I have had the opportunity of meeting with and interviewing a lot of artists from the island of Singapore. They are all extremely inspiring and generally leave me in awe with their passion and perseverance. There are some who are extraordinary – more than just professionals. Lucinda Law is one such artist.
If you google her, you will find out that she is among one of the most celebrated Botanical Illustrationists of Singapore. She has worked with A-listed government and private bodies. Her posh clientage includes the likes of Bvlgari, Uniqlo, Chanel, Mulberry, Fossil and Fullerton Hotel. Her art has adorned prestigious spaces like the Changi International Airport, Victoria Theater etc. She is also the first Singaporean artist to have featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Lucinda and explore the behind the scenes. She was kind enough to invite me to her in-house studio and what was supposed to be a formal 45-minute interview turned into friendly chitchat for hours. We clicked like old-time friends and ended up discussing work, family and life for more than 5 hours at her Jalan Besar studio. I got to see and understand the process that goes behind each piece of this celebrated artist. It was a memorable evening.
As I walk through the streets of Jalan Besar following Google Map directions, I am anticipating the interview. Lucinda had asked me to look out for a Cactus garden to identify her house. I spot it from quite a distance and log out of the map. I knock on the door and enter a different world as I am welcomed in Lucinda’s personal haven. Wow! I am blown.
The entire space is painted in white, the furniture is white, interiors are white and there are books about Botany, framed art pieces and beautiful artefacts all around. This cannot be real – it is too perfect to be true. I look at the table, on which Lucinda was working right before she welcomed me. There is a big window right in the front of the table – it gives a perfect view of her sprawling garden outside.
Lucinda offers me drinks and we start chatting. She tells me about a sabbatical that she took almost 3 and a half years ago. She was not in a happy space personally and wanted to take a break. She tells me that she wanted to find her purpose and her instinct told her to go to nature.
“I wanted to be in a space where I could be surrounded by things that I love. I took off to New Zealand and what was supposed to be a holiday for a few days, ended up being a two and a half month vacation”
She tells me about her experiences and adventures in the lap of Mother Nature during that vacation. By the time that she was back, Mother Nature had told her what to do next. She decided to start painting again. As a kid, art was more like a luxury to her. She remembers thinking back in those days that how wonderful it would be if she could earn a living out of painting orchids! Well, that is exactly what she does now.
After teaching Arts and Design for more than 14 years, writing travel guides and practising music journalism – in her late 30s, Lucinda decides to take up Botanical illustration as a full-time career and climbs at the top in just two years! What more do we need to get inspired?
Two years back she decided to give her work a name and founded Within in 2016. Within is a creative studio working on multiple ongoing nature-themed arts and design projects, commissioned artworks, botanical art workshops and nature-themed overseas creative retreats in collaboration with various botanic gardens and hotel partners in Asia-Pacific. Lucinda tells me that she enjoys doing workshops a lot because the kind of indulgence she is able to offer to people makes her feel content with her work.
If you are into watercolour painting and want to learn blending techniques from Lucinda, register for this upcoming workshop on 9th June. Click here!
Another aspect that Lucinda absolutely enjoys about her work is organizing creative retreats. These are amazing holistic destination experiences. These annual retreats are popular among people seeking ways to get closer to nature. If you want to go away from the concrete jungle and live in solace away from the hustle-bustle of everyday life, you must sign up!
Explore the best amalgamation of nature and art in the resplendent mountains of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Lucinda shares anecdotes and experiences with her crew from the past two years and I am absolutely mesmerized. She tells me about the amazing activities that they indulge in and the kind of detoxifying meditative environment she creates for her guests. I am intrigued and find myself (un)officially registering for this year’s retreat in November.
If you want to find out about the Creative Retreats organized by Within, go to their website now!
Almost two hours have passed and now Lucinda has to take a break for a con-call. As she goes to the other room to finish off that telephonic commitment, I take a stroll in her garden. It is beautiful. The entire house is equally well-maintained and minute details add to its beauty. I decide to take a “nature’s call break” and I find scented candles and flowers even in the washroom! This woman literally lives her work. Celebrating nature is not just a career choice but a lifestyle adopted by Lucinda in every bit.
After the call, Lucinda tells me about her connection with Mother Nature. She tells me in-depth about the process of how she paints.
“I feel like I owe it to give back to Mother Nature. She chose me to work on her and I choose to give back by talking about her, creating awareness about her indulging more and more people into her.”
Lucinda shows me a small journal where she blends and tries shades of colours before finally painting on the main canvas. She tells me that sometimes she likes to make an account of what she is going through while drawing a particular piece. I read one from October last year. It details her overwhelmed emotions of anticipation, nervousness and excitement. “You should get these published,” I recommend. She is supremely talented. She has a way with words (oratory and writing) and colours.
In the end, she treats me with delicious Mutton Biryani and we take a walk in the Little India/Jalan Besar area. She walks me to the MRT and on the way, she tells me about her volunteer work with the Singapore’s Association of Women’s Lawyers and I am so impressed that I commit to collaborating. (You will read about it soon.)
She bids me goodbye with a warm hug and some exciting goodies. I come back home inundating with appreciation, inspiration and sheer joy!