Sunday, February 23, 2014

Up and Away - Orginal Oil Painting of Stairs - Urban Alley Painting - Urban Architecture Art - Cityscape Oil Painting

"Up and Away" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

This alley in the City of Santa Ana, California has an outdoor pedestrian stairway that spans the length of the alley from one street to another. With it's dramatic color it adds an interesting architectural element to an ordinary city scene.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Strolling Along the Cove - Original Oil Painting of Crystal Cove State Beach - California Beach Painting - Plein Air Seascape Painting

 "Strolling Along the Cove" | 8" x 8" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

Painted on location at Crystal Cove State Beach, California near the historic district. A classic view of this stretch of beach. With the clouds blocking the sun it was a quiet morning with only a few small groups of beach strollers.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where Light and Shadow Meet - Original Oil Painting of Zion National Park - Twin Brothers Mountain Painting Zion Utah - Mountain of the Sun Oil Painting

 "Where Light and Shadow Meet" | 9" x 12" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

Around this time every year I evaluate my goals for the coming year and begin planning accordingly. Last year I was a participating artist in 3 plein air painting events, two in California (Sonoma and Laguna)  and one in Maryland (Easton), which is about the maximum number I can squeeze in around my kid's and husband's schedules. It made for some exciting painting in new places tackling new subjects. As a result it pushed me well out of my comfort zone and gave me a very clear idea of what I want to work on this year.

In an effort to continue pushing beyond my usual subjects I wanted to tackle more mountain and desert scenes. Not because they are popular because truthfully, they're not (at least not in my area), but because I think they are really challenging. All those red and ochre tones both in the foreground and in the distance require some careful thought.

Knowing how to work a warm and cool palette is absolutely essential for a view like this. I see students make the mistake of painting the distant red tones in mountains or hills too dark and way too warm. They should be cooler and a little lighter than the reds in the foreground (in my opinion). Also, with all the real life detail in those peaks it's very easy to loose sight of the big picture and go overboard by adding too many extraneous details in that area that detract from the whole idea of the painting.

When faced with a situation like this I'll often spend just as much time working on the distant mountains as I spend on the rest of the painting. I'll block in the big light and shadow shapes on the mountains and then add details. Then I'll paint out a lot of the details I just added because I usually add too many the first time around. When I step back from my painting I'll find I took too many important details out and I'll carefully add a few back in and so on, until I get the feel I'm looking for. The hardest part is taking the time and having the patience to keep working it.

With this view of the Twin Brothers Mountains which are next to the Mountain of the Sun in Zion National Park in Utah I needed to do a few value/composition sketches before I began because the photo reference I had didn't quite have the composition I wanted. Plus, I couldn't make up my mind about how much or how little of the Twin Brothers Mountains I wanted to include.

You can see in my first sketch I included all three mountains. In the sketch below I only included the cropped portion of two peaks. My final composition however, fell somewhere in between the two sketches. They really helped me decide what I wanted to include in my final painting and it didn't hurt having a value plan already in my head before I began mixing any paint.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Framed by Light - Original Oil Painting of a Eucalyptus Tree - Colorful Tree Painting - Plein Air Tree Painting

"Framed by Light" | 12" x 9" | Oil on canvas panel 
Available at
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

This beautiful tree was framed with cool colors the morning I painted it and I felt the warm tones on the eucalyptus tree itself would create an exciting contrast between the two areas.

There is always a fine line between adding too much detail in the peeling bark on these trees and not adding enough to give you the idea of what type of tree it is. When I'm working on a close up of one like you see here I do a lot of thinking before I put my brush on the canvas. I try to get away with as few strokes as possible to convey the idea, that way the paint looks fresh and not beaten up.

A long time ago I read an interview with an artist (sorry, I don't remember who or where) and they talked the paint surface and how working a passage over and over dulls the paint resulting in a loss of luster (I'm paraphrasing here). They went on to say that they worked with an economical stroke to prevent that from happening and to keep the spontaneous feeling alive in the painting.

Since then I've experimented with that idea and found with certain colors that holds true. Of course, I can always add different mediums to help combat the effect but, I prefer to keep it simple and use as little medium as possible which forces me to think carefully about each step of my painting process.

Every year I gain a new appreciation for how important it is to make careful and thoughtful decisions in painting, not that I still don't botch the job but, I think it's helped me a lot.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hope's Garden - Origininal Oil Painting of Hope Garden in Maryland - Garden Painting

"Hope's Garden" | 11" x 14" | Oil on canvas | SOLD
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

Last year I was a participating artist during the Easton Plein Air event. One of the first locations that was opened to the artists was Hope House in Maryland. The grounds there were beautiful with views of the river, views of boats and a boat house, a historic car and blooming gardens. The hardest part was deciding where to set up my easel. Eventually though, I found this spot under the shade of a tall tree.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Sycamore - Original Impressionist Style Oil Painting of a Tree and Pumpkins - Pumpkin Patch Painting - Kitchen Art

"Pumpkin Patch Sycamore" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

I took my students out to paint in the pumpkin patch at the Irvine Regional Park in Orange, CA in October. I couldn't resist doing a quick sketch between my time helping them. I really like how loose this one is with lots of strokes placed on the canvas and left alone. It looks very fresh to me. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Show on the Road - Original Oil Painting of a Trail - Tree Oil Painting - Autumn Oil Painting

"A Show on the Road" | 16" x 8" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

This piece was painted on location along the Santa Ana River Trail in Orange, California. The trail runs through several cities from Huntington Beach all the way to Riverside. It is a popular trail for walkers, joggers and cyclists.

There were a lot of people that stopped to see what I was doing and the hardest part of working on this piece was stopping repeatedly to answer questions but, that is part of painting outdoors.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blackstar Reds - Original Oil Painting of Red Bluffs - Blackstar Canyon Oil Painting - Desert Oil Painting

"Blackstar Reds" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

This piece was painted on location in Blackstar Canyon in Orange County, California.

To capture the bold color on the bluffs I needed to get my easel set up just after dawn. Any later in the day and the light washes out the color and makes everything look flat. I've read that iron oxide in the rocks is what causes the red tones. The bluff colors really stood out next to the deep blue sky too. It was fun painting this bold color combination because there usually aren't lot of reds found in the locations I paint at.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Overlooking Aliso Beach - Original Oil Painting of Laguna Beach - Laguna Beach Painting - Seascape Painting

 "Overlooking Aliso Beach" | 9" x 12" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

Laguna Beach, California is a beautiful place to find views to paint. This painting was created on location near the Montage Resort and the view is looking south toward Aliso Beach. The sun was high in the sky which made the water turn a beautiful blue/green. It was a quiet day with small waves and only a few people on the beach.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Side by Side - Original Oil Painting of White Flowers in a Bottle - Still Life White Flower Painting

"Side by Side" | 5" x 5" | Oil on 1/4" thick panel with the sides painted black
©2013 by Kim VanDerHoek

Painted from a still life set-up in my studio. These two simple white flowers paired with the amber-colored glass bottle made a delicate statement in front of a light blue background. This piece was painted quickly. It has thicker paint in some areas, like the petals, and paint so thin that the canvas can be seen through parts of the brushstroke, like in the background.

The blue in this painting is a delicate light blue with a hint of green that is impossible to capture accurately in a photo. I've done my best to color match this particular painting in my photo-editing program but, please know that the blue is such a subtle color that I can only come close. It is a beautiful and soft painting in person.