Sunday, December 28, 2014

William Wray Workshop Recap - A New Approach

"Easton Gas Station" | 12" x 9" | Oil on panel | NFS

In early November I had the opportunity to be a student once again. I've been teaching painting for a few years now and haven't taken a class or workshop in a long time. I was lucky enough to be on FaceBook just as artist William Wray posted the announcement for his workshop. Knowing it was a rare opportunity to study with him and figuring the class would fill up in minutes, which it did, I quickly signed up.

Sadly, when I signed up for the workshop it was advertised as a studio class and limited to only 12 students. A few days before the start of the workshop Wray emailed to say that it wasn't a studio class after all, it was going to be a Plein air class for the first two days instead. On top of that when I arrived there were 20 students in the class, not 12. Had I known I wouldn't have signed up.

I first heard about Wray in 2007 when I was in the very early stages of learning how to paint. He was slated to demo. at a local art organization I belonged to at the time. He had also just released a book full of his paintings titled Dirty Beauty. His focus back then was gritty urban scenes. I became an immediate fan as soon as I saw his work.

Not everyone understands why a painting of a shopping cart in a parking lot or an old mobile home would be wall worthy art but, what many painters know, is how challenging it is to create something beautiful out of a mundane and humble subject. Wray handles the mundane with aplomb, elevating the ordinary into something with grandeur.

Over the years his work has evolved, which has been fascinating to watch because he's pushing the limits of his representational painting, loosing details, painting fewer "things," focusing on shape and value, loosing edges and taking his work into the realm of abstraction.

In the last year I've been doing a lot of thinking about my own work. Asking questions about the direction I would like to go. I've always viewed Plein Air landscape painting as a necessary part of my personal learning process but never a means to an end. Now that I have a lot of time behind my field easel and I've put a few miles on my paintbrush I'd like to explore territory beyond what I know how to do.

I hoped William Wray would teach a different approach in his workshop and he did. Here's a recap.

Day 1
Wray painted a quick demo. explaining what he wanted us to focus on that day while we were out in the field. Unfortunately, we were painting Plein Air. I was really hoping to work in the studio because I thought I'd be able to push the limits in my work more in the studio and that I'd have more one on one time with Wray, but, I paint a lot en Plein Air so it wasn't totally out of my comfort zone. He told us he wanted us to work small, like 3" x 4 1/2" or so. He also said we could only use 3 values in our studies and that we needed to think carefully about color harmony. He said that most of us wouldn't grasp what he was talking about right away and it did take me some time to figure it out.



Here are my first four for the day before his edits -


What I misunderstood was the local color lesson and the color harmony thing was also pretty tricky. I struggled to find compositions that worked in 3 values. Below are Wray's edits -

You can see he lost a lot of the edges in the first three and changed the colors by intermixing them creating a better harmony. He caught me off guard by telling me he didn't want to "mess up" the last one with the figure and that he was hesitant to edit my work because he felt I was more advanced. I've felt that way myself with my more advanced students when I teach but I really wanted him to show me firsthand where I was going wrong so, I pushed him and let him know I wanted him to rework the studies.

Here are my next four. I was playing around with going totally abstract. Not that he told us to do that, I decided to break the rules (there is always one in every workshop, right) and play for a while.


Wray only edited the bottom left. The others weren't worth the time and it was noon so, we all headed off to lunch.

Sadly, he rushed through my crits because it was close to lunch time and he'd already spent half the day with other students. I was hoping that would change in the afternoon but the workshop was so overbooked and he was so scattered that I never did get a lot of his time or feedback.

Here are my last four from day 1 - 


I felt like I was beginning to figure out what type of subject this approach works well on. Below are Wray's edits.


He killed more edges and created more color harmony.

He stopped at my easel 2 times on day 1, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Day 2 was more of the same. We went to downtown Pasadena with it's wonderful architecture and plentiful shade. I spent a ton of time wiping off my little studies trying to get something to work. A couple of these are sideways. Sorry, they are all iPhone photos.



Wray made a few edits here and there to these by changing a few shapes. I felt like I was grasping the lesson and I could see the potential for creating future paintings using this approach. I looked forward to day 3 when I could apply this lesson to a larger, more finished painting.

