Archive | 2006

My relationship with a painting

29 December 2006

When painting the ice landscape a friend asked me why I was more enthusiastic in making one painting than the other. In other words; why one painting comes to me easier than some other one?
Some painters theatrically cry out that their paintings are their children and it’s a burden to sell them. For me, after a certain point, my paintings needs to produce dough. That sounds more calculating than it is, but let me explain the relationship between me and my paintings.

It’s not to say I do not love my own creations. Oh, no … just like a mother saying about her children; my creations are the best in the world! Parts we are not completely satisfied with, we cover with the cloak of charity, right?
But my paintings are no kids that I can not release. When they are finished, they have to spread their wings. Buzz off and earn money for mama. Goodbye, I have your picture on my night stand.

My relationship with a painting

Let’s talk about ‘Cyphomandra Vitra’.
From the very beginning our love was grand and compelling. Everything we did together went well and we were great together. At least, from my perspective I thought she was great and I couldn’t stop talking about her. Look at her; Such a rugged and uncomplicated background, coupled with the clear & frank countenance. Her strange deformities (reflections and refractions) were her original view on the world and that purple glass was almost better than rose-colored glasses! And seen from her view; Well … it was not without my creative urge she was on earth anyway.

But after a stormy affair we easily went our separate ways.
The good memories and the pictures are enough. And a new love is waiting. As well as for her as for me.

My relationship with a painting

Taxus glacialis (that cold icy landscape) however, became a long and difficult relationship. Is it because some friends are too much like yourself? Because their character is too transparent to you? And you know their tricks too well?
Yes, yes and yes … But that is also the reason you can’t criticize them. The difficult relation is because they don’t surprise you. They are you.
If this kind of painting is appeared on my easel I notice I try to postpone the confrontation. My inspiration to paint is fading. If the conversation finally is happening, mostly it turned out not too bad, but … as soon as the end of the agreement is in view, I already waiting at the door with my coat on. Sorry, session time is over!
The strange thing is that such a kind of ‘marriage of convenience’ however, doesn’t predicts anything about his success if the painting is launched in the public world.

My relation with a painting

One of my first serious paintings was a big struggle too. I even want to call it a fight. But in the end, it became one of my most populair ones in that series.
Once the size of ‘The trash bin’ was rectangular. During painting those endless little bricks I got so sick of them that I decided to go in denial. There was still a long way of bricks to go on the left part of the painting, but I took the saw and cut it of to a square format. Those days I painted on wood. After that brute force the painting had to sit facewards against the wall for years, before I finished it.

I still make repetitive patterns. But nowadays I don’t ‘deny’ them anymore. I cope with them. Yes, getting older means getting milder, isn’t it? Also in relations.


15 December 2006

Our neighbour is out-of-town for a week and he asked us to feed the chickens, the cat and the dog. De dog is allowed to poo in the garden. The garden is already full of chicken droppings, so a bit of dog poo doesn’t make much difference, he said. Poop in the garden is, by the way, the least remarkable thing. Actually the neighbour-garden is a complete dump with some walking paths between all the stuff that’s going on there. At least there are as many as 50 unscrewed household devices, hundreds of parts are gutting in the rain, dozens of wilting cuttings have grown from the hole at the bottom of their pot into the gaps between the tiles and the clothesline is hanging full of partly bleached laundry that doesn’t happily flap anymore, but slowly swings in the wind because it’s stiffened by hanging there in all weathers for months.
Inside the house it looks like there just have been a burglary with violence. Cabinets doors doesn’t close anymore and half their contents were fallen out. Everything that once must have hung on the wall are now sitting against the wall. On the kitchen sink and the stove is made a kind of self-making laboratory. There is no square inch left to even make a sandwich.
gossipThe neighbor is a very friendly guy. Only a bit unstructured. And he knows that about himself.

Because every day we try to move our asses for at least 1 hour (walking to the village or the beach) it seems quite logical to take the neighbour dog with us. We aren’t really ‘dog people’, but we can imagine the dog is probably bored till her bones during these bossless days. We bought a leash (because we didn’t dare to search for it in the house), we brought poo bags with us and a bottle of water and a bowl.
The park on Monday went well. The beach on Tuesday made her manic of happiness. She founds us such nice parents that she started to cry continuously when we locked her up in the neighbour’s house after returning. She kept howling for 6 hours. Then we decided to permanently open up the neighbour’s door at night to silent the dog. She then laid in front of OUR closed front door for the whole night, but at least she was silent.


The chickens discovered the mirror effect of shiny polished chrome.

Now the chickens probably have laid their eggs behind the neighbour’s couch, but I don’t believe anyone will notice. And that turd the dog dropped in the living room, well … I guess she doesn’t see much difference in tidiness between inside life and outside life.


