Thursday, September 29, 2011

San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival

This year I am thrilled to be included amongst fifty of the nation’s top plein air artists who have been selected to venture outdoors to paint the unspoiled landscapes, seascapes and cityscapes of San Luis Obispo County—one of the most picturesque areas on the California Central Coast. 

The 10th Annual Plein Air Festival comes to the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art from October 2-9, 2011. The Museum plays host to 50 the country’s most accomplished landscape painters who for one week grace the Central Coast, painting the seascapes, landscapes and town scenes of the area. During the week, there are events each night celebrating the painter and the style of painting known as Plein Air. 
A week-long celebration of plein air painting, the Festival also includes lectures, poetry readings, movies, and kids’ paint out in addition to the gala opening of the Festival Exhibition and Sale on Friday and Quick Draw and Live Auction on Saturday. The San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival is produced by the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in support of the Museum’s exhibition and educational programming.

Festival Dates: 10/3/2011 - 10/9/2011
Reception: 10/7/2011 7:30-9:00 p.m.

Location: San Luis Obispo Museum of Art
(805) 543-8562
1010 Broad Street
San Luis Obispo CA 93401-3505

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Laguna Beach Oil Painting Workshop

A couple weeks ago I held a 3-day oil painting workshop in beautiful Laguna Beach, CA. I had a small group which enabled me to give everyone LOTS of attention (I did  my best not to hover over each of them.) One student traveled all the way from Florida to be there.

The first day started with a demonstration painting and I explained my approach and thought process while I worked including lots of talk about warm and cool colors and using them to create depth in your painting. Then I turned my group loose to work on their own paintings. At the end of the day we had a group critique where I talked about the aspects of each student's painting that worked and then offered suggestions for improvements.

The second day I had them paint 3 small studies. They were allowed to work on each painting for 2 hours only. The purpose of the exercise was to get them thinking about the landscape as large simple shapes, not specific details. One student mentioned he was having trouble painting trees so I made sure he painted a palm tree as one of his small studies. It was absolutely amazing to watch the light bulb switch on over his head when he understood how to paint the tree and how to see both the positive and negative shapes that formed it. We also ended that day with a critique.

The last day I did a small, quick demonstration painting just to reinforce everything I'd been teaching that weekend. My goal was to give the class as much painting time as possible before the light changed dramatically. Each of them produced a beautiful painting, I was very proud of their accomplishments! Below is a view from our painting location, just another day at the office.

If you would like to be part of my next plein air oil painting workshop in Orange County, please contact me with dates that work best for you and I will add your name to my interest list - just click here. I will be planning my 2012 schedule soon and will let email you with more details.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Original Oil Painting of Tuscany, Italy - Titled "Chianti Road"

11 X 14 inch oil painting on canvas panel. 
Titled "Chianti Road"

Frame and Shipping Options

Lately, I’ve been painting a whole lot of demonstration paintings. I never imagined a year ago I would be painting this much in front of large groups of people. Needless to say, it can be extremely nerve-wracking. Especially, when I get overly ambitious and decide to paint a scene I’ve never painted before. This was one of those views that I painted at the O.C. Fair and while I have painted very similar scenes, this one was new to me. Luckily, it turned out well in spite of the fact that I was talking my way through it the whole time and answering questions.

It’s a delicate balance between teaching technique and creating art and often the art is sacrificed a bit so that key painting techniques can be passed along. I’m finding however, that the more I talk my way through my painting process when teaching, the clearer my objectives for each painting have become. In addition, there are a lot of things I am learning from watching my students paint and I can’t help but be inspired by their hard work, persistence and enthusiasm.

This scene is outside a monastery in Tuscany, Italy. The photo I used to paint from is very different than my final painting. Many people who stopped to watch me paint at the Fair were shocked at what a departure this is from my reference. Of course, that was a great opportunity to talk about using photographs as inspiration, not a literal translation, in order to create a better painting. I truly believe that it helps to put away any photos I’m using after a while so that I can focus on the painting itself and not get caught up in the details of reality. After all, I’m not going to display the photograph alongside my finished painting, what matters most at the end of the day is what’s in the frame. I’ve posted the original photograph below.

To see more of my work log onto

Monday, September 5, 2011

There's still time to enroll for my 3-day outdoor oil painting workshop in Laguna Beach, CA.

3-Day Plein Air (Outdoor) Oil Painting Workshop in Laguna Beach with Kim VanDerHoek
DATES: September 9th-11th (Fri., Sat. & Sun.)
HOURS: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
COST: $300 

This plein air workshop will focus on using a step-by-step process in order to create a successful landscape painting. Topics covered will be; how to create a strong composition, having a focal point, creating depth, brushwork (with an emphasis on how to hold your brush), paint application, time management while painting on location and color mixing. Painting demonstrations by Kim will be included. Class size is limited so that each individual will receive plenty of personal instruction. Each day workshop participants will paint on location and at the end of the day there will be a constructive group critique of our work. Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Please bring art supplies, a field easel and a sack lunch.

If you are unable to make it all three days then I can modify the workshop price and charge only for the days you can attend. 

If you are interested please contact me right away because this will be my last outdoor workshop until sometime in 2012. Don't miss this opportunity to grow as an artist!

To reserve your spot today email me at