Wray seemed at a loss when I asked him to explain why he was making the edits he made to my work. It was almost as though he was such an inexperienced teacher that he was incapable of verbalizing his creative process. Understandable, but frustrating from a student's point of view.

On day 2, he came to my easel only once at the end of the day. He was tired and didn't give me a lot of feedback.

Day 3 was in the studio. Wray finished the demo. he'd begun on the first day, showing us how to take our studies to more of a finish before turning us loose to work from our own photo reference.

Honestly, I was hoping he would demo more or at least demo a subject out in the field instead of using a photo that he took that wasn't from the area we were painting at. Many of my artist friends asked me about his process and how he gets some of the effects he gets in his paintings but he didn't show the class any of that. It was as if he didn't want to share the information with us. Disappointing to say the least.


The finished Wray demo. painting -



Below is my photo reference. This is an old gas station in Easton, Maryland that I shot during a painting event.


Here is my finished painting.



You can see it's very different from my reference and that was what I took away from the whole experience. Now I know a way of working that frees me from simply rendering what the subject is and allows me to be more expressive and make decisions about what I want to say in a painting. It's really opened up a whole new world for me. I've created a number of paintings since the workshop. Some have been complete failures, while others are more successful and a couple are downright exciting (to me anyway).

On day 3 I did get a lot more help from Wray. It seemed to finally dawn on him that there were a few students in class he wasn't spending any time with. 

Ultimately, I did get a lot out of the workshop in spite of Wray's inexperience as a teacher.

In case you are wondering the "Easton Gas Station" painting is not for sale because it's going into my own personal collection. I need hold onto it to remember what I learned when creating this painting, plus, I really couldn't sell is as my own work because even though I painted most of it, Wray made a number of critical edits.

Monday, December 8, 2014

6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - Chairs and Umbrellas on the Beach at Sunset - Art For Sale - Holiday Art Show

 "Waiting for Sunset" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

This painting is currently part of the 6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, California.


For online purchase information please go to www.DailyBrushwork.com
 
Randy Higbee Gallery 
102 Kalmus
Costa Mesa, CA

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - People on the Beach at Sunset - Art For Sale - Holiday Art Show

 "Waiting for Sunset" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

This painting along with two others will be available at the 6" Squared Show and sale which is opening on this Saturday, December 6th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

The 6" Squared Show and sale at Randy Higbee Gallery is one of my favorite shows to be part of each year. If you've never been to an art show this is the one to go to. The sheer volume of outstanding paintings in this show every year is staggering. Some attendees go to the gallery 2-4 times during the exhibit because it is so extensive it's almost impossible to take it all in with only one visit. Many of the best painters from across the U.S. enter work in this show, some are so elusive that this is the only time and place you will see their work on the west coast.

If you love original artwork but have never made a purchase at an art show or gallery before this is a great place to start collecting. With the small size of each painting there are many budget-friendly options and Randy's staff is always happy to help you make that special painting yours, just look for the people holding clipboards and running throughout the gallery (they get very busy so be persistent). A red dot next to a painting indicates that it is sold, something that happens very quickly on opening night, so if you are interested in a piece you should act fast before that piece you love finds another home to hang in. 
If you can't make it to Costa Mesa, CA to see the show in person, you can view all the artwork and make purchases online at www.DailyBrushwork.com 
 
Randy Higbee Gallery 
102 Kalmus
Costa Mesa, CA
 
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 6th 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - Group Art Show - Art For Sale - Holiday Art Show

"Go Angels!" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

My work has been changing lately. This year I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about which direction I want to go, what areas I want to work on and which aspects of my painting process I want to explore further. The resulting work has been a mixed bad of successes and dismal failures. Fortunately, I have more than a few years of painting experience under my belt I was able to look at the setbacks as stepping stones that were necessary to get me to the next painting. I have to say it's been an exciting ride and I've been pleasantly surprised at a few pieces I've managed to pull off. 

The painting you see here is one of those successful moments. My family and I had been given tickets to an Angels game. We were seated much higher than this view but I snapped this shot with my iPhone while we were marching to the top of Angels stadium to find our seats. We ended up at the very top next to the stadium wall and boy, was that a hike. The view was all-encompassing but a bit too high for the kids to really enjoy the game.  

