Sunday, 20 December 2009

It's Christmas

It's Christmas! The snow is here and everyone is sleighing, throwing snowballs and making snowmen. Also everyone is making any snow thing. But I think sleighing is best. I think everything is the best.

written by : Muhammad Zulkarnain (Nine)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


by the Mayor of Bury,
Saturday 21st November 2009,
2.00 p.m

Exhibition duration: 21 November - 27 February
Location: BURY ART GALLERY, Moss Street, Bury, BL9 0DR


Medium: Acrylic
Size: 60 x 120 cm

Medium: Acrylic
Size: 60 x 60 cm

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Title : Autumn Trees
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 31.0x 29.0 cm
Painted by : Fadzlan Rizan Johani
Year made : 2 November 2009

by: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around he here;
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!
How like the hopes of childhood's day,
Thick clust'ring on the bough!
How like those hopes in their decay--
How faded are they now!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around me here;
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!

Wither'd leaves, wither'd leaves, that fly before the gale:
Withered leaves, withered leaves, ye tell a mournful tale,
Of love once true, and friends once kind,
And happy moments fled:
Dispersed by every breath of wind,
Forgotten, changed, or dead!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, lie strewn around me here!
Autumn leaves, autumn leaves, how sad, how cold, how drear!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


Title : The Magical Fish
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 40.6 cm x 50.8 cm
Painted by : Muhammad Zulkarnain (Nine)
Year made : March 2009
Status : Private Collection

The illustration is about Nine's imaginary magical fish. In the video attached, you'll hear his explanation on his inspiration.

This is Nine's first canvas drawing. He did lot more small sketches on paper and combine painting with his brother Azhan earlier.

I give total freedom to my boys in drawing their sketches. They can choose any subject of interest, how they want to draw and as many as they want. However when they've decided to paint it on canvas they need to prove to me that their sketched idea well worth for painting. You will be amazed to listen at how they persuade me to let proceed to canvas painting.

To be honest, I always give a little pressure to them when they've started to paint on the canvas. I want them to understand the difference between sketches and final painting. Paint and canvas are not cheap and they need to value that as well. So next time when they decide to paint on canvas, they must ensure that they really want to paint it!

I saw Nine scribble a sketch of this fish on their black board at home. It is rather strange and unique fish. When I asked Nine about his painting, his explanation was even more bizarre than his painting. Based on his explanation and sketch I decided the drawing should be on canvas. He was really excited to hear that his sketch would go on a canvas. Because it is his first solo canvas, I did not put such big expectation and pressure. I wanted him to enjoy his first painting experience whilst learning to take pressure accordingly.
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Thursday, 4 June 2009


Title : Disini pelangi bermula (Here the rainbow start)
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 60.5 cm x 60.5 cm
Painted by : Fadzlan Rizan Johani
Year made : 2009

Somewhere at the beginning of a rainbow the joy and happiness grow. Here the sunflower blossoms, the caterpillar transforms into beautiful butterfly and the children found their playground. This is where flying kites could seem like touching the sky, or even making friends with the rabbits.

Do you remember the excitement you once felt as a child every time you see the rainbow? How the sight of it would make you wonder where the beautiful prism ends and the path it promises along the 7 colours. Remember how we used to see the world with pure and innocent Love in our hearts. Would it hurt us to dream and believe in something that could bring hope? The future should be as bright as the sunflowers or as high as the kite could fly.

Do we need to forget those early days when we were once called children. What does the impact it has as we embark from our childhood into the adulthood? Maybe when we become parents we should search for our childhood buried deep beneath adolescent in order to better understand our children. Knowing oneself could be a vital part to change our children's future.


It's been a very stressful year for every one whose life is affected by the economic downturn. It feels like life is just doom and gloom for most of us. Instead of capturing the gloomy feeling, I turn into remembering those happy moments in life. I hope by visualising our happiness it could be a saviour to uplift us from the misery of depression.

I've lost many friends and colleagues due to this economic mess. It is making me unhappy and at the same wonder if it'll be my turn next? Should I be worried? Or should I look beyond the dark clouds where the beautiful rainbow sits?

