Essence of Paintings

Jase Lim

Gift of Nature (2014). 150x80cm, Oil on linen. By Jase Lim

Through the hands of the artist the lifeless piece of canvas and tubes of pigments were transformed into a creation that has life with lines and colors. The artist has transmitted the essence of the spirit to the creation “the painting”.

I can enjoy a Beethoven symphony even if I do not know understand anything from score and notes.  Similarly, though there might be some measure of psychical distance, yet I can feel the fear of Edvard Munch in The Scream and the depressive elements in Rothko Chapels.  Painting and music do not need to have names or subject, they just have to be looked at and listened to.  Their meaning may not be expressible in words but that does not affect their value. Sometimes, the greater the music or painting, the harder it is to express just why it is so great – because it is just beyond the grasp of human beings, not easily categorized or understood.

It is this inner necessity to create, that produce the paintings. The excellence of technique and the inner necessity to create these painting to enrich one’s life was immeasurable. It is an affirmation of life, and inspires one to aim for the same excellence.   That Degas and Monet both continued to paint after they were almost blind; Renoir continued to paint his happy pictures after his hands were so crippled with arthritis that the brush had to be strapped to his wrist to paint. Van Gogh attempted to continue, even though very few were interested in his works, Cezanne, Rembrandt and many others painted in obscurity and sometimes poverty, and painted with so much love and devotion; unselfishly leaving us works, sharing with us their perceptions.

Perfervid Rose

Jase Lim

Perfervid Rose (2016). 122x153cm, Oil on Canvas by Jase Lim

I cannot explain why I love flowers, especially roses with their wide range of colours and not to mention their endearing fragrances.  Beauty has always been the motivating factor for me to paint; to preserve and share it on canvas. Current trend in art world when most artists dealt on big issues like eco and social awareness, I cannot help but question myself, what can I contribute with my paintings? Well, I have yet to receive an answer but I will continue painting what I sincerely want to express and share

The Reason I Jump

The Reason I jump by NaokiGet to know this book The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism via NHK World documentary.

This book was written by a Japanese author Naoki Higashida, who wrote this book in 2005 at the age of 13. The book was initially published in Japanese in 2007 but was translated and published in English in 2013 by Keiko Yoshida and her husband, author David Mitchell, who also has an autistic child. This book became a bestseller and it has been translated into over 30 other languages.

Author Higashida was diagnosed with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when he was 5 years old and has verbal limitations. With the help from his mother, using “facilitated finger writing” quite similar to typing out his thoughts via a special kind of keyboard. The majority of the memoir is told through 58 questions Higashida and many other people dealing with autism are commonly asked, they are either memories of the author or parabolic stories that relate to the themes discussed throughout the memoir.

The collection ends with Higashida’s short story, “I’m Right Here,” which the author prefaces by saying: I wrote this story in the hope that it will help you to understand how painful it is when you can’t express yourself to the people you love. If this story connects with your heart in some way, then I believe you’ll be able to connect back to the hearts of people with autism too.”

 (Information extracted from

Bridging the Link

Sometime, the essence of the painting is diluted from the painter’s studio to the curator or art dealer; through the ways the painting was interpreted and displayed. Most of the paintings installed in public spaces like galleries had transformed the painting into fragmentary, static product install as a relic for viewing.

Good consideration on the installation of paintings creates an interactive relationship between the viewer and the artist’s work. Installation here refers not to a particular form of art but rather how the painting can be installed in a way which would demand the viewer’s active engagement.

It is necessary to consider the period when the paintings were painted for example, the lightings.  What effect will it exudes, if the paintings were viewed under the same lighting as the painter’s studio? We have to note that most of the earlier paintings were painted under the candle-lit studio. A good understanding on how the paintings were created may provide another level of understanding on the differences between studio and open air paintings.

Below is an example of how a painting was installed which may affects the viewer’s engagement. Claude Monet needs no introduction. He gifted his masterpiece Les Decorations des Nympheas to France to celebrate the 1918 victory. These paintings were installed in two oval room specially designed for them.

Monet Lily Pond 001AMonet Lily Pond 003

Love and Humanity

This story was translated from a Chinese newspaper.Love and Humanity Couple

“Even though god has forgotten to draw the curtain from the window of my eyes, I will live everyday without fear; because the world is just next to me!” This is the lyrics of a song, sung by a visually impaired Taiwanese singer, and has touched many hearts.

In Kwangxi, China, a haunch back old lady has been guiding his husband with a bamboo stick for 30 years. This loving old couple has been married for 55 years. They are childless and lived on farming. In 1985, the man succumbed to eye disease and was blind. From that day onwards, his wife has been holding his hand via a bamboo stick, telling him in details what she saw along the way, the sceneries and happenings.

