Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
We live in frameworks. Mental and emotional constructions that we call 'The World' or 'Life' or 'Things'. Like when people ask you 'How are things?'. Maybe the most scary thing is when the framework breaks down. Things are not what they seem. Things are not what they were. This is not the life you ordered. Actually, things are not nearly as safe as you thought. Here you see the framework literally being invaded by abstract - but not exactly comforting - entities. Primal fear! Run! And is that car safe. Or is it with them?

I made this work for the XP2020 artists group. We are all making works about fear and excitement. I have a post where you can see more about the process of this work.

Geldersch Landschap
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
Last year my wife Anneke and I had a great vacation here in our own country, the Netherlands. We took our bikes and cycled all the way from our home town to the Northern city of Groningen and back. Visited some friends on the way. It was a beautiful vacation. We were struck repeatedly by the beauty of our own country. On our way back, close to Nijmegen where we live, I saw this landscape. Our province is called 'Gelderland', hence the name. I realise this is not the 'Big Story' that's supposed to accompany an XP2020 work. Oh well, maybe it's about the small stories too.

Although, now that I mentioned XP2020, I did endeavor to paint this in the style of 'De Ploeg' (The Plow), a Dutch expressionist movement in the province of Groningen in the '30s of the last century. They were strongly influenced by the German expressionist painter Kirchner.

Psychologists on the beach
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
The psychologists are on the beach, catching some sun. Some ar looking at you. Some are daydreaming about minds. They are talking about the human condition. A web of meanings comes from their minds and their bodies. Somehow you can see right through them. Or are they seeing through you? There's fire, there's water, there's personalities. Although, personality, is that even a useful concept?

The doctors thought that I was gone
Acrylic on canvas board, 40 x 60 cm.

The Story
The story is a bit vague with this one. Or very vague, actually. I am quite unsure what it means. It has something to do with upward striving. It has something to do with light rising from a cup or a chalice (= a container for drinking out of. Figuratively: an emotion that affects one's life path). Made me think of Andy Warhol somehow. Hence the title. But not in terms of form, of course, which is not Warholesk at all.

Me big chief me got 'em tribe
Acrylic on canvas board, 40 x 60 cm.

The Story
The big chief arrives and brings his entourage with him. You see his dark warriors floating in. And his guiding spirit of course, whom you see on the right side of the painting in a golden color. Small natives scurry off, bigger natives quietly emigrate or prepare to fight. The jester floats above the chief. Is he even real? He looks a bit schematic. Anyway when the big chief arrives with his tribe, all are forced to relate to that, one way or another. And this is an essence of nature. Things happen. There's no morality.

Things got back to normal as the train began to roll again
Acrylic on mdf board, 60 x 60 cm.

The Story
My first painting (after 30 years of doing other things since art school) was inspired by Andy Morris. Andy has a number of courses on Udemy. I will definitely put up a post about him later. We were opening a new office and I was looking for some good art work. But I couldn't find what I liked. Saw one of Andy's courses and decided to give it a try. He has a wonderful talent for making it simple. Anyway, at one point he was demonstrating how to put stripes over a painting with masking tape. And here they are.  See if you can get behind the stripes... Trust me: things will get back to normal when the train begins to roll again.

Flori loves summer
Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 40 cm.

The Story
My son Flori loves the summer. He was visiting and this painting happened the next day. Look carefully and you will see that nothing is right. And yet everything is there... The sky is speckled with something. But clouds aren't like that. The balconies are hanging on precariously. Are those windows? Hmmm. Green stripes that look like light. These red balls in the sky can't be suns. Only the trees look fairly normal. But those chimneys are way to close again. If they even are chimneys.

Waiting for the end of the world
Acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.

The Story
You are in outer space with your small personal space vehicle. It is moored to a little blue asteroid. You have your sign language signaling system up. Catching communications. You never know. But apparently that's not the only thing you are catching. Two stone figures appear. In space, a stone object can drift. But are they really stone? And also, haven't you seen those two before in some museum in Germany? Yes. They were in a display case, pretending to be much smaller and hailing from some old culture. Persia? Irak?

Mister Oswald said he had and understanding with the law
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
My most carefully executed abstract painting so far. Made especially for my best friend Jeffrey Wijnberg. When Jeffrey saw my first abstract painting, he immediately called out: "I want one of those!". It meant a lot to me. So I set to work, and here it is. What is it about? In a sense it's about nothing specifically. In another sense it's about everything. A bit like Harvey Oswald, right? Maybe he changed history. Maybe he didn't even do it. After all these years we still don't know. And even if he did it, and if he was alone and if he changed history, he was still totally wrong. So there you have it: the human condition in a nutshell...

Somebody send out for the night nurse
Acrylic on canvas, 45 x 90 cm, 2 panels.

The Story
We had refurbished our office building and I felt we needed one more painting for a little, cosy meeting and practice room. But the opening date was approaching quickly and I ran out of time. To save time, I decided to use two 'half size' panels (45 x 90 cm rather than 90 x 90 cm). In the Andy Morris color pouring process I wanted to use, the panels are at some point laid on top of each other with wet paint, making the one in a sense a mirror image of the other - in that particular layer. Using two panels, I would have to paint only half of two full panels while still being able to do the pouring process.

I got to the pouring step, and then I accidentally put the paint on too thickly. Most of the underpainting disappeared under the poured layer. Disaster! So I took the canvasses, ran to the shower and sprayed them with water until they were clean of the poured layer. But because I had been in a hurry finishing these paintings, the underpainting had not been as dry as it should have been. So it turned out I accidentally washed of part of that too....

Having no time to start all over, I decided to keep the slightly washed out background. I did a second colour pouring which turned out much better and I finished the paintings. On the day before the opening I hung them in the little meeting room.

At the time I thought I would take them back to my studio later to finish them. But as time went by, I started to like them as they were. For me, they still carry that moment of artistic shock when I put on too much paint. That's why I called them 'Somebody send out for the night nurse'. They are symbolically about the good things that can come from mistakes if you can roll with them. Good things can come from plan B. Or in this case: stopping on the way to plan B.

​Transparent Dutch cat
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
​They say that an artist should give the viewer's eye some resting places in a painting. Offer a clear composition, with some obvious focal points. This painting, the first in a series of two, offers no rest for the viewer. Some people stand in front of it and then quickly turn away, saying something like "Too busy". Others stand in front of it for a long time. They seem to step into it and wander around, discovering ​new structures and relationships every time. They say the painting changes their mind.

​Beckmann's ghost
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.

The Story
Symbolic expressionist ​​Max Beckmann is one of my painting heroes. When I got stuck with this painting, his ghost appeared in my mind. He stood behind me and he told me to use grey. I did. Like its counterpart (The transparent Dutch cat, shown above), some people stand in front of​ it, step into it and wander around for a long time, discovering all kinds of structures and relationships. They say the painting changes their mind.

Blue man and owl with spirits
Acrylic on cardboard, 20 x 30 cm.

The Story
Like all human beings, the blue man is working hard to balance the forces of emotion, history, physicality, spirituality, social influence, nature and so on and so forth. Poor blue man. So many forces. Such strong forces too. Luckily he is being somewhat helped and protected by the solid owl above him. The wolf is howling, the ballerina is dancing, the dinosaur is floating and the blue man needs a lot of strength just to keep standing up.