11 December 2006

dunedinYesterday, the transport box I had ordered in Auckland, was delivered to me. I will use it to provide the gallery in Dunedin who had approached me on October 20. Their website shows very attractive art. Three of my paintings will be exhibited.
After framing them they looked perfect, though that was not what I intended by this framing. Firstly, I framed them as extra protection against the carelessness of the average gallery owner … remembering the scratches left by gallery Fisher.
The box is really true craftsmanship. It can resist a trip to the moon and is still very lightweight. For my own peace of mind I created a sticker for on the bars of the back. I know, it looks exaggerated, but art-wise I have seen every stupidity beyond your anticipation! The most remarkable damage I got on a returned painting was … a bird dropping.

Anyway … the gallery had an add in ‘The Otago Daily Times’. The third image is mine.


Worm farm

24 October 2006

On some days, nothing succeeds. Everything I painted I had to wipe off because I lost my artistic mojo. When I took a comforting cookie, I bit hard on the inside of my cheek. When I walked to the mirror in tears I discovered the wet laundry has been sitting in the washing machine for 2 days … and in the hallway I found a trail cat litter on the carpet because of a leaking trash bag earlier that day.
Then you can do two things. Or save the rest of the day for tomorrow. Or start buying things. Men often choose to buy a nice stereo. Women choose for clothes. Only if you are 2 victims together, than maybe something more original is resulting.

Eventually we purchased a worm farm. I guess because of the education we got from the Dutch government.
For us it was quite normal already, to separate the waste. New Zealanders were only just begun. We recently got a green and gray wheelie bin and the council still sways with the educational finger on what kind of trash we have to put in which bin.
But we were thoroughly educated already. We threw our kitchen waste in the green bin. Simple. But that was not the intention!!! Because then the green garbage would start to … smell. And the intention is that only the grey garbage stinks.
With the green landfill as well as the grey landfill nothing is done. They are just being there. Because we didn’t understand the goal of it, we separated the waste anyway, but at the same time we were offended that no one was grateful for our effort. In fact; we did something wrong that was not wrong! Even more; the landlady who occasionally makes a kind of inspection around the house, taught us that the inside of the green bin became … dirty. And we had to clean it.
Really? Yes, she was serious.

worm farm

This is only one floor. And … actually they shouldn’t be in our living room.

And so, that day we went to a farm whose owner is much more self-sufficient as we will ever dare, and we bought a big plastic kit and a pound of worms. Fun for all ages, said the sticker on the wrapping.
At home we have put together the worms flat of 3 floors and released the worms into the lowest level. Now every day we throw a little bucket of apple cores and peels into the worm house and fertile soil comes out. In fact the fertile soil is worm-poo.
I’m happy to see my new pets are glad with my waste effort. I even cut the waste in small pieces and try to give them some variation every day.

Stainless steel

20 October 2006

A few days ago I got an email from a gallery owner in Dunedin who was interested in my work. Despite my lesson at Fisher’s gallery I’m incredibly quickly spawn when someone writes nice things about my work, but now I try to stay a little cool, because Dunedin is far away. Like Amsterdam/Marseille …
Of course everything can be sent over by courier, but the control then is a bit difficult. I don’t know anything about this gallery. A lot of galleries over here are more arts & crafts & souvenir stores. Not that there’s anything wrong with that …. :)))
So first I will check out the artists that this gallery has mentioned on the website and find out what are the average prices. It may sound pretentious, but I’m on a certain price level where it doesn’t make sense to exhibit my work on a wrong market place.

Something else:
Because in New Zealand distances are way more serious than in the Netherlands, New Zealanders more often are away from home for a few days. Our neighbor owns 6 chickens, which we occasionally feed when he has to travel. At a later stage our ‘collected chicken-points’ are exchangeable for cat favors.
Lately the neighbour chickens are coming over to our garden daily, for our special attraction. Among the random objects belonging to our rented house is a stainless steel shower base. It is sitting against the fence for ages, partly overgrown, hardly noticed anymore. Now the chickens have discovered this thing and they can see themselves in the shiny steel. Each time this happen they are over the moon of enthusiasm. Every afternoon they are standing in front of this steel shower base overly exited about this phenomenon. Not until dinner time, they jump back home, over the fence one by one. Totally bewildered about what humans are inventing nowadays.
The chicken in the picture was lingering on purpose, so she could have a private talk with her stainless steel sister.

stainless steel

Spring fling

16 Oktober 2006

spring fling, treasure huntEvery year, the ‘classic car club’ organizes a treasure hunt. Considering our integration … of course we had to participate.

