Community News & Events / explorASIAN

Interconnected Artist Spotlight: Sam Chan

Artist Statement

Watercolor painting and Tai Chi are activities Chan does each day. These two art forms have much in common: they both require total focus, balance, and a sense of control over your energy flow. They both have contradictions that complement each other – dynamic and tranquility co-existing. Both, in the end, bring forth relaxation and satisfaction.
For watercolor, Sam likes pleinair (to practice draw a quick sketch) in summertime. Alas, the reality of the pacific west coast has him painting indoor most of the time.
Chan’s favorite part is the transparency of watercolor. It is like putting layer of film on paper, light can pass through and it gets reflected back. It produces a light feeling. Moreover, he uses wet on wet technique which the blending often leads to unexpected results. Balancing of light and shade can help create good composition. He starts painting from light to medium and dark tones.
Most of Chan’s painting subjects are from photos he takes during walks. For instance, when he paints the koi fish painting, he starts the sketch of fish, the waterlily, lily pad, and then rocks. Chan uses masking fluid to cover the fish waterlily and lily pad, he paints the rock with mix of burnt sienna, and burnt umber, using sepia and indigo for dark area. After it dries, Sam removed the masking fluid. Then he paints the fish wet on wet with yellow orange and red, mix sepia and indigo fore black, let the blend together. Add little blue color to paint the belly part. Sam also tries not to paint all the fish with the same tone. To finish up, he add thin layer of blue on water, and avoid the head of fish to suggest the fish’s body is in the water.
Pick up the brush, relax, and start painting.
Chan feels very thankful for his wonderful art teachers. Mr. Dave T F Chung and Paul Chui.


Sam was born in Macau. He lived briefly in Montreal and did his studies in Winnipeg before settling in Vancouver in the early 80s. He started painting while he was still working in his career in the telecom industry. He enjoys being surrounded by the beautiful nature found in BC and finds inspiration in the everyday scenery all around.
After his retirement, he enjoys travel, painting and teaching Tai Chi , He is an active member of the Burnaby Artist’s Guild and his work can be found in various local art shows.