Crystal’s florals on show

Crystal Tan and her family. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

A Warburton artist is excited to display her artwork in the YAVA-curated space at Tokar Estate Cellar Door.

Crystal Tan is a watercolourist, who draws mainly flowers and has exhibited over 10 art pieces that she drew last year.

“I love watercolour because it’s got beautiful, translucent, ethereal qualities,” she said.

“I like painting flowers because flowers provide all the shapes, colours and textures of nature that are vibrant and colourful.”

Crystal got into watercolour painting four years ago during the Covid pandemic and taught the skills by herself through YouTube videos.

“My kids were learning art on YouTube at home and I joined in a few of their tutorials. That was when I realised it was possible for me to learn online,” Crystalsaid.

“Because we had nothing else to do [during the pandemic], I just did that for a month and I ordered all of my supplies online.

“Then I started my Instagram account and I got a lot of wonderful feedback from the online community and it just kept feeding my motivation.”

One day, Penn Studio School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States approached her asking if she could teach a painting online class.

To prepare for teaching online, Crystal started her own YouTube channel.

She said it was easy for her to teach online because she also learnt her painting skills online.

“I practised filming myself talking while painting and then I edited the video. Since I had three videos that I practised, I thought ‘Why not just start a YouTube channel?’ and I created it and uploaded my videos and told my people on Instagram,” she said.

“I ended up teaching a five-week Zoom online class for Penn Studio School of Art last August and I will do another session with them in September this year.

“I just launched Patreon online doing monthly live classes three weeks ago and I’m doing my first one next week and I also started teaching face-to-face in my studio in Warburton.”

Art has helped Crystal deal with her depression.

She said she has noticed there were a lot of things in art since she started painting.

“The process of putting painting down on paper is very therapeutic. If you do watercolour, you would also know that the magical quality of the paint spreads across the paper in a very beautiful way and that process alone is so soothing,” She said.

“It also has a beautiful open-endedness. You start it with a black page and you can go in a direction, you’re in control of what colour to put down and what mark to make, you can go very abstract or very realistic, it’s all up to you.

“The whole freedom of the open-endedness is so powerful when you’re feeling stuck and you’re feeling like you cannot control everything in your life.

“When you practice daily and you’re getting better and better at it, you will feel a sense of pride. There’s also spiritual devotion, where you’re just observing out of your own identity and time flies, you don’t think about the past or the future, you’re just looking at the present.”

The opening night successfully marked the launch of the display of Crystal’s colourful watercolour florals on Thursday 21 March.

Tokar Estate Cellar Door is open from 10.30am to 5pm every Thursday to Sunday, located at 6 Maddens Lane Coldstream.

For more information about Crystal Tan’s exhibition, visit YAVA’s website and about Crystal Tan and her workshops, visit