Mom and Kyky

By Leonard Wong HL, Mom and Kyky (Pastel, 78 cm x 53 cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

Yesterday was Kyky's first year death anniversary. Still misses her a lot. She was so loyal, adorable and intelligent. Stayed up to finish my long overdue painting of Mom and her. This painting shows my mom's love for Kyky. When she was young, my mom had a phobia of dogs but she grew out of it after Kyky entered her life. She had raised the whole family up as a seamstress and now that she's retired, she sewed clothes for Kyky. Kyky was cremated wearing a t-shirt that my mom had lovingly sewed for her.

Kyky in front of the Mirror

By Leonard Wong HL, Kyky in front of the Mirror (Pastel, 48cm x 50cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

A friend once asked me how to appreciate art. I think there's no simple answer to that. In my opinion, it would be to see how an artist tries to convey his message while capturing your attention and making it stay as long as it can. In this painting of kyky, I tried to lead the viewer's eyes onto the painting via the drape of the bedsheet at the top of the painting and the dog leash at the right. Next, the viewer is bought to the point of focus - the empty space between the 2 images of kyky. This is where I've placed the highest tonal contrast and the hardest edges* to "point" to this space. I've also included reflections of light on the floor to supplement in this. Lastly, to make the viewer notice all the other subjects of the paintings and not just the focus point, I've strategically placed areas of orange/burnt sienna to lead him around the painting.

*This is why paintings are best seen in the flesh in museums because these art techniques will be more obvious to the viewer.


By Leonard Wong HL, Kyky (Pastel, 65cm x 50cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

This painting is to celebrate Kyky's 15th birthday. According to Wikipedia, less than eight percent of dogs reached a ripe old age of 15 years and above. So, I am proud that Kyky falls within that eight percent and am also glad that she has accompanied me for so long. She has given me lots of love (not purely unconditional I've learnt but more selfless than that of any human), laughter and attention. I have learnt a lot through her as well. I've learnt to be more disciplined (have to clear the dining table without fail), tolerant (during baths and nail trimming sessions) and not fuss over the little details (fur all over my shirt sometimes). Most of all, I've learnt to stay strong and cheerful at every moment amidst life's tribulations.

In contrast, I realised that I know very little about love between human beings. Strangely, even after being in a few long term relationships with one lasting a good five years, I still find human relationships baffling and fragile. Fleeting in some cases and totally unnecessary in others. Perhaps, dogs understand us better for they seem to have more lasting relationships with us no? Perhaps, the lyrics from one of the songs i liked - Both Sides Now, sums it up nicely:

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As ev'ry fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

(no subject)

By Leonard Wong HL, The Two Mynahs and the Gateway to Heaven (Pastel, 80cm x 55cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

This painting expresses my thoughts and feelings towards the property market. Highly contested during the GE2011, Singapore’s property market was a hot conversation topic among its residents. The people had alluded the rise in property prices to many reasons such as the incompetence of the current government, the influx of foreigners, vast liquidity, and the exploitation by home owners as well as rogue property developers and agents.

While some have profited from investing in the property market, others had to shelve their plans of owning private properties or downsize their dreams. Like many other HDB upgraders, I am saving up for an upgrade to a possibly freehold abode (ironic that it is considered an upgrade when condos are likely to be much smaller). Until then, perhaps I should just be contented with living in block 34.

Sunset and the Cloud Fishes

By Leonard Wong HL, Sunset and the Cloud Fishes (Pastel, 80cm x 55cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

Today marks the first day of work at my new office at MBC and concluded the 2 years I’ve spent at MICA building. The latter is a historical building that I’ve immensely enjoyed working in. Not only because of the cultural and architectural significance but of the many art exhibitions and galleries I’ve gotten to enjoy.

This painting captured the moments when i walked across the Coleman Bridge after work. The cool silhouette of the pre-war decorative lamps and the godowns played against the reddish-orange hues of the setting sun. At another corner, the painted windows of the old hill street police station reflected the plethora of colors on the Singapore River. The tongkangs were lazily cruising up and down the brackish waters but were ever watchful with their bright "eyes". The incessant cool breeze was falling on every corner of the picturesque scene and on the cheerful faces of tourists. It was a romantic and happy scene and a perfect ending to any workday.

Kyky's Play Area Concept

Something keep lingering in my mind: If i had gotten a SUV/Hatchback instead, i'd convert the rear space to a play/rest area for kyky. On some days, i could bring her along for work and walk her in between meetings. All parking in multi-storey carparks of cos and ample ventilation must be provided by fans powered by external batteries (can be installed at a cost).

Mynah, dragonfly and the river of letterboxes

By Leonard Wong HL, Mynah, dragonfly and the wall of letterboxes (Pastel, 60cm x 55cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

I've always love drawing/painting pigeons, mynahs and crows. They live in the midst of us yet most of the time we are oblivious to them until they appear on our doorstep, kitchen counter or in many cases on our table at the hawker center. On several fronts, they are somewhat similar to us, huddling close to the other, shunning solitariness. Mimicking one another for fear of standing out and being targeted by predators. Yet, they probably possess more freedom than we do. They don’t have a schedule to catch and bills to pay. Heck, they can even travel around the world without a passport if they like but only if they knew…

Kyky and the Grid

By Leonard Wong HL, Kyky and the Grid (Pastel, 80cm x 55cm). Copyright Leonard Wong HL.

Eric told me that kyky looked a bit sad in this painting. He's right i guess. A slight tinge of sadness, my feelings towards kyky at this moment, was projected onto her image while i painted.

As she ages day by day, I find myself dealing with the reality that she's no longer as healthy and energetic. She is finding it harder to catch up with me during our recent walks. There are more and more precautions that i've to take to make sure she remains healthy and safe. I reckon everyone ages and everything would eventually be broken but knowing the fact is one thing, dealing with it is another...


MR-ed. Bought myself a GPMG toy model from eBay as a momento (around S$35) for the 10 years that i've fired, lugged and cleaned this big old "wife".