Light Through Wooden Shutters

A photo from a book Philip Little gave to me a long time ago called: “Singapore By The Back Door”

I have not drawn or painted in months.

I know a drawing a day makes me an artist some day. But this has been quite difficult for the moment after having started on a new job.

Last weekend, I looked at a coffee table book given to me 20 years ago by a British photographer called Phillip Little. He was an enthusiastic man with boundless energy. When I opened his book, Singapore by The Backdoor, I was once again charmed by the photographs he took of various aspects of Singapore life that we do not normally notice. It took a foreigner to see how special some things are in our every day life.

I love this photo of a blue window shutter, with soft light and branches of bougainvillea peeping through. I wanted so much to paint it. I tried. And it was a labourous process because I lacked confidence, especially after having stopped practising for months. I was also impatient to finish. It is a terrible job I know, but it is part of my learning journey too. Who said we have to display to the world only those parts of ourselves that are perfect?

What is perfection anyway but an unattainable myth? We are and forever will be, a work in progress.

Finished but not quite finished. Imperfect in a world of imperfections. Our journey searching for and producing beauty has no end.

Related Articles:

My Friend Philip Little by shanlung

Philip’s Final Journey by shanlung

10 thoughts on “Light Through Wooden Shutters

  1. Hi Monica, incredibly, on the day you posted this article, Philip was involved in a motorcycle accident in Malaysia and was initially in a coma. He came out of the coma though and was in excellent spirits right up to the time he died on October 1st. He was a great photographer and a true British eccentric. I have the same book, and it’s a beautiful and entirely fresh look at Singapore. What a great talent he was.

    • Hi Michael, I am so sorry and saddened to hear of Philip’s passing. Although I do no know him well, I remember him as passionate and out of the ordinary. When I painted this picture, I was searching for info about Philip on the internet to see how he is doing but could not find anything. He has made even the mundane look interesting with his photos, because he looked at things differently. I thank you for taking the trouble to tell me about this.

  2. Your painting of that blue window shutter is beautiful and poignant.

    After 30 ++ years of absence to find Phillip again. I heard a lot of him , and had wanted to see him earlier but Karma was such I did not meet him until that day. And to hear on the very next day he was no longer in our world. My writing of my meeting of him on his last day was to release the pain in me. His number was up and he had to go, as must any of us when it is our turn.


    • Hi Shanlung, a friend of Philip is launching a book of important photographers in the early days of Singapore and have a special write-up on Philip. The book launch is on 18 Nov, and the author Mr Henry Tan had tried to get in touch with you. Wonder if you would be able to make it to the event? Regards.

  3. Pingback: Graveyard of the Flowers « Monica Wants To Draw

  4. Pingback: In Remembrance of Philip « Monica Wants To Draw

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