Monday, January 26, 2015

Southern Stroll - Original Oil Painting of the Beach - Crystal Cove Beach Painting - California Beach Painting - Beach House Art

 "Southern Stroll" | 10" x 8" | Oil on panel

With all the experimenting I've been doing in my work lately I took a break and went out to get in some plein air at Crystal Cove State Beach. The light that morning was constantly changing with clouds moving in and out, hiding then revealing the sun then hiding it again. I stuck with the general overcast feel of the morning since that light seemed to be the most consistent and I liked the color of the sky in the distance behind the last bluff. The wet sand and incoming water created a nice lead into the painting punctuated by rocks strewn on shore. People are always walking along this stretch of beach and I had to add a couple of them for interest and scale. This is a beautiful beach and one of my favorite places to paint. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Contemporary Windmills - Original Oil Painting of Windmills - Desert Windmill - Contemporary Art - Energy Art - Modern Home Art

"Contemporary Windmills" | 9" x12" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at
©2015 by Kim VanDerHoek

This one had me stumped for a few months. I blocked it in about six months ago with a colorful underpainting and then got sidetracked by Plein Air painting events and general life stuff. So, this one sat around my studio for a while and each time I passed it I'd think, "I've got to finish that one before I forget where I was going with it."

At the time I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do to it once the underpainting was dry and I even painted a small sketch which I was happy with, but in the end my sketch didn't translate into a larger piece. In my ongoing quest to experiment, I tried painting the sky orange to see if I could get a warm color to work in that area. Unfortunately, the orange sky dominated the painting and not in a good way. Sometimes I need to break the rules though just to see what happens in this case I'm glad I gave it a shot even though it didn't pan out. What it left me with was an exciting underpainting and I really like how it peeks through the sky now.

The windmills also went through some changes. Starting out a light gray and looking too white and bright with the orange sky behind them the windmills appeared disconnected from the sky and lacked atmosphere. I tried softening their edges and streaking my brush through them which helped but still didn't solve the problem. In the end I needed to change the color of the windmills but only after I had painted in the new yellow/blue sky. Instead of their original light gray I changed their color to a light yellow with a hint of blue in it to integrate them into the sky. Their hard edges had to be softened again and I liked the sense of movement I got the first time around when I streaked my brush through them so I repeated that effect.

The other areas of the painting didn't change a whole lot from my initial sketch, although I did keep the drips on the right side of the painting because it's one of the few times I've gotten them to work. A lot of edges were softened throughout too. It was quite a ride painting this piece.

As someone obscure master painter somewhere in an exotic European country once said long ago, "There is a lesson in every painting," or in this case, more than one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Place to Sit - Post Workshop - Original Oil Painting of an Interior - Art for the Home - Art For Sale - Living Room Art - Living Room Decor

"A Place to Sit" | 12" x 9" | Oil on canvas panel 
Available at
©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

If you read my last post about the workshop I took with artist William Wray then you know I learned a new approach to painting. In the workshop I created a painting of a gas station that William helped me a bit on by making adjustments and suggestions when I got stuck. I finished it with about an hour to spare before the end of class. Painting time is very precious to me since I have two kiddos at home that need a lot of my attention and I wasn't about to give up the chance to get started on another painting while I had a peaceful studio space to work in so, I started the painting you see here.

In class I only managed to get the initial drawing done before it was time to pack up. I'd hoped to get William's input on it but he was busy helping other students. I took it home and worked on the rest of the painting there.

I am including my reference photo which is a friend's living room. As you can see, the finished painting is very different from the reference and that is a huge lesson I took away from the class. You can see I omitted a lot of information, paring things down to what I felt were the important elements like the chair, window, sofa and coffee table. During the painting process I had a couple of other elements like the door behind the chair in the painting and a picture on the wall behind the lamp but, they were distracting and I removed them.

I choose a specific color scheme based on something William said in class which was selecting colors that are opposites on the color wheel. Orange seemed appropriate since the sofa is that color which meant blue would be the opposite I would use in the painting. I knew I wanted the light in the window to be my lightest value and it needed to frame the chair which allowed me to keep the wood parts of the chair very dark. It also helped me decide to keep most of the values a bit darker than what you see in the photo to add to the feeling of brilliant light in the entering the room.

Another thing I tried was working on a dark gray toned canvas, something I rarely do that helped me key the values I was after. An added bonus is that you can see the gray peeking through some of my brushwork.

It was a fun exercise that I would approach a little differently if I had it to do over again, which I may or may not do, but I did learn a lot in the process.