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The Watercolor Cats of Lee Yan

Q. How did you get started in your medium?

A. I am a mother of two children. I used to do freelance jobs so that I could take a very good care of them to the point I even forgot that I knew how to paint. Now that they are older, I have more time to do what I love. I picked up my brush again during September in 2017 when my husband encouraged me to do so. He went back to painting a year earlier than me, and he joined multiple international watercolour competitions. And so I did after a little persuasion! But it was a bumpy road ahead as I did not feel confident. I would always feel dejected and discouraged whenever I couldn’t put my imagination into painting. Which is why I am very thankful for my husband’s constant support and encouragement. He led me to where I am today. Q. What is the biggest influence on your art?

A. I would say cats. Many people around me are curious why I would always pick them as my subject, and the answer is simple. Because I love cats. The idea is to change the perception towards stray animals through my painting. I do try to paint other animals like dogs, birds and people. Q. Did art play a role in your childhood?

A. To be honest, I do not come from an artistic family. Perhaps I didn’t have much entertainment when I was young so I just enjoyed reading comic books, novels and attending art classes.

Q. Were you exposed to artists, did you enjoy making art?

A. No, not really. But I do enjoy the process of painting as it clears my mind. Watching an empty paper turn from nothing into something feels interesting.

Q. Who is your favorite artist?

A. I really respect and appreciate Chatchawarn Ruksa, who is a Thai painter and paints cats really well. Q. How does art impact your life?

A. My life has been enriching and happy after painting. Being able to paint what I love gives me a sense of freedom as my designing works in the past were passive. Q. How do you know what to include (or exclude) to make the viewers feel something about your art?

A. I think the key is to feel confident about your painting to move others.

Find more of Lee Yan's work on Facebook.

All of the above images are copyright Lee Yan and shared here with permission.

Try it yourself

Paint Easy Cats with Yasmina Creates.

You will need:

  • watercolor paper

  • pencil

  • template (or draw your own)

  • watercolor paints

  • pointy brush

  • cup or jar of clean water

  • paper towel

  • optional: fine tip markers and/or white gel pen

If you need help with the shapes of your cats, hold the watercolor paper up to a window with the template behind it and lightly trace the cats.

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