At 9:30 AM we went to the local picnic grounds for the breakfast/meeting. Pancakes, hmmm !!!
We watched it for a while and then I wanted to start the treasure hunt. To my dismay the trolley/racing car was the first mission of the puzzle questionnaire!!! That meant I would have to drive the vehicle as well!!! In front of the eyes of hundreds of bloodthirsty New Zealanders!!! For a moment I was considering I could better do the push-job because of my opposite rotating brains, but that would be a too big defeat for Frank. And … he should push on his own, a one man’s job for him, because we lacked the relatives and family members like the other participants. I felt sorry for him, but on the other hand … A Real MAN doesn’t need help!
spring fling, treasure huntThe trail was a bumpy lawn and the tits of all those steering ladies dangerously bounced up and down in the wagon without springs. Which one of us ladies, had expected this when we dressed ourselves this morning! Luckily for me, for this day I had chosen to wear my leather jacket -what is endless cool (read; silly) when it’s 23 degrees- so I was able to zip up all my ‘moving parts’. My fear of the jeering crowd had apparently placed me in a highly concentrated state, because we went awfully fast and flawless. All those locals, who were pushed by 2 men … hah, what a sissies !!!

spring fling, treasure huntOne of the other missions was to do some skateboarding. You need to know that most of the members of a classic car club are over the 60 years of age. We both never had done this before, but Frank wore his favorite pants and they were bought in Alkmaar in a skate shop! So, it was totally logical he was the one who has to do it.

spring fling, treasure huntThe ‘brake test’ had to be done on a ramp; a slanted piece of concrete below the water level where you can get your boat into the water. The game was; You had to drive backwards down the ramp within 25 seconds, dip your rear wheels into the water and quickly drive upwards. Many of these showy cars are low builded, so if their rear wheels were dipped in the water, their exhaust pipes dipped in at the same time. A nice side effect!

spring fling, treasure huntTo grow some team spirit there should be a common enemy. To American car lovers the enemies are the Japanese cars. So one of the tasks was shooting Japs. They had visualised this by bolted emblems of Japanese cars on tree trunks. And voila, your shooting game.

spring fling, treasure huntAt the end of the day the prizes were awarded by our local Miss Whakatane, assisted by her girlfriend. The last one hit enormous mugs of beer and wore a sash with Miss Personality.


8 October 2006

The hotel we have visited last week, is located on a busy main street of Auckland. When we left in the morning and waited at the side of the road for our valet parked car (I told you it was a fancy hotel!) … suddenly there was an impressive and weird silence in the street. All the cars were gone, like a kind of ‘traffic tide’. Along the street I saw a few people carrying flowers and from far away I heard the thin sound of a bagpipe …
“Woohoo, a parade!” we said, eager for a bit of sensation.
A long procession of young people in graduation costume was passing us. You know; those black cloaks with the square hats. And there were hundreds of them! Each school was preceded by a forerunner holding up a name sign. These were not only the graduates from the universities, but all students who had achieved something. I had never seen such a thing in the Netherlands.

At the end of the parade we heard shouting and the audience was on the middle of the street.
“Woohoo, a fight!” we said, eager for a bit of sensation.
I thought there had arisen a quarrel. However, there were 3 Maori boys who did a haka for their successful brother. A haka is no such thing as our Dutch folkloric wooden-shoe-dance. No … at first sight it looks like an aggressive war dance with a bold sounding text. A kind of primal rap. If a haka is ‘bursting out’ somewhere near by, it could scare the hell out of you and it’s truly intimidating. There are several kinds of haka and this was an expression of respect to their brother. You better not disturb them by (nervously) laughing, because it really means something serious here. And the most interesting thing to me is that it is not ‘organized’ to keep alive a certain culture on special days … no, it just belongs in modern life.

By the time young people finally have to face adulthood, they yearn for their first “OE”. That means ‘overseas experience’. To get across the border in New Zealand, you always have to use a airplane. In Europe a teenager can hop over to another country even by using a moped. It’s nothing special and usually these visits are not more than short breaks drown in booze.
But over here people don’t need to leave the country for sunny beaches or snowy Alps. It’s all here. So, the first earned cash of young people is mostly spent on visiting their first foreign country. If possible, at least for a few months (including work) and it’s really something that’s part of their growing up. It seems to me very well for the development of self-confidence and independence.

For example you can see a haka done by students at the funeral of their teacher.

The gains 1

29 September 2006

Last week the day of our move to New Zealand was 1 year ago and someone asked us if we had gone through the ‘gains’. Of course I first had to look up that word. I thought it were the rugby results or something, but it means benefits or profits. In other words; Did the emigration enriched our lives?

Old immigrants say that you first have to go through all the seasons to know if the emigration is successful. They also say that the homesickness mercilessly will strike after 1 year. The latter I don’t think so … During my life people always have said too that ‘later’ I certainly would have children. Or that I would be sorry when I drop out of school to work in a restaurant (and never went back to the classroom again). well, I still feel nothing. No homesickness, no baby wish and no career-remorse.

