ABSURD(C)ITY and a special exhibition by renowned Malaysian artist Ken Yang.
The competition had a time limit of 30 minutes for the artists to complete their portraits. The hall was abuzz as fascinated onlookers observed the artists drawing using different mediums.
Malaysian Visual Art Association (PeRUPA) president Aris Aziz drew his portrait of Miss Tourism Indonesia Kalia Labitta Yudhasoka using oil pastels and charcoal.
“This event will definitely help in the development of visual arts in this country because it brings to light the talents of Malaysian artists,” he said.
Miss Tourism Malaysia Thaarah Ganesan, who enjoys drawing in her spare time, was all smiles throughout the event.
“I am so excited as I have never had a portrait of myself drawn before, and my artist was amazing!” she exclaimed.
On deciding to compete in the Miss Tourism Malaysia pageant, she said it was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
“It’s a really exciting journey and I’m learning so many new things, like the cultures of 59 other countries,” she said.
Also present at the event were National Visual Arts Development Board director-general Haned Masjak and pageant president Datuk Danny Ooi.