Saturday, September 12, 2009

This Is How I Started Painting

The last time I painted anything was in 1967 when I was in Form IV at Sultan Ibrahim School in Pasir Mas, Kelantan. The next year, art was dropped from my curriculum because I have elected to join the science classes and my confidence level in doing well in Arts was low. Then I stopped painting entirely.

The desire to paint was awaken in me when I went to Kampong Tok Sangkut in Pasir Mas to deliver some donations to a needy family. The donation was collected from my classamtes at a gathering held at the end of 2008.

It was Cikgu Mazeri Othman who asked me to try and get some donation for the family who have lost the breadwinner of the family when he died by drowning after a fit of seizures while trying to fish in floodwaters near his village.

My wife and me went to Cikgu Mazeri's family home where he had established a homestay to meet the single mother with 4 young children who will be receiving the donation. It was at this homestay that I first caught sight of some oil paintings that caught my fancy. Among the paintings of kois, bamboo, the painting of a heliconia was most attractive to me. Cikgu Mazeri confirmed that he painted them all. What a talent!

We did ask Cikgu Mazeri to paint one for us. He said he will try and invited us to his own home where he has another collection of paintings that he will be displaying at his soon to be completed new home. The present home is a rented terrace house and it was too small to display them. The new home will be large enough for part of it to be turned into a gallery. After some months there was no news of any painting from Cikgu Mazeri. He was obviously very busy with teaching, attending classes for his Master's Degree at UMK in Pengalan Chepa beside supervising the construction of his new home. Later his application to join Persatuan Seni Lukis Kelantan (PESENI) was accepted and he was appointed as the assistant secreatary, adding further to his workload.

A casual request to Cikgu Mazeri that I want to start painting on my own was greeted with words of encouragement from Cikgu Mazeri himself but not from my own wife. My wife Fatthiyah was skeptical of this new endeavor as she thought it will be a short lived fad. That was a challenge and I want to prove my wife wrong.

At an outing session of PESENI Kelantan at Pantai Sabak, Kota Bharu, Cikgu Mazeri handed me a piece of canvas and some oils with some brushes to begin my painting. The colours were Red, Green and Blue, the three basic colors but there is no yellow and white. I paid him RM30 for the material with the canvass thrown in for free as it was already used on one side to paint something which was later aborted. He didn't want me to spend too much initially as I should develop my talent first and later buy new things that I need. I didn't start painting right away as I need the yellow color as well as the white. When Cikgu Mazeri inquired whether I have started painting I said no, I need the yellow and the white first and waiting for the stock to arrive at the graphic store in Kota Bharu. He told me to satrt sketching first for a start.

When I called the store in Kota Bharu and enquired whether the yellow has arrived, they confirmed thay have the stock but of the more expensive brand of Alpha paint from Korea and not the Maries of China. Since I wanted just two tubes of yellow and white, I went over and bought them. Now I only buy Alpha paints as they are of better quality than the Marie's. I think Cikgu Mazeri has converted to Alpha too after hearing from me that Alpha is the better paint though they are more expensive.

There are some heliconia plants growing in my garden and some were flowering. I just painted them and posted a blog in LAISI to tell the world about my new hobby. Read about it here. Among the commenters to that post was Zendra of USJ, Selangor who said this:

I'll buy your painting if it is up for sale. Who knows you may become a famous ripe old artist in the future. I'd then sell your first painting for a million! Just don't forget to sign it off as "Pak Zawi" (this name is already famous as it is).

The followings are what transpired between me and Zendra in the comment section in that blog:

My reply:

Consider it sold!. I will accept any offer from you. Come and collect it. I will sign it as For Zendra, Pak Zawi 09.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Zendra said...
Any offer Pak Zawi? That's cool (borrowing kiddo talk). You hang on to it OK, until I make my way to KB (don't know when yet). Wow, won't be able to sleep tonight, I tell you hehe.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pak Zawi said...
Zendra, I will keep it for you however long it takes you to come to Kelantan. Pasir Mas not KB OK? Please come before I pass on as paintings increase in price after the demise of the painter. Who knows my family will not even part with my first painting after I am gone hehehehe.

With some tips by Cikgu Mazeri, I reworked on the painting and when I conder it done, I made another post here.

I didn't wait for Zendra to collect the painting and instead I sent it by courier service. Zendra used the painting as a back drop of a Utube posting here .

I did another two paintings of a different Heliconia which I named them as Heliconia 2 and Heliconia 3. I consider them slightly better than the one I sold to Zendra. I offered Zendra the choice of either Heliconia 2 or Heliconia 3 to replace the one in her keep because later I found out that Zendra already has a collection of paintings bought in Bali! For the uninitiated, Ubud in Bali is the Mecca for artists for this part of the world. See her other paintings in the post Sentenced To Hang here.

She will have none of my offer and insist to keep my first painting. Well I am happy if she is happy. Willing buyer, willing seller. A win-win situation for the both of us.

The painting when Zendra made the offer to buy.
The painting after it was considered done and delivered to Zendra.

Heliconia 2 (above) framed and ready to be delivered to the buyer.
Heliconia 3 (above)

Yellow Catleya, framed and ready for delivery to the buyer.

Later I did a few more paintings and you can see them at my LAISI site here and here


  1. Salam Pak Zawi,

    I must say it's quite embarrassing to be featured as THE heroine in this debut entry of your new blog!

    Are you developing it into your on-line retail store? If you are, I wish you plenty of orders and sales from this site.

    Actually there's something about your first heliconia that smacks of intensity, rawness, and vibrance you know, which probably is unfathomable to some. Hard for me to describe too but it's like an energetic dikir barat as opposed to the serene beauty of ... tarian asyik which is heliconia 2? Waah macam pengkritik pulak hahaha.

    Aiseyy Pak Zawi, itu youtube ambo sendiri yang buat weh. Senang2 oghe tuo ambo dapat namo hehe

    Anyway wishing you all the best in your new enterprise :)

  2. Zendra,
    My apologies for the mistake. I have made the correction.
    You are really the heroine that spurred Pak Zawi to continue painting beyond the first one. So please accept the credit.
    That gives me an idea. Why not use this site to sell my paintings? Brilliant thought from you. A million thanks. I may even use this site to sell other people's paintings, at a small comission or profit too. Need you all to support me to make this a reality.
    The reason for you to want the painting is beyond my comprehension. You seems to have so much faith that I will ever get to finish the painting and may become a famous painter one day. For that, I would like to thank you Zendra.

  3. Pak Zawi,

    ,,,you have progressed very well indeed !. Just one comment here from me, just accept the fact that one that paints is an artist and you do. Your very own style that can't be copied except only by you yourself and even that no two paintings are the same.
    ,,,you love to paint and is enjoying it, so do keep it up. As for me, it take months or even years just to complete a painting !!. Tak boleh cari makan Yeop Oii !!..nanti mati kelaparan hehehe.
    ,,,in fact, my painting kind of 'talk' to me and slowly it changes/reforms until we are finished with each other !!..crazy-kan but that's my way and style in painting-lah. Like in my blog, I normally paint my lifestyle and living for my great great grand children. Hahaha.!! So nothing shall be on sale, as such priceless too.

  4. What a lovely blog you have here, Pak Awi. Beautiful paintings and expressively written posts - fantastic. You and your friends have so much talent. I also love art and paintings. I am happy to see that we have mutual friends such as Kak Zendra, Oldstock...and I wonder if you know Datin Mamasita as she is also active in the art scene. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your beautiful comment. Take care and have a good weekend.

    Happy painting!