Saturday, February 28, 2015

Realistic fantasy

Buy this item AM214129
“The plane, the plane”. Man how many times did I hear that annoying voice of Tattoo announcing the “new guest arrived”. Fantasy Island. Haven’t seen it for a long time now. Time for a rerun TV-guys? No, don’t bother. I didn’t ask. What I do want to know is: “where did the bloody plane land?”

I needed some information on airstrips or small airports everyone had forgotten about. After all, although I am writing fiction, things have to be realistic. In my mind I had planned a scene at an airport. In fact I had written the entire scene without knowing if the airport I had described really existed. For the record. Whether it would exist or not, was not a matter of life or death. As said, I’m writing fiction, so I can make up any airport I like. But then again, the real thing would make things a lot more convincing.

To my surprise the answer was easy to find. Unfortunately it was far more difficult to decide which of the abandoned airfields I was going to use. The website Abandoned and little known airfields by Paul Freeman, describes details of no less than 1,911 airfields in all 50 states of the US. History and mystery combined, so it’s said on the website. True stories and photos about days long forgotten. I enjoyed reading about those airfields. Some are still used, others partly or completely vanished. But all of them have a story worth to be remembered. Paul Freeman has made sure, these stories are remembered.

How about the Fantasy Island airstrip? Well, first of all it’s an island, guests were supposed to arrive by seaplane. The original series (1977-1984) was primarily filmed in Burbank, California. The coastline as seen in the opening scenes in fact is the coastline of the island Kauai, Hawaii. The plane with new guests arriving, was filmed in the lagoon behind the Queen Anne Cottage in Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Social thriller

Buy this item AM214127
Crime fiction is divided into a wide variety of subgenres. Some writers specialize in a certain genre, like legal thrillersin which the major characters are lawyers and their co-workers, psychological thrillers, based on a mental and emotional conflict between the main characters, techno trhillers, in which sophisticated technology plays a prominent part, but also erotic thrillers about...well, I guess you can make it up for yourself.

No matter the subgenre a writer uses, most include elements of other subgenres as well. I admire writers like George Orwell(Nineteen Eighty-Four) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) for their powerful novels warning us of a future world where the state has become in complete control over our social life. Unaware of its real meaning, many people really think Big Brother is no more than a TV-format. The social message overruled by reality. TV-reality.

Gatorway is an exciting thriller, with a twist of humor, but mostly based on a social viewpoint. What if the drugs cartels will cooperate with terrorists, using high tech solutions to reach their goals? Having several plots ready to write, I was looking for a theme which could be found in all stories. What is my thriller subgenre? My preference for writers like Orwell and Huxley obviously had more influence as I imagined. In all manuscripts I’m working on, the social message is clearly present. Hence, the name social thriller was a fact.

A small, yet very important, aspect of thrillers is the presence or controversy of innocence versus a corrupt world. Corruption will be a main theme in the sequel to Gatorway, scheduled for publication February 2016. Although Gatorway is a story on its own, several clues have been given which have led to presently unsolved mysteries. Whereas these clues may seem to be coincidal in relation to the basic storyline, the unsolved mysteries are a prelude to the second book in this series.  “You ain’t seen read nothing yet!” 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Buy this item: AM214136
 (cover Gatorway)
Gatorway may seem to be an unexplainable title. it? If you're interested or curious about the meaning of this title you will have to read my latest thriller, Gatorway. 

Story outline: a Dutch student, Dylan Timmers, believes he has found himself the best summer job anyone can imagine: lifeguard at Miami Beach. But nothing appears to be what he expected. A dead body and a small package found at the beach where Dylan is working, completely turn his life upside down. Dylan becomes mixed up in the obscenity and malpractices of terrorists and the drugs scene. Gatorway is a socialthriller, which uncovers a societal problem most people are still unaware of.

The storyline is based upon the question: "what happens when terrorist groupsand drug cartels are fighting over power?" Despite all efforts, governments are hardly capablein controlling these organizations.

I enjoyed writing the story. Included many, unexpected twists, a little romance, humor and a spectacular drone attack. Yep! Nano-technology meets ordinary crime. 

The cover is not based on the 'regular thriller' format. I wanted to use some of my own artwork, without the usual photos of weapons, blood, running people or staring eyes. (Or any combination...). After all, I’m an artist of ‘words and vision’. Does it make my thriller unrecognizable for readers? Maybe as a single book. However, I'm thinking beyond this title. Just like the mini abstract paintings at the beginning of each blog entry, I want my thrillers to be recognizable as a series. The cover of Gatorway is based upon the small painting illustrated in this blog. Only 20x20 cm (7.87 x 7.87 inch), mixed acrylics and sand on canvas. 'Sand tiles' as I explained in a previous post. Pieces of art not appreciated by everyone. But I like the way the paint creates mysterious patterns in the sand. It’s all part of the game. Doesn’t every thriller start with a mystery?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sand Tiles

Buy this item: AM214151
Working with sand is always exciting. Sand has a "mind of its own". Mixing acrylics with sand, the paint creeps and crawls into unexpected directions, "washes" out in magnificent patterns and creates great drippings at the sides of your panel. Those crazy patterns can be seen on the small sand paintings I create. They are only 20x20cm (7.8x7.8"). I call them "Sand Tiles".Combined into groups, or hung in a row, they sort astonishing effects on your wall. The Sand Tile pictured hereby has also been used as background for this website.

Sand is used by several artists. Some like to create thick layers of sand which eventually will turn out to be as hard as a layer of concrete and then start curving and cutting until they achieve the shapes and size they like. Other simply pour sand upon their paintings. I like to use backgrounds of acrylics. Then pour mixed sand and acrylics upon certain parts of the painting. Occasionally upon the entire artwork, but mostly only upon a few parts to emphasize details. From thereon I use two techniques. The first one is based on pouring one or more colors into the first, still soft and moist layer. This will give the effect of paint waving out into several, often unexpected, directions. For the second technique every layer needs to become hard before I can continue to put on another layer in different colors. To fasten the process, I also mix both techniques.

I’m only human, so whenever possible I try to control the way the sand will crawl over the canvas. It looks like an eternal struggle with the elements (alright, without the wind and the fire). And to be honest, some of the best effects may happen all by themselves. The artist being a part of a natural process, but not in control. Human nature!

Sand Tiles are for sale at my online shop, categorized as Mini Abstract Paintings. (Price: $ 49.99).