But back to the gains; There are a few things that troubles me in New Zealand. After 40 years on birth ground someone exactly knows where to go for any wish or any question that comes to him. Even for things that I had nothing to do with ever in my life, I knew to find special stores or agencies in the Netherlands. Also all within a range of 1 hour driving. That’s a difference over here. In New Zealand I have spent hours to search for the most silly things.

About the language problem I’ve ranted a few times, but before the emigration I knew that would be a stumbling block. Beforehand I was not eager to spend much time learning the language properly and today in daily life I barely speak English, so I don’t make any progress. This implies that when I’m in front of new people, I can not present myself as how I am. I’m not able to make nuances during a conversation. For example I can’t use funny theatrical old-fashioned words like I loved to do in my own language.
During last year I even more realized how much a language is connected to your roots and connected to the history of your birth country. The same old immigrants always say: “Ah dear, don’t worry, it will grow on you.” But I know that’s not going to happen. Maybe still possible if you emigrated as a teenager, but not as a mid-ager.
I miss the essential foundation where the contact with my own Dutch peers is based on. I’m not talking about the foundation in the history books, but the foundation of the people living in the same place as you. A place thoroughly known by everyone else around you.

Another important connection to your own language is everything that has been on television during your life. Every Dutchman knows what I mean by “My Dad the Magician” (it’s a well-known children’s tv show in the seventies). Every Dutchman knows who are the Hennies (two Dutchies unjust locked in a Turkish jail). Everyone knows the difference between ‘the It’ (a nightclub) and It’s (an appliance store). Anyone immediately sings along when they hear the melody of: “Sauerkraut with fatty gravy” (an alternative comedy show). And no Dutchie once will use the phrase ‘the realm of thoughts’ anymore with a serious face (a phrase too much used after the murder of a controversial politician). I could make jokes and wits with these shared knowledge. Here in New Zealand this kind of things are a huge empty spot in my expression.
So … there are thousands of wires in a language, which I never can catch up with. And I’m talking about me, because there are immigrants out there, who perfectly can blend in. But they are a lot more social and perhaps a lot more laid-back than me. Less uptight.
It’s all frustrating, but let’s be honest; I do not want it badly enough. So actually … the language has a large impact on me and is a bit of a negative consequence, but it doesn’t fall under the ‘disgains’. Because I had anticipated.
No … disgains wasn’t a real existing word 🙂

Well, did the immigration enriches our lives, or not ???
I don’t often talk about that. If I write down something positive about New Zealand, it looks like I down thumb the Netherlands. If I find something better here, I’ve obviously seen worse, isn’t it?

the gains 1

My first herbs.

It is like I mean that I don’t understand that you guys are still living in that stupid country. Well, of course that isn’t the case … it’s just too dark there. The grey Dutch weather doesn’t particularly made me sad, but the reverse is; nice weather makes me more lighthearted over all. That’s an umbrella gain.

Wally 2

25 September 2006

Two weeks later, on our way to Auckland, I was getting nervous; one moment I was sure I had won, based on a series of pictures that I had found on the internet of other artists who participated in earlier years (and I was not really impressed). The next moment I was sure I impossible could win, because that would be too easy.

Wally had asked me if I would be present in person and extra reminded me that my name was on the ‘door list’ … Would these concerns mean something?
We quickly booked a hotel. A bit of a chic hotel, because you never know if I will belong to a different breed of people after the weekend. Than I can affably wave from my suite …

wally 2

Found !!! (Frank the photographer) was standing with his back to the dead-end corner, where the fire extinguisher and some piled up chairs are located)

As it is for areas not intended to hang paintings on the walls, it was full of those moveable panels. To my stupefaction my painting hung on the back of such a panel as the only one in a death lane of the labyrinth. A kind of; at the back of the exhibition … I don’t think more than two people (we!) have checked that far corner.

A photo impression:

A knit hedge trimmer
Glue and lolly sticks
Painted pieces of polyurethane foam
Jeff Koons inspires a lot
And some paintings, just on the wall

I was among that 50 (the ‘good’ part) that may exhibit further in Wellington, but not among the winners.

The winner a kind of man-sized lump of plastic, dangling from a gallows.
The second prize a painting of a dress.
The third prize a stepladder covered with pieces of paper.
The fourth prize a small chinese portrait.
The fifth prize a collage of painted … things.
The sixth prize a white canvas with 13 colored shapes

wally 2

For the Salon de Refuse; go through that door to the left of those orange things. Then at the end of the hallway you will find a door left again …

Now we had become very curious about what misery to see in Salon de Refuse. You know; that consolation exhibition in the main street of Auckland. Sounds good, huh? In real it were some hidden rooms behind the Citizen Advice Bureau at the end of Queen Street where actually are located no shops anymore. From the outside you see a shared hallway with no signs there is an art show going on. No window, no sign on the pavement. You really have to know where you have to be.

