"Contemporary Windmills" | 9" x12" | Oil on canvas panel
Available at KimVanDerHoek.com
©