These watercolour paintings were created from scenes captured at Singapore River. When I started watercolour painting I used to go to the Singapore River in the late 1950s to watch and observe Lim Cheng Hoe and other artists on how they sketch and paint. They were known as The Sunday Group that would usually gather on Sunday at Singapore River to paint. I would go on every Sunday to pay attention to how they paint and on Monday I return to the Singapore River, to the same spot, to practice and experiment the different ways of painting on my own. Singapore River is one of my favourite places to paint and throughout my painting exploration, many were scenes of Singapore River. I found the place very enchanting and hold a special memory in my painting journey.
This is a photo of the Singapore River taken in the 1960s using my humble $60 Seagull 海鸥 Brand camera which I took along with me together with my watercolour painting paper (the cost of paper was then, around 20cents) brushes, watercolour and palette. All the paintings instruments were packed into a bag sew by my mother (and I still keep this bag with me). Below is one of my latest paintings of the Singapore River which was painted in 2018. Through the paintings uploaded on this page, you may observe the difference in the way I painted from the early 60s through to 2018.
Singapore River 1961
This is one of the earliest watercolour paintings that was painted in 1961 at Singapore River with a partial view of Bank of China.
Seacrew Recreation Club at Clifford Pier
Painted in 1962, the Ocean Building was located at Collyer Quay along the Singapore River. Now, the building is known as Ocean Financial Centre.
Singapore River 1961
Singapore River 1974 – Low Tide at Singapore River
Singapore River 2008
Singapore River 1982
1985 Reaching for his Destination, Singapore River
2003 Singapore River
Singapore River at the background is Elgin Bridge along North Bridge Road
Singapore River was once known as the Port of Singapore and also the economic lifeline of Singapore. Singapore River is where all the hustle and bustle of the city revolves around. It was the centre of the city’s main trade, commerce as well as finance, which resulted in growth around the port as well. Like the heart of the city, the river pumps and transports in trades and finance needed for the developing country to grow and flourish. In the past, the river was always full of sampans, tongkangs as well as bumboats. Hawkers and vegetable sellers would squat by the river to carry out their daily barters. However, the river got polluted from the build-up of waste produced by these daily businesses. As a result, the government had to issue a massive clean-up of the river from 1977 to 1987. Presently, the river is a prominent landmark that helps with the sustainability of Singapore’s water supply while providing the citizens with a spot for sports leisure.