Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting Some Sun - Original Oil Painting of a White Duck - Wildlife Painting

"Getting Some Sun" - 6" x 6" - Oil on canvas panel.
Available at

This was a fun exercise I had my students do in painting class. I gave them a photo of the duck and asked them to draw three thumbnail sized value studies, each with a different composition. They also had to crop into the image, I cautioned them to avoid centering the whole body of the duck in the middle of their canvases and to look for opportunities to create interesting negative shapes. Here is my example painting for the class. It was a fun exercise!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

6" Squared Art Show Opening Reception Video at Randy Higbee Gallery

In case you missed the opening reception for the 6" Squared show at Randy Higbee Gallery, one of his staff members, Jessica Wolfe, put this video together. Now you can get a sense of how large the show is and how well-attended. It really is a fun evening.

If you watch the whole video you might even catch a glimpse of yours truly. Thanks goodness I slapped on some make-up and brushed my hair!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Autumn Riverbed - Original Oil Painting of Trees and a Riverbed - Fall Colored Oil Painting

"Autumn Riverbed" - 9" x 12" - Oil on canvas panel. 
©2012 By Kim VanDerHoek

A while ago I met two friends, Dori Dewberry and Greg LaRock, at the Irvine Regional Park in Orange for an outdoor painting session.

In spring the riverbed usually has water in it but during our hot summer weather it evaporates and stays dry until the rains come. It is still a beautiful painting spot and I enjoy going there to see the trees begin to change color in the fall.

All three of us painted different versions of this same view. I always enjoy seeing the unique way each person interprets the scene, it always gives inspires me to think outside of my comfort zone and to try new ideas. You can see Dori's painting by clicking here.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Way Home - Award Winning Original Oil Painting of a Country Road

 "The Way Home" - 6" x 8" - Oil on canvas panel.
Available at

©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek

For the first time the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island, California has an art show featuring small paintings (8" x 8" or 6" x 8") in a variety of styles and subjects on display now through January. Randy Higbee was the judge for the show and he awarded my painting second place at the opening reception. I have to say there are a lot of real gems in this show, all are reasonably priced and with 60 paintings hanging the show it is easy to see and not overwhelming. If you are in the area I highly recommend seeing it!

Debra Huse Gallery
229 Marine Ave.
Balboa Island, CA 92662
(949) 723-6171

November 30th - January 6th

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Randy Higbee - 6" Squared Art Show 2012 - Landscape and Still Life Paintings

"Yard Day" -  6" x 6" - Oil on canvas panel. - $350
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek


This scene is from a street in the City of Tustin, CA near my house. I love finding subjects like this that are normal everyday things and turning them into paintings.

My favorite show of the holiday season is here - the 6" Squared show at the Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA. This show attracts some of the best painters from across the country and because each painting is required to be 6" x 6" many are very affordable. The quality and number of paintings in this show is staggering, there really is something for everyone.

Every year I look forward to participating in the show and am always pleased when a painting of mine gets juried in. Last year I was awarded an honorable mention which was thrilling because there were a LOT of truly amazing paintings! This year I have 3 paintings in the show and they are available for sale before the opening reception, simply click the links below or call the gallery at (800) 506-7624.

"Emerged" -  6" x 6" - Oil on canvas panel. - $350
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek


 These were painted from still life set ups in my studio. I've been working on more still life paintings lately. It's fun being able to control the lighting and take my time with them plus, it give me an excuse to buy small pretty shiny objects and claim them as business expenses.

"Grabbing the Spotlight" -  6" x 6" - Oil on canvas panel. - $350
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek


If you are not in the area or can't make it to the reception (which is a shame because Randy and his staff really know how to throw a party) then you can CLICK HERE to see all 600+ paintings online. Honestly though, the opening reception should not be missed. When viewing so many truly amazing paintings and chatting with the artists I guarantee you will need a glass of wine and a few snacks which Randy is always thoughtful enough to provide.

Randy Higbee Gallery 
102 Kalmus 
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(800) 506-7624

Opening Reception: Saturday, December 8th, 5:00-9:00 p.m.
Show: December 8th - 21st

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lingering Reflections - Original Oil Painting of Boats on the Water - Sailboat Painting

"Lingering Reflections" - 9" x 12" Oil on Panel.
Available at
©2012 By Kim VanDerHoek

This painting started out as a lesson in values for my students in both my plein air class and my Monday night class. I had each group work on small value studies before starting their paintings. This view is all about shades of gray and I felt this would be a good lesson for them because really, everything is gray with a few colors added to the paint mixtures. As a side benefit, color harmony is easy to achieve as a result.

Most of the time when I am teaching I am so busy talking about what I am doing and helping everyone that I truly have no idea how my painting is coming along. Sometimes I get home, look at my painting and cringe because it didn't turn out well. Others, like this one, I felt at the end of class it had come along nicely. Several students and I stayed late to finish our paintings. We were having so much fun it was hard to stop working.

Below is my value study. You can see I simplified everything into basic shapes and that there is very little detail. It took about 15 minutes to complete. I highly recommend this exercise! Most student paintings have value issues and this exercise helps to resolve them.

