LIM SEW YONG started learning to paint when she was in secondary school, enrolling in a part-time course at the Nanyang Academy of Arts before reading a degree in history at the former Nanyang University in the early 1970s. The pioneer generation artist likes to paint using different materials, including the types of paper She was known for her carps painted in a mixed media of paints on Japanese gold leaf paper in the 1980s. She likes painting carps because they are colourful, intelligent and are symbols of prosperity and good luck. She moves to painting Chinese opera figures next. In just a few deft strokes with her brush of colourful acrylic paints, poster and watercolours or even Chinese ink, she creates expressive characters of scholars and maidens, heroes and villains from well-known Chinese operas which incorporate history, fairy-tales and legends to show all aspects of human behaviour and emotions such as love and hatred, loyalty, treachery, kindness and wickedness. She hopes to promote and preserve the traditional Chinese performing art form through her paintings. She has also tried her hands at batik painting with considerable success before going on to paint human figures, kampong scenes and a series of animals from the Chinese zodiac for corporate calendars. To understand the animals better before painting them, she even kept rabbits, squirrels and hamsters as pets. Her painting of two Samsui women eating durians is among her favourites as it shows the happiness on the women's faces after a hard day's work under the Sun.