In this painting, I wanted the slash of light on the baseball field to be as dramatic as I remembered when I was standing in Angels Stadium. In order to get that effect, I knew the surrounding areas needed to be much darker than they were in reality and I muted the color in the bottom and top of the painting so that the reds and greens on the field would pop out. The tricky part came with the three figures in the foreground. Those figures needed to read like they are part of the dark shadowy foreground but they still required some color to help tell the story. Again, I muted them and took out some of the saturation and kept the edges soft.

This was one of those fun painting moments all artists chase, when everything comes together and works. This painting along with two others will be part of the 6" Squared Show at Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA. For more information about that show keep reading.

It's time for the 6" Squared Show and Sale

The 6" Squared Show and sale at Randy Higbee Gallery is one of my favorite shows to be part of each year. If you've never been to an art show this is the one to go to. The sheer volume of outstanding paintings in this show every year is staggering. Some attendees go to the gallery 2-4 times during the exhibit because it is so extensive it's almost impossible to take it all in with only one visit. Many of the best painters from across the U.S. enter work in this show, some are so elusive that this is the only time and place you will see their work on the west coast.



If you love original artwork but have never made a purchase at an art show or gallery before this is a great place to start collecting. With the small size of each painting there are many budget-friendly options and Randy's staff is always happy to help you make that special painting yours, just look for the people holding clipboards and running throughout the gallery (they get very busy so be persistent). A red dot next to a painting indicates that it is sold, something that happens very quickly on opening night, so if you are interested in a piece you should act fast before that piece you love finds another home to hang in. 

If you can't make it to Costa Mesa, CA to see the show in person, you can view all the artwork and make purchases online at www.DailyBrushwork.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay - Art for Sale - Beach Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Beach Painting - Coastal Art - Beach House Art

 "Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay" | 9" x 12" Oil on canvas panel 
Available at KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

This was my second painting for the day when I was part of the Sonoma Plein Air event in August. I'd finished a painting earlier that morning( see the post Beautiful Bodega Bay for more information about the earlier piece). What you see here, "Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay" was also completed en plein air in the afternoon a few miles north of my morning location.

I chose this spot because I liked the rocks, bluffs and color of the distant hills. When painting bluffs and/or coastal rocks I try to keep some sharp edges and straighter lines to give sense of hardness to those elements. Too many rounded curves tend to make rocks look like potatoes and turn craggy bluffs into gentle rolling hills. I stated most of the foreground pretty simply with the rocks rendered in one dark color and the bluff in three. There are a few variations in value here and there but, I find that for the most part these elements look better when kept simple and stated with a strong hand.

The mid-ground bluff required more effort and detail since I designed the composition to lead your eye there. It's tempting to paint the shadow areas of a distant bluff as dark as my eye sees them but what happens if I do that is the picture plane flattens out and the look of distance becomes lost. Therefore, the shadow shapes on that mid-ground bluff need to be lighter than the darkest darks in the foreground bluff as well as a closer value to the highlight shapes on the mid-ground bluff. The entire bluff is more muted, bluer and less saturated than the one in the foreground.

The distant hills are again a little lighter and less saturated than the mid-ground bluff with soft edges where they meet the sky to help reinforce the atmospheric feel.

In this painting I was faced with a choice about how to handle the water. This is usually the case with an ocean painting since the ocean is constantly in motion. There were crashing waves at times as well as moments of calm between sets. For this piece I chose to keep the water pretty calm for two reasons, one, this is a small canvas and adding a bunch of waves in such a small area wouldn't necessarily make the painting any better and two, adding a lot of detail to the water would steal the focus away from the rocks and bluffs which isn't what I wanted to happen. Also, it's helpful to have quiet, less detailed passages in a painting because they highlight, in a sense, the areas that contain more detail.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Storm Building - Impressionist Painting - Art for the Home - Original Painting - Wall Decor - Art for Sale

 "Storm Building" | 16" x 8" | Oil on canvas panel | Available at Hillside Fine Art
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

This piece was painted in the afternoon during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival. I'd gone out painting early in the morning and there was a passing storm that brought intermittent showers. Luckily not enough rain fell to force me to pack up my easel and head for shelter though. After lunch most of the storm had passed leaving behind lots of dramatic clouds in the sky which I was determined to paint.

Unfortunately, I didn't find an ideal location but I was running out of time to get to work on an afternoon painting and I had to set up in a spot that I didn't find particularly inspiring. When that happens I've learned to use my artistic license and do my best to create a strong painting. The image below was my actual view and as you can see it wasn't very exciting.