Value Study for Lingering Reflections - 61/4" x 8" - NFS
©2012 By Kim VanDerHoek

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Seaside Wanderers - Original Oil Painting of Crystal Cove State Beach - Beach Painting

"Seaside Wanderers" - 9" x 12" Oil on Panel.
Available at
©2012 By Kim VanDerHoek

For some reason I am never out painting at Crystal Cove State Beach when it's sunny. Not that I am complaining, overcast days bring out the colors of the beach and rocks and it's usually a pleasant temperature.

I painted this en plein air (outside on location) with fellow landscape painter Greg LaRock. Beach strollers kept stopping over at Greg's easel to see what he was doing. That's usually a sign that he's got a pretty sweet painting going and of course that happens ALL the time because he's a great painter. My painting didn't come together until near the end. It's always hard for me to judge my painting when I'm working on it and I usually put it out of sight and wait a day or two after finishing it before I take another look and to decide if I'm happy with it or not.

My husband has developed a good eye and when I got this one home he looked at it said he, "liked it" which is his understated way of saying, "Wow, really nice painting!" Overall, I'm happy with how it turned out and I might make a larger version as soon as I can get some free time on my calendar.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Twilight Pumps - Original Oil Painting of Oil Pumps - Oil Industry Art

"Twilight Pumps" - 11" x 14" Oil on Panel.
Available at Bistango Restaurant - 
19100 Von Karman Avenue  Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 752-5222
©2012 By Kim VanDerHoek

Recently, Bistango Restaurant in Irvine contacted me about having some of my work in their show this month. The restaurant has been in Irvine for 20 years. They serve wonderful food and also have a rotating art show. The show opened this weekend and will be up through January 2013. They hung 7 paintings of mine, several of which are new, including this one. If you are in the area and want to combine an excellent meal with some fine art in the evening then I hope you will stop by.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sonoma Plein Air Highlights and Paintings

 "Moon Over Bodega Bay" - 11" x 14" - SOLD
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek

Sonoma Plein Air was a wonderful experience! At the beginning of the week I painted in  some very high temperatures which always saps my painting energy. Luckily, I made the decision to head for the coast on the hottest day (Tuesday) and found a truly spectacular location that had views everywhere I looked, most of which were just steps away from my car. The temperature was a cool 80 degrees with an ocean breeze and there were bathrooms nearby. If you are a woman who paints outdoors then you know what a great find this spot truly was. I created two paintings that morning before heading inland for the Quick Draw competition in the center of town in Sonoma.  

 "Bodega Rocks" - 8" x 8" - SOLD
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek

The Quick Draw began at 4:30 and the temperature was 102 degrees. All of us worked for the next hour and a half and did our best to keep from melting into the pavement before it was time to frame our work and set up for the sale. 

The rest of the week was filled with beautiful views, meals and art talk with the other artists and painting, painting, painting.

"Rooftop Rhythm" - 9" x 12" Available
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek

Some of the highlights were - two different people approached me about painting on their property (which I just couldn't fit into the schedule), I got kicked out of a cemetery I was painting in (they were closing and apparently I look dangerous - must be the hat), I got pulled over for speeding and promptly let go without a ticket (my husband says it was because of the hot pink top I was wearing, hummm ... must wear that top more often), my host family baked me fresh apricot scones from scratch (OMG!), I ate quail for the first time in John Lassiter's new train barn (when you are the head of Disney's Pixar and you own your own train you need someplace to park it), met a wonderful family of art enthusiasts at the Gala dinner who also purchased my "Moon Over Bodega" painting (thank you for supporting the arts, it means SO much, thank you, thank you), locked my keys in my car at the gas station on the way home (another big thank you to the sweet couple who let me use their phone to call AAA, you saved me) and I came home to a very happy husband, son and daughter (my husband threw out his back the day before I left and I was worried about leaving him in that condition, but thankfully, everyone survived).

 "Hills of Gold" - 11" x 14" - SOLD
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek

During the four days I painted in Sonoma I created 12 paintings. I've included a few of my favorites from the week. To see more photos be sure to "like" my Facebook page and set it to "show in news feed."

"The Road Home" - 6" x 8" - SOLD
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wading By The Keyhole - Original Oil Painting of the Laguna Beach Keyhole at the Montage

"Wading By The Keyhole"
11" x 14" Oil on canvas panel.
Available at

This ocean-created keyhole is a popular place for beach goers and it can be found just below the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. This is also a popular spot for plein air painters, of course, just about any spot in Laguna Beach has a wonderful view that is worthy of being captured on canvas. I always say that even a bad day painting in Laguna is still a really great day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beyond the Vineyard's Edge - Large Original Oil Painting of California Vineyards

"Beyond The Vineyard's Edge"
 22" x 28" Oil on stretched canvas.
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek (©2012 means that you may not reproduce this image in any way without my permission.)

This morning I dropped this painting off along with 49 others at Copperwood Artware Gallery in Old Town Orange, California. It is going to be one of 16 paintings hanging in my first solo exhibit. 

This was a milestone painting for me as an artist. I have to say I learned more from painting the large version of this scene than I have painting dozens of other smaller landscapes. It challenged me completely and I am happy to say that each time I would stop, re-evaluate and work the problem until I found a solution. 

It is based on a plein air study I did while participating in the Sonoma Plein Air Festival in 2011. Below is the initial plein air painting.


"View From Old Lakeville Road" 
8" x10" Oil on canvas panel.
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek (©2012 means that you may not reproduce this image in any way without my permission.)

