Under God's bed

Rowing in Mud, self portrait, oil on canvas, 1961

Many people ask me: 'who is your favourite painter?'
We all have our favourite someone. Talk to guys and they talk with tears in their eyes about some football player or cricketer. Some more 'cultured' people can be over the moon for some cellist or writer..

Or car.

My favorites I never know. I liked the famous Australian Brett Whitley, and... don't know enough. Been scattered around too much on this globe. I generally like people who paint and often feel a bond from understanding. I need to meet a dentist who also loves to paint. Get rid of a phobia.
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Booklet nr.1 and nr.2

Letter to HRH Queen Beatrix of the NetherlandsI have written before that I make as many copies of my booklet as the years I count! And the Nr.1 goes to the Queen of The Netherlands. Why?

I studied in The Hague and the presence of the Royal Family was obvious. They have a palace in The Hague and you know when they are in or out by looking up at the flags on the roof. Anyway, the Crown Princess as she was when I was studying would pop in my art school every so often. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts is the second oldest art school in Europe, some 450 years old! Only Bologna in Italy boasts an older art institute.

I remember sending my first booklet, of which I have a few still in my possession, I made more copies then my age at the time obviously, I sent it to Their Royal Highnesses the Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus and got a letter back from Their Royal Secretary saying Thank you. Incidentally, Queen Beatrix and her late grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, are both talented artists in their own right.

Letter to the Hon Kevin Rudd MPI was always given the shits as a student about Australian racism. In fact my first wife was technically not permitted to migrate to Australia because she had 25% Javanese blood. That was the infamous White Australia Policy in action. Now, today, with Kevin Rudd's public acknowledgment of the wrongs in our past and his recent sincere 'SORRY' speech, Australian students around the world will not be pestered anymore. This is strictly a selfish and personal view. Anyway, so Nr.2 goes to our new Prime minister!

p.s. if you want to read the accompanying letters don't forget, as I often do, to click on the thumbnails!

My booklet for 2008

From Chaos to Booklet

We finished printing and covering the first booklet and I am soooo happy.

It looks really cool.I was actually a little emotional about it. Like having given birth. Does that make Clemens the midwife?

It's a maddening process of thinking up side down and back to front. Page 4 is printed with page 25 and on the other side it is page 26 opposite 3. Etc. etc.

When I was an art director of magazines in the early seventies, I designed maybe about 15 magazines at the same time for Thomson's Publications before I went to the cushy, nice glossy POL Magazine. But the technical working out was done in Hong Kong by a Mr Chang, an employee of Dai Nippon Printing.
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An old man's helper

What is the mystery object?

When you get older we need a few gadgets to make life easier. Some need softer mattresses, or harder pillows. Some people have dentures, some have walking sticks. All has to do with the loss of power, physical power. Getting older or as the nice people say: more mature. I needed something to help me with screwing. Or unscrewing to be more precisely.

When I have been painting and close the plastic pots of paint the lid will glue itself to the jar. After all acrylic paint is liquid plastic. Often, when working with somebody strong in the place, I would ask him or her to unscrew the lid. Even the stronger guys couldn't open some easily. Clemens came home one day with this 'thing' called an oil filter wrench. Now even the most recalcitrant lids I can unscrew on my own!!!!
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Animals in my life

Danny, charcoal on paper, 1961

Our lives are broken up in periods. Years, birthdays, countries, expositions, partners, schools but with me it was very much the era of the dogs I had too.

My first dog was Putti, Indonesian for white. I was about 4 years old.

It came home one day foaming at the mouth and the baboes, female servants, screamed that he was mad.'Gilla, anjing gilla!!!' ('Mad, mad dog' in English). He had rabies. Rabid dogs have hydrophobia so the women threw buckets of water at the poor thing and my father had to catch him and put him out of his misery! The vet sent the brains to the Pasteur Institute in Bandung, we were in Jakarta at the time, and the message came back that it was indeed Rabies. We were all flown to Bandung for the horrific injections in the tummy.
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What do people think? Or talk about?

Secret Meeting at a Party

Often I see a few people huddled together talking intently about something. What? Probably money, sex, food or holidays. I'll never know, but I think it was Bernard Shaw or Oscar Wilde who observed: Nothing is read more carefully and with more interest than a menu.

Paintings are a little the same. Either they are looked at without any interest whatsoever or with such an interesting interpretation it would make the creator laugh, cry or blush!

I am often asked why I paint the men and women naked. My standard answer is because I don't want to worry about the latest fashion.

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culture

Little Pinky

Today is friday, 8 days before my payday. Ray day. Lay day. I say day. Sorry, I get carried away. I'm so happy, all the work I MUST have finished to fill a room in a gallery is done so all the other stuff is for the future. I might buy a lottery ticket or a scratchy.

I always knew I'd never make a poet. I simply don't understand them. In the 60's we had the 'Young English Poets", (her lips were the colour of a 'pillar box' etc). Same with other gifts. I would love to play the cello. Beside the fact that my left hand little finger was nearly cut off and wrongly stitched back on in Batavia, now Jakarta, I miss the coordination.

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work and memories

Man who wants to fly away, photo with me in front in 1999. Panting destroyed. Miniature reproduced in 2008 booklet.

three armed man, acrylic on canvas, destroyed in 1999We are working on the first example edition of my 2008 booklet. You know the one, I print the number of years I count, alas 62. Nr.1 goes to Queen Beatrix, Nr.2 to Kevin Rudd and the rest are sold at minimum price. The original little drawings are framed and will hang at an exhibition.

I was thinking, when I saw the little drawing "Man with three arms", about my life.

In 1999 I had ended a three year relationship with a Portuguese woman, 17 years younger then I. She thought every time I painted a body I was being unfaithful, so consequently when she came to my village every Thursday to Sunday from Oporto, I covered my paintings with sheets! I had to end this of course.
The relationship, not my painting!
(Photo on right with Paul Bakker in front of the canvas 'The man who wants to fly away', was taken in 1999. Original canvas then destroyed. Miniature reproduced in 2008 booklet).
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Letter to Jeremy Bakker, artist

2008 cover 29

Dear Jeremy,

I looked up Roman Opalka. Klein died very young. Roman plots on but IS painting 'till his death'. When will he start on the white in white? I believe Klein's last exposition was an empty room and guests sipping their wine. But this can be imagination. I do remember seeing his work for the first time when i was 18 or 19 at the Bienale in Paris.

Both have in common something very important: angst, arrogance, spirituality(black or white) and belief in what they are doing.
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flying man with body

Flying man, pink body, acrylic on paper, 840x600

Yesterday my nephew Jeremy Bakker, also a painter with whom I have had one exposition so far-more to come I hope- was so unbelievebly generous to send me a new camera.

My last one was stolen an few days ago!

I was working on another Flying man and Clemens took the photo with this new camera.

I also made three more covers for my booklet.

One is about tropical spices.

So far all the covers for my booklet, remember I print only my age:62- can be seen

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