I decided turn my 8" x 16" canvas vertical to allow me plenty of room to create big storm clouds in the sky. With the sky as the main subject I kept the land pretty simple, including the distant hills for atmosphere and keeping the eucalyptus tree on the right which gives the painting a sense of scale. I chose to shape the tree a bit differently because I wasn't thrilled with the shape of the real tree and I eliminated the telephone poles because I felt they would steal the focus away from the clouds with their straight lines and hard edges.

Paintings like this that require more thought to put together are both challenging and freeing. Challenging in that I can't rely too heavily on the landscape for information and liberating because I am free to make significant edits without worrying about rendering the scene exactly.

Some might would argue that this isn't true plein air but, I don't agree because I still use the landscape as a source of inspiration. I feel it's part of my job to create the strongest painting I am able to even when the view isn't painting worthy. Besides, if the plein air police stop buy to check on me I'll be sure to flash my artistic license at them.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Night Dwelling - City at Night - Nocturne Painting - Impressionist Painting - Art for the Home - Original Painting - Wall Decor

"Night Dwelling" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Not For Sale
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

While participating in the Sonoma Plein Air Festival I took some time for myself one night to paint a nocturne. I began this painting with no expectations as to how it would turn out, I simply wanted to explore the subject and work on my nighttime plein air painting skills.

An interesting thing happens when painting at night, color becomes almost irrelevant because I can't see what paint I am mixing very well, even with my headlamp on and surrounding light. That might seem like an exercise in frustration but, it was quite the opposite. The painting became all about value (how light or dark each color is).

When I decided to mix a green, for example, it really wasn't hard because I knew exactly where each paint color is located on my palette. That's because I place them in exactly the same spot each time I paint. So when I wanted a green I was able to mix that color by dipping my brush into the right piles of yellow and blue.

The tricky part wasn't getting the correct color (or hue), like I said it was mixing the right value (how light or dark a color needs to be). Even with diminished light I was able to see well enough to tell when a value was off. That's because when the values were too similar to each other I wasn't able to see any edges or differences between the shapes, they all would blend together.

For example, if the gray on either building was too dark it blended right into the midnight blue sky in the background even though their colors are different. Now, I might see the color difference if I had been painting in daylight, but at night those value relationships are critical simply because I couldn't see the colors of each element at all.

It was surprisingly liberating to paint without worrying about what color choices I was making. Plus it's always a surprise to take a nocturne painting home and look at it under better light to see what I end up with. This time I was really happy with the result. I have to wonder if that is because I started the painting without any expectations, if it was because I didn't over-think my color choices, or was it simply because the stars aligned and everything came together for me in that particular moment? Either way, I really enjoyed painting this one, it's a great memory for me and because of that I am keeping it in my own personal collection.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beautiful Bodega Bay - Art for Sale - Beach Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Beach Painting - Coastal Art - Beach House Art



"Beautiful Bodega Bay" | 11" x 14" | Oil on panel
Available through Chemers Gallery
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

It took me an hour to drive to Bodega Bay in the dark before the sun came up to get the colors and light you see here. While I'd normally say that any time of day is the perfect time to paint at the beach, I do really enjoy starting a painting before dawn so that I can take advantage of the warm light and dramatic shadows. 

I've painted at this location several times and this view is always a little different. Mostly it's the ocean that changes. I've seen it turquoise, silver, deep ultramarine blue and once it even had hot pink streaks because of an algae bloom. One day the water was very calm with small waves lapping at the shore and another day the waves were so large they created a deafening crash each time they hit the rocks lining the shore.

This particular day the waves were strong and created a lot of foam on top of the water. I planned to have a large open area of ocean in the foreground of my painting because I wanted to take advantage of what the ocean was doing an include some of the foam swirls. The foam was the very last thing I added to the painting (except for my signature, of course) and when I got to that point I thought if I designed them just right they would create a nice visual path into the painting. 

Up until that point I wasn't sure how well this painting was going to turn out. All the other elements looked fine and all but the excitement and magic of the scene was still missing. As soon as I added those foam lines all the work I'd put into it that morning really came together. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dinner Time - Art for Sale - Country Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Cows in a Painting - Farm Painting - Barn Painting - Family Room Art


"Dinner Time" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

I made a rookie mistake when painting this one. What's worse, is I know better too. 