You can see that the composition changed dramatically. That's the thing about these larger paintings, what works in the small version might need more fleshing-out in the larger piece. When I tried to render the vineyard as simply as you see in it in the plein air painting, that passage totally fell apart. After hours of work I scraped off the whole bottom half of the painting. Then I gave myself a day or so to think about how to make it work. Before I got my brushes out again however, I decided to test out my theory on a smaller scale, that way I didn't loose a lot of time working on the larger piece if my idea didn't pan out. I chose a 6" x 8" to try out my idea and I could tell right away that it had potential, in fact, I really like the way the study turned out. You can see the study below.

"Truckin' On By"
6" x 8" Oil on canvas panel.
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek (©2012 means that you may not reproduce this image in any way without my permission.)

Also, this painting continued to evolve during the months it was hanging around my studio. You can see I added a big bush, telephone poles and trees to the mid-ground because without them the upper and lower parts of the painting read as separate entities. Adding the big bush, telephone poles and pine trees accomplished two things, it tied those areas together and helped to continue your eye movement deeper into the background of the painting. I kept the brushwork in the distance horizontal and made sure it was smaller in width when compared to the foreground to help give a sense of the receding scale. The buildings moved around, they got smaller and I added a shadow to the distant mountains.

This painting along with 15 others will be hanging at Copperwood Artware Gallery. There will also be 32 more unframed paintings of mine in their bin. I made sure that there would be a wide variety of sizes, prices and subject available. I hope you will join me for a glass of wine at the reception this Saturday night from 6:00-9:00 p.m.

148A N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Afternoon Bluffs - Original Oil Painting of Laguna Beach

"Afternoon Bluffs"
6" x 8" Oil on canvas panel.
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek
Available at

This small painting was an exercise in linking like values. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the detail we see in the landscape and one way to combat adding too much information early on is by editing the scene down to the essential value masses. The bluffs here had a lot more color and detail in them in real life but I chose to link all the similar values together with a general color and ignore the details. After that I put in the ocean color, sky and trees. After the block-in stage I was analyzing all the colors and values together I could tell right away that the bluffs were reading clearly enough that all I had to do was to pull out some of the highlights on them. After that, the painting needed some whitewater in the sea and it was done.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Brush With Color - A Solo Show Featuring Artwork by Kim VanDerHoek

"Road by the Fallow Field" 28" x 22" Oil on stretched canvas. 
©2012 by Kim VanDerHoek (You may not reproduce this painting in any way without my permission.)

The weeks have flown by since my last post. My life is a roller coaster filled with running kids to and from summer activities, teaching, painting, dropping paintings off and picking them up again, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and did I mention cleaning? In all the madness I've also been working on putting together 16 painting for my first ever solo exhibit at Copperwood Artware Gallery called "A Brush With Color." 

Over a year ago one of gallery owners called to tell me about this opportunity so that I could begin preparing as soon as possible. After the initial jumping up and down in excitement (yes, I'm geeky that way) we got down to the details. She asked that I paint a variety of sizes and subjects and to include several large scale paintings. Most of my landscapes were smaller works because that is what I could complete when painting on location. I immediately began putting my smaller more successful paintings aside so that I could work them into larger versions.

Now that the show is just around the corner (September 15th) I look back over the work that I created and realize that this process helped me to grow in my skills as a painter in ways that painting plein air and working on my own wasn't doing. 

With the Daily Painters Movement the focus on the Internet has been about cranking out lots of small affordable paintings and listing them for sale on a daily basis. There are several artists who have become very successful at doing this and in the economic climate we are in it's a smart sales tactic however, the flip side is that a lot of work gets sold and shipped out of the studio before the artists have a chance to truly learn from each piece.

Living with a painting for a year gave me the opportunity to continue working on it during that time. One particularly challenging piece kept me coming back to it over and over again for months. I would paint one section then the next area would fall apart, I would work on that area then another would require more work. Just when I thought I was finished I'd see it out of the corner of my eye a month later and decide it needed more attention. What I realize now is that I was growing as a painter during the months it took to complete that painting and each time I would see an area that needed more attention it was because my brain had finally figured out how to make it work.

The process of getting ready for this show has been a great experience. I've gotten a lot of insight into why I paint, what I want to work on in the coming year and new areas I'd like to explore.

If you are in the area I hope you will join me for a glass of wine at the show and come see all my hard work!

"A Brush With Color"
Opening reception: Saturday, September 15th 6:00-9:00 p.m.

The show will be up September 15 - October 14, 2012

Copperwood Artware Gallery
148A N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Hours: Tues. - Thurs. 10:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri. 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sat. - Sun. 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

16 Paintings on Exhibit at the Back Bay Art Show and Sale July 21 & 22

On July 21 & 22 from 10:00 - 4:00 this painting along with 15 others will be available for purchase at the Back Bay Outdoor Art Show and Sale. Over 60 artists will be there with their original landscape paintings. This event is very well-attended and only takes place every other year so, come early on Saturday to get the best pick!

I'll be there with lots of Back Bay paintings for sale plus a few other landscapes. 35% of the proceeds from each painting sold will go to the non-profit Newport Bay Conservancy. I hope to see you there! 

July 21 & 22 from 10:00 - 4:00
Back Bay Art Show and Sale 
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center 
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back Bay Outdoor Art Show and Sale - July 21st & 22nd

I'll be there with lots of Back Bay paintings for sale. 35% of the proceeds from each painting sold will go to the non-profit Newport Bay Conservancy. I hope to see you there! 

