Chua Ek Kay's best-known calligraphic works are from the Lotus Pond Series, where he captures the spirit and vitality of nature in the essence of the lotus flower. A far cry from the elegant deliberations of lotus flowers in traditional ink paintings, Chua's lotuses hold only a vague resemblance to their realities. These paintings are to be grasped by the intuition and imagination of the viewer, and not restricted by verisimilitude. Painted in 1999, Lotus Pond sees Chua extending the boundaries of this traditional art form by experimenting with colour. A wash of bright blue pushes the perimeters of the pond to the edges of the painting, while almost arbitrary patches of red and orange colour-in the buds and blooms add to the overall liveliness.
Lotus Seed Pods (1996), painted just three years before Lotus Pond, marks the beginning of Chua's new compositional format for the lotus. He favours the square format, layering the paper with varying strokes of the brush – thin strokes to indicate the direction of the stalks, and thicker swirls to delineate the lotus buds. Colour is used sparingly, with the cheery patches of light green and yellow contained within the back outlines, keeping the form of the lotus pods and flowers in focus. Completed a year after Lotus Seed Pods, another painting Lotus Pond After Rain (1997) shows significant development in his use of colour, between his stringent placement in Lotus Seed Pods and his full colour wash in Lotus Pond. The duller, earth-toned washes in Lotus Pond After Rain evoke muddied ponds after a rainstorm. There is a keen development towards Chua's increasingly liberal employment of colour as in Lotus Pond, as he even uses coloured ink in place of the solid black ink to delineate the lotuses.
By 2006, Chua's work is doused in vibrant colours, spreading to the edges of the paper and leaving little untouched space as before. The brilliant colours of the Lotus Pond flood the vision, a blurry capture of the lotuses pulsating with effervescence in the wind. At the same time, the translucence of the colour washes afford some calm despite the riotous mass of sharp, crisscrossing strokes that Chua uses to suggest the form of the lotus at all points of its life cycle – from the lushness of the fullest blooms, to the bent and broken stalks as they wane. It is evidence of the artist's long term engagement with Buddhist philosophical concepts, as he endeavours to compress the linearity of time into a single frame with no progression from beginning to end. Chua draws the mind's attention and focus on the present and 'being' in the now.