My newest art teacher is Mastini Asap. She was born here in Sabah; is 38 years old and has children. She has been exhibiting her work since 2000. Her work is showcased at the Ranjung Aru Resort and is mentioned an article from the Sabah Times I’ve excerpted below.


I take my art lessons at this combination open-air studio and gallery.


Mastini shares this space with another artist who does portraits. We us the small desk for my lesson.


This is one of Mastini’s paintings. The Malaysian Watercolour Society has annual exhibitions. Information about the 2006 exhibition and the participating artists with examples of their work is posted on the NN Gallery’s website. is a link to the NN Gallery located in Kuala Lumpur.


This is what I painted my first lesson….with help instruction and help from Mastini. I was learning to see light and shadow shapes and how to try to paint them.


I had painted these while in Singapore. But the orange and pepper didn’t have either shadow or as much detail. Mastini and I worked on adding light and shadow during the lesson. Mastini can imagine where shadows would be and I can’t; but I am learning. We actually painted the eggplant in the previous photo from this eggplant but imagined a light source so we could create light and dark and shadow.


My homework. I painted this myself on the boat. I kept moving my light source (a lamp) and myself so the shadows kept changing. The lemon has several…but I kind of like it. I got way too heavy handed painting the eggplant and lemon and used too much paint and not enough water when I should have left the white of the paper showing to indicate light. You have to really REALLY plan ahead with watercolor because when you try to fix things it makes it too muddy and “not fresh.” Fresh is the whole point of watercolor. The tomato is probably the best.


I had taken this photo in Terengganu and have failed several times in my attempt to capture the women in a painting. I took the photo to my second lesson with my failures to show Mastini.


This is what we did in my second class. Mastini painted most of what’s on the left side and “made me do the part in the middle. On the boat I did the parts on the right but couldn’t recreate the same green. We will add the shadows in my next class. I learned how hard it really is to do this….patience and thinking ahead are what it’s all about. You have to look at the subject much more than you actually paint. That should be done quickly to control the paint and water.


Mastini had asked me to paint the head scarves without trying the shadows. I then tried to paint the green dress but just didn’t really know how because I can’t see the detail in the photo or imagine it the way Mastini can. I hope that at my next class we can fix what I’ve done.


Mastini asked this young man to take a photo during “our third class.” You can see the photograph of the subjects we are painting.


Mastini patiently showing me what to do. She demonstrates what to do and then I have to paint. I don’t always get it right. “Never mind,” she says so I don’t just keep painting over the mistake and make it worse. It’s helpful for me to watch Mastini paint. It’s scary for me to watch me paint.


Mastini is teaching me how to paint shadows. She painted the green headscarf shadows and I painted part of the pink one. Now I’m supposed to finish the green dress. I wish I could take a better photo of the painting because her parts are so fresh and much more interesting than the photograph shows.

Sabah Times article…. I’ve excerpted the parts about Mastini.

ITALIAN restaurant, Peppino, of Shangrila™s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu was recently re-launched with a new interior design concept…..

Contemporary and chic in design, the walls of the restaurant are painted olive green while some areas are covered with gunny sack, natural wood and black glass…..

Meanwhile, the natural wood represents tradition and simplicity, values derived from the old Peppino concept. The paintings of live trees that decorate the walls and the entrance, as well as being found on the menu, present an interesting feature for diners.

Olive trees not only signify peace and truthfulness, but also health and balance, and olives are widely used in Italian cuisine.

The paintings of olive trees were done by Mastini Asap, a local artist who is adept at working with different media such as watercolour, pastel, acrylic, oil and charcoal.

Her paintings are pastoral in nature and often include the iconic Mount Kinabalu. Many of her works are exhibited at the National Art Gallery Malaysia, NN Gallery Kuala Lumpur, Johor Gallery, Sarawak Gallery and Sabah Art Gallery.

One of her original paintings of an olive tree was auctioned off during the re-launch dinner and RM7,500 was raised for Seri Mengasih Centre.

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Ruth and Randal

Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.