The painting above is not mine, it was the Artist's Choice winner from the last Back Bay show.

July 21 & 22 from 10 - 4
Back Bay Art Show and Sale 
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center 
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Calm Waters on the Bay - Original Impressionist Style Oil Painting of the Newport Beach Back Bay

"Calm Waters on the Bay" 
12" x 24" Oil on stretched canvas.

The weekend of July 21 & 22 I will be participating in the Southern California Plein Air Painters Assoc. Back Bay outdoor art show and sale. Over 30 local artists will be presenting their landscape paintings for sale, many of them will feature the beautiful Back Bay of Newport Beach, California. The artists will be there Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 - 4:00.

The painting you see above was created from a smaller study that I painted while on location. This view is from the top of the Muth Interpretive Center in the Back Bay. It is always interesting to me to see the differences between the painting that was created on location and the one I finished in the studio. I've found that certain areas of the painting that worked in the small version like the weeds on the lower left side needed to be more fleshed-out in the larger painting. While I got away with a few bold brush strokes to indicate weeds in the small study I had to create more detailed weeds in the big painting.

"Back Bay Waterways" 
6" x 16" Oil on canvas panel.
Available at 

The large painting gave me the opportunity to make any edits to the scene that I didn't make the first time around. For example, I closed the gap at the bottom where the water goes off the edge of the canvas in the plein air version. Closing that gap made the focus of the larger painting much stronger. The light reflections in the water became extremely important at that point and required more definition, followed by the bluff as well. Constructing a painting like this is almost like tipping over dominos that have been set up in a line - once you refine one area then another shouts for attention.

At some point I have to force myself to put away the small study and just respond to the needs of the larger painting. Typically, when I feel like the painting is finished I'll put it away for a few weeks and then I'll pull it out and hang it on a wall that is usually within my field of view. Inevitably, I'll find a few things that still need to be changed. It's time to stop working on it when elements start to look too labored over. Then it's off for a coat of varnish and a frame.

If you are in the area, I hope to see you on July 21 & 22 from 10:00 - 4:00!
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Honesty - Original Impressionist Style Oil Painting of a Tree - Forest Painting

14" x 11" Oil on canvas panel.
Available through

Painted on location during a beautiful spring day - I could hear the leaves rustle in this tree when the breeze would stir. The leaves on this tree had just emerged from their buds and were a lovely shade of green.

This quiet spot is located in the Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California. I set out that morning to paint a portrait of a tree to further my understanding of their structure. What you see is my response to this subject the morning I created this, it’s an honest interpretation of what I saw that day, hence the title – “Honesty.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

8th Best of Plein Air Art Show Award - Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Award

I'm completely honored to announce that my painting "Yard Workin" was awarded 3rd place at the LPAPA (Laguna Plein Air Painters Assoc.) 8th Annual Best of Plein Air Show. The show contains 45 works by some of the best landscape painters working today. Over 200 entries were submitted. It's an honor to even be included, let alone to place. 

Michael Obermeyer was the judge for the evening and if you haven't seen his work before you should click here - he's an amazing painter! I've wanted to meet him for years and finally got the opportunity after the awards presentation last night. He's and easy going guy with a great sense of humor. 

This morning my son also won an award at school so, I'm walking on cloud nine today. With all this good luck I should be out buying a Lottery ticket or something.

My painting is still available and if you want to stop by and see the show here are the details - 

Show Dates: June 7th - 27th

Seven Degrees Gallery 
Behind the main building, enter at the top of the stairs.
891 Laguna Canyon Rd.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Call for hours - 949-376-1555 ext. 106

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Half In Half Out - Original Impressionist Style Painting of a Boat - Boat Painting

"Half In Half Out"
6" x 8" Oil on canvas panel.
Available through

I love the color combination in this one. With many landscapes there is a lot of green involved. When I saw this celadon green boat against the warm tones in the sand with the colorful shadow underneath I knew this would be fun to paint.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lounging Around - Original Impressionist Style Oil Painting of a Boat - Boat Painting- Seascape

"Lounging Around"
8" x 10" Oil on canvas panel.
Available through

Sometimes a painting just comes together almost effortlessly and this was one of those paintings. At first all those gray/blues seemed daunting. To differentiate the blues in the boat from the blues in the water I made the choice to stick with ultramarine blue in all the paint mixtures for the water and only use cobalt blue in my paint mixtures for the boat. The rest was all about value (how light or dark each color is).

The inside of the boat had some additional details that I edited out because I felt that you got the idea of what the boat looked like without the extra visual clutter.

I'm really pleased with this one, especially the areas of canvas that peek through the painting in the lower left. Little things like that make me happy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saturday's Sunflowers - Original Impressionist Style Oil Painting of Sunflowers - Flower Painting

"Saturday's Sunflowers"
16" x 20" Oil on stretched canvas.
Available through

After painting this same group of sunflowers on May 14th  I decided I wanted to have another go at them on a larger canvas. I had two reasons for this - one, I wanted to explore this subject during a longer painting session and really get into the nitty-gritty of the arrangement and number two, to cheer myself up by painting something I don't get the chance to paint very often. 

I had the flu a few weeks ago and have finally recovered. My kids have all been sick and now my husband has it. Needless so say, I haven't really left the house much. That combined with not painting for several weeks tends to make me grumpy and a bit squirrelly. Fortunately, these beautiful blooms were just what the doctor ordered!

