A few paintings loom in my head more than others. They are as if they're at the front of my memory. One such painting I did when I was about 18. A flying man. Light blues and orange in the sky. I gave it to my ex-brother-in-law. Never saw either again.
But a very much more recent picture is now playing on my mind. The Blackwoman. When I look into her face, what do I see? The man who is my model for the Prince painting came by yesterday and I asked him about the Blackwoman. He thought, like me, that she is bewildered. A little afraid. Still very much the woman. A slight kink in her hips. Her hand ready to be shaken but she doesn't know when. She is bewildered. She is looking at me. Does she like me? Is she willing to trust me? I think not yet.
Anyway, I was very pleased the way the Prince reacted to all the paintings. He loved them and had a story or memory with all. The Initiation reminded him of the first white man he had met.
I think she is also a woman with sadness in her eyes. Maybe she can look into the future?
Today the 2020 summit ended and I tell you: it made me, again, proud to be Australia.
Kate Blanchett and Kevin Rudd and Kate Blanchett and Baldy Locks' Garret XXXXX,Kate Blanchett and me. If only, I love that actress.She reminds me of Suze.
But the bottom line is we need each other to move, anyway. Up or down, straight or crooked. I would not be such a happy painter if I hadn't had help. Some body gave me a 'piggyback'.
Sitting here, very contented because I finished a presentation book for Kickarts here in Cairns, I'm trying to think of all the significant 'Piggybacks' I have had.
There was this program on tv about some singer. A young blond skinny woman at the piano in 1970. A few faces I know passed the screen, a few Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young types.(amazing, my computer just corrected the spelling of the name of one of the singers I mentioned.Amazing!!!)And Google told me the name of the blond singer: Joni Mitchell.
Anyway, it took me back when I went to England, from Holland. I was a student at the Royal Academy, and we pitched our tents in Chrystal Palace Park, London.We saw Sonny and Cher sing:'That's you, babe'. Went to a cellar where Mick Jagger also appeared, they said. We, and that is also amazing, are Clemens, his brother Jos Vermeulen and Bert Haaitsma. Now, on the other end of an Era, not only sharing my life with Clemens, I also still have connections with the others.
And we saw Lulu try to sing. Lulu still is trying to sing.
But as we all think every so often:
'What if I had not gone that day' the consequence would be NOW I am writing this NOW. Every step, every split second changed would have a reaction but ALWAYS ends me writing , and I haven't stopped until the rays fit the picture.
When I went back to my studio in Portugal in 2001 or 2, to paint a series 'for my eyes only', the thought that I might have nothing there played on my mind. Nothing? Nothing to hide?
It was a challenge. How much can I bring up, up out of the caves of my subconsciousness. Like most people I have my fears and as I was working the symbol of my fears, it became real by painting cats.
A man. Was it me? Holding a cat by its neck, strangling it. A man holding a cat by its neck just holding it, raping it? A cat holding a man, was it me? in its arms. After the rape? Somebody thought the cat was a gender bender! The man looked very woody. Peter Meerman noticed this and made a gallery on 'cat obsessions' on the website he designed for me at http://paulbakker.eu/. Have a look!
Anyway, somehow I have moved on and now find myself totally obsessed by Trees. I have this image at the moment of a huge canvas with very dark green, sweaty and 'snaky' roots rooting their way through the dank, damp darkness. Not scary but more like exposing an inner something. Maybe sexual?
I was dreaming green. Green, Tropical Green. I have a show at NERAM, New England Regional Art Museum, in 2009. So I started thinking and the 'little creatures' will be sorting things out. Before you know it I'll have all the work done. Must talk to Jeremy Bakker, my nephew and fellow artist.
I will not talk about 'so big' and 'internet' etc., but I accidentally landed on the Saatchi Online site and joined up. It breathes such a sympathetic ambiance. I have always admired the Saatchi Family. My nephew Dave Shirlaw works for Saatchi here in Sydney. Or did at least. Also in London and S.Fransisco he worked for them.
Anyway, have a look. Clemens stuck a stick on thing in the row with galleries/catalogues/about etc. or click here!.
I was living in Portugal for a year or so when I found Biki. I was sharing a farm house with Jeremy Leidstar in the Alentejo. The farm was about 700 hectares and 12 km south of the border town of Elvas.
The farm house was simple. On a hill in the middle of the property, just less then a km from the main gate.
The house was split into two independent quarters. No running water or electricity.
Down the hill from the farm house was a beautiful Victorian well. Over the well was a construction out of chains and 24 small buckets built that would scoop the water on the rotating wheel and bring it up from about 40 m.
One morning I walked down to the well with my buckets to get some water. It was very early and cool this morning. As I walked down I saw a dog's head. Blond, and with two large ears. It was about 30 meters away. I called out something nice. The next day, the blond head popped up again. 25 meters away this time.
I came prepared and had some biscuits, or bikkies on me and while throwing them in the dog's direction I called:'bikibikibikibiki!!!'. For two weeks we went through this ritual.
Then I kept a water bowl outside the house and fed the dog from the veranda. One morning while walking down to the well, I actually stumbled over the dog. We both had a fright. I stared at the dog and the dog stared at the man. I made a kind sound and the dog hopped up, passed me by and ran in the direction of the house. It went in through the front door, found my bed and that was that.
