Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Four Abstracts a Day

Spiralling circles, 115 x 48 cm, paint on board, 17.9.95. Artist collection.

Sea, Rain and Storm, 50 x 152cm, paint on board,17.9.95. Artist collection.

Swaying leaves, 142x59 cm, paint on board,17.9.95. Artist collection.

Movement study, 100x 116 cm, paint on board,17.9.9. Artist collection.

It is a record achievement of sorts for me on 17 th day of September, 1995.

I was living with my small family at our Kampung Baru house in Bintulu . For most of the year, I was busy with my contracting business. As often happens, there was always surplus paint and board neatly kept in my house store. Waking up early that morning I started to immerse my self with spontaneous painting at an open space behind our house. Without feeling any signs of exhaustion I had by the day's end completed four abstract pieces on relatively big size boards.

What made me produce four paintings in a row is beyond my comprehension.

But that's abstract art. That day's magic must have been instigated over many years of emotional absorption and intellectual yearning to produce abstract masterpieces ever since I participated in an international art workshop in November 1989 at Kuching.

Since then I tried to come to terms with the notion of doing abstract art that speaks of me. At last on that auspicious day the moment of truth came. I was able to produce my own abstract art. The above paintings shall always speak volumes of my inherent love for the abstract. I shall forever look forward for the resurgence of such creative encounters in future.

From these four pieces of work, I learnt of speed, sense of movement and expressionism in one critical moment of my life. I was able to create them with minimal tones and shades of colours for that were the only ones available within reach that day. But all told, it was a day of personal discovery and yearning.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Landscaping Times in Bintulu ( Part I )

My Natural Attachment

In my mature years period, I took on an exceedingly huge interest in landscaping.

I was involved in a number of 'grand' landscaping projects for the 'booming town' of Kidurong ( acting as satellite town) and the existing Bintulu town that has outgrown its former boundaries and metamorphosing into a modern township in Sarawak. Those formative years in landscaping started in early 1980's right till the late 1990's.

I will attempt to blog on my experiences during those landscaping times throughout this year. However, suffice to start here in terms of paintings, my deep interest in nature and my natural inclination to gardening. Way back in 1974, I painted a scenery of the Tanjong Batu beach when I visited it as a young man. To the folks in Bintulu , it was the only beach closest to town to enjoy the unspoilt beauty of seasides, stretches of beaches and unpolluted natural elements like water, clouds, winds and breezes of the 70's. Strangely enough there was no building or park furniture on the beach then.

Tanjong Batu Beach , water colour, 50x40cm ( approx.) circa 1974

Kuching Reservoir Park, mixed media, imperial size, 1982

Later, when I was transferred to Kuching, I painted the Kuching Reservoir park. What attracted me was the interplay of light and colours as they engulf the park. Earlier in 1974 while I was in Kuala Lumpur, I took great comfort in remembering the naturalness of Bintulu or even any other countryside villages and small towns in Sarawak. To this end I penned a poem called 'Country Peace'. It reads:

Country Peace

The rustling leaves,

brings that wondrous feeling

that town people miss

called country peace.

There is low silence

deep in its shallowness

forever going,

forever reaching.

I lie in the open air

letting the breeze blow

my ruffled hair

my face too.

Rubbing it softly

but gently through.

Natural quietness

is a comforting cushion

that balms the mind

from earthly confusion.

I love nature

and its rustling leaves

the quietness of mind

whatever good nature gives.

I thank nature, for it leaves

my thoughtful mind

well at peace

rich at ease.

Doors of Life, mixed media, imperial size, 8.8.81

Again in 1981, I did a mixed media painting based on a poem of mine called ' The Doors of Life'. The message of the poem was that when we let nature gets into our lives, it will open the door of existence for us, bringing in the 'light' to fire our lives. But alas, all this is possible only if we open our mind and heart, that is to be 'positive in our thinking'. In short saying 'Yes' to Life.

Therefore with much emotional attachment, love of nature and a positive attitude, I began to take up the responsibility of creating Bintulu into a Garden City. That started in the early 80's.