There are still a couple of spots open in my June plein air (outdoor) oil painting class. Don't wait to sign up, class starts next week and this one will be my only plein air class for the next few months. Each week we meet in different locations in the OC every Thursday in June from 9:30-12:30. To get more information and to read what my former students have said about my class go to .

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Renegade in Pink - 6 x 6 Original Oil Painting of Flowers

"Renegade in Pink" 
6" x 6" Oil on masonite panel.
Available through

There’s something about the lone pink flower in this arrangement that shouts “rebel." It stands apart from the others boldly flaunting it’s unique color. A pretty nonconformist marching to the beat of its own drum. 

This is one of a series of flower paintings I've been working on lately. Check out my page to see one that I am offering at auction with a starting bid of $29.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Sunflowers - Original Oil Painting of Yellow Sunflowers - Kitchen Art

"Spring Sunflowers"
14" x 11" Oil on canvas panel.
Available at

Every Monday night I teach a small group of students how to paint in an Impressionist style using oil paint. Last week I brought in a beautiful bunch of flowers that I found at Home Depot (believe it or not they have reasonably priced flowers there). You can see the still life set up below with my painting on the easel.

My students said it was a challenging exercise but one that they enjoyed doing. As a result of their hard work they went home with some beautiful art that they can be proud to call their own. It's truly amazing to watch each of them learn and grow in their skills each week.



Weekly Oil Painting Classes for Beginning - Intermediate Students in Orange County, CA

Every Monday Night 6:00-9:00
3851 S. Bear Street
Santa Ana, California 92704

Cost is $35 per class

Oil painting classes for beginning to intermediate level students. Using a hands on approach I guide each student through the painting process. I talk about color mixing, composition, focal point, color harmony, paint application, brushwork, selecting a subject and so much more. Class size is limited so that I can give each student lots of individual attention. Each week we will work from life or  from a photograph. In class I teach an Impressionist style of painting, working wet into wet paint (if you are looking to learn how to paint photorealistically or to learn the old master's glazing techniques then this is not the class for you). The classroom is located in the Room & Board shopping center around the corner from the Showcase Gallery, enter through the "Studio." Please email me for a supply list and more details at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At the Crest - Original Oil Painting of a City Street - Art Show and Painting Demo. at Chemers Gallery

"At the Crest"
9"x12" Oil on canvas panel.

Saturday April 28th I will be demonstrating my approach to landscape painting during the day at Chemers Gallery in Tustin, CA from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. along with several other professional painters. If you'd like to learn more about the painting process and see some painters at work then swing by!

Then from 5:30 - 8:00 the gallery will have an opening reception for their Scenes of Tustin Art Show and Sale. Two of my paintings, one of which you see here, will be available for sale at the show. All of the artwork in the show features scenes from the Tustin area. Both amateur as well as professional artists will have work on display.

Professional artists include Dana Cooper, Kevin Davidson, Dori Dewberry, Nancy Goldman, Julie Hill, Steve Kell, Linda Keyes, Ian Montelongo, Jonde Northcutt, Alan Nowell, Paige Oden, Max Rodriguez, Sharyn Sakimoto, John Sawyer, Kim VanDerHoek and Jim Wodark.

If you are in the area, I'd love to see you at the opening reception!

Artists Reception April 28th 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

The show runs from April 28th - May 12th.

17300 Seventeenth Street, Suite G
Tustin, CA 92780

Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday by appointment 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crystal Cove Shoreline - Original Oil Painting of the Beach at Crystal Cove - California Painting

"Crystal Cove Shoreline"
9" x 12" Oil on canvas panel.

This painting along with two more landscapes of mine will be part of a group show at the Randy Higbee Gallery beginning this Saturday April 28th. The show will feature artwork by some of the best landscape painters in California. All the artwork in the show will be approximately 9"x12" and under which means many paintings will be reasonably priced. Also, Randy Higbee puts on a great art show with plenty of friendly artists and art lovers and good food and wine. If you are in the area stop by for a glass!

Opening Reception April, 28th 4:00-8:00 p.m.
Show Dates April 28th - May 12th

Less is More Exhibit
Randy Higbee Gallery
102 Kalmus
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tuesday - Friday 9:00-5:00

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tomato in Peril - Original Oil Painting of Dishes a Tomato and a Knife - Kitchen Painting

"Tomato in Peril"
8" x 8" Oil on canvas panel.

For a limited time this painting will be up for auction at with a very low starting bid.

A few weeks ago I set up this still life for my students in my Monday night oil painting class. I usually hear a collective sigh from everyone that is filled with anxiety when they first see me fiddling with a still life.

Is painting from life more challenging that working from a photograph? Absolutely. However, there is no faster way to learn and grow as an artist than to try time and again to translate what you see in real life onto your canvas. You gain a much better understanding of how light behaves, how colors interact and how shape is formed with value.

That said, I think my students still believe that I'm trying to torture them with vegetables, fruit and dishes.

When I set up this still life I liked the overall composition then while painting it, I imagined that the tomato must be hiding in the cup because of the menacing knife outside on the plate waiting to carve it up. Silly, I know.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yard Workin' - Original Oil Painting for the Scenes of Tustin Show at Chemers Gallery

"Yard Workin"
6" x 16"
Oil on canvas panel.
Available through Chemers Gallery

This year for the first time I will be participating in the annual Scenes of Tustin Show at Chemers Gallery. This juried show will hang work from both professional and amateur artists and each painting will feature a scene from within the City of Tustin. Two of my paintings will be in the show.