After finding the show of the rejectamenta’s, it confuses me that there were quite a few good artworks!!! More my kind of thing …

The wooden head, did have some sympathetic.
Molded plastic is rubbish. Painted plastic is not.
Mickey is a bit out dated, but because it was painted neatly within the lines it was ok.
I rarely shoot sharp photos. Sorry for that.
And of course there were some … eh … incomprehensible things (save your click).

After all, obviously I’m deeply offended, but also relieved, lol.
Because I did not win, next year I can participate again. I will try with a larger painting, and I won’t be nervous anymore.
In any case; my goal has been achieved; The painting is on tour and will be seen.

Wally 1

9 September 2006

Today we went to Auckland and stay there for 1 night. There were still some of my paintings pining away in the broom closet at Fisher’s gallery. Paintings which are urgently needed to ‘go on with their life’.
Today’s date was not randomly picked, but part of a larger logistic plan; A few weeks ago I had sent a photo to an art contest. There were 472 photos entered and a jury has selected 100 finalists, who can participate the contest with 1 artwork. The painting that I had in mind, now directly could be transported from Fisher’s to … James Wallace Art Trust, which is located a few blocks away. Let’s call him Wally.

The 50 best artworks will be exhibited along with the winning artworks, for 4 months in Auckland and Wellington. The other 50 artworks may hang a couple of weeks in ‘Salon de Refuse’. Hm, the name says it all.
In any case, there is an exhibition with all the 100 works, in the main street of Auckland. So, that is always better than catching dust on the attic.

Immediately after arrival in Auckland, we went to Fisher’s. To have that got off my back as quickly as possible. I had sent him an e-mail what time he could expect me, so he could put the unsold paintings ready at the front door. And so he had ample opportunity to hide away from me.
The whole visit was done in a few minutes. The assistant still stammered a bit that it was no problem to continue to exhibit without being in their stable, that it would cost me no opening money … Hm, well … luckily lately I became very old & wise and I don’t feel the need anymore to preach my view on these kind of business. Also, being understood bothers me less and less over time.
Entirely in line with the expectations … at the hotel I saw that there were some damages on 2 of the paintings. But … what else can you expect from a gallery that exists just only 130 years?
Even older and wiser than an hour earlier, I wasn’t even angry. It is the same as it doesn’t make sense to be angry on rain.

Patricia Van Lubeck, wally 1, wallace art trustBefore we went to deliver the chosen painting to Wally, we first picked up a travel/bullet-proof box at the brothers PicPac. Not because I’m counting on a world tour, but because I learned that people can be incredibly sloppy when dealing with other people’s stuff. The only thing I can do is make them as easy as possible for packing the painting. The Picpac brothers -who also sponsor the contest were already deeply impressed by my painting. Whooo.
In 2 weeks we will hear the judgements of the jury at the gathering with all the artists, in which the Minister of Culture is going to do the opening talk.

Death of the queen

29 August 2006

The Maori queen didn’t wear a soft ermine cloak with golden brooch, but a poorly fitting brownish piece of furry-like material, held together with ordinary string. Later on, I heard that the piece was severely guarded. It was an old heirloom, made out of kiwi feathers, so nothing less than an ermine fur.
Sorry queen, that I was laughing at you, while you wore it so proudly and without embarrassment …

She didn’t have the same big political influence as our Dutch queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, but the Maori queendom also isn’t only folklore. She tried to keep together the many maori tribes, what is politically quite important because of the large pieces of land owned by maori people.
death of the queenIf you wanted to mourn for the death of the queen today, you had to wear a wreath of ivy on your head. I haven’t seen anybody with a wreath in our village. Her death is more a Maori issue, but we white people (we are called pakeha) were allowed to look with our helicopters and tour buses …
There are no princes or princesses for succession. Right after the birth of this queen her father said to her mother; “Mother, no more babies for us anymore, because I am too afraid that you are going to die. It was a horrible sight!!!” And so the Maori queen was an only child.
I think she was a good one because she owned a 1953 Chrysler. That’s cool! And her shoes were cool too.

By the way … Today it was a beautiful day and we decided to take a walk, to the jewelry tree. And guess what???
Everything was GONE!

Driver’s license in New Zealand

25 August 2006

Foreigners are allowed to continue to use their original driver’s license up to 1 year after arriving in New Zealand. Then they need to get a New Zealand driver’s license. Because New Zealanders drives in the left lane, most tourists and newcomers better would be forced to take driver’s lessons immediately on arrival.