So the dog was called Biki and I loved the silly dog. He was retarded. One eye was askew, tiny underdeveloped testicles and one gammy leg.
Later that day Jeremy came by and he helped me de-tick the dog. The handful of ticks we found looked like gray pearls.
Biki didn't have any hunting instinct or whatever. Just a sweet dumb look in his pretty golden eyes.
After having left the farm for the Big House in Terena, the tiny village with the castelo (castle), Biki was like a part of me. The dog could sit outside in the middle of the road and nobody would harm him. The average Portuguese would throw a stone or shout something unkind. Not at this dog as he was Senhor Paulo's cão (dog).
As I was on my own most of the day, I would talk to the Biki. Often I called him 'Nancy Reagan' or 'Schnietsie Pooze'. Or 'Peddle Pops'. He always agreed with me.
After a few years he aged very quickly and developed a cancer. Under some pressure from friends I decided to make an appointment with a vet in Vila Viçosa, 20 km north of us.
I went to our 'one and only' chemist and asked for something to calm the dog so he gave me a box of Valium. Biki and I shared the box of course and when I got to the vet the door was opened by a very drunk and very silly veterinary surgeon. He told me to come back tomorrow. I had to think. The best thing would be to go to my aristocratic friend Dona Maria Hinze-Ribeiro, who had a small palace in the town. Biki was by now fast asleep and the valiums just cottonwooled me, so to speak. Dona Maria didn't want to kill the dog for me. She knew and liked Biki. But Noblesse Oblige. She took a rifle and with two kids they carried Biki away. I went upstairs and started to suck on a bottle of Scots. Then I heard the rifle shot and it was all over.
Maria gave me the body wrapped in a blanket. It was dead and it didn't mean anything carrying it. I buried the body under a window and grew peas on top.
Missing or the sense of missing. I 'know' what it is but the feeling is foreign to me. I blame my good memory for that but it is more. I say I don't miss the homes I have had in my life but as a true Cancer I loved making my home a reflection of me. In The Hague I had a house I made look like I was in Portugal - on the inside. All windows had white/blue blinds. Then I decided my entire space was my studio. Many friends I have knew I had a 'Dream'. Simple: a house on a hill (click!) next to a castle.
One evening Joost Albronda phoned me and told me he had found my dream house. Joost, Suus and Jeremy Leidstar had found it on a trip. In Portugal, and I was living in The Hague. I didn't need to see it and I bought it for pennies.Click on the photo's.
In my late twenties I was invited by my friend Jaap Vegter to exchange Ambassadors to our respective 'imaginary' countries. Jaap had Markstein and I had Luaptia. It was an island with no infrastructure, roads or works. The God was Baggus. Jaap's was a mid European Dukedom, with law and order. We even exchanged stamps and paintings of prominent people in our countries.
Sometimes his drawings were naughty but I kept all the papers between our nations 'secret'.
Jaap died a few years ago and his partner Wilhelmiena de Bruyn was thinking of publishing a book about some of his works and asked me for the drawings etc. At the time I couldn't find them but knew they weren't lost. I have found them since but I still think Markstein and Luaptia are not for the masses.
But Jaap was the most successful illustrator and cartoonist and a man with factual knowledge and I love facts. Last I read an article by my friend Grieteke Schrauwen who works for Knack, the Flemish Belgian magazine, on Norway and I learnt about six facts. The composer Grieg was a near dwarf, the gnome on the hill, all Norwegians are rich!! They are proud etc., etc. So we learn non stop and facts are like little bricks. What are the most memorable fact you heard over the years. I always believe I'll remember certain amazing details about something factual. But I cannot.
I attach two photo's of Jaap's 'Diplomatic work'.One is an envelop with the stamp drawn on and the other a map of Swardau, the capital of Markstein. Here offers are made of Palaces for my Ambassador.phb
You know, on average, I get about 5 or 6 letters via Funnyface and/or Bookgiggle with the promise that IF I send a particular letter on to at least 7 people I will be saved or happier than I am now.
If I don't laugh at something I am in danger of losing the plot. I must read every day what is on my Wall. Fun- or Super-. Does everybody read my wall or is it my wall only for me? Like a prisoner in his prison.
If I don't send a drink back, am I rude? An alcoholic? Cheeky puss! Or will the child die because I am slack! How do I live with myself? If I don't do something somebody might not smile.
What is this lonely collective thing we are all doing. All sending quick fleeting messages to as many people as possible. From THREE people I get identical funny photo's, things not to miss and things that will bring me eternal happiness as long as I send 'IT' on to more victims.
My exhibition in Armidale was canceled at the last minute. Some confusion and an e-mail not received on my side. 'The letter must have gotten lost in the Post'. Impossible with internet. She might have sent it to my Wall.
Simple human confusion. All I think of is: 'I'd still be in the train another 14 hours...'. '13 hours'. '12 hours'. '11 hours'. '10 hours'.
Must read my fifty messages and fifteen gates to be opened to enter Heaven. Or not.
If a God could squeeze the Earth like a sponge what would the liquid drop consist of that came out?
Hi, I am Paul and I am............