Fear, Angst...

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Fear and Angst, collage on paper.

I want to write about FEAR. Angst.

Terror in the head or body.

Darkness without light and hands looking for me...


I haven't had a particularly fearful life and yet I'm a scary cat.

Although we have now two big black and white dogs, Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo, Vinci and Angelo for short, I am a little nervous with other dogs. Mind you, we had a dog called Puti (Indonesian for white) in Djakarta when I was about 5 and one day it came home frothing at the mouth: Rabies.

Two weeks in Bandung at the Pasteur's Institute being jabbed in the tummy with a huge needle and then I conked out as I was allergic to the serum. Every morning I'd try and hide but always this hand ( the feared hand )(thus my obsession with hands in my work) would drag me from wherever I was hiding to go to the hospital! Our whole family actually and ALL the dogs in our neighbourhood were shot by the police! Didn't make us popular with the neighbours! So am I fearful of neighbours? Don't know. Not yet, at least.

I don't know. I am also scared in cars, rather walk than be driven.

When I was 21 I had driving lessons, because that was expected, and after about 25 goes the instructor told me to give up- I'd never learn. I nearly kissed the man, I was so happy to be relieved of that horrible burden. My fantasy is to have an emerald green Bentley with a nice chauffeur!

I have also a fear of heights. No mountain climbing for this person. Or hang-gliding or parachute jumping. But not flying, even in a Jumbo, funnily enough ! Crossing an 4 lane road with a dog on a line is also a bit scary!

I was born on the 10th of July 1945 and last Monday I awoke and though: Shit, it's my birthday and I've turned 68. Clemens, my mate/friend who I have known for more than 60 years and now live with, came into my bedroom with a cup of coffee and didn't say anything. No Happy birthday , no candles, no cake etc. I was wrong, it was the 9th and anyway, I would have turned 67, not 68. So the next day my birthday present was an extra year back! And did get a cup of coffee and a 'happy birthday' but no sixty-seven burning candles... but a big lick from Angelo and Vinci! Sweethearts !


But I feel fear. Not in my head but in my solar plexus!

North of my navel and south of my nose!

I have never been sick in my life. Amazing as I certainly haven't lived a very healthy life, drank (past tense) far too much and never worried about good food or whatever. Although luckily I was surrounded by 'health food bores'!

Burning selfportrait, on paper.

And yet I am full of fear so decided what to do and that is simple for a painter: Paint FEAR! Paint what is bugging me, although I don't know what accept maybe Death. Heights, roads, dogs, shopping centres, sharp objects and ants.


I am not a religious person but more spiritual. I do believe, certainly hope, that when I die it is the body and that I, me, Paul, simply will transfer in time, somehow to another corpus. I suppose one could call this reincarnation. It might take a few minutes or a few centuries. I don't know nor do I know anybody who can tell me, convince me, precisely how what and when.

Never had too much problem with this concept but don't want to get too much involved with the subject. No point in thinking too much about things NOBODY on Earth has the absolute answer for. Just die and you know everything!

However, having been brought up a Catholic of sorts ( my mother was a Catholic and my father a bit of a Buddhist ), I DO thank Whatever and my guardian angel for looking after me, Clemens, Casper, the son, Heleen and our daughter Renate, (now a lovely Opera singer. ( Visit: http://www.sorekartists.com/Artist.aspx?id=19 ) and the two dogs, and a whole list of names I rattle off before I can relax and go to my favourite world: The Dream world. Heleen was in my class at the Royal Academy in The Hague and after our studies we married and Renate was born. Seven months later.


I have as a rule lovely dreams but only remember a few. But never nasty dreams although sometimes full of fear, like heights or in a fast car but I call these fears secondary dream stories.

But this bloody feeling in my tummy is irritating me a little. I get it at night before I go to bed and only after some time it disappears but the next day it tends to linger on, maybe 5%, BUT NEVER THE LESS: It's there.

We take the dogs for their morning walk, 7/8 km!!!!, and usually when I get back home that feeling is gone. But the fear is also fed by a little hypochondria I have. If I have a sore toe I think immediately: Shit, I have toeitis and will need a toeectomy.

I fear tobacco. Whenever I see people standing outside the shopping centre sucking on their cigarettes I can see the smoke go down to their lungs and come back up and feel and know the damage it does to them. And yet I smoke. Makes me feel like a man standing on a planet, one leg up in the air and a finger up his nose. Surely as mad as me smoking while I know the reality of it. Clemens gave up ages ago.

Sure, I'll tell you I don't smoke many but but.

Not only am I a hypochondriac but also a hypocrite.

It makes me nearly sound human.

So also to the list: I am a nihilist.

Clemens with a treat for Vinci and Angelo

Lately I have become a little retrospective and think of all the places I have lived in. Indonesia (where Clemens lived with his parents too), Holland ( Clemens too), Iran ( Clemens too) and many years in Portugal and now back in the country of birth: Australia.

I am very very aware that Australia IS the lucky country. No poverty to speak of and a government that is more or less no more corrupt than normal.

We live in Cairns, Far Northern Queensland and in our street we, as white people, are in the minority but no racist shit here, thank Whatever.


My studio is outside under a roof (car port) and I can work there to my hearts content.

But how do I paint this FEAR thing? I simply started to do the obvious. Me surrounded by living creatures and will do a few of these. I cannot help myself but must try and make it look nice. Fearful but nevertheless nice colours and shapes.

But there you go again. Because I am painting I don't feel that Fear thing......

and that Fear thing I need to feel to be able to paint it realistically. But because I have a smile on my face I started adding flowers and little jokes.

Whatever, will I ever become a serious adult? Hope not!

As I said, I turned 67 and never thought I'd make 33. Like JC.

My attitude to life hasn't been very serious. Politically I am a 'nong', a uninformed slightly bigoted empty head. Only voted once in my life and accidentally voted for the absolute wrong man !


But I can paint. No humble pie about this. From the day I was born I loved painting or playing with clay.

I had an uncle, Uncle Norman ( my brother is named after him ) who as far as I understood had built the Sydney Harbour bridge. He was an engineer from Scotland and we lived in his house in Bondi. In this lovely house, built by my great grand father, with many rooms and under the house was another world. I was a little scared, of course, to venture underneath but as far as my eyes could make out I saw huge suitcases and boxes.

The house was called Kenworth, after my great grand father's racing horse.

Now I believe it's a bed and breakfast hotel.


But Uncle Norman was a great water colourist and he'd be working at his table and I'd sit with him doing my thing.

What a lovely and fearless memories.


I think there isn't much point writing about Fear. As I said: when I'm not doing anything I feel the bugger and when I am doing something about it , it's gone on holidays. It will not allow me to catch it, strangle it.


Might just stick to my trade and keep painting and get up in the morning and have a cup of coffee with my Fear and take it, Clemens and the dogs for a walk!


But with or without fear, I am very happy. I feel beside the Fear also the Happiness. They go hand in hand. And tomorrow I'll be one day older, again.

Purple hand smoking on paper



I love the honesty in your words and in your arts Paulo. Tracy xxxxx

      Paul,  I love all your paintings,  I was once tould by my art teacher, if you want to be a  good artist, you have to paint your inerself and if people notice, then you are good... I noticed :)    You are a amazing writer, very truthful this blog is about fear, but screams honesty, fear breeds dishonesty, lies and liars, and you are not..   Over the last few nights i  have been reading your blogs, you are a  good storyteller, you would get along very well with my friend, he is also a storyteller, and a very good man like yourself...   Julia..