Gouache on Watercolour Paper, 2020
Chong Chia Hwei
We travel to gain new experiences and to see the world beyond our comfort zone. Yet upon reaching our destination, the newness and wonder we feel fades so quickly and we find ourselves looking for the next experience to amaze us. This series of paintings, made after a bucket list trip to Antelope Canyon, are my attempt to capture and extend the depth of a new experience, holding on to the sense of wonder that is otherwise fleeting. The visual experience of Antelope Canyon was transcendent – the way the force of water running for centuries had shaped the contours and ridges of the canyon impressed upon my vision so vividly that I saw them instantly as intricate brushstrokes and deep tones. Instead of leaving it as a destination, I paint it again and again to revel in all it has to offer.
Chia Hwei studied art in university but only got into painting after teaching in secondary school. Because all her students were clamouring to paint, she found herself discovering new layers and depths to the medium and what it could be used for. Over time, gouache has become her favourite medium of choice, because of its ability to behave like watercolour yet retain a strong opacity. (It is also one of the easiest painting mediums to leave as is without cleaning up, and pick up easily where she left off, stealing moments to paint after school each night.)