Wheeshan Ong

Introducing Wheeshan Ong, featured artist from Starry Night Special (86).

Wheeshan Ong (pronounced as V-San) was born and grew up in Malaysia as a second generation Chinese. Today she lives and works as an artist from her farmhouse studio in the countryside of southern Austria. Her main inspiration comes from her love of nature, fairytales and myths. She loves to depict feminine beauty through her art. The main medium she uses is acrylic, though she also experiments with other media such as watercolours, graphite, pencil colours and ink.

How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have always loved to create, be it handycraft or drawing animals and pretty goddesses. After living for seven years in London, I moved to Austria in 2014. As I didn't have proper work and was not comfortable with the sudden change of quiet life in countryside, I began to do gardening. I was so inspired by the flowers and animals I have encountered, I started to draw a lot, most of my illustrations then got turned into colouring books. Since then, I haven’t stopped drawing, and later picked up painting and moved on to exhibit with galleries.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Mostly from the nature, especially of flora and fauna. I love gardening, and I get inspired a lot by the flowers in my garden, and the animals around my farm home. I also love looking through pretty books, magazines, and window shopping. Mythology and fairytales also inspire me. Everything I see and feel is somehow able to give me ideas for my next creation.

Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
I love creating art in my countryside home studio, it is my happy place! The room has a window overlooking my garden, the forest and the mountains; it also contains all the beautiful books and things that I have collected over the years from different places. When I sit in my studio, surrounded by all the things I love, they are able to stir up feelings within me, and when the emotion is in motion, creative energy naturally flows.

What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
I love to create using traditional media. When I paint, I prefer acrylic and watercolour, but for colouring pages, I prefer to use graphite, ink pens, coloured pencils and ink markers. I create a lot based on my intuition, so a lot of time I tend to select colours based on what I could see in my mind’s eye before I even start to colour it. Of course the colours have to go with the subject matter of the particular piece, so I always read about what I draw and paint in order to have a better understanding of it.

What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
I love all my creations, but if I have to choose, it would have to be my acrylic painting of the Greek goddess Artemis. She is the goddess of the wilderness, as I feel deeply connected to all things wild and natural.

Artist's tip

Be curious and have an open mind, as these are the two essential characteristics for learning. Keep doing and practicing, and with time, improvement is a sure thing. Above all else, be sure to have fun!

See more from Wheeshan Ong

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