Cool Cats     "Cool Cats"

  four small panels oil on canvas on plywood h30 x w20cm,
  January 2001

A series of mini portraits, and in contrast with the elderly people in the four preceding paintings this time portraits of young men wearing baseballcaps that are omnipresent nowadays. In fact they are hardly portraits, because their personalities are hardly visible because of the caps. These young people could be anyone's sons really. Whereas I am showing the painting material openly by not hiding the plywood behind a frame, I am hiding the eyes of those portrayed behind their caps. People feel strong and "cool", looking from behind sunglasses or beneath a cap, so that nobody can look them in the eye. Moreover, the origin of the caps make them symbols of sportsmanship and dynamism, and US commerce has elevated them to desirable fashion items on which sports brands and all sorts of companies advertise their logos. Very cool indeed. I have left these logos out, in order not to draw attention to a brand but rather to the human being and his conditioned group behaviour. Previously it was only elderly American tourists that you could spot wearing baseball caps here, but nowadays the one article of clothing that shouts "I am young and cool" is that same baseball cap.

The Drinker     "The Drinker"

  oil on hardboard h87 x w71cm,
  February 2001

Anyone can easily recognize something in the theme of this painting, but also have a look at the way the theme is conveyed. Various perspectives and painting methods are put side by side to suggest the sort of topsy-turvy effect you may have after having had a bit too much to drink. Everything is held together by a light-blue background that suggests a table top. This has been made by first colour washing the hardboard panel with a lot of white spirit and a bit of light blue paint, and then by spraying darker blue paint from a can straight through an embroidered tablecloth. Hence the pattern. On top of this there are three bottles leaning towards the upper right corner in a twisted perspective, connected to each other by shadows, painted in a photo-realistic style. In the lower half of the painting somebody is dosing, painted in rougher brushstrokes and chopped up into three disconnected pieces. We are looking through him and see the emptiness beyond. The emptiness of his existence can be filled temporarily by bottles, but once these are empty too, what then? Then we'll just take a nap and wait until the bar reopens...
By the way, there is headgear again in this painting. After the caps of the "Cool Cats" now a Mexican straw hat. Look back in the gallery and discover that headgear has appeared regularly from the first painting "You Have a Point" onwards.

Do I See a Nude?     "Do I See a Nude?"

  oil on canvas h64 x w84cm,
  March 2001

In "Self-portrait No.1" and "Self-portrait No.2" I portrayed myself in vertical drapes and with patches and irregular lines. This time I am a collection of surfaces. And right through me or behind me lies a naked woman. I have painted similarly intertwined figures before in "Ghostly Figures", and in this painting too background and foreground are not clearly separated. Looking at this construction you can think of a reflection of my face in a window. Or you can think of a dream image of a woman that is more clearly defined than the fragmented face of the dreamer. But who the hell is that woman? I am certainly not dreaming of my own wife here. Oh dear. What do we make of that?

Tramp     "Tramp"

  oil on cardboard on hardboard h80 x w87cm,
  April 2001

Nothing more or less than just a gigantic portrait painted after a photograph of an Amsterdam tramp who had just died. I projected the photograph onto the cardboard with an episcope and filled it in afterwards. I considered such a striking face of an undoubtedly colourful person strong enough to leave as it was without wanting to add a story of my own to it. For the first time I used no colours, or to be more exact only those colours (ultramarine and burnt sienna) that yield beautiful black and grey tones once mixed. And that's it. In this way I got a soberness and simplicity that I found most fitting and grabbing here.
My fascination for weathered faces is nothing new. Look back at e.g. "Jigsaw Head" from 1998, which by the way has nothing to do with this portrait at all.

Face in Rectangle     "Face in Rectangle"

  oil on paper h52 x w76cm,
  September 2001

The classical division of a painting in terms of depth is in three parts: there is a background, a bit in the middle and a foreground. Here you see this in a cool, smooth background that's hardly present, and on top of this a contrasting, rough and warm-coloured middle section. And on top of this rectangle there is an obtrusive, attention-grabbing image: a face. This face is painted in the cool background colours, so that background and foreground are linked. The various highlight and shadow areas are strictly separated.

Ascot Gentlemen     "Ascot Gentlemen"

  oil on canvas h64 x w84,
  October 2001

This canvas has been inspired by a photograph, most probably of a funeral. However, I did not want to make it a sad affair, hence the choice of colours. Perhaps it is less about the past (the high hats) than about the future (the mobile phone). And if you imagine this scene at a posh horse race, at which two gentlemen have a chat during a stroll and one of them checks the news on the stock rates, the image becomes totally different. The ravens of the funeral have then disappeared. But remember that past developments are no guarantee for the future...

Nude with Folded Arms     "Nude with Folded Arms"

  oil on MDF-board h68 x w61cm,
  November 2001

The design comes from a photograph of a statue of a female nude, and I have further stylised it to shape it into a good plastic form. For the colours I have put layer upon layer and have left each to dry, so that the individual shades have not been mixed but could "sparkle" next to each other for those who want to take a closer look. By accident I discovered that the painting is a lot more erotic than planned. Just look at the painting sideways (never mind which side is up) and have a look at the right arm. Once you have seen this form, you will look at the painting in a different way, also when it hangs as it should. But don't tell anyone, it's our secret.

Nude with Face on Knee     "Nude with Face on Knee"

  oil on canvas h64 x w84cm,
  December 2001

Again a female nude. This time I have used the age-old screen technique to get all proportions absolutely right. I selected a photograph and superimposed a grid of squares of 1 by 1 cm. Then I copied this grid with charcoal onto the canvas, but with enlarged squares of 4 by 4 cm, and I drew the image, carefully comparing the coordinates. Next I sprayed the charcoal with fixative and started to fill in the female figure with paint, first a warm earthy tone and on top of this a cooler colour. The combination provides a tranquil and monumental atmosphere to the image.

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