Doors of Life

The doors of life are always open

But it is to open our mind and heart

To be self-conscious of Life and Existence

that remains a task.


Reference: Pameran Lukisan dan Puisi MOOD ( 1981 )

Thursday, January 3, 2008

10 Years in Waiting

Water colour on paper, Solitude, Imperial Size, 8.4.81.
Look again at the fine print of the black and white sketch I did of a woman by the window...date shown is 21 August, 1971.
Then, check out the date of the painting " Solitude" done in water colour on paper ( Imperial size ). The dated written is 8.4.81.
Yes, Indeed! It is a record for me to finally come up with a painting ten years after I conceived of it in a sketch.
For this reason , this painting will forever hold a special place in my creative endeavour. From it we can appreciate what it means to be creative. Creativity can mean spontaneity or it can take years in waiting for the right moment for release and finally producing the art piece.
( Note: Both the sketch and the painting are still in my possession. The sketch is from my " Young Man as Artist " period and the painting from " The Mature Years" period.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Flagging Down 2007

In general I have covered all the periods of my creative encounters in this few months of blogging - discovered.
Before I flag down 2007,I think it is best to plan for 2008 blogging. Among others I plan to blog on the following:
a) Write more about my current creative encounters, i.e. under forward- naturally category especially in the landscaping arena.
b) To write more on dramatic, literary( poetry and prose) , exhibition and display art, and singing ( music) encounters.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Tribute to Othman Borhan ( Part VI )

Othman's Art of the Nineties
The exposure Othman had during the International art Exhibition and Workshop, held at Kuching from 8-17 September 1989 was crucial in developing him as a renowned and credible Kuching Malay watercolourist of the early 1990's.

In the early 90's he took a notable interest in studying nature close up and personal. His treatment to landscapes, natural objects and water retains a transparency and dreamlike quality uniquely in semi- abstract expressionistic stlye.

One style that he adopted from the International Art Exhibition experience was that of Yusuf Ghani's colourful, free flowing lines and strokes and figures in perpetual motion or movement. Yusuf Ghani was one of the teachers during the International Art Exhibition and Workshop.

This move to semi-abstract and abstract expressionism was slowly making a mark on the Kuching art scene and his works were quickly taken up by corporate sponsors and individuals.

Here we see Othman at his best. There seemed to be much promise for him in the world of art to go international if only not to his early demise.

Othman Borhan, Water colour and Ink, Bako Tide Pools , 78 cm x 78 cm , 1991.

Othman Borhan, Water colour, Exodus Series No.4/89. circa '89.

Othman Borhan, Water colour and Ink , Matang Shallows, 78cm x 118 cm, 1991.

Othman Borhan, Water colour, Renderings of Tropical Terrain in Green, 30 cm x 50 cm, 1990.

Othman Borhan as Secretary and Coordinator of International Art Exhibition and Workshop held at Kuching , 8 - 17 September , 1989.

A Tribute to Othman Borhan ( Part V )

Abstract Water colours of the 90's

Othman Borhan, Water colour , Bluescape with Red Streaks, 25x30 cm, 1990.
Unframed and in Private collection.

Othman Borhan, Water colour, Rendering of Tropical Terrain in Green, 35x 50 cm, 1990
Unframed and in Private collection

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Tribute to Othman Borhan (Part IV)

Bold Experiments in Water colour of the late 80's
Throughout the eighties, Othman Borhan's water colours were very 'scholarly', true to form and style of 'western colour' techniques.
However, towards the late 1980's he began to undertake more bold strokes, wide washes and sublime colour schemes to 'plein air' water colour painting.
These studies and experiments were to become later a harbinger to highly successful semi-abstract water colour and acrylic paintings of the early 1990's.

Othman Borhan, water colour, Seaside with two boats. 30x40 cm, circa Sept.'89
Unframed and in Private collection.

Othman Borhan, water colour. Damai Resort from South China Sea. 30x40 cm, 11 Sept '89.
Unframed and in Private collection.

Othman Borhan, water colour, Landscape. 30x40 cm, 2 Sept'89.
Unframed and in Private collection.