Heaven or hell

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I often use the term Heaven or Hell but by no means do I mean that biblically or in a religious way.

I mean for better or worse. No, not religious but certainly spiritual. Below, that yellow ball is how I imagine a God to look like!

Yellow God, paint on paper.
For Heavens sake, I think what I have heard or read about the Christian, Muslim or Jewish Heaven it must be the most boring place on Earth, or should I say: In Heaven ?

Knowing me I'd be slipping of the clouds and tripping over all those angels talking about their Master or jealously about their clients on Earth and their naughty 'sins'..

Hell sounds much more fun. More like an American detective novel.

Just hope they have air conditioning.

But full of gamblers, murderers, adulterers and sex maniacs . Not that I am any of the before mentioned but I am a 'looker', in nicer words we are called artists.

Do you think Toulouse Lautrec did anything with those voluptuous ladies he painted. He could barely walk for Heavens sake. Or in this case: for Hell's sake. See, Heaven or Hell.

Any way, I was told angels have no sex organs so who on Earth wants to live the perfect life with hope of a heavenly Heaven and you cannot even have sex with a good looking angel?

Two angels
No, give me the Buddist thoughts.

You do what you do, you pay a little price and come back and start all over again doing every thing you want or need to do. Good or bad but the price is not eternal Heaven or Hell. Just burning a little incense and feel regret or remorse. Far more spiritual and intellectual. Puts me out of that order! I just go to confession and the last time I did that was when i was about 14 or 15. I had to make up a few sins as I truly didn't know what I had possibly done wrong. I tell you, I'm half a bloody saint or very boring.

Buddha and little blue man
Just look at the news now in 2012. First Egypt and Libya, now Syria fighting with their Christian brothers and the Jews are always the target.

I am not Jewish but suspect my Dutch grand mother of being a closet Jewess and she was always stopped in the street by our German neighbours during WW2 because she had black hair and eyes and was olive skinned (but she was too tall). She looked like a Sephardic person and didn't like Protestants or Catholics! Hated the Germans, didn't particularly like the Brits, Belgiums, French or anybody for that matter accept my father (her younger son) and me!!!


But when people start saying the Israelis  are so aggressive and powerful just think for a moment. How many people can say 6.000.000 of their relatives were murdered by the so called most civilised Germans with Beethoven and Goethe and other cultural icons.

So get real! If I were a Jew and living in the Middle East (don't forget the Christians call Jerusalem and Bethlehem home too and what would Mohammed have done without his knowledge of the Torah?) I would be pretty pissed off!!! And very very defensive. Especially Iran is threatening to make an A-bomb to drop on Israel.

The bishop's miter

I was whatever they call it, accepted in the Catholic church at 12 years old by a slap in the face by Cardinal Alfrink!!! He was famous because when the Germans during WW2 arrested him he walked out in full regalia, all gold and glittering. Staff in hand, big golden ring and pointed hat, miter or 'mijter' in Dutch.

German WWII atrocities
But today, Tuesday the 23 of October we had a lovely walk and here are a few photo's of our finds and added also yesterday's pick-ups. Although I kept telling Clemens my day is made when I find a red, blue and a yellow bottle top. But no yellow in sight but then I found an orange one and as half a Dutchman the colour orange is identified with the House of Orange, where Queen Beatrix comes from. Photo below of HRH the Queen Beatrix van Oranje-Nassau, born 1938.

Queens beatrix of the House of Orange
I actually had my studio in The Hague, in the Denneweg, very posh shopping street,  and a few meters further was the Lange Voorhout where the Queen had her office and when I was working with acetone to make my plastic figures the whole area smelled of acetone (I was innocent and didn't know it was not only poisonous but also explosive according to our friend Mick who works with acetone to make his model planes and boats) so our Queen must have smelled the acetone too!
Not many artists can say the Queen smelled their work!


I love our walk. It gives me confidence that I am not an old cripple, although I suppose I am not exactly young any more (see photo and don't count the wrinkles!) but it is so much fun and the dogs are so lovely and kind to everybody and other dogs they meet. The little kids that by now know us come up and have a quick little cuddle and the dogs give them a big dirty and wet lick!!! The mothers are not always impressed, so they should be.

I get it every morning when Michael Angelo thinks I should get up and it works for sure.  

Paul, stamped and authenticated...
This is the photo Clemens took this morning of me. I'll try and give you, again, a short biography of my life and tribulations.


I was born in Sydney, Bondi Beach, on the 10th of July 1945. My father was still chasing the Japanese in New Guinea. He was an officer with The Royal Dutch Army (KNIL), ground services for the air force. Clemens dad was a pilot and my father was allways a little jealous of him. Especially because when he walked into our house in Borneo my mother would sing: "If I knew you'd be coming I'd have baked a cake." He came in his good looking pilots uniform and my dad would sit on the chair and once I heard him mumbling:"Old woman!". And I think he meant Captain Vermeulen.

Anyway, after my father returned back from the Army Shell Oil Company (BPM) loved ex-army people so he got a job in Jakarta, then still called Batavia. With Shell aircrafts, then Balikpapan on Borneo but we had to leave as President Sukarno didn't like ex-army people. (Sukarno studied in Leiden, Holland and spoke Dutch fluently)  but I totally agree with the Indonesians wanting to get rid of all those pink dutchies because they had sucked that country dry!

We then were 'repatriated' to The Hague in Holland, the head quarters of Shell oil company. After some time we were sent to Iran, Abadan, then the world's biggest oil refinery and he worked as usual for the airport. Clemens father was also in Iran but in Masjid-i-Sulaiman, a small place in the mountains, two hours flying from Abadan. So Clemens and I have followed each others parential steps. At 12 I had to go to a boarding school in Holland, St.Louis, and I loved it. No silly stuff ever happened but I loved the regularity. Something we did not particularly have at home.

After a year, less then a year, my parents wanted me to come and live in Abadan again but quickly went back to Holland where I lived with a Dutch family. Friesians and uncle Sjors was the head of a very posh primary school in The Hague.

Then at 16, 18 was the legal age but because I had had no formal education and was 'talented' enough I was alowed to go to the oldest art school in Europe, The Royal Academy of The Hague (KABK) and

after 5 years (I skipped a year somehow, cannot remember why) I left the academy with a diploma in Graphic desigh and typography and got a job for a PR company, G.J. van Hulzen, and as their only graphic designer I was my own boss. Did great work there and had just gotten married to Heleen, a girl in my class at the academy, and 7 months after the wedding Renate was born, now an opera singer (Watch my Youtube playlist)

Our marriage didn't last long and I went back to Australia where I was an art director on a very popular and intelligent women's magazine called POL (Gareth Powell publisher) then to Portugal, first the Azores then main land, where I painted my head off and most painting were bought by the Dutch government. They are/were so incredible generous!!! A system called the Beeldende Kunstenaar Regeling (BKR).

But one day I wanted to go back to Australia and had a 'little' problem with alcohol so was in a rehab in Armidale and then they found this amazingly beautifull house I shared with a lovely kid namen Billy, 21 I think. But I wasn't happy and one day on my internet screen was an email from Clemens. His lovely wife Gerry, I was the best man at their wedding, had died and why didn't we just sing the last bit of the opera together. Till death do us part.

I have never been happier, we have one of his 3 sons Casper with us and two beautifull dogs Leonardo Da Vinci and Michael Angelo, Vinci and Angelo for short.

As long as I stay off the grog, and I believe for the 5th time I shall, I'll keep working on my paintings.

I am now doing a 100x100 cm painting with all kind of mediums including bottle tops!!!

But I write a bit more about that below.

Orange bottle tops and signature 1.
But the world is f****d. The news is depressing. America and Europe are going down the gurgler
according to Clemens and we don't know how lucky we are to be in Australia! The ground under the Fukushima reactor #4 in Japan is sinking and might cosequently release atomic something making 90% of the world uninhabitable.

Bottle tops and signature 2.


Must start on my big canvas, 100 x 100 (not 120 x 120 what I first wanted to do) and it will be with paint, drawing and bottle tops, as I wrote.

But I want it to be emotional, not just smart, pretty or clever!

I'v been a smart arse long enough and how will I explain to Saint Peter all those silly paintings when I try to get them trough his porch? No, they must be closer to the heart and maybe even closer to the world.


By the way, of all the things we find on our walks I found my most favorable card, the 7 of Clubs!!!

Last photo of tops: (to keep me smiling, not crying!)

Paul and Angelo in front of a blank canvas
PS... Hover your mouse over the photos to see their titles.





Ah Paulo, the disease of alcoholism is a strange one for sure. Glad to see that you are enjoying the benefits of the recent choices you have made and you are embracing life and all it has to offer. I enjoy your musings, yet another gift that we the earthlings enjoy along with your paintings.For a man of a certain age, you cut a fine figure, and have your mind, and all your fingers and toes to write and to paint. Thankyou  :)