Monday, 27 October 2014

The Chef by HweeYen Ong

The Chef
24x30 in
oil canvas ’11
Spain Leon Tapas bar

The tapas master chef and owner in a very cool tapas pub in old Leon, and an interesting animated character (if only I understood what he was saying). Spain Camino series. 2010.

It has been a long time since I painted a portrait. I am seldom tempted as the face has to have a lot of character for me to be inspired. But when I stepped into this quaint little tapas pub on my Spain Camino trip, the traditional character of the place immediately struck me, and even more so when I caught sight of the fiesty chef-cum-owner in a whirl of activity entirely in his element.. I knew I would paint him.

But first I had to get his picture executing his fine art. It was no easy feat as he was aware and the movement simply heightened to a blur. I could only muster a couple of quick shots aimed at the overall pub setting so as not to be rude and hoped for the best. Blessed was I to get one clear shot below of the dignified master in action, which incidentally my guide has sent the picture to him.

When it came to painting, my expressionist tendencies and colour instincts took over but the essence of the character - a fine artisan in his element - must come through. In fact an artist remarked that the pose reminded him of a portrait of a certain young Rembrandt. Yes, indeed. No wonder I was attracted to this interesting character; he had reminded me of a master artist.. and my own vocation :)

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