Malaysian Plover, 7.5 X 19.0 inches, Gouache
Bird-watching in Penang
Most of Choo’s birds are of the local species which can be spotted with a little bit of patience. His bird watching spots in Penang are Penang Hill, and the coastal road opposite Pulau Jerejak, where one can spotmigratory birds like the curlew, sandpiper, plover and redshank during migratory season which begins in October. The mainland, Kuala Selangor and Fraser’s Hill are also worthy bird watching spots.
A perfectionist, Choo’s detailed work is the result of hours of painstaking labour with fine brushes. Whenever possible, he tries to study his subject in natural surroundings with careful attention to accuracy depicting his feathered friends. Every feather is individually drawn and leaves are shown with dewdrops and sometimes even a tiny ant crawling over them. Even the delicate pattern of a tree bark is stunningly recreated. Because of this trait, it is not uncommon to find the artist trading his brushes for heavy-duty photographic equipment as he lugs them across hills, forests and beaches in the hope of capturing his subject matter on film. The photographs are then used as references for his drawings which are transferred to paper before paint is applied. His preferred medium is watercolour but gouache also features in some of his works.
Choo’s first one-man show was at Galeria, an art gallery in Penang in 1987. Three of his paintings are on permanent display at the USM Art Gallery. His paintings also grace the halls and ballrooms of Equatorial Hotel Penang and Novotel Penang. In June 1990, he held an exhibition of wildlife watercolour paintings with Teh Yew Kiang at the Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya to mark the Malayan Nature Society’s World Conference on Biodiversity. His second solo was in 1992 and his third in 1996, both at The Art Gallery, Penang. All his solo exhibitions were sell-out successes.
Is he going to be painting birds forever? “Not really,” says Choo. He went on to stress that he is willing to move on to some other subject later on - like mammals, for instance. Having stamped his mark on the local art scene, Choo is looking towards making a name for himself in the global art scene. The good folks at Penang Insights wish him the very best of luck towards that endeavour.
For a private tour of Choo Beng Teong’s virtual gallery, enter here.
Gallery I | Gallery II | Gallery III | Gallery IV | The Artist
Limited prints by the artist are available on demand. To contact Choo Beng Teong, kindly e-mail here.