A new license sounds worse than it is, because we only had to do the theoretical test. When we trained ourselves in answering the 200 questions at home, we simply walked into the AA office on a quite day. An appointment was not necessary. Our eyes were tested right on the spot and a new photo was taken with a camera screwed on the desk.
Then we sat down at a table with one of those anti-crib-screens between us. We didn’t need to bring a pen, because to answer the 40 multiple choice questions we had to scratch off. So, already during the test I knew I had zero errors! The exciting scratch card sentiment was even reinforced, because the AA office is located in a corner of the festive showroom of a car dealer.
driver's license
I wrote that the New Zealander is practical. Another example of this, is the donor problem; If you want to drive legally you are also old enough to know if you want to be an organ donor, and your decision is immediately printed on your new license. The license looks like a credit card.

Squeezed out

22 August 2006

Dear Patricia,
I would like to invite you to participate in an exhibition in April next year in Fisher’s gallery. It will be a group exhibition with 2 other artists and will have the theme of surrealism. I think that this will be a very strong exhibition and would be a great opportunity to properly introduce your work to our clients.

I replied that I certainly would have 10 paintings ready in April, but first I needed to know more about paragraph 6 of the contract … Paragraph 6 says that an exposition costs me money, which will be ‘passed on’ into my account. And with ‘pass on’ he probably doesn’t mean it is included in the commission of 40%

Actually, I already have decided that I don’t want to exhibit if a gallery wants me to pay even 1 dollar for invitations, postage, vernissage, advertisements or whatever on top of a high commission.

squeezed out

Sandpapering a new canvas

There are 2 types of galleries;
One rents out walls per meter and the artist is in charge for the invitations, postage, ads. The gallery only asks a small commission for every single sold work. The other type of gallery calculates a higher commission (per sold work) where all costs are already included.
The difference is that the first type of gallery is not at risk. Not any customers, but the artist himself provides a solid base income for these galleries. If there is still some selling, than that’s a bonus for the gallery. Amongst artists … this is the circuit for the desperates. If you ever did this kind of business, you don’t brag about it as being a real exhibition. It’s called a vanity gallery.
Fisher pretends to be a gallery of the second kind. The luxurious type that claims to be able to estimate the potential of an artist and then actively trying to sell the artworks via their sophisticated customer base. “A customer base that has been built in 130 years and must be the cream of the crop!” That partly will be based on the truth, because there is hanging some very expensive stuff at Fisher’s. In return, the artist must give exclusivity to this type of gallery and is not allowed to exhibit anywhere else in the country.
I’m willing. However. I am very loyal, though! But I’m not let tarnishing my exclusivity, while I also have to pay for it myself.

squeezed out

My first Very Big canvas

Fisher’s promised to reply within a week. Last week passed and no answer. How surprising. Actually, it doesn’t matter how high or low the costs will be, I already composed an email he would find in his inbox on Monday.

Dear Mr. Fisher,
After careful consideration and thorough reading of the exhibition agreement I came to the following conclusion.
I’m used to work with galleries showing their confidence in the marketability of my work through an exhibition without additional cost for me (apart from the 40% commission of course). I understand Fisher’s has a different policy, so I think our paths must part here.

Saves him counting. It seemed obvious to me that he only could get me without costs for me. And I honestly hoped that we were finished at this point, though of course I would play the game to a proper end.
On Monday Fisher’s assistant was on my answering machine, asking me if I was ‘upset’ about something. Well, I’m not comfortable to make phone calls in English yet, so I replied by email that my sudden objections were purely business related. In new words I tried to explain again that I was not willing to be charged on top of the commission.
squeezed outsqueezed outThe next day I received his reply; A quite standard sales pitch, like why only THEY are such a good gallery and that they would continue to represent me after the exhibition. Nevertheless concluding the email by asking what they had to do with my paintings which are still there … So, no attempt to look from my point of view, but that’s okay, because otherwise both parties feel that they have to do a favor to the other.


28 July 2006

It happened I have to provide a lunch for strangers. If you had told me 1 year ago, that I had to cook a meal for 8 English-speaking strangers … I would have pointed to your forehead.
You must know that I was the kind of child with serious plans for arson when I had to give a talk in front of the class. A talk was equal to death and burning down the school was a possible solution. Not a long-term solution, I know … but yet less myopic than childishly staying at home with stomach aches. In my opinion. I only needed to get stoked by the wrong friends, but unfortunately I was only an attraction for fathomless good children.
So, this voluntary lunch, we safely can regard as a Personal Breakthrough!

Over here (and probably in a lot of other countries than the netherlands) it’s customary that guests bring something to eat to a dining or luch appointment. But, it seems to be a kind of unwritten prohibition to ask the host what makes sense to bring … If a guest asks, of course the host will say: “Oh nooo, you don’t need to bring anything, your company is enough!” So nobody asks anything and the host can’t advice anything. In the Netherlands most people bring flowers or wine and the host determined what’s on the menu. That’s another form of ‘easy’.

socializingThe evening before, at the checkout in the supermarket, we were waiting behind two older teenage girls that have been bathed and already wore their immaculate pink flannel pyjamas. Nevertheless, in a warmer country like this, that looked slightly less weird than in a cold country. You just come bare feet to pick up some chips for later in front of the TV … It also seems less strange because there are enormous palm trees at the exit of the supermarket that (in our Dutch eyes) gives the “outside world” something living-room-ish. You know … we are coming from a land of houseplants.