When I pulled up to this spot in Petaluma, California and saw these cows peacefully grazing in the field with the farm buildings in the background I knew instantly I had a potential painting just waiting to happen. The cows were really close to the fence I was next too and for once, they stuck around for a while. 

What mistake did I make you ask? In spite of the close proximity of the cows, I didn't paint them in right away, instead, I painted everything around them first. By the time I started putting the cows in they were much farther away and heading to the barn for the night. The result was a rushed job which I wasn't happy with. 

The cows you see now are not the original ones I had quickly painted in. I ended up taking the painting home, letting it dry and using photographs of cows as reference to paint them in a second time. I much happier with them now. 

My plein air students always ask me what they should paint first when beginning their paintings and I tell them to put down anything that is going to quickly change. Ironically, I should have taken my own advice.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ribbons of Light - Original Vineyard Painting - Art for Sale - Wine Country Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - California Vineyard Painting - Sonoma Winery Art

"Ribbons of Light"
16" x 20" | Oil on canvas panel | Sold
Framed prints available CLICK HERE
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

Quite often when I'm out painting I'll spot a beautiful view that has the potential to become a strong painting but the light just isn't right. That was the case with this painting that I created during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival in September which is an outdoor painting event held in Sonoma County, the proceeds of which go toward funding arts programs in the public schools there.

When I first found this view it was midday and there were no shadows or highlights since the sun was at its highest. Fortunately, I knew I had several days worth of painting still to go for the event and I vowed to return early one morning when I thought the light might be right. This can be a gamble but in this case it paid off with magnificent dawn light cascading across beautiful vineyards and encircling the oak trees growing in the valleys. The rolling hills of Sonoma Valley, California created a dynamic Z shaped composition which was a little different in reality and I chose to take some liberties and arrange the large hill shapes for the painting's sake.

Dawn is my favorite time of day to paint not just for the breathtaking light but because it's usually very peaceful and I typically have more energy for painting in the morning. What is your favorite time of day to paint?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Passing the Point - Sailboat Painting - Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Decor - Wall Art

 "Passing the Point" |  11" x 14" | Oil on canvas panel
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

While visiting the town of Oxford in Maryland, I stopped to paint in the area during an outdoor painting event in that took place in nearby Easton. There was enough of a breeze past the point for sailboats to go sailing but in the cove the water was mostly calm with lots of reflections. Since it was a hot and humid morning the sky turned a wonderful shade of pink. That's something that doesn't happen very often in California and when it does it's usually at sunrise or sunset. In Maryland I've see that unique shade of pink in the sky at all times of the day. 

I feel very lucky to be able to get to know an unfamiliar place through painting outdoors, I always experience and learn new things. It's led to some wonderful adventures and unforgettable moments.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Handcrafted History - Wooden Boats - Handcrafted Classic Boats - Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Art

 "Handcrafted History" |  16" x 20" | Oil on canvas panel
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

This was painted on location in July during the Plein Air Easton event. Since it was very hot and humid I was searching for a spot to paint that had some shade as well as something interesting to paint. I wandered over to the Cutts and Case Shipyard in Oxford, Maryland and found this scene just inside their showroom. It took me two painting sessions to complete this one. The first session I spent almost all of my time drawing, stopping when the light changed because a storm blew through the area. The second session involved paint application and once again it began to rain when I was a couple of hours into it. Fortunately, the staff that works there appreciates art (which is understandable since they create art in the form of beautiful wooden boats) and invited me inside the showroom so that I could finish working.

While I was there I took a few moments to look around and read some of the materials about the history of the boats. The boat in the back with the flag on it is the historic Foto chase boat once owned by Morris Roselfeld who photographed the heyday of yachting in 1920s and 1930s. The owner of Cutts and Case bought it when it was in disrepair and restored it. 

