The Society of Chinese Artists: Plein-air in the Pandemic 中华写生展

Sok Leng Sok Leng
2 minute read

Artists of The Society of Chinese Artists painting plein-air in Chinatown in Singapore.

It has been one and a half years and life in this pandemic has been unsettling, uncertain and uneasy.  Our lives are disrupted, some more than others, but none has been spared. 
A group of Singapore artists have endeavoured to continue their weekly routine throughout this Covid-19 period, meeting every weekend to paint plein-air around Singapore. 
This art exhibition by the Society of Chinese Artists showcases their works created during this pandemic, painting on the streets of Singapore with their masks on, a testament that life can continue, when we accept what we cannot control, and adjust what we can. 
Sharon Lee, one of the exhibiting artists, shares her experience painting outdoors these few months.

Watercolour painting of Geylang by Singapore artist Sharon Lee.

Painting outdoors has always been more challenging than painting inside the studio.  There is heavy equipment to lug around (easels, paints, canvases), the hot and humid weather to endure (or sudden downpour), and standing of long hours to paint (stools are not ideal).
Painting outdoors with Covid-19 restrictions mean wearing masks to paint (uncomfortable as it is for everyone else), keeping distancing from each other (limiting the sharing of ideas and techniques).
The locations are less crowded which makes it easier to find a space to settle down to paint but there is also less human activity to be captured onto the paper (unsurprisingly most of the paintings in the exhibition feature streets that are relatively devoid of people).
Besides the popular painting spots of Singapore River and Chinatown, more locations have been added to their hotspots, such as Little India, Geylang and even the HDB estate of Hougang.

Oil painting of Chinatown by Nanyang artist Chan Yong Song.

Painting in oil and watercolour, these artists will continue to meet weekly to paint plen-air, a commitment to themselves and a motivation to others.  
No pandemic can stop their passion for painting.
“中华写生展” art exhibition organized by The Society of Chinese Artists 中华美术研究会  runs from 23 – 28 July 2021 at the Art House in Singapore.

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If you want to reach out to the artists in The Society of Chinese Artists, drop us an email! or

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