The portrait painting

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'A Man and his Dog', acrylic on canvas,1200 x 1200 by Paul Bakker.
It sounds a little like a fairy tale or something worse, something from the Grimm brothers.

I have wanted to do this portrait of C., the guy I know from when I was just five or six. Living in scary Java, where nobody seemed to like us. Then Iran, where nobody seemed to like us either. After Iran on to Holland, where they noticed we were not wearing clogs. Now in sunny Queensland where I still feel often the white man. Or the pink man.

Anyway, I asked C. if he could give me some time to pose for me in the back garden. Sunny and stark naked.

I started to plop him on the canvas. A few rough outlines and 'full stops', the navel, the nose, the eyes, the nipples, his knees and the penis.

But I knew it immediately: the spirits were mucking with my head. I didn't know at the time they were turning my head around.

After a bit I thanked C. for his patience and continued to paint "The Portrait" It didn't look like him at all. It looked like somebody I knew. It looked like me, but younger.

At first I was a little bit annoyed but then saw the madness of it. The hilarious funny side of it. I started to paint him, ended painting me as he would see me, if he needed to paint me. Or in his profession; photograph me.

But I also saw the inclination of the hand going down to an empty corner and immediately thought: Here I must put the most wonderful dog on earth, our dog A.

So I painted, humming away with contentment, the dog. Even made the hand that cuddled him a hand I used many times on other paintings. A little bit smaller so the dog looks bigger. And less human.

Then I saw I had painted a dog I had as a teenager. I had painted Danny, my cocker spaniel we had just after arriving in cold freezing Holland. Named after the actor Danny Kay.

How could it be more confusing and surprising. I wanted to paint C. with his dog, because he looked sad. End up having painted me with a dog from my youth.