Week 13

Hi again, another week of water colour painting, around Saigon and a few still-life’s in the studio.

There is something I find interesting about these concrete and metal structures standing in Saigon river, I guess they are for securing boats, they are random, decayed and nature has taken a grip, I realised it’s necessary to get more detailed in my work, so have been focusing on looking more and spending more time looking for patterns in subjects that I an use.

This is my lovely friend Linh, and my first painting of a person, lots of room for improvement but I feel happy having progressed beyond pencil.

A quick painting in a park near my home, the light was failing so this really rushed me along, perhaps this pressure and time limit helped my work.

Snail mail
I would like to send an old fashioned letter to each person who reads my weekly email (there are about 20 of you), as a thank you for your interest in my work, so please email me a photo of you, a pet, treasured car, or something else that is important and has meaning in your life and that you would like me to muck about with, and most importantly your postal address!

I will print out and create an art work based on your photo, and lets remember the art of letter writing, (I am old enough to feel nostalgic about letter writing, I used to write to my sister and grandmother when I was a child) hopefully I can spark a little wave of letter writing, because when you write letters you share something quite personal, interactive, tactile, touching the same thing, miss spellings, and even experience the same smell of ink and paper, rather than the digital, clean, perfect, cold, instant, efficient communication of a computer, which is perfect for many things, but is very impersonal.

Have a great week, until next week


Sam WattersonArtist and Teacher

Week 12

I spent a few days down the coast on the weekend, at a place called Vung Tau, which is the closest beach to Saigon, as I mentioned last week, I’m focusing on water colours, 2 paintings a day is the minimum, so here’s a few from the past week:

Last week (general)

Vung Tau
I always come to this cafe when I’m down, (the one I’m sitting in which you can’t actually see), the building on the otherside of the lake is a disused restaurant, normally I draw here so was good to challenge myself with paint this time.

The view from my room, the sea almost merges into the sky, beautiful and soft and so difficult to do any justice.

Apart from a little advice from friends or YouTube videos, I’m teaching myself watercolours, learning by doing, and the essential part: critiquing of my work, this helps me learn from each painting I do and remember for my next one, so bit by bit overcoming faults in my work, but I am always open to advice, so for those with experience of painting please pass on any tips you may have.

I am also working on a wall mural for a cafe, which I should be painting next week, so that’s pretty exciting, this is a contemporary design, a combination of electronics and nature, that sort of thing, so looking forward to sharing the progress of this project.

Thanks and until next week

Sam WattersonArtist and Teacher

Week 11

Hello, what an eventfully week, stepping outside of the comfort zone and learning a lot

Live art

On Saturday I took part in a painting performance with 14 other artists at Cable, which is a warehouse type music venue in Ho Chi Minh, it was an interesting experience and a great opportunity to meet and see the process of other artists, we also overlapped our work which added another interesting element, here’s my piece on the left.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to go out n about painting with a group of water colourists in Ho Chi Minh city, this was really inspiring and changed my perspective.

I have always loved the look and feel of watercolours, but have often found it frustrating and difficult to progress, but hanging out with the artist group yesterday really helped me push through the frustrations, seeing people’s processes really enlightened me. Collaborative efforts really helps push us forward, it’s important to find people to share with when learning and working away from academia.

Random thought, when we create things that we’ve imagined aren’t we just regurgitating what the mind has been fed, if I draw and paint from observation, isn’t this the same thing, but simpler, especially if I reproduce something that has an effect on me, and the interpretation is unique, more impressionistic than perfect, this is me convincing myself to focus on painting and drawing from observation, rather than my prior thinking that drawing from observation is boring and unoriginal and just as an inspiration for abstracts.

I do love going out and about and spotting interesting things to draw and paint, actually this was why I used to love photography in my youth. So my commitment now is to go out n about and paint at least 2 watercolours a day.

I am finding my abstracts to be cold and without authenticity, perhaps this will change in time, no doubt my observational drawing and watercolour work will include abstract compositions, to try and include some mystery or intensify the feeling in an image, let’s see, time will tell.

I seem to have burned my hands with chemical cleaner for oil paints, seems to be some kind of omen to stop me progressing with them, so gentle watercolour it is then, no nasty chemicals to deal with!

Finally thanks to the Apple iOS 9 update, I am able to send these posts in a relaxed and relatively stress free manner, fingers crossed this will continue.

Bye, until next week

Week 8 and a bit

Hello, back to base!

Arrived back in Ho Chi Minh on Saturday, after a month traveling It is nice to get home and gather my thoughts and push forward.

Did some marker drawing on a friend’shelmet yesterday, attempted to do on mine but I think I need to use a brush and acrylic for this one, continue later today, persevere.


I’m almost 40 and now I’m doing what I want to do in life, making hand made art, but it took a clear mind without all the doubts and many worries in life for me to realise this, thanks to meditation, these days I practice daily, as it really helps me move forward and stop worrying, but many things to work on.

This morning I did a "bodyscan", which is a meditation practice, as part of a free 8 week online meditation course I’m doing, here’s the website for anyone interested http://palousemindfulness.com
it will ease your mind, help you be more creative, reduce the doubts and help you achieve your potential in life.


These were done in Hue, in the middle of Vietnam, I am working on improving the depth in my sketches, with darker tones and thicker lines in the front and faded thinner lines at the back, will take a while to get something I’m happy with.


A few reworked and reworked texture abstracts, following the impulse I feel, what feels right at each step, the more I do this the more I like what comes out, the trick is to keep trying new things, to recognise what seems to work or not, then it’s easier to predict in advance.

Ok so that’s it for another week, I want to focus more and more on painting so should have some ready for next week, I want to do something for the places where I’ve traveled too, over the past month and and also have some social commentary ideas, let’s see.

Sam Watterson
Swatt Art