When the reporter asked her how she felt? Her reply was “I am his eyes, but he is my everything…!”



A Sense of Appreciation

While watching a NHK documentary, I was touched by a phrase – under the plank lies a watery grave which is translated from Japanese: Itako ichimai jigoku. It is beautiful yet sad and true at the same time. A lady introduced this phrase in appreciation to the fishermen who risked their lives to bring in the seafood.

I am glad to be reminded to bring back that sense of appreciation and not take things for granted. I love seafood and am happy that it will be savoured with an additional depth of gratitude.

#Jaselim#red garoupa

Red Garoupa from Chinatown market by Jase Lim

Deep Fried Prawn Heads

Watched Jamie’s Oliver show on salvaging food waste, love this concept. When cooking prawns, most of the time I will discard the shells which include the heads, unless I am preparing for a prawn stock.  This recipe is by a Chinese chef in the show; trim the prawn heads, sprinkle some pepper, salt and corn flour in that sequence.   Deep fried till the oil has no more noise. Drained excess oil on kitchen towel then just pop the whole head in your mouth. It is very crispy and yummy. Prawn heads is high in cholesterol, so it is advisable to eat in moderation.

The prawn head is full of a gooey stuff like ‘roe’, which is very tasty. Ferran Adria (El Bulli) once compares sucking the juices from the prawn heads (steamed version) to tasting the “essence of the sea”.

Prawn Heads

Deep Fried Prawn Heads

My Painting Space

It is important to have a painting space that is yours alone. It might be just a corner in any part of your house eg kitchen, storeroom, balcony etc. Whatever or wherever it is make the space yours, preferably with no interferences. It is a space where you can leave your painting in progress without the need to move or store away. If you must take out your painting materials and arrange it by the time you have set up everything, your flame of creativity may have extinguished.


From Ikea catalogue

In Search of 4 Leaves Clover

Jase Lim

In Search of 4 Leaves Clover. Acrylic on canvas, 60x60cm, 2017. By Jase Lim.

I am mesmerized by the intriguing forms found in botany.

The mystique on the 4 leaves clover still exist; It is believed that 1st leaf represents faith, 2nd leaf offers hope, 3rd leaf symbolize love and 4th one brings luck. The ratio of finding a 4 leaves clover against 3 leaves is 1:10,000, this rarity make it more sought after. Every time, I chanced upon a patch of clover, my first instinct is to locate the 4 leaves clover.

However, I realized that while I have narrowed my scope of vision looking for the 4 leaves clover, I have missed out my opportunity on appreciating the beauty of the 3 leaves clover which is directly in front of me. Isn’t this situation similar when one is constantly pursuing for something and missed out on appreciating what one has already have?

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Jase Lim

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

The Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans) have built their nest in my garden around end of Mar 2017. The nest is flimsy because it is only an assembly of some twigs, perching dangerously on one of the branches. Initially there was only one egg, but the next day, another egg appeared. The colourful male bird is the one incubating the eggs in the day time and the female with duller feather (suppose to be, cannot see clearly at night) take over through the night.

I try to check on the nest daily to make sure the eggs are intact because the nest look so unsafe with just a few twigs, but most of the time the male is incubating the eggs, very still and unmoving. Then one day, while trying to locate the nest, I was confronted with the big fat bottom of the male bird then I take the hint to stop being a busybody.




Acerola Cherries

This plant has been growing in my garden for some time.  It did not fruit until recently, maybe because of my regular trimming to keep it at reachable height.  Recently I just let it grow (let it grow….let it grow…..) and it starts to flower and fruit in abundance.  The birds love this plant, eating the fruits at the same time swinging on the long branches. It has beautiful fruits that taste like sour cherries with large seeds.  And the colour gets redder after you plucked it.  I personally prefer to eat the yellow-green ones as it is crunchy and surprisingly less sour.

PS:  Thank you Brendan Goh of Singapore Urban Gardening for identifying the plant.

Onogadori/長尾鶏/Long-tailed Chicken

While we were having lunch, my daughter was excited sighting a pair of rooster and hen roaming the compound.  Her excitement was understandable as it is uncommon to see a fully dressed chicken in Singapore.  While our topic is on chicken, it is my turn to feel amaze when she introduced me to a breed in Japan known as Onogadori.

Onogadori evolved from the common domestic chicken.  The tail lengths measured from 12 to 27 feet.  Japanese breeders provide special hutches with perches well above the ground to keep the tail clean and in good condition.  This breed has been designated by the Japanese government as a Special Natural Monument.