Professional artists include Dana Cooper, Kevin Davidson, Dori Dewberry, Nancy Goldman, Julie Hill, Steve Kell, Linda Keyes, Ian Montelongo, Jonde Northcutt, Alan Nowell, Paige Oden, Max Rodriguez, Sharyn Sakimoto, John Sawyer, Kim VanDerHoek and Jim Wodark.

If you are in the area, I'd love to see you at the opening reception!

Artists Reception April 28th 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.

The show runs from April 28th - May 12th.

Chemers Gallery
17300 Seventeenth Street, Suite G
Tustin, CA 92780

Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday by appointment

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bluff Reflections - Original Oil Painting of the Back Bay Wetlands in Newport Beach, California

"Bluff Reflections"
11" x 14" Oil on canvas panel.

For the next few months this painting along with 5 others of mine are on display at the Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach, California. My work is being exhibited along side two other very talented local landscape painters. All of us have been painting in the Back Bay during the last few months creating new work especially for this show.

Admission to the Muth Interpretive Center is free and open to the public. It is a wonderful place to to learn more about the coastal wetlands of Newport Beach and it's mission is "To promote and support the protection and preservation of California Coastal Wetlands through environmental education." The center has lots of fun learning opportunities for adults as well as children. Also, the Center is a model for all other Southern California facilities of its kind. It sets new standards for protecting and preserving open space and endangered wetlands in a highly populated urban setting.

If you are in the area I hope you'll stop by the Muth Center, learn a little about the Back Bay and then go enjoy the amazing landscape. There are lots of painting opportunities as well as walking trails in the area.

My work will be on display from April - June, 2012.

Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
Closed Monday and major holidays.

To see more of my artwork visit

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Anatomy of an Art Scam - How to Identify a Phishing Email

At least twice month I'll receive an email from someone posing as an art collector. When the very first one landed in my IN box I was suspicious. Not wanting to blow a potential sale I came close to letting my desire for that sale override my caution. Fortunately, I contacted a group of fellow merchants through the Forums on and they set me straight.

The reason I'm writing this is because I continue to meet artists who have been taken advantage of by the following scam. It's heartbreaking to see a fellow artist become disillusioned with selling their art through the internet (some distrust every sales venue and stop selling their work altogether) simply because they fell victim to a scam.

Below is an actual letter I receive on a regular basis. I have not fixed any grammatical or punctuation errors. There are a few variations out there but all of them are basically the same. I've changed the name of the scammer not to protect his or her identity but because the name signed to the email was not real anyway. For this blog post the scammer's original email will be in red text and my response will be in blue text.

Do you remember that famous line in the Jerry Maguire Movie where Renee' Zellweger's character said to Tom Cruze's character, "You had me at Hello?" Most of the time you can spot a phishing scam by simply reading the first line of the email. Scammers make little to no effort to find out who they are scamming and they usually will not address you by name. Collectors that are legitimately interested in your artwork want to know who you are and will make the extra effort to type your name into their email.

I am interested in the immediate purchase of your item and will be make payment via cashier check/money order,
Notice the "immediate purchase" phrase. Most of my art is available online with a PayPal Buy Now button under it. If they truly intended to purchase my art immediately, they would click the Buy Now button and follow through with a PayPal transaction.

One of the main reasons this email scam has been so successful and why thieves continue to use it over and over again is because the thieves actually will follow through and mail what looks like a real cashiers check/money order to you. If you deposit it into your account however, it often takes approximately two weeks before your bank will notify you that the cashiers check/money order is fake.

That said, not everyone who wants to pay via cashiers check/money order is trying to take advantage of you. I have had collectors pay with a cashiers check. I protect myself by walking into the bank, showing it to the teller and asking if it is legitimate (and if the teller doesn't know I ask for the bank manager) before I deposit it and ship the artwork.

Also, notice how the thieves say, "I am interested in the immediate purchase of your item." They never say immediate purchase of your painting or artwork. This is because they are using a boilerplate letter where they don't bother changing much of the text to fit the scam they are running.

my private shipping company will handle the shipping,
What private shipping company? Who has their own private shipping company? I don't care how wealthy a buyer appears to be online, no one has their own private shipping company. Most art collectors expect you to be the expert in packaging and shipping and they are happy to let you handle the details of safely getting the art to them.

but before payment will be made i need to be sure of who i am dealing with if you are going to be honest and sincere throughout the transaction.
I can't help but chuckle every time I read this part of the email. Typically, honest buyers don't feel compelled to tell you that they are honest in their business dealings. They behave honestly, they expect you to do the same and don't they spell out that fact in their emails.

A certified cashiers check is cash-able the same day, there is going to be an excess fund on the check, the excess fund is meant for the private shipping company who will come to your place for pick up of the item, so shipping is not a problem, will you be able to transfer the excess fund to the shipping company the same day you receive the check?
Here's where the thieves make their money. If you deposit that check at your bank's ATM without having a teller authenticate it within a day or two it will appear as though the check has cleared your account. What happens is that two weeks from the day you deposit it, the bank will discover it's fraudulent and you'll get a notice from them informing you that are deducting the total amount from your account plus any bank fees associated with cashing a phoney money order/cashiers check. Typically, as soon as the check clears the artist ships the artwork. The reason the scammers ask you to give the excess funds to their private shipping company is because they are the fake shipping company and that's how they make their money.