Whatever that may happen I pray and hope it would be for the best decision for us and open up new opportunity beyond imaginary. Thus all this happy moment should be treasured on canvas as it should not be lost within our hearts.

Monday, 16 March 2009


Title : The Agent Inspector
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 25.2 cm x 31.0 cm
Painted by : Azhan Year made : March 2009
Status : Private Collection, Digital image used for storybook cover

The illustration is about 3 good friends; one a chubby boy, the second a slim boy and lastly a short-sighted girl, who accidentally stumbled across an illegal money-printing syndicate.

About a month ago, a blog visitor dropped me an email requesting a drawing from Azhan for her fictional novel (age 10 -14 years). With her brief as the guiding principle, I asked Azhan to produce drawings consist the characteristics specified.

I must say it was not an easy task to make children draw within a certain boundary. It took almost a month for Azhan to come up with drawings which I think fulfil the specifications given.

It is a good advantage for Azhan to have a live assignment because it will train him to work within certain boundaries and restrictions. However before we take on the assignment I had to inform the client that I could not give 100% assurance that the artwork will be done on time or within the requirement.

One of the many reasons for this condition is because:

“One of the greatest creativity killers, however, is more subtle and so deeply rooted in our culture that it is hardly notice. It is has to do with TIME.” D.Goleman, P. Kaufman, The Art of Creativity 1992

“one ingredient of creativity is open-ended time,” Ann Lewan, Director of Capital Children’s Museum, Washington D.C 1992

Although it is good for Azhan to be able to meet the requirement but what matters most is the pleasure, not perfection.

Having said that Azhan did manage to sketch 3 drawing using his own imagination about the storyline of the book. One of them had been chosen by the client to be coloured.

Preliminary sketches

Typically, the client soon asked for some changes on the finish painting. Well, I would never bother to ask my son to change it because this will put him under pressure and worry about others' judgement (another main creativity killer). Luckily, it's been agreed that the real painting is not for trading or selling but only permitting the client her copyright to use the drawing, therefore I manage to fulfil the changes by the magic of “Photoshop”!. At the end the client was satisfied without Azhan losing interest in art. Finalised artwork

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Stamp-Agent Inspector

Saturday, 14 February 2009

All About Me

Hi it's me Nine and I want to show you my picture's . Here is my first picture . That's me and this is got to be good if you like it . Next page is my certificate's . Hmmmm... do you not have a certificate . Sorry I need to go now. Bye.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Escaping LEGO City

Title : Escaping LEGO City
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 29.5cm x 40.0 cm
Painted by : Azhan
Year made : 2008
Status : Private Collection

The Devils have come to destroy a city. The people in the city are scared. They dashed into their houses for safety as they're about to face this great danger. At the brink of destruction, an agent jet arrives to protect them. The super jet is equipped with missile that could destroy the devils. Inside the city the police have come to protect the ordinary civilians with their shield. More help arrive in the form of ninja tank to guard the accessing road into the city.

The Agent

The Police

The Ninja

The Devils have stolen the gold from the people and try to run away with it. All the super heroes are coming together to protect the city from the devil of destruction and fight the villains in their quest to return the gold back to it's people.


This is actually the first full painting on canvas done by Azhan. It was painted in a small A3-size canvas. I believe it is a good first step for him to start with a small canvas because I will know how much energy that he could commit to a painting. This will give me a bench mark to what kind of ideal canvas size my son could cops

During that early step, he was given the freedom to decide the subject of drawing without much discussion with me. However, I eventually slowly imposed argument on him in his next painting on the choice of subject matter. This discussion on theme for the painting is important for the children to:

1. Enrich creativity

2. Build their confidence

3. Develop conceptual thinking

4. Able to negotiate

5. Understand people

Later, from this small canvas Azhan's painting skill was tested on a bigger scale. The DREAM ISLAND was the result of the test.

There are a lot more things about my boys that I'd need to learn, understand and explore just as much as I need to learn about myself. As you can see the painting that he chose is a little controversial as it features war scene. It was actually an influence of their Lego Agent series that they have. He's been sketching it a lot to illustrate the scene in his Lego land.

