Toads and I

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away, a toad a day just hops away.

I am trying to be funny but I 'm talking about squashed toads I find on the road every day when we, Clemens and I, walk our lovely dog Angelo through the park and back. I also have collected a huge bunch of toys fallen out of prams or out of little kids hands. Oh well, c'est la Vie.

I literally peel the little squashed creatures off the road. A flat road toad.

Why ?
Difficult to explain or as everything in life, not so terribly difficult but but.....when I see one on the road the toad is then Off the road, so to speak.
Home I find a tiny canvas and glue the toad on after I have given it a clean and a gleam with shiny spray of paint or varnish.

Why ?
No idea what-so-ever accept I know they are as dead as Marilyn Monroe and nearly as beautiful.

Red Flat Toad on canvasTwo Flat ToadsSingle Flat Toad on canvas

Why ?
Having been a student at the oldest art school in Europe, The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Holland, I left the school knowing the opposite colour of red=green, yellow=purple and blue=orange.

My favourite colour at the moment is yellow and I  find myself counting the yellow cars we see. On our walks twice a day, I count the cars  then become hopeful and usually it is  somewhere between 5 and 15 cars. True yellow, no custard coloured ones.
 
Yet cars as such, don't interest me a bit. Cannot drive to save my life. I had about 25 driving lessons when I gave up,  and the instructor told me I'd NEVER learn and should indeed give up.
Gosh, I nearly kissed him I was so happy to stop and wait for a chauffeur. I was 23-ish.
Shit, now 70-ish.

As a person having been born in Australia, learned talking in Indonesia  (thus my first language was Malay) then Holland (Dutch), Iran (Farsi) and when I got married to the lovely Helena and we had our daughter Renate I felt I needed to live in, or on, the Azores on the island of Santa Maria. More or less alone. Totally selfish.

There I had a most productive time. Later I went to the mainland of Portugal and lived in the Allenteigo in a place named Terena (mix of Renate) where I had a palace of a house built in the 18th Century.
Even had my own chapel and house maid called Tia Rita.
Everything was marble, white, cold and super slippery. When we finely
had a tap with running water, all I needed was a toilet and shower put in.

Why ?
Now I live in Far Northern Queensland, Australia, with my friend I have known all my life. Clemens. Retired photographer. Maybe not totally retired. And his son Casper, twin brother of Rick. Clemens and Gerry's eldest boy, my God son Mark. Now a father and husband himself. Time has wings.

His dad was a Shell pilot and handsome and Catholic. His wife, my aunt Tante Annie, had endured the Japanese Concentration camp and was more open-minded than the Pope. My mother also a Catholic and my dad half a Buddhist.

Why ?
It is called predestination or Karma or pot luck.

Clemens is an abolitionist vegan, slightly an isolationist and an honourable person.
We live with his son now here in the tropics and the dog and are pretty happy.
I don't know but I am very happy and hum my way through Life. But I sometimes imagine I hear the exit door squeaking.

Getting now back to reality I'll get back to the topic: Toads and me. Reality.

But, more to the point, for some reason when I walk I often see tiny little ants. If I accidentally step on one I think some mummy ant will be waiting at home with freshly squashed toad and he/she never turns up. Kasian we say in Indonesia. Squashed to another Life ?

Self Potrait photographToysBlue Flat Toad on canvas

Why ?
Because I ended its life.
Karma ? I don't know and don't think too much. My motto is: Infinity is inexplicable and as long as I don't understand I will not worry. Or even try.
 
Now I have more dead flattened toads then your average  multi-millionaire.
Sorry to be so blatantly capitalist, albeit penniless.
As an artist I am without shame,  proud, and  that is all I can do and want to do although I used to run an art class with recovering addicts and loved it. And so on.

Why ?
You wouldn't want to know.  
Was an art-director for a few magazines . POL the most famous Australian liberated woman's magazine but also Chemical Today, Medical News, Builders Monthly and Mining Today or something like that. But now ? Creatures.
Toads. Squashed, flattened toads. Brownish green and dirty yellow.

If you look with care and patience you see absolute beauty but also many other things. Faces or sometimes a full- on penis or pair of ears. Or the shape of my big nose.

Most artists cannot just work for themselves and if I have too many paintings hanging around I have no hesitation to make a lovely bonfire and cause pollution. Or send them to someone.
Sorry ? No. or Yes or maybe.

Why ?
I don't know and truthfully (here I go again) don't care too much.
But I do feel I am not just me alone in my body so just in case I say a short prayer asking to be looked after, also the people and dog around me.
I have never seen or experienced a “miracle”, yet everything is a miracle.
Even me getting up in the morning for my milky coffee.

So now I will finish my toads.

Three Brown Flat Toads on canvasBlack and Red Toad on canvasThree White Flat Toads on canvas

Why ?
To show of. Or off.
Let's face it, artist work also for exhibitions.
I often say to people: They ridicule and laugh at artists and we haven't even cooled after death they, who are they?, start building a new museum or art-gallery for you.

But hop back to the toads.

Why ?
You know I don't know but I am having fun, although it's 33 degrees hot, hotter, hottest ! When I had my shower this morning I took a toad with me for an extra wash.

I am already having fun sending a toad painting to somebody and imagine the smile it will create. Actually I sent one to my nephew artist Jeremy Bakker. His work is super cool.
So I created a smile now too.
 
But some, probably most will think : Why ?

Why why ?
So the “whys” get together and form an unit.
United Whys.

Heaven's above, who can bullshit more than me now ?
 
I was once invited to Salvador Dali's cocktail hour in Cadaques. Spain, 1978, and the hostess was the cross-dresser Amanda Lear. Her top song at the time was “Follow me”. When I shook the Maestro Magnifico's hand (we were instructed to call him that), he had the limpest, weakest, clammy handshake ever.

Why ?  
Ask Amanda. You always saw her riding around in a huge white open Cadillac looking for people the Maistro Magnifico might like to look at.
 
I am Paul and I have a neighbour who comes from the  north called Paul but we, the two of us, cannot call each other by our name. According to his tribe's rules, we call each other Nas. No idea what that stands for but nice to have another me with another name without being schizo.

You see how easy things can be in Life.
Although at a house we can see from our back garden, a woman killed her 8 children and then tried to kill herself but didn't succeed. For a day Cairns was world news.

Why ?
Shit, I must go back to my toads and start spraying them a colour or only varnish. Look at them in wonderment. Feel the inspiration.

I will make photos of my toads and stick them on this writing.

Why ?
Ask a silly question.

Trio Self Portraits collage on paper