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Philosophy

Angst, the fear of being without courage?

Click to enlarge: Model Renate with bandaged Body, acrylic on canvas, life size
The painting shown here I did in 1975. It is of a man wrapped up in bandages and next to him the covered body of a child. Scary stuff? Absolutely; but not really.

The small body was in fact my daughter Renate who I asked to lie on the floor with a sheet over her so I had a 'model'. Renate wasn't afraid at all as she knew how it had started. The life sized bodies I made out of clay she quiet happily sat on while talking to me. She knew it all started with lumps of clay. Lumps of clay that end up looking like dead bodies in the eye of the beholder.

I did these things as I thought I was so afraid of so many things I'd make the creepiest of all things and as the maker, I couldn't scare myself. I would be without fear. I was even scared living on my own in the 'big' city of The Hague. I had just arrived back from one year on Santa Maria, Azores, were nothing could harm one. Fearful man holding cat


If I have to describe myself psychologically, I'd say I am a man with angsts. Fears. I am afraid of heights, sharp objects, cats, dogs, teenagers and dentists, to name a few.

I am afraid of rejection and I always thought I was dumb. As a young person I had totally accepted the idea I was mentally retarded. I couldn't read very well and hardly spoke the languages I was meant to understand. I remember asking my mother: 'Mum, do I speak English good?'.

 

Do it man!!!

Stripes and more stripes, acrylic on canvas, 800x1000
When I finished the Dream Spirit painting I needed to do a little thinking. A little retrospective meandering. Belly button research.

Apart from the fact that the Dream Spirit is a man and Dr. Mick, a house friend and academic, thought it was a woman, is it finished? Is it finished or should I make the gender more obvious? Stick it on or not?

We'll see but now I am starting on my greatest voyage as an artist. What's he talking about?

My friend and colleague Roeland Zijlstra does many portraits. (Click on his name. ) Anywhere and anyhow. I told him I want to do a portrait of Clemens but am afraid of it. I have NEVER painted a portrait.

That means doing a painting of a human being but a human being with a tag. His or her name. Many self portraits, many people paintings but never the portrait. Roeland said to me to do it, just do it. Start painting a bloody face with a torso!!! Something like that.

I am not afraid of making a painting of Clemens and he doesn't recognize himself. But when you do a portrait of another human being you do invite that person to enter a private world. My private world where everything I do I agree with. Most times anyway.

facts

Markstein, envelope

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.Jaap Vegter's Markstein. 1972

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

The Great Wall

Self portrait 'Bundle of Nerves'

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............

phb

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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