Thursday, 29 June 2017

Hyper-realistic paintings - critique (copying a photograph)

[This is a reply to a question about the painting ability of masters of the past and the "hyper-realism" painters. I thought it was an elegant reply, and the critique extends to other areas of art. For example dialogue. Sometimes you read an author and what jumps out at you is the realistic dialogue. And you try to write like him (or her). And then you realise actual conversations are horribly confusing and not very structured at all. What you mean by "realistic dialogue" is not that the writer was able to write detailed dialogue, but that he was able to capture the essence and spirit of what made the dialogue authentic.]

The biggest misconception among non artists and amateurs is that more detail equals more realism in art. 

Detail is not congruent with realism
The great artists of the past knew that detail without purpose was often the antithesis of realism. The “artists of today” that you speak of rely on it as a cheap gimmick. Copying pores on a face is not art. Anyone can blend an eye with ten thousand brush strokes. It takes true genius to convey realism with absolute economy of brush work. Art is about making executive decisions about composition, line, and mass

Realism is so much more than detail.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Rose

The Rose
by S.I. Kishor

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose.

His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding.

Monday, 11 July 2016


This started out as an office joke.

"What shall we call our new meeting room?"

"Well, since we have discussions in the room to come to some decision, let's name the room, 'Decisive!'"

"Good name!"

So the meeting room was named. Some days later the assistant to the CEO answered an internal call, and told the caller, "I'm sorry, CEO is in a meeting right now, it may take a while. He's in 'Decisive'."

"The deputy CEO? She's in another meeting. She's in 'Competent'."

I think the meeting room in the Vatican, used by the Pope is called "Fallible".

So I was lying in bed when the phone rings.

"Hello? Oh nothing. I'm just in 'Deep Thought'."

"Okay. Bye."

"Deep Thought" is what I call my bed.

Customary wishes for wedding couples is for them to be "fruitful and multiply. But they probably don't want to call their bed "Fertile" or "Conceivable". The names may be auspicious sounding, but no.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

An SG 50 Parable - Mortal Stakes

The (Eventually) Old Man, with a cameo by the Sea (with apologies to the classic)

The young man looked all around.

In the village, the people were hungry. They had nothing to eat.

The young man had just caught some fish for his family. Maybe he could give some to the others in his village.


He didn't have enough for everyone.

He watched as young men stripped leaves off tree branches, turning them into make-believe swords, and fencing each other in mock sword fights.

Others made kites and were flying them.

But all were hungry if not starving.

"Follow me, if you want to eat! Bring your sticks and your kite strings!" said the young man.

And the young men (and some women) of the village followed him.

He brought them to the sea about an hour's walk away, taught them to turn their make-believe "swords"into fishing rods, and the kite strings into fishing lines to fish in the sea. By evening everyone had caught something to feed their families.

Now the young men (and some women) knew how to fish, and their family would have something to eat.

Now every day, they fished to feed their families.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Walk, don't run

When you’ve lost everything and cannot bear to stay, walk, don’t run.

When you've done nothing wrong, but the blame still comes your way, walk, don't run.

When the dog is barking at you and you’re feeling afraid, walk, don't run.

When you find your love in bed with another and you've shot them both dead, walk, don't run.

When your sins have come back to haunt you and you need to leave behind the past, walk, don’t run.

When you have bad diarrhea and you’re trying to get to the toilet really fast, walk, don't run (trust me. running just makes it worse!)

When the world is set against you and you don’t seem to have a friend, walk, don’t run.

When you've done something wrong and you’ve got to escape, walk, don't run.

When you've given your best, but your best ain't enough, and all you have left is your dignity, walk, don't run.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Haiku for Lee Kuan Yew

Comparing him to a Tiger

A Hill. A Tiger
Roaming these familiar trails
Alone. Now he sleeps.

Comparing him to a tree

A tree falls in the forest
A new Patch of Sky

Everyone sees
The Tree falls in the forest
It makes not a sound

Contemporary/Pop Culture Reference

No rest for the Feared
Hard Man making History
Valar Morghulis

In his own words

"It is what it is
My Life for My Singapore
I have no Regrets"

"I have a hatchet
We'll meet in the cul-de-sac."
Valar Morghulis!

What advice do you have for Singaporeans now that you are gone? Remember, your advice must be in the form of Haiku

"Keep Calm. Carry On.
Walk Softly. Carry Big Stick.
Winter is Coming."

Haiku has a simple formula - 5-7-5 syllables in 3 lines. A good Haiku references the subject matter by analogy. But sometimes, blunt and direct works well.

Saturday, 21 March 2015


Lee Wei Ling (Lee Kuan Yew's daughter) wrote "Love Does Indeed Spring Eternal" on 2 Oct 2011 about her mother's passing the year before, and her father's request:
“For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama’s, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life.”

It takes a lot of courage for a man not prone to sentimentality, to make a requests purely for reasons of sentimentality.

Or it takes a lot of Sentiment for a man not prone to sentimentality to request something purely for sentiment.

Go, gentle into the good night.
The race is run, the battles won
Your life's work has taken all your life
Go now to be with your wife
Your two loves are Country and Choo,
What we owe, we owe to both her and you

Go, gentle into the good night,
Rage not against the dying of the light
The race is won, the journey done
You've won your peace, you have won the right
To go gentle into the good night.