The perspective in this painting was the most challenging part to get right and like I mentioned I spent a whole lot of time drawing. Out of all the artwork I created during Plein Air Easton this painting was the one I enjoyed working on the most because it was so challenging.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Balboa Classic - Original Oil Painting of Sailboats - Yacht Art - Sailing Art - Living Room Art - Family Room Art

 "Balboa Classic" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.  The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014. 
Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Colorful Morning Walk - Original Oil Painting of Balboa Island - Yacht Decor - Wall Decor - Living Room Decor - Balboa Island Art - Just Plein Fun

"Colorful Morning Walk" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel 
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.  The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.
The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014. 
Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

Monday, August 25, 2014

All Tied Up - Original Oil Painting of Boats on Balboa Island - Yacht Decor - Sailing Art - Living Room Decor - Balboa Island Art - Just Plein Fun

 
"All Tied Up" | 11" x 14" | Oil on canvas panel 
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.  The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.
The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014. 
Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Floating Under the Clouds - Original Oil Painting of Boats - Yacht Art - Sailing Art - Living Room Art - Family Room Art


"Floating Under the Clouds" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel 
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 
This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.  The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.
This is the first painting I completed for the week and it came together very quickly in spite of the sprinkling of rain that came down while I was working. Fortunately, it was a very warm morning and the light shower cooled me off. Since I work in oils my painting wasn't affected by the change in weather and the rain only lasted a short time. I was out the door before dawn hoping for some dramatic light on the island and since a rare storm had just passed thorough Southern California I found the sky was filled with clouds as well. Calm water made for bold reflections and when I spotted this group of boats I set up me easel and went to work. 
The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014. 
Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

All Dressed Up - Sailboat Painting - Just Plein Fun - Balboa Island Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Art

 "All Dressed Up" | 9" x 12" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 

A little over a week ago I was one of 13 participating artists in the Just Plein Fun event organized by Debra Huse Gallery that took place on Balboa Island. All of us painted in and around the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, CA for a week dropping off our paintings at Debra Huse Gallery daily. It was exciting to see the new work hung on the walls every day.

At the end of the week there was a timed two hour Brush Off along Marine Avenue. After the Brush Off all of us framed our paintings and took them over to the gallery to see the final show. Jean Stern, director of the Irvine Museum, was the judge for the show.

The award winners -
1st Place - Rita Pacheco Fun Zone
2nd - Michael Clements 'View from Washington St. Pier'
 3rd - Toni Williams 'Diamond Alley'
HM - Mark Fehlman 'Our Little Paradise'
HM - Michele Byrne 'Castle Contest on Ruby'
Brush Off - Mike Carroll 'Call of the Bells'
People's Choice - Sally Jordan

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014. 
Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA


  "Floating Under the Clouds" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

  "Balboa Classic" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 


 "Shady Walk" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 


 "The Original Island Treat" | 12" x 9" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek


 "All Tied Up" | 11" x 14" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 


 Brush Off Painting
"50 Cents to Ride" | 9" x 12" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek 


 "Afloat" | 6" x 8" | Oil on canvas panel | KimVanDerHoek.com
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Plein Air Easton 2014 - My Thoughts and Highlights

"A Morning of Reflection" | 14" x 11" | Oil | Sold
©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

It's been a while since I last posted. My kids are out of school for the summer and I have been busy with their activities as well as several art shows. On July 9th I flew out to Baltimore, Maryland to be one of 58 participating artists at Plein Air Easton 2014. This was the 10th year of the event and the Avalon Foundation doubled the prize money for the show with the grand prize award at $10,000.

 "Dining Al Fresco" | 8" x 16" | Oil | Sold
©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

Plein Air Easton is the largest and most prestigious juried plein air painting competition in the United States. In its 10th year, it is held annually in Easton, Maryland each July. Plein air painters produce art from life (as opposed to in the studio). Artists from all over the United States and beyond apply to this competition. The 58 competing artists paint throughout Talbot County, Maryland the week of July 12-20, 2014. The resulting original works of art were displayed in the Academy Art Museum where awards were announced and paintings were sold throughout the weekend.

"A Charming Pair" | 8" x 16" | Oil | Sold
©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

If you don't know about Plein Air Easton it is the best plein air event in the U.S. right now. The community support for it is unrivaled with attendance between 6,000-8,000. The Avalon Foundation sells more than $300,000 worth of art during the two days that the show is hanging. The Quick Draw brings in hundreds of artists, onlookers and collectors.

Sounds like heaven, right? What's the catch you might be wondering. Well, this event is extremely difficult to get into. Artists must submit plein air paintings for a jurior to review and score. As you can imagine many painters from the U.S. and abroad apply and few are chosen. In fact, there are many absolutely amazing painters that don't make it in.

