Welcome to my Art and Lifestyle Blog. Follow my adventures as a Bohemian artist.


April 2014

Sketch of the day no 335: tiger balm

Tiger Balm
Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm, the asian cure for everything! This is something I never leave home without. It’s great for headaches, insect bites, blocked nose and muscle pain. I’m not sure what else you can use it for, but I’m sure it works too ;p

It’s a traditional Chinese herbal ointment which smells of menthol and camphor which are the 2 main herbal ingredients.


Sketch of the day no 334: Malayan animal shaped money circa 17th – 19th century

Malayan Animal Shaped Money
Malayan Animal Shaped Money

I visited the Royal Selangor Pewter Showroom recently and discovered these little treasures. Money in the shape on animals made of tin known as tin currency. Malaya was the worlds top producer of tin and the most common shape was the crocodile, tortoises and elephants.

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Art for life: Seats of artistic inspiration, campaigning for cancer awareness

Chairty NST image
Chairs for “Chairity” NST image

My Chair for Chairity is featured in the New Straits Times paper today! 🙂


A charity project for cancer displays works on teakwood armchairs, writes Meera Murugesan

CANCER often brings to mind pain, suffering and death. Naturally, being diagnosed and treated for the disease is a highly emotional journey. There’s fear, confusion and doubt but it can also be a journey with a happy ending, one that leaves the survivor stronger and more courageous.

It’s this inspiring note that is captured by the artists commissioned by the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) for a charity project called Chairity 2014.


For this unique fundraising project, artists are called upon to create works of art on teakwood armchairs. The idea had its roots in Singapore where the concept was founded by Back Rest Singapore, a furniture company, and supported by the Singapore Cancer Society.

The objective is to create a unique platform for artists and designers to come up with a series of visual artworks to support cancer patients and promote cancer awareness.

The 15 participating artists were each given a piece of white fabric commonly used to upholster furniture and the frame of a teakwood armchair to use as their ‘’canvas”.

The theme was cancer and they had to project their thoughts of the disease. Each artist had two months to work on the project.

The finished pieces of fabric were then upholstered onto the chair frames for free by Fella Design.


The result is stunning, with armchairs that are scene-stealing conversation pieces, boasting a colour palette that is bold and vibrant, and artwork that is beautifully inspiring and eye-catching.

Some artists hasn’t just used the upholstery fabric as their canvas but they have also chosen to paint on the frame of the chair as well, while others have added accessories onto the chairs to showcase their interpretation of the theme.
“Each piece is one-of-a-kind because each artist has shown his own unique perspective of the theme,” says Clare Ratnasingham, vice president and project director for NCSM.

Many of the artworks on the chairs also capture nature at its best and in a highly creative manner.

Rebecca Duckett’s chair for example is hand painted in layers and she has added a fish motif to her artwork, a motif that is a particular favourite of hers.

On the fabric, she sponged and hand painted base layers and then printed little flower shapes using ladyfingers, a technique many of us would remember from childhood art classes. It was Duckett’s father who first taught her to create vegetable prints and the technique holds fond memories for her.

Her chair is colourful and whimsical, drawing the eye with its striking motifs and the bright red polka dots that adorn the frame of the chair add to its carefree, playful image.

Tiffany Choong’s piece, called Bulan, also stands out with its bold use of colour. The piece was inspired by her friend who, after he was told he had stage three cancer, chose alternative therapy and lifestyle to give himself the chance of survival.

In keeping with this, the landscape painting on the front of the chair represents organic agriculture and is a reminder to us to appreciate the outdoors and lead a stress-free, happy life.

The bold colours that Choong has used, draw inspiration from fruit and vegetables with high anti-oxidant qualities and are good for the body such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and wheatgrass. In keeping with the organic theme, Chinese tea has been used as a natural stain to enhance the colour of the wooden frame of the chair, and virgin coconut oil is used to seal and polish the wood.

“In the beginning some artists were a little apprehensive and confused because the theme was cancer but in the end, everyone came through beautifully,” says Viji Nair, project manager for NCSM.


Also taking a cue from nature is a vibrant piece by Sivarajah Natarajah. The wooden frame of his chair is painted a striking blue and provides a stark contrast to its mustard yellow upholstery fabric which boasts an eye-catching painting of a monkey on the backrest and a lizard on the seat.

On the other hand, Reflections by Chong Siew Ying uses only black and white to tell its story but it stands out with the intricately painted forest landscape on the backrest and seat, both of which are mirror images of one another.

One piece that is particularly special is by Tunku Munirah Tunku Mustapha who is herself battling cancer. Despite this, her nature inspired artwork boasts blue skies and lush greenery and shows there can be freedom from pain and suffering for every cancer patient if they remain strong in their journey.

Ruzzeki Harris takes a slightly different turn. The frame of his chair is painted black to portray the sombre mood of a cancer patient while two hands raised in prayer painted on the backrest, represent the prayers of the artist for the wellbeing of those battling cancer.

However, all is not gloom in this piece as colourful polka dots adorning the black frame of the chair and the seat, represent positive energy that patients often feel when they are in the presence and support of close family and friends.
“At NCSM we believe there is life after cancer. It’s not all about doom and gloom, and this lively fund raising project ties in well with that philosophy,” says Clare.

The chairs will be auctioned at The Edge Gallery in Mont Kiara on May 15. The event will be launched by Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. All proceeds will go to NCSM for distribution to its five centres.

The chairs will be exhibited at the gallery until May 18. Those hoping to make an early bid for the chairs can contact Viji at 03-2698 7300.

Sketch of the day no 333: Pestle and mortar from the Tropical Spice Garden, Penang

7. Pestle and mortar

Stone pestle and mortars are used to pound spices to release the flavours for cooking. Everyone home has one, they should if they dont!




Different shaped Granite pestle and mortar from the Tropical Spice Garden

Sketch of the day no 332: Torch Ginger from Penang Hill

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Today’s sketch is another type of ginger called torch ginger. I learned this from the ginger garden up on Penang hill and from the tropical spice garden.

Sketch of the day no 331: Yellow Angel’s trumpet hanging flower Photo: Sketch of the day no 331: Yellow Angel’s trumpet hanging flower


Today’s sketch is Brugmansia, I discovered also known as Angel’s trumpet. This large yellow hanging trumpet flower grows in the highlands. The flowers are beautiful but deadly. Every part of it is poisonous!

Brugmansia angel's trumpet
Brugmansia angel’s trumpet

Sketch of the day no 330: Ginger flower on Penang Hill


This is a ginger flower. There are a few varieties. I walked up Penang Hill with some friends and found a ginger garden at BelleVue hotel. That’s where I discovered the ginger flowers.



The BBC is currently filming a tv series up here. The views are spectacular. Don’t blame them for choosing here.

Have a great weekend! xx


Sketch of the day no 329: Jogja coat of arms

Jogjarkata coat of arms or emblem
Jogjarkata coat of arms or emblem

I went to Jogjakarta a few years ago on wesak weekend. This is the emblem of coat of arms from the palace. Jogjakarta is famous for its ancient temples.

Sketch of the day no 328: Frangipani plant and flower

7. Frangipani

This is my pride and joy on my balcony. A Frangipani plant I have been growing for the last 7 years from a tiny cutting. It’s finally flowering for the first time ever! It has a dark red coloured flower. Normally the ones that are common have white flowers. I wanted to grow this one for the dark red flower.

This plant is also incredible because I am a plant killer. I don’t have green fingers. It’s managed to survive against the odds. Sometimes I leave them for months at a time when I go away and it still survived! 🙂

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