At the time this painting was made, he'd never seen a real life war conflict. He basically knows about a brief history of the World Wars but never seen one (we don't watch violence movie). But when the latest war conflict happens he saw it on the news. Now he sees the bruises that war left. He once asked me about it and that was how I came up with the STOP THE WAR painting.

I don't know how he feels about the ugly face of war but surely after seing it on the news, I have not seen any single sketches about his Lego agent that involve war anymore.

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Stamp-escaping LEGO city

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Closing Down Shoutbox

I'm closing down Papan's shoutbox. Since this blog's first published there has been plenty of comments posted on the shoutbox and also on the artwork itself. We really appreciate your support and we'd try to leave our reply to your comment.

In order to make things easier, more organised and easily documented, we wish to close down the shoutbox as all the comments there had not been well-documented or closely followed-up. Unlike comments on the artwork it would be fowarded directly to our e-mail account.

Perhaps it's better to stick to just one system for better coordination. Thank you very much for your support. Please keep in touch.

Below is a list of conversations that I'd managed to save from the shoutbox. LINK

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Treasure Map

Title : Treasure Map
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 40.6cm x 50.8 cm
Painted by : Azhan & Zulkarnain (nine)
Year made : 12 January 2009
Edition : Original
Status : Private Collection
This is a map to a treasure hidden in the Dream Island. The treasure is marked with an 'X' and hidden deep in the island. To reach the treasure one needs to follow the red mark. The journey will first take them into a long dark tunnel. Then they need to cross valley of mountains. They also need to cross a lake full of sharks. Next they'd have to pass through a thick forest before eventually reaching the mark where the treasure is buried.

The painting is a an epitome of our journey through life. Everyone needs goals in life, even in preparing oneself for the afterlife. There is no easy way to achieve goal in life. There are a lot of obstacles in the journey but there's also fun along the way.

You may now be in your darkest moment in life (being in the dark cave) but there is still hope of coming out of it. Soon, along the route you will find fortune (pyramids) and must use it wisely to achieve your goal (cars or other material of wealth).
Having a good time (passing through the garden) doesn't mean that the challenge is over. You may someday lose track of your goal and trace back the right path (before you get drown and be eaten by the shark). You may also find other achievement during the journey (climb mountains). You may pass through a lot more ups and downs again several times (different height of trees in forest).
Again you may find another fortune (pyramids) but this time you are not using it to help you to reach your aim (a bigger house). So, this time the fortune turns out to be a distraction and avoid you from continuing the journey to reach for the goal (marked "X"). This shall be a reminder that the distance for achieving the goal is actually close in proximity but is unreachable if we become satisfied with the luxury that we currently possess.

"Whatever we want to be, whatever we want to do, we can do it, because we can. Go ahead, take that first step-just do it. The best of luck to you, and have fun along the way" Richard Branson

Treasure map is one of the drawing subjects that my boys love to sketch and scribble a lot. Instead of forcing them to do something that they're not used to, it is better to give them the opportunity to transform the rough sketches onto a big canvas.

The above description is philosophical view of a father looking at his sons' drawing. It is rather more amusing to listen to the artists' (Azhan & Nine) plain, simple, straight-forward explanation than complicated view of an adult. All I can say is, "Enjoy and have fun in the journey."

Thank you for your visit. Please collect this stamp once you've posted your comment by copying-and-pasting this URL on your webpage.

Stamp-treasure map

Monday, 19 January 2009

Pattern Home

Title : Pattern Home
Theme : Dream Home
Media : Acrylic on Canvas
Size : 40.6cm x 50.8 cm
Painted by : Azhan
Year made : 12 January 2009
Edition : Original
Status : Available
Home is one of the places that put colours into our life. It leaves us with a lot of emotion and feelings into our memories. The "Patterned Home" is trying to capture these feelings through different vibrant colours. The combination of these colours will leave us with different depth of feelings that will take us into the house or pull us out of it.
The story:
The painting is based on Azhan’s earlier school work. He said it was based on a famous painter but he couldn't remember who it is and neither can I.