 
 It's a completely different way of life there where almost everyone owns a boat and knows how to sail. Here these kids are taking summer sailing lessons.

Also, the climate is incredibly challenging to paint in (especially for someone like me who was born and raised in the mild Southern California climate). Plein Air Easton takes place in July which is typically the hottest and most humid month of the entire year. Temperatures reach well over 100 degrees with very high humidity. If you've never painted all day in those conditions let me tell you they are draining and dangerous if you do not stay hydrated. Let's not forget about the bugs. Mosquitoes lay in wait (I'm not sure where they hide out but they are everywhere) day and night for the opportunity to make a meal out of unsuspecting painters, but, they are nothing compared to the Lyme disease carrying ticks that attack from both above and below, either leaping onto you from trees or creeping up your legs from the grass. Many East Coast painters have had Lyme disease and they are happy to scare the pants off of anyone brave enough to ask about the symptoms. Click here for more information about Lyme disease if you really want to get freaked out.

"Handcrafted History" | 16" x 20" | Oil | Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com
 ©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

In spite of the challenges I've felt extremely lucky to be part of Plein Air Easton both last year and this year. This time around I learned a few things I'd like to share with you.

This year I arrived a few days early so that I could attend some of the pre-competition events that took place. One was on Tilghman Island and the other was in Cambridge, both beautiful places to paint. While I didn't sell work at the pre-competition events that took place, they did give me the opportunity to generate additional work for sale and to get warmed up for the rest of the week. While painting I was interviewed (click here to see the video) by Talley of the Avalon Foundation and he asked me what makes Plein Air Easton unique compared to other plein air events in the U.S. I wish I'd had a more thoughtful answer than the one I gave in the video. Since the interview, I've had a lot more time to think about that question and I'd like to give you a little back info. that leads me to my point (this is a really long post so stay with me if you can).

Dawn light that makes getting up when it's still dark out worthwhile.

While sitting with two of the main organizers of Plein Air Easton at dinner one night they shared with me their philosophy that drives the decision making process for the event. It's very simple and I was completely taken by surprise when I heard it. They told me what it all boils down to is one question and that is, will it make the artists happy? Wow. Spend a moment thinking about that. I expected to hear a slew of other Mission Statements about fundraising or community benefits, anything but what they told me that night.

 "Quiet Landing" | 16" x 20" | Oil | Sold
 ©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

I tell you this because at the end of my time in Easton I had my answer to what makes Plein Air Easton special - and I can only speak for myself here so if you ask another artist their answer might be different. When I said in the video that the community support for the event is amazing what I specifically meant was that the people who enjoy and support Plein Air Easton treated me as though what I did was important, that it was special, appreciated and enhanced their community and lifestyle.

In my day to day existence as a painter it's pretty rare to experience anything more than a casual curiosity about what I do when I meet someone new. It's even rarer to meet a large group of people who find meaning and connection on a deep level to representational painting. For the twelve days I was there I felt as though what I was painting was a relevant and valid expression of the connection we share with our environment. In this time of social media and technology, making a deeper connection to our community and environment (something that was essential in the time of the French Impressionists) is as important as ever. Slowing down, creating with thought, deliberation and meaning has become uncommon in our fast-paced world. To be able to share those quiet moments in the landscape that I translate onto canvas with collectors and fellow artists is significant to me.

Farewell dinner with my Easton host family and roommates. I miss them already.

At the end of the event I was absolutely exhausted from waking up before dawn, creating all day and going to bed late. I learned that getting enough rest is essential because I don't make good painting decisions when I'm tired. Most of the time I listened to my body and rested when I needed to, with the exception of one day where all my paintings were a complete disaster. Lesson learned.

It was wonderful seeing friends I met last year again and meeting new friends. It was very fulfilling being able to pursue my passion every day for more than a week uninterrupted (meaning no one under five feet tall asked me for a snack). My hosts this year were a blast to hang out with and they treated my roommates and I to a magical (I never use that word but it's the best adjective to describe it) last night in town dinner celebration that made saying goodbye heart-wrenching. While I was ready to see my two kids, my husband and my memory foam mattress (best mattress I've ever had), it was difficult to take off my Easton name badge (or as I refer to it, my backstage pass because it opens many doors) and return to being just me again instead of one of "the artists."