Quite often, the scammers end up with the cash and the artwork which they then resell to make even more money.

If you agree, signify your interest by forwarding to me your Final Asking Price, Condition of the Item, Full Name & Contact Address and Tel #., you want the payment addressed.
Amazingly, these thieves have the audacity to ask for a "final asking price" or "best price" because it isn't enough that they are trying to rip you off, they want to get a deal on your art too. Asking after the condition of the item is another common part of an email like this. Since they are working from a boilerplate letter they don't even care what the "item" is exactly and they truly have no idea that your artwork comes in any other condition besides excellent or new.

Kindly response to this email address direct to
If you sell your artwork through an online sales site like Etsy, Ebay, Zatista, DPW, etc. scammers desperately want to move the sale off of those sites and into a private transaction in order to get you away from any protection the site might provide you as a seller. The moment they are discovered by those sites the gig is up and any other scams they have pending through those venues will be shut down.

I await your response soonest.
Most emails like this one are clearly written by people who use English as a second language. They have grammatical errors, words out of place and sentences that are sometimes incomprehensible. Please don't solely judge an email by the quality of it's writing, however. The online community is a global place, many shoppers are from countries outside the U.S. so don't let poor grammar or English be your guide when deciding if an email is a phishing email, instead, analyze the whole thing before you take action.

Best and kind regards,
Mr. Art Scammer
If you do conduct business through an online sales venue like Etsy, Ebay, Zatista, etc. and are contacted by an art scammer through one of those sites you should immediately report it to them. Most have a special email addresses you can forward the phishing email to while others have a button you can click that alerts them to a suspicious letter. Most sites move quickly to close the accounts of thieves as soon as they are alerted to their presence. They realize it's bad for business to have them around. Unfortunately, phishing scams are here to stay as long as there are online sellers out there who remain unaware of how to spot them. Hopefully, after reading this you won't be one of them.

If any of my readers have heard of other art scams out there I would love to hear about them. Feel free to post in the comments section of this blog or message me privately.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Little Vineyard House - Original Oil Painting of a Vineyard in Tuscany, Italy

"Little Vineyard House"
10" x 8"
Oil on canvas panel.
Available through

This small house is in the beginning of an olive grove in Tuscany. It's located in a tiny hilltop town called Cignano (pronounced Chin-ya-no). I painted this in the studio using a photo I took when I was there.

Friday, March 9, 2012

One Way - Original Oil Painting of the City with Cars

"One Way"
8" x 10" oil on linen panel.
Available through

Terry Miura is an extremely talented artist who posted a painting challenge for his readers on his blog. He shared several tips with us on how to approach a complicated scene like this. You can read his tips by clicking here.

Once piece of advice he gave was in a post just prior to when he issued the challenge where he suggested linking all similar valued adjacent shapes in a painting. It's so easy to get caught up in the details of a scene like this one and making editing decisions becomes critical.

What is a value? A value, simply put, means how light or dark a shape is, it has nothing to do with the actual color just how light or dark the object is.

By linking all the adjacent shapes that are similar in value it makes the large pieces of the painting easy to spot. Once I identified those big shapes, I blocked them in. After the block-in stage it's easier to see where the painting needs detail and to start working on that.

I like to work from large shapes to smaller ones building detail as I go. Usually, little detail goes a long way. In this painting for instance, I didn't perfectly render each and every car. I added critical details to the cars in the foreground and let the rest be rectangular shapes. Because the foreground cars have taillights, are shaped like cars and are on a road your mind tells you they must be cars, the ones further down the road are shaped similarly so your mind fills in the rest and says that they must also be cars. In reality, the distant cars are rectangles with a line on the right and left and a shadow underneath and some are even more oddly shaped.

Constructing a painting using big shapes that are similar in value will absolutely make painting a complex scene much easier. If you would like to give this one a shot click here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ascending Sky - Original Oil Painting of Clouds in the Sky and a Lesson About Painting Edges

"Ascending Sky"
8" x 6" oil on linen panel.
Available for a limited time at a low starting bid on

Also available in a high quality print through my ImageKind gallery. Click here to see it.

This was painting during my Monday night oil painting class. With this view the edges where two colors meet are critical and that was what I had my students focus on - edges.

Most people when they are first learning to paint are very careful with their edges. All that well-intentioned care often translates into hard and precise edges where two colors meet which can be visually distracting. Painting clouds is a great way to learn to loosen up your edges because clouds will look like hard floating lumps in the sky if you don't. Also, the slightly transparent quality to clouds means that you need to blend a little bit of sky color into them in order to get that effect. In addition, clouds will have small bits that have broken off of the main group and taken flight. Adding a few spots of cloud color to the sky will help create that look.

In my painting you can see that I did create hard edges when I painted in the fence. That was a calculated decision. Fences are much harder surfaces than clouds and therefore painting them with sharper edges O.K. In this case the fence is also a foreground element that leads into the painting and draws your eye towards the clouds. That is another reason for hard edges along the fence line.

Knowing how paint a variety of edges allows me to control and enhance the focal point in every painting.

