You Have a Point     "You Have a Point"

  oil on canvas board h62 x w82cm,
  October 1997

This is the very first painting I finished. It already has the layered structure that I am fond of and it also has the contrasting techniques. There is both rough and fine brushwork and there is a fair amount of random as well as measured paint sprinkling. There is also a clash between the abstract pointed forms and the realistic figure of an old man in a raincoat. What's the point of all the contrasts? The point is that contrasts are never boring and keep your eyes on the picture. And what is our man thinking? Not much good I suppose, perhaps "I'm off", because I was only just in time to catch him on canvas before he ambled out of the frame. We will see raincoats, old men and hats recur in later paintings too. By the way, the pointed forms were not meant to represent teeth, Ku Klux Klan members or geological formations, but just abstract pointed forms.

Freedom     "Freedom"

  oil on canvas board h54 x w64cm,
  November 1997

I have sweated over this nude, but in vain, because the true human form eludes me. Small wonder of course, when you take such a difficult subject without having practised a lot first. I have progressed a great deal since then when it comes to anatomical studies (have a look at e.g. "Chubby Nude" and "Ghostly Figures"). The interesting thing here is that the beginnings are there and that I am struggling to get it right but that I want too much as a beginner. I will rise to the challenge later. Incidentally, the figure started out dressed in a T-shirt, but the folds proved more difficult than naked breasts, so I dropped the T-shirt.

The Alphabet Man     "The Alphabet Man"

  oil on canvas h84 x w64cm,
  December 1997

Usually you have a foreground and a background that can be distinguished in style, texture, colour, etc. In this painting I wanted both to mix somehow. I did not want the figure of a man to stand in front of a backdrop as in "You Have a Point", but I wanted him to be part of it. How did I do this? I took a stencil-plate with the alphabet on it and painted with a brush through the stencil-plate that I held to the canvas. I applied various colours until finally a figure emerged out of the forest of coloured letters. Why letters? First of all, because such stencil-plates are readily available in all forms and sizes, and secondly because letters stand for my professional orientation. The picture proves that humble materials can be used artistically to produce a surprising result.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi     "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi"

  oil and mixed technique on canvas h65 x w85cm,
  December 1997

A painting of a dead person. To me it was basically another exercise in depth, perspectives, layers of paint and of meaning, and technique. Bearing in mind that I had never really painted four months earlier, this painting represents a leap in skill. I did the background in two sessions, covering half with masking tape, so that vertical drapes or a sort of wallpaper were created. I then painted the corps, put on stick-on letters "sic transit" before spraying part of the canvas black to create a gloomy atmosphere. I pealed off the letters to reveal the blue underneath. Then came the person in the background (probably from the police) looking on in contemplation (over an unconvincing shoe I had painted there earlier). Then came a white/pink background to a front page of a newspaper I had in mind. The model was taken from a Monty Python book and I adapted its title to include "gloria mundi" and I inserted a news item on the mysterious death of a hermit artist. I made a copy in reverse and placed it in the acrylic binder with which I had covered the white/pink patch. As soon as it had dried and the ink had gone into the dried binder, I brushed off the paper, so that the text became visible. Finally I painted some faces in or behind the wallpaper. Who they are is anybody's guess. The ghosts of the past? The artist's multiple personalities? Just mourners? You may think what you like, and so may the police.

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