Backstage Pass

If I haven't bored you to tears and you're still wondering what the highlights were then read on, I'll try to keep them brief.

First, there was the paintout on beautiful Tilghman Island. Artists that arrived early could paint anywhere on the island on July 10th and at the end of the day we all hung our work and were fed a traditional Maryland crab feast at Harrison House. At the show artists selected their favorite painting and voted via secret ballot. The winner Ken DeWaard, received a cash prize for his beautiful painting "Tilghman Morning."

Pictured L to R - Doris and Bill Nielson,  Ken DeWaard, Al Bond who is holding Ken's winning painting and Buddy Harrison, Jr.

 The two paintings below are my paintings from the Tilghman Island paintout.

"Double Dipping" | 12" x 9" | Oil | Sold
 ©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek

 
"Retired" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Private Collection
 ©2014 by Kim VanDerhoek
Next we had a paintout in Cambridge with a tasty lunch and informal art show at Snapper's Restaurant. My painting turned out horribly so I won't be posting it ... ever.....

That night it was time to check-in at the Avalon Theater, pick up my artists welcome packet, my backstage pass and get my canvases stamped for the week. As always, the staff at the Avalon did a great job making the artist's orientation an entertaining and informative part of PAE. There were a lot of laughs, music and dancing.

This was my morning painting spot on Saturday.
My easel had the dock all to itself for a couple of hours.

Saturday we were set loose to paint where we pleased. I finished two paintings in the morning and then packed up my gear for the Sponsor's Dinner held on a large waterfront estate. Artists were encouraged to paint before guests arrived so that they could see us finishing up our work. Then we framed and hung our paintings on our easels for guests to view and purchase. I don't have a good photo of my painting from that night because it sold that evening to a nice couple.

The stunning location for the Sponsor's Dinner. A wonderful place to paint and relax.
Note the lighthouse in the distance.

After that it was a whirlwind of painting all over Talbot County, Maryland ending with the sold out Collector's Preview Party and show at the Academy Art Museum. John Sills was the grand prize winner with his lovely painting "Meditation" (42"x30"). The Avalon Foundation sold more than $300,000 worth of art during the two days the show was hanging.

L to R - Peter Trippi the judge for the show with 
John Brandon Sills and his wining painting.
 "Night Mooring" the Artist's Choice winner by Zufar Bikbov.


 Painting at Cutts and Case boatyard was another highlight for me. 

The guys at Cutts and Case make art in the shape of working sailboats. A wonderful painting location with very nice people working there. My painting near the beginning of this post "Handcrafted History" is from Cutts and Case.

 My Quick Draw painting. "The Avalon" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Sold

After the opening reception, the next morning it was time for the Quick Draw.

While working on my Quick Draw painting a huge truck parked in front of the building blocking my view of the lower half which I happened to be blocking in at that moment. I didn't realize it but there was a large crowd of people behind me watching me paint and when the truck parked they all let out a collective, "Awwww!" One of them was kind enough to track down the driver and ask him to move. I don't know which impressed me more, the bystander that volunteered to track down the driver or the driver who willingly moved his vehicle. To top things off my painting sold as soon as I took out the price tag and then about 10 more people came over to inquire about its availability.

Hundreds of people attending the Quick Draw at the end of the week.

After a long day painting and waiting by our easels we could finally relax. A few friends invited me out to dinner. Talking shop with other painters at plein air events is one of my favorite things.  I always learn a lot and have a few laughs.

Dinner with artist friends at the end of the week. From L to R - John Sills (the grand prize winner of PAE this year), Me, Rob Barber, Greg LaRock and Ken DeWaard.


Saying goodbye to friends. L to R - Louis Escobedo - Doug Clarke, Yer Za Vue, Me and Zufar Bikbov Artist's Choice winner.

Plein Air Easton wouldn't be the most successful and enjoyable event in the U.S. without the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and staff at the Avalon.

Pictured here - Al and Jess run things with efficiency and a sense of humor, a winning combination.

I wish I had a good photo of all the staff and volunteers that make Plein Air Easton happen. A HUGE thanks to Cindy, Suzy, Rose, Talley, Jason, Shawn, Chrissy, Jenn, Victoria, Al, Jess and everyone else I am forgetting, you guys are magic makers!

It's only been a week and I am missing Easton already, hopefully, I will get to return next year.