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2008

optimism

optimism

Elated Depression

Wishing you a wonderul 2009
When the painting is over

What do you think a painter does when he finishes his painting?

Does he take three steps back, drop his head to one side and putting his pipe in his mouth, a small smile can be detected while He looks at His Creation...

After nine months of struggling He looks at His Baby.

Sound lovely but I know it is very different.

I suffer and maybe, not sure, enjoy Post Natal Depression after finishing a painting.

Always.


Post Natal Depression

This is what I want to write about as most people think I am being funny. Or disrespectful. Or a misogynist , Heaven forbid.

But let me go back to the beginning.

Wishing you a wonderful 2009

Wishing you a wonderful 2009

Wishing you a wonderful 2009
photo by Clemens Vermeulen

Rapture, mixed media on canvas

Rapture, mixed media on canvas

Rapture: Last painting for 2008

Rapture, mixed media on canvas, 600 x 1200
The last painting for this year: Rapture.

From November 2007 I lived and worked in Cains, in the Far North of Queensland. The tropics. Hot, humid and familiar. With Clemens, his son Casper and the big big dog Angelo in their bungalow with the huge back yard. Angelo now weighs 36 kg. I am 63, but not kilos.

On this canvas I used all the little figures I found scattered around left over from earlier paintings. A cut-out of a little man, some green leaves and the profile of a face. Now stuck on the canvas some with an actual 'rubbing' of a shablone.

I do thank God I went to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, I thank Mr. Gilhuis and Mr. Houtepen, two of my teachers who taught us to play with scissors, paper and glue. Nietwaar Jos!!! We, Jos Tigges and I, were the babies of the class of '63. Or was it 36...

Imagine living in 1936.

I don't know where this painting will take me as I only started yesterday. Certainly our little pussy cat, Twoface will be remembered. Twoface was killed in her own front yard by a marauding dog.

But now we have a dog of our own, ... Angelo ... Or actually 'Senhor Angelo M. (Angelo)'... So somewhere I'll add a little Angelo.

What else did 2008 bring us?

Barak Obama for the US. Kevin Rudd for AU. Iceland is broke and Ireland is not. If I had had shares? Who knows?

When I was a student in The Hague I worked a few nights a week in an expensive Indonesian restaurant; 'Garuda', Kneuterdijk. As a male and an European male at that, I only got the job working with the all female cook crew in the kitchen because I spoke Indonesian. Passar Malay, the market language, not Behasa Malay. Anyway, the kokkies (cooks) mostly invested their savings in gold. Something like a bangle or bracelet.

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.

Finality

My Dream Spirit, acrylic on canvas, 800x1000
It is not the first time I think I have done my final painting of, for example, trees, Blackfellas or Dutch landscapes. Forget not Portuguese 'impressions'.

But what to do next?

I have a show at NERAM in Armidale, NSW, in about six months. I came up to the north now exactly one year ago. From cold Armidale to hot and humid Cairns. From working inside to working, albeit shaded, outside in a temperature close to the warmth of my blood.

But what to do?

I painted this 'Dream Spirit' as a final in the series. I painted a man or an illusion. I must admit I understand as little of this Dream Spirit as ever. I put in a friend and a flying girl for old time's sake.

He looks slightly irritated with all the fuss.

I don't think he's very fond of my tribe. What a pity.

But what next?

I shouldn't worry. This has happened all my life. I think I'll never paint again. Very much like a dancer tripling over the stage having forgotten where to put his feet.

All the work for NERAM has been done.

So what do I do now?

When I was living in my village in Portugal for many years Senhora Rita was my housekeeper. She lived next door with her son, a nice and good looking young man about 30-ish. He was born a twin but his brother died at birth and only Florenco survived. But he fell of his motorbike at 22 and now lives in his house, in a wheelchair, with his old mother Rita.

Rita told me once:

"Paulo, the wrong twin died at birth.'

When you hear that you know something doesn't add up. So what is so strange?

I think I'll start cleaning up my work space.

phb.

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