“I am Thong Chow Ngian, a wildlife artist from Singapore and I would like to thank the BESG website and its team for shaping me as an artist. I will be holding my first solo painting exhibition entitled, `Singapore Wildlife’ from 25-29 May 2017 at The Substation gallery in Singapore. I would like to share how BESG has influenced the way I design and create my paintings.
“I have always been inspired for many years by the William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings located at our National Museum in Singapore. I too want to create my own series of works over several exhibitions in future. Here is a list of artists who have inspired me over the years; John James Audubon, Robert Bateman, John Seerey-Lester, Rod Lawrence, Morten Solberg, Terry Isaac, William T. Cooper, just to name a few.
“I was also inspired from reading two articles by Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS from Perak, West Malaysia on birds in art which he had contributed to the BESG website.
“The biggest lesson I gained from my frequent visits to the BESG website is to appreciate birds beyond just the beauty and forms alone but also to appreciate the ecological aspects, such as the unique behaviour and attributes of each species and their relationship to their habitats and other creatures. I use this knowledge to compose unusual designs not commonly seen in wildlife paintings. Here are some examples.
“Picture 1 (above): Entitled, ‘Hit the water running’, this painting illustrates the special ability of the Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficolis) commonly mistaken as a little duckling, to use their web feet to swiftly skim across the surface of water. My painting only captures a split second of water splashes created by this Speedy Gonzales on water.
“Picture 2 (above): Entitled, ‘Eagle tree’, this painting illustrates the usefulness of the Keruing Kerut tree, a gazetted heritage tree that was a nesting home of a faithful pair of White-bellied Sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) over several years, indicated by the huge nest which had been recycled over several years that grows bigger each year with fresh nesting materials.
“Picture 3 (above): Entitled, ‘River Crossing’, this painting illustrates the point that most people do not know that wild chickens like Red Junglefowls (Gallus gallus) can fly. The opportunity to see a flying chicken in Singapore is very rare and it is even rarer to see chickens flying across the river. The recent culling of the flock in Pasir Ris in 2017 (ironically in the year of the Rooster), means that sightings of `River Crossing’ will be extremely rare in future.
“Picture 4 (above): Entitled, ‘The Guardian’, this painting illustrates how this large species of owls, the Spotted Wood Owls (Strix seloputo) which is frequently encountered in a public park at Pasir Ris, breeds annually in January, producing a white fluffy owlet or two, that amuses nature lovers with its cute appearance and comical stunts.
“Picture 5 (above): Entitled, ‘Lovely lashes’, this painting illustrates a unique feature of the Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) which is their extremely long and lovely eyelashes, formed by modified feathers which ladies would envy very much. These lashes are seldom noticed by the casual nature observer.
“Picture 6 (above): Entitled, ‘Playing Kites’, this painting illustrates how a pair of Black-winged Kites (Elanus caeruleus) was performing this dangerous stunt in mid-air by locking their talons and then cartwheeling and spiraling down from a great height and only separating just in time to avoid crashing into the ground. I have heard a story in Singapore where one of the birds was hit by a car when it spiralled close to the ground, many years ago.
“Picture 7 (above): Entitled, ‘Green coffee fruit fiesta’, this painting illustrates how a pair of Red-crowned Barbets (Megalaima rafflesii) were having a feast for a month in June 2016 on the juicy fruits of the Green coffee tree (Canthium glabrum) which is a native tree in Singapore and classified as endangered.
“Picture 8 (above): Entitled, ‘Insatiable hunger’, this painting illustrates this lesser known brood parasitic relationship between two bird species, the Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps) and the juvenile Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus). Being a much bigger bird, the Cuckoo’s appetite for food seems almost impossible to be satisfied by the tiny Tailorbird which is the surrogate parent. This painting is still a work-in-progress at the time of this writing.
“To conclude, I will be exhibiting 12 paintings of birds seen in Singapore. My paintings are painted using acrylic paint on canvas in various sizes. Acrylic paint allows me to paint in greater details, the subtle features found in nature to form almost photo-realistic images. To view my other paintings in Facebook, please google Artworks by Chow. Once again, I would like to thank the team from the BESG website for their works and contributions that has contributed significantly to the design of each painting for my first solo show.”
Thong Chow Ngian
21st May 2017
Thong Chow Ngian’s solo painting exhibition
The Substation gallery in Singapore
25-29th May 2017