Marvin Chew

Marvin Chew

I am a professional watercolour artist and the former Vice-President of the Singapore Watercolor Society, who is actively involved in many exhibitions and competitions, both locally and internationally.

I love watercolour, my main medium of expression. I love the luminous colours that glow and how they mix and flow with water. There are minimal margins for error when it comes to watercolour painting, and yet it’s not a perfectionist’s medium as it is almost impossible to tame its natural flow. I have spent the past decade practicing how best to control and to dictate it. But I begin to realize that it’s not meant to be controlled, but to let it flow while I just guide its course to create what I feel is artistically beautiful.

I usually paint in semi-realistic, impressionist style, using transparent watercolors that highlight the play of lights and shades, using spontaneous, bold brushstrokes which imbues the energy of Chinese calligraphy in my works.

My favourite subjects are landscapes as well as street scenes and lifestyles of the locals. I’m often likened to a ‘beautician’, transferring mundane scenes, into impressionistic works of art with the emphasis of evoking a sense of nostalgia and belonging. I seek inspiration from observing the world around me. People’s lifestyle and culture, are what triggered my curiosity to study and paint them.

I regularly paint my surrounding ‘live’ on location known as plein air painting. The direct and close observation on the painting subjects provide me with an intimate knowledge and understanding, and to study them through formation of shapes and form, depiction of lights and shades, and to be communicated through this unspoken language of expressive colours, rendered with lucious washes and bold, decisive brushstrokes.