If you find that your painting lacks a strong focal point, check your edges.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 5 Mistakes Artists Make When Trying to Sell Their Artwork

After years of selling my artwork both online and off and talking to other artists, I've found that there are several common mistakes artists make when trying to sell their work. This list doesn't cover everything however, it does include the topics I am asked about the most. I've ranked them by order of importance.

1. Thinking that you don't need to have your artwork on the internet.
Most of the time artists will ask me, "Do I really need to have a web site? Collectors don't really buy art online do they?" My gut reaction is to grab them, shake them and shout, "Yes!" More than ever before collectors are buying art online.

Baby Boomers are very comfortable shopping on the internet. According to marketing research Baby Boomers respond to the use of email campaigns FaceBook and Twitter as sales tools. Gex. X-ers are on FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter and PinInterest looking for things that interest them and Gen. Y also uses social media as a shopping tool.

Imagine you have a painting or two in a group art exhibit and a collector sees your work. They love the style of your paintings in the show but they are looking for something larger. They write down your name to take home (or they take out their smartphone) and do a Google search on you and nothing comes up. You just missed a sales opportunity because you didn't have an online presence.

Aside from potential sales opportunities having an internet presence looks professional. Having a portfolio of work on your own web site is even better. It sends the message to potential collectors, gallery owners and other artists that you are more than just weekend artist playing around, you are seriously pursuing art as a career.

2. Believing that any one thing will generate sales.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard artists complain that they've had their work on a particular web site for X amount of time and they haven't had any sales. They then go on to use that as proof that collectors do not buy art online. Let's be perfectly clear, there isn't any one web site that will guarantee your success. You have to be responsible for your career, no one else. Y O U.

This is a good thing. There isn't anyone else in the world who is as invested in your success as you are. Not your spouse, your kids, friends and especially not a group of people who run an online sales site. That said, some sites truly do want you to succeed because the more sales you generate the more income they make as a result. The online sales venues that understand that will offer free marketing information to it's members, they will have responsive tech people who are happy to answer your questions and they will immediately blacklist a scammer who tries to take advantage of members.

Depending on a particular web site or group to market your artwork for you is a mistake. Art buyers are a very specific group. Once you figure out who your particular customer is you need to find ways of putting your work in front of them. If you depend on someone else to market your work they will most likely put it in front of an audience much wider than necessary. Internet sales sites like Ebay, Etsy, Zatista, etc. have a diverse group of sellers therefore, the audience they market to is broad. Pinpointing your customer within that group requires effort on your part. That may include things that aren't internet related such as attending art festivals, entering in juried art shows, joining local arts groups, mailing postcards to your collector mailing list and sending thank you notes to existing collectors.

3. Making either of the following excuses.
Have you neglected to get your work online because you aren't computer savvy? Sorry, I'm not going to sugar coat this because if I do then you won't take me seriously. No one cares. There, I said it, I'm sure I'll get a few angry comments over it but I would be doing you a disservice if I politely suggested that you might possibly want to consider, maybe figuring it out one day down the road.

While you are busy not figuring out how to get your work online there are 10 other artists who are. With YouTube, art marketing blogs, online community forums, Artists Helping Artists Blog Talk Radio and many other resources there really isn't any good reason for not figuring it out. Fine Art Studio Online offers affordable and easy to assemble web sites for artists and what sets them apart is their stellar tech support that is always there to help you if you run into a problem.

Don't have time to do your own art marketing? With two kids, one of which is still in diapers, I'm in that same boat. The way I handle it is to do at least one thing to market my artwork every day. Whether that's writing a blog post, reading an art-related article, uploading new work to my web site, posting to my FaceBook page or simply making a task list for the day/month/year. This keeps me from getting overwhelmed and gives me a feeling of accomplishment however small it may be. So even if you do one small thing a day, just imagine what you will get done within a year.

4. Making collectors jump through hoops to buy your art.
I buy art, I buy art both in person and online. I don't buy art from artists who don't list prices on their works online and off, who don't list shipping fees and who don't have any contact information available so that I can find out the above. I also don't buy art from artists who won't return phone my calls or emails.

I remember the first time I wanted to buy a painting. I saw the artist's work at a local outdoor show but didn't buy that day, I met the artist, I took his business card with his contact information. The next day I visited his web site to look at more of his work. He didn't have any option to buy directly off his web site so I sent him an email detailing where and when I met him and saw his work. I waited, no reply. I tried again and when I still heard nothing back I called, got his voicemail and left a message. He never called me back, never answered my email. Do I own one of his paintings? No and I never will.

If you don't make it easy to buy your art then you will miss a lot of sales opportunities.

5. Thinking that exposure equals sales.
We've all heard it and I'm guilty of saying it myself, "That show/opportunity is great exposure." My next questions is always, "Exposure to who exactly?" There are lots of art shows, festivals and other opportunities to display your work out there. Some require a fee and some don't. Before you throw your hat into the ring you should ask yourself who is attending the show or festival. If the answer is other artists, then the sales opportunities will be much more limited than if the show is attended by true art buyers. Yes, artists do buy art but typically not on the same scale as art collectors.

Now I'm not saying that exposure is a bad thing. Exposure can and will help you advance your career in other ways just don't make the mistake of thinking that exposure will result in increased art sales, that isn't always the case.

I hope this list is helpful. If you've been reading my blog for a while you might have noticed that I'm posting more information about the painting process and now this marketing article. I plan on writing about art related topics like this in addition to posting new work. I'd love to read your thoughts on this new direction.