Sketching and Painting on Lamma Island

- Roz Keep

I started sketching on Lamma years ago. One of the reasons I came to live here was due to a weekend stay to paint. I will never forget the smell of the ginger flowers and the sight of all that green after the drab city greys and stench of pollution in down town Hong Kong where I had tried to paint city scenes earlier in the week.

On Lamma you get a sense of yesterday – a feeling that not much has changed since people first started cultivating the land centuries ago. The vegetation around the villages is mainly fruit trees and vegetables and out on the open hills more wild and scrubby. Rocks and small bushes stretch across the undulating hills and the painters’ eyes are drawn across the busy East Lamma Channel to the contrasting urbanization on the distant hills of Hong Kong Island just a few kilometers away.

I enjoy walking in the hills until I have found a place I can sit with a view when I can take in the shapes, the colours and the compositions of the scene in front of me. A hat, a rock to perch on and a small sketchbook, portable watercolour paint box and selection of two or three brushes are all I need. My bag is filled with paper, pencils, a bottle of water sun block and mosquito repellant as well. I stay here for two hours perhaps and first sketch ideas in a small sketchbook and then transfer the idea to a quality piece of watercolour paper. The paint goes on in lush stains and my eyes strain to adjust to the glare from the white paper until I have blocked in enough colours to cover the bright sheet of paper. The hardest part over, I put the detail in after waiting for wind and sun to dry the paint and then proceed until I am happy that I have done all I can.

When I have enough, I can return to the busy and populated village for a cold beer or a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes on the high street.

A day out painting in the hills of Lamma is one of life’s very great pleasures.

No comments: