Minimalism, Baroque, Maximalism, Pluralism and disinterest
Well in a strange, or funny way, that sums me up.
As a member of this privileged society, and I mean Australia, I haven't had a thing to worry about. Never lack of money, never too much money, never paid taxes, and NO, I am NOT ashamed of that!!
That is my Minimalism.
Never been sick, like a flue or measles but a bit of a struggle with alcohol but even that I see as a colourful and enhancing something to my life's experiences. Twice in a rehab for alcohol and never met so many lovely and interesting people. People I would normally never meet in my cosy protected surroundings!
That is my maximalism.
I went to a boarding school when I was a kid, St. Louis in Amersfoort, Holland, and remember praying, I was eleven years old, for the first time in my life because I so much wanted to 'catch' the Asian flue as of the 600+ boys only 4 didn't get it and yes, I was one of the so called lucky ones!
That is my Baroque disinterest.
I now live with my oldest friend Clemens, his son Casper and our dogs Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci in Far Northern Queensland but I knew Clemens and his entire family from the beginning of time. My time at least.
First in Indonesia, Java then Borneo, then The Netherlands, or Holland as I prefer to call it, then Iran and now the 'Lucky Country' Australia.
Shit, the rest of the world is in such a mess. Imagine living in Syria where they have already managed to kill more than 80.000 people simply because they are from different tribes!
For that matter, I wouldn't want to live in America at the moment either. I did visit America and loved it. It was a little bit like Australia people wise. A little narrow minded and bigoted, racily 'over-aware' and enough money for all the Hamburgers they wanted. Well, the people I met in Florida that is......
I also lived in the most beloved country I know, Portugal. Of and on for nearly 20 years.
First I went to the Azores and lived on St. Miguael and Santa Maria, then after Australia and Holland I went back and lived on the main land in the Alenteigo province in a village called Terena.
I had been married to a lovely girl called Helena from the same art school I went to, The Royal Academy of Arts (KABK). We still write and we have a daughter called Renate, mix that up and you get Terena.
She has chosen her own artistic line and is now an opera singer.
Here is a link to one of her videos.
Yes, I was very very young when I went to the art school and although I didn't have the required preparatory schooling to enter I was good or hopeless enough to be admitted.
But the only thing that ever really interested me was to paint.
As a tiny 4 year old I remember sitting at a table in Bondi , suburb of Sydney, with my uncle Norman, who, I believe, built the Sydney Harbour bridge (He was an engineer from Scotland who came to Australia to work indeed on the building of the bridge!) but he was also a brilliant watercolourist and I would do my thing and uncle Norman would do his watercolours and I would look very intensely how he moved his brushes and mixed his colours and I can tell you, I learned more than the academy could ever have taught me!
Now I still paint and play with colours. Collect bottle tops and have boxes full. No idea what to do with them.
Have a funny little obsession. Every day we twice walk our dogs. About 8 km a day but I MUST see a bright true yellow, a bright true red and a bright true blue car!
Surely everybody has something like that!
We also pick up litter in plastic bags like good boy scouts etc. etc. etc.
But now I want to work on self portraits but I have come to the conclusion that after a certain age the self portraits become caricatures, whether I like it or not.
Here is one of those caricatures.
I also see bodies in trees. Often I see a tree as a person diving in Mother Earth and very often I see naked naughty figures in bits of wood.
Here is one such figures Clemens sent me a photo of the other day.
But I love life. I can say without trying to be pure or perfect, I am as happy as I could have dreamt of to be a thousand years ago.
But I do think of Death.
It will be knocking at the door some day and I hope I can let it in without pain or major discomfort.
I am not religious but definitely spiritual.
I see death as a changing of the body. My body stops breathing and me, Paul Hendrik Bernardo goes on a trip to somewhere and after some time I'll hop in a new creature and do something I have no idea what.
My life's motto is: 'As long as we don't understand Infinity, don't jump to conclusions...'
And also a very cheeky philosophy is that I believe all artists when they die they sleep under the beds of the Gods as They, whoever They are, don't want to send us to Hell because when They get bored we come crawling from under Their beds and perform. One way or another.
And that is my pluralism.