Instead of transforming the same pattern onto the canvas we decided to carry on the “Dream home” theme. So Azhan decided to draw a series of simple houses. Some with chimney and some without. Azhan insisted on following the exact colour composition like he did at school even using the gold colour!

He has now learnt how to control the paint by following the colour lines. However, the brush stroke of the line colour is left as rough as possible by being flexible on the colour line thickness.

Thru this exercise he had learnt the variety of colour combination and compositions. Unlike his earlier school work where pastel colour was used, this acrylic-based painting creates more exciting colour transformation whenever his brush mix with different colour in the line. I tried not to impose on a perfect colour line instead taught him on better hand coordination.

During the process of completing his subject, Azhan made a few mistakes but it turned out to be rather unique and instead of correcting it I decided to leave it as it is. As an adult I tend to strict myself to rules and perfections. But looking back at my son’s naive paintings, it inspired me how mistakes could transform into a masterpiece.

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Stamp-Pattern home

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Chop Yang Hilang

Name : Chop Yang hilang (the missing "chop")
Theme : Still life
Media : Watercolour on paper
Size : 59.4 x 42.0 cm
Painted by :
Fadzlan Rizan Johani
Year made : 5 October 1997
Edition : Original
Status : belong to Johani Md. Zain (


"Chop" is a Malay Village traditional sharp pointed metal put on a hardwood and used to peel out the coconut skin. When the skin is peel out then only the coconut could be cut into two and abstract of coconut.

However "Chop Yang Hilang" (the missing "chop") is reflecting the missing "chop" in the picture. As you can see the only part left on the traditional simple machine is the hardwood where the "chop" should be.

Around this equipment were a lot of coconuts. All the coconuts are old and dry. Some of the coconut even grow on one tree and soon will produce more coconuts. Without the "chop" these coconut could not be processed and left to rot.

Right on the top of the picture is a few bricks left abandon. The amount of bricks laying around don't seem enough to build a house thus left useless.

In simple chronology the "chop" is represents scenario of losing someone who are very important for us or in society. The important person might be our father or mother, our boss, our teacher, our prime minister or simply our beloved one.

There is someone in our life that we need so much and depend on to turn us into useful person. Our parents are important figure who bring us up to become "Insan" (good people). The great teachers are those who teach us vast knowledge as part of preparing us for the real world. With our best skills and knowledge we'd then be discovered by our bosses. Even in the context of a country a strong Prime Minister is needed to use all the necessary resources (labour, materials, land, etc) in order to build up a country.

Without these important figure, "chop" in our life the transformation might not be possible. It would be a devastating lost and we would not be able to discover our best potentials hidden beneath our mind which is the main ingredient of the recipe for improving our life and others. The country could not be built if the people lost their country's visionary and unable to take part in building it. Lastly, we may be dependent to stand on our own but then there are plenty of instances where one loses oneself (represented by losing "chop") once he lost his mind and trapped between reality and fantasy hence become insane.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Azhan & Nine's Plates

Since Fadz has been frequently updating this blog of his and my sons’ art project, I’m tempted to contribute my personal views on our boys’ artistic attribute. Here is a photo of a plate of Azhan and Nine’s name which Azhan made a few months back. I’m not quite sure when or how did he make this wonderful craft using the usual ‘plastesin’. But I’m very impressed by his way of embedding different colours to form his and his brother’s name.

The unique feature about this plates is that even though they were made by the same person, somehow they are very distinctive from one another as if they represent the individual character of the beholder’s name.

by: Bed of Roses

Friday, 9 January 2009


Name : Dream Island
Theme : Dream Home
Media : Acrylic & Tempera on Canvas
Size : 60.0 x 50.0 cm
Painted by : Azhan, Nine,
Year made : 10 October 2008
Edition : Original
Status : Available

Description :
Some friends have already seen this picture on my other blog (link) as the background of the blog's December 2008 issue(link).However I have not introduced the work properly. Actually I've suggested for my sons to draw something about their Dream Home or an island fills with joy and happiness. This perhaps has aspired them to create this painting.

