Hi there! My name is Darren Yeo. I am a watercolour artist and teacher based in Melbourne, Australia. I graduated from the University of Western Australia in the field of psychology (B.A. Hons. Psych). I’m also the creator of the online art community “Watercolour Mentor”. I run live classes and provide a safe and supportive environment for beginner watercolour artists to share their work and receive feedback and encouragement. I do this as a hobby and have a day job working in an office.
Since I was a young boy, I loved creating, drawing, and painting. Prior to discovering watercolours, I worked predominantly with clays as a sculpturist – creating hand-made figures, vases, and pottery. I exhibited in Galleries in Western Australia, winning Highly Commended and other awards for my works. Being able to express myself and the beauty of nature through my artwork is something that I find incredibly rewarding. It makes me happy, provides me an outlet to express myself, maintains positive mental health, and helps me through challenging times. My artwork features predominantly natural landscapes, urban streetscapes, and portraiture in watercolour medium.
The inspiration for my artwork comes from the interaction between people and nature. I love painting natural landscapes with figures and man-made structures, buildings weaved into the scene. The geometry and architecture of buildings also fascinate me. I’m intrigued by the opposition of soft, natural shapes like trees, water, bushes, against the harder edges of a house or machinery, sails. I always aim to find ways to compose my paintings so that both natural and man-made elements complement each other and exist harmoniously.
I have a strong interest in the sciences, especially biology. I also like science-fiction books/movies, my favourite one being the book ‘Solaris’ by Stanislaw Lem. Some of my illustrations and paintings have a sci-fi twist to them. I find this allows me to explore subjects in a completely different context and to push the boundaries of my creativity.
Watercolours are special to me because there is a sense of finality once an area has dried – you can’t erase or go over that area to ‘fix’ it. You need to accept and work with what is there. Sometimes, all you can do is to learn from and alter your next approach. For me, I feel this goes further than just creating a pretty painting and I have found many ways to translate this concept over to my daily life. To find ways to accept and be content, to look forward to the future, and learn from the past are ideas that resonate with me. I use a limited palette with mainly primary colours, and when painting landscapes, have a loose, vibrant, and expressive style. I like exploring opposition by using complementary colours, or playing with tone to emphasize light and darkness in a painting. I enjoy using a variety of brush strokes, some broad and loose and some small and detailed in a painting, as I find it leads to a more interesting composition.
I’ve always been a firm believer that anyone can learn how to paint. One of the biggest tips I have for beginner painters is to paint different subjects and to paint often. Consistency is key – set yourself a time each day to do a small painting or sketch, and you’ll see results in the long term.
Thank you for reading and I hope to see you around.