I had made a big pan of spaghetti and a nice filled salad and cheese sandwiches, but one of the guests puts a large pot of rice in my kitchen. And a bag of 10 limes, a box of chopped vegetables and a coriander plant on my counter. I didnt know what to do with it. Dinner was ready at that time and there was more than enough food. I even had no room on the table anymore. So I’ve thrown the limes in my fruit bowl and put the vegetables in the fridge …
After the lunch the coriander plant was taken again, so now it feels like I have ‘stolen’ the limes and the veggies. I don’t understand these impractical ‘rules’. I do not know … I think bringing useless flowers is still yet more convenient. Or just a simple consultation with all the concerned persons.

Snitched, but too late

30 June 2006

The only neighbour we’ve betrayed once, was the owner of a goat. The neighbours hardly looked after the animal, who was tied to a pole with a rough rope leaving a sore-looking spot on his neck. Once a week they moved the post a few meters, as far away as possible from their villa-with-lushy-lawn and within 1 day, the goat already had eaten every tuft of the poorly weeds on the edge of their property. The rest of the week he apathetically lay in the cold muddy dirt, in its own droppings.

Of course we were only sissy city people and probably did only imagine that the apple we threw over the fence every morning, was munched hyperly quick. And a nice fitting collar to remedy the deep pink gash in his neck, perhaps was also too fancy for an ordinary goat …

One morning we heard a pitiful moaning and we saw how the neighgoat had tangled himself with the rope and was laying in an impossible position, tight against the post. Frank immediately was jumping over the fence to save him. There was only a little zest for living left in the poor thing, and he didn’t want the apple anymore.

snitched too lateAfter Frank had warned the neighbour and was ‘reassured’ with the sarcastic remark that they would reanimate him soon, we have wait for 1 hour. As expected, they didn’t show up to take a look and when we went to check the goat once again on our way to work, he laid there even more lifeless in the cold wetness with panicking eyes.
We drove to the vet and explained the situation. Legally he couldn’t do much, but he promised us to drive along the place and then ‘accidentally’ hearing a plaintive goats cry … With a worried veterinarian heart he would stop to do further investigation …
If necessary, we wanted to pay the bill.

Returning home, after work, we immediately called the vet.
The goat died.
Just before the vet could give him the euthanasia injection …

Snitchers 2

25 June 2006

In the newspapers of New Zealand is printed a lists of names and last known addresses of people who didn’t pay their fines. Not intended to show you what kind of bad guys they are, but more as a request for help; If you happen to know how to get in touch with one of these lawbreakers, your advice will be highly appreciated.
New Zealand also considers its citizens mature enough to join in investigations of more important cases. Contrary to the Netherlands suspects appears in the papers with name and mug shot, what of course makes searching a lot easier. The fact that many criminals are found more quickly by this publicity, invalidate the fact that some individuals temporarily got suspected by mistake. Well, you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.

So, you understand I don’t mind that list of fines in the newspaper over here, while the Dutch hotline always leaves me a bad taste. Not because now everything in New Zealander is better than what’s happening in the Netherlands … no, it’s just that the hotline has something sly and dirty, coupled with the fact that (a crucial detail!) the Dutch citizens never were allowed to know what was discussed behind the judicial doors. And certainly not allowed to hear names. Also te length of someone’s record ‘doesn’t matter’. Duh, imagine that <cynism>an ordinary dumb citizen could make some crazy conclusions</cynism>.


Sharpening knives

By hearing the word hotline I think of anonymously betraying your neighbour, while sending him your sweetest greet every morning.

Snitcher 1

21 June 2006

Sometimes people ask me if I’m influenced by animation movies because of the atmosphere in my paintings. That may be true, I love animated films. Yesterday I saw Cars from Pixar.
Cars now was finally a movie that proved that my great sorrow wasn’t so ridiculous when I had to bring my first cars to be junkyard. It’s heartbreaking! According to Frank the ‘actors’ had authentic ‘voices’. That doesn’t mean the list of famous names in the credits, but … the engine noise of a 1953 Hudson was exactly the right sound of a straight-6. Yes, there are people out there who highly appreciate these correct details. Although the engine noise of a low-rider of course can be nothing else than the voice of Cheech …
The film was full of jokes and reflections for the grown-ups too. Everything we thought about cars, they also thought at Pixar. Like that Hummers are sissies. That Porsches are girls. That a wheel clamp hurts. That biodiesel is for hippies. That accidents are very traumatic. That America is beautiful. That tractors always be bullied.