Several ways or techniques had been experimented in the process of creating this painting. In this "Dream Island" I was only the "colour coordinator" as I let my sons to freely express themselves. They got to choose their own colours but I would add a few extra bit of different colour for them to mix directly on the canvas. This perhaps would make the colours more vibrant and playful and at the same time teach them about the colour wheels.

Azhan did a very good job in drafting the outline drawing before they started painting on the canvas. He sketched spontaneously on the canvas using pencil. He has already developed eyes for details and added "tiny" detail which I bet he would have difficulty to paint later on. Just name things you'd see in a city and you'd be amazed to find that playground, school, fun-fair, airport and even a mosque, had all been squeezed in this tiny paradise island. Now, that's an intricate eye for detail for a 7-year old boy.
To my surprise in the centre of the painting he put a big structure like "Eiffel tower". Like any other iconic building (statue, religious structure, bridge) it will remind us of the feeling that we felt when we get to see one in our live or hope to see one. Or maybe in this case my son drew it simply because he likes it.

The Dream Island looks more interesting with the presence of smaller island with a light house built on and another island with house on it. Azhan drew them as he knows that a light house is needed to sending out signal to the ships heading for the island. He had even thought of linking the small islands together but forgotten to link it to the main land.

A lot of the activities in this island are heavily centred on the beaches. Obviously my boys love beach just like many other kids who simply love playing with water. Most of the activities featured such as sailing, surfing, scuba diving were painted as though my boys had actually experienced them before when in reality they had never done any of those. Perhaps, in their imaginative mind they think these were the "cool" things to be endured on a sunny day at the beach.

The other young artist featured here is Nine who added his touch on this painting. In this painting he drew the activities taking place in the skies. The sun, the clouds, aeroplane, air balloon and also the rainbow. Nine loves rainbow very much that he even put the same prism on the air balloon.
Another interesting element drawn by Nine is the clouds. The different size of them accidentally give some perspective and depth into the drawing. The clouds were also drawn in brilliant unique shapes.

In conclusion, Dream Island may be seen as the key to open the door into my children's mind where their hopes and dreams for their future reside. Every time I look at the painting it makes me wonder into my own mind of the dreams and hopes that would bring me happiness. There are dreams that may become a reality in years to come, places that are scattered in great distance on the globe, hopes that will always stay in our prayers, creatures that we'd never seen or touched, holy kingdom of peace and mercy and many more hopeful wishes that take up a whole lifetime to achieve...but somehow all of these could be brought together into one small dream island which in the actual is not only located very close us but also resides firmly in our mind and soul.

Stamp-dream island
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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Nine is 6 today!

Today is 8th January 2009. At approximately 11.30 tonight, our youngest darling Nine will turn six. Nine's given name is actually Zulkarnain but we simply like the nick Nine as it's easier for our little one to pronounce his nick. It isn't just us who prefer to call him Nine but his school teachers and friends as well. They thought the nick is brilliant as it's really short, simple and could easily be remembered. With this short nick, bubbly personality and most of all being the brightest among his friends, Nine is made famous at school. Believe it or not, this cheeky faced boy has been given Year 1 book when he was only in Foundation class because of his speedy learning ability. This year is the second time for Nine to celebrate his birthday in England. Unlike last year, when Nine wasn't sure what to do for his 5th birthday, this year Nine already has something in mind. He has been planning to celebrate his birthday at school with his classmates by bringing in some cake and crisp for his friends. Last week end, Nine kept reminding us to buy some crisps and things that he'd like to bring to school on his special day.
Since last Monday, Nine kept telling me the number of students in his class as I've told him that I'd bake cup cakes and decorate them for his birthday but he must let me know how many people I need to bake for. So, last night with some assistance from our little angels, we baked the cake and decorated it. And today, Nine brought all the 30 cup cakes to school. I'm sure Nine had had a wonderful time with his friends at school. It's a shame that we couldn't throw a proper birthday party at home for Nine as our place is too cramped even for small crowd. I just wish that someday I could afford to plan and throw birthday parties for our two boys...till then HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY NINE!!

by: Bed of Roses