Thursday, September 27, 2007

The last of my "ignorance"

The “Illiterati” series was created in 2004. It consists of only four still-life paintings done with acrylics.

Two were bought by a corporate individual some years ago and the rest are still with me. One that is still in my collection is “Illiterati 2:208,” measuring 38 x 55 inches -- an arrangement of my Quran, a newspaper article about the US invasion on Iraq, a mug and a bowl on a table.

The simple items I laid out were in contrast to the complicated situation of the world at the time, and the confusion it caused. A war was looming, tipping the balance of things and shaking the order of God.

The situation in the world made me pause to reflect on many things: about nations exerting power upon others, about their use of wit and cunning to outdo each other -- but only succeeding in creating destruction for mankind.

It expressed the ignorance of learned people -- the illiterates of the so-called literati.

It is very rarely that I paint still-lifes these days and these four paintings are very special to me. It reminds me of a significant period in my life some years ago.

I may never get to see the two that were already sold to a client, but if I had to part with the remaining two, I wouldn't mind if it went to the hands of a friend whom I know will appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Filling in the blanks

Bintulu Sunset in the making (scroll down for the "after")

.... almost completed the Bintulu Sunset and now working on a piece on Pulau Besar, Mersing (pic below, the left canvas). I went there last year and stayed at the Coral Bay chalet. At the time, the place was not completed except for the reception and a few rooms. I was the only guest there and it was very special. The island has a long beautiful beach, so quiet and peaceful. Over the next few days, i spent lots of time alone walking along the beach.

Right canvas: Bintulu Sunset; Left canvas: Pulau Besar, Mersing

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This is how it starts. On a blank canvas. Or in this case, two blank canvases, as I attempt to paint two pieces simultaneously.

I've been studying the paintings of William Turner and feeling so inspired by his seascapes, by how he paints the air, the "multitudinous" sea, by his skills at watercolours, by his sheer imagination!

I've also received a few pictures of the sunset from the middle of the ocean, somewhere off Bintulu. They were taken and sent to me by my neighbour Alex who works out on the sea. I think they call him a geologist. He took some very good photos which have had me itching to paint since then.

With Turner on my shoulder and this great desire to turn the Bintulu sunset on canvas, it's both a curse and a blessing. I can't wait to put brush to colour to canvas.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pantai Pasir Tengkorak, Langkawi

I've been working on a new piece this past week.

It's something on Langkawi where my wife and I had gone on our honeymoon. I remember my wife wanted to go and swim at Pantai Pasir Tengkorak. We decided to wake up very early one morning so that we would be the only ones at the beach. By the time we reached there, there was only us and a mat salleh.

It was so quiet and peaceful and the water was so cold!

I can remember that my wife (we just got married a few days before that) was very happy swimming with me.

This piece is about seven by five feet long. A view of the Andaman Sea by the Pasir Tengorak Beach, under some shady trees next to the Ibrahim Hussein Gallery, at noon.
While this piece is almost ready, I've also stretched a couple more of my canvas to do some sunsets simultaneously.