Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Johan Ishak
Oil on Canvas
30cm X 25cm
2 Jan 2006
Chiswick, London

HRISTMAS was just a week ago when I decided to embark on my second attempt of oil on canvas (It was 2 January 2006). All alone with family back home in Malaysia as well as having the luxury of utilising the remaining days of my annual leave, I naturally spent my time walking around the High Street of Chiswick. London seemed improved over the last week or so as city dwellers returned to their beloved cramped apartments and monthly GBP85 UNDERGROUND Oyster travel tickets. Londoners were back on the streets after being drunk of Christmas and New Year's wine and dine.

Anyway, the High Street has always amazed me. You can get almost everything: the groceries from Sainsbury, cigarettes from Tesco Express, movies from Blockbusters, pressies from GAP, coffee from Starbucks, cakes from M&S, cheap specialised book stores... you name it. But one shop caught my attention on that day. A unique fusion restaurant combining the taste of African cuisine and Mediterranean ambience. So I went in for a taste of cous cous in a soothing environment of various African artifacts hanging on the walls and combination of earthly colours: The only word that came to mind was "Brown".

Africa is very "Brown". Brown of desert and wide sprawling open land with brown creatures such as lions, antelopes and the like. In art, often natural real life colours are not represented accurately simply to introduce the elements of aesthetic value or mood. So I decided to adopt "Orange", being the closest vibrant colour in the "Brown" family (Not sure whether I make sense here but who cares, it's my painting). Thus, African Amberdawn came to live.

Amberdawn, literally means what it means: An orange sun rise, a word I learnt from a name of a song by Yngwie Johann Malmsteen (also the name of his family member, Amberdawn Malmsteen). I had a vision of a day-break with the first light hitting the divine angle of spectrum giving rise to a magnificent amber sky enveloping Africa all the way to the horizon. On the God-blessed land of Africa, creatures of all sorts roused up in excitement of a brand new day. Herds moved in unity across the plain, as if controlled by a dictator, only to reveal their silhouette inviting curiosity in our minds: "What are those creatures?"

Exactly, "What are those creatures?". I have no idea to be honest. I just painted what came to my mind (supposedly antelopes of some sort) but somehow turned out to be some weird creature with demonic horns - a result of imperfection, a reflection of how human I am to have painted such anomaly. In any case, it was my 2nd attempt of oil on canvas. I should expect viewers to click "Amateurish" in the "Reaction" options at the bottom of the blog post. Will endeavour to improve. Cheers


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