Talking about bullying, I pondered further …

In my childhood days, when one of the classmates secretly had done something bad, it could happen that we all had to stay in the classroom after school hours. “Everyone keeps sitting in ones chair until the culprit report himself!” said the teacher, with which he unleashed a small psychological war.
Possibly he considered this as a lesson in loyalty. Mainly a lesson for the guilty one, because now he or she might feel the undeserved punishment of 29 innocent fellow kids.
snitcherIf the kid was a brat, it wasn’t bothered at all. In that case, the stay after school was a lesson in betrayal.
The only thing the teacher needed to do was waiting, until one of the other kids explodes in impatience and would shout out: “Yes John, say it!!!”
But … 9 times out of 10, it was just a lesson in respect for the teacher … because he only had to look at the faces of all the children, who automatically did stealthy glances on John. It was incomprehensible to us that -after a few minutes of deadly silence- the teacher apparently had found the perpetrator and could sent home the rest of us.

We, in return, were baffled how the teacher had identified the snitcher.

Snitchers part II


15  June 2006

undergroundundergroundA few months ago, while hiking in the woods on top of the mountain, I found a little red plastic flower. Probably fell off from a hairpin, or so. Bored I pushed the thing into a hole in a tree next to the bench where I had my picnic.
A few hours later, down in the village, I found an earring on the street. I didn’t intend to stick it in my earlobe (who knows where it has been in these days), but I stored it in the pocket of my backpack because suddenly I got an idea! At home I collected all my divorced earrings out of my jewelry box and put them in the same pocket of my backpack.

Today again we passed the tree where I pushed in that red plastic flower. It was still there and I even couldn’t get it out of the bark anymore, because of the growth of the tree. In imitation of the bubblegum alley in San Luis Obispo and the bra fence in Cardrona … I pricked my single earrings and rejected jewels in the same tree. They’re about eye level with a viewpoint on a walking trail, but it would surprise me if someone sees them right away. And that’s okay, because hey pssssst, this is ‘underground’!

undergroundundergroundI’m hoping the sharp observants among us, also hang in their loners. Who knows lost jewels will be getting together again. Who knows, one day, my jewelry tree is also a famous landmark in the Lonely Planet guide!

Squeezed buttocks

4 June 2006

Squeezed buttocksOur first winter is kicking in. The house is built of a single layer of wood and protected from the rain by a plastic skin with wood pattern … There is mold right on the windows and the days my towels were dry, are long gone. My linen starts to smell like onions. The couch is permanently covered with an electric blanket. I rediscovered the hot water bottle and on my painter seat is an electric mini-blanket. Three inches beside my seat is an oil heater.
All things I need to get used to.

Apart from the famous kiwi bird New Zealand adores some more icons. Such as the Pohutukawa tree, the beautiful blue paua shell and their unbeatable Hokey Pokey ice cream. But one of the most strange icons are the flip-flops! They are depicted on t-shirts and postcards. There are Christmas tree decorations with flip-flops on them. There are key chains and they are even created in gold mini size with gems and be proudly used as a logo to promote New Zealand. They brag about it like the Swiss with their watches. In my eyes an incomprehensible status symbol.

Now I know that the Dutch are proud of their wooden shoe, but that is still a kind of folk handcraft. Slightly different from a disposable rubber slipper, right? The current version is 60 years ago invented in New Zealand and they call them ‘jandals’, derived from Japanese sandals. Or THONGS  photo schrik_zpsfcrisfmx.gif the same word as string. So a thong is the collective term for garments splitting 1 body part in 2 parts. I can’t stand wearing strings and find it a distasteful garment. I don’t own thongs (I mean the flip-flops). I want them, but now knowing they have the same name as strings, I’m afraid I accidentally will walk with squeezed buttocks, when I feel something between my toes …

Does that make sense?


possums28 May 2006

In Australia the possum is a protected animal. But in New Zealand it is ‘your duty’ to kill them.
Once there were a few possums imported to breed for their fur. When the New Zealanders finally designed some nice coats at the end of the 19th century, unfortunately fur just became out of fashion. So, they released the animals from their cages.
The possums loved the New Zealand green and lived in abundance. Today there are 70 million of them. New Zealanders say they are a concurrent for the food of their beloved kiwi bird.
There are possum shops where you can still buy all sorts of things made of possum fur and tasty canned possum meat. Rumour goes round that you can sell dead possums to these shops …

In the seventies, when the government wanted to do something against possum plague, they got the idea to give the citizens a monetary reward for each collected possum. A huge hunt began. Everyone joined in and the big eradication seemed to make good progress.
Until the moment the first private possum breeding farms were discovered … in children’s rooms, in backyards, in attics …
How unexpected.

Now they are trying again, without the help of the citizens. During hiking along the forest trails you sometimes see a pink triangle nailed to a tree. That means on a distance of a few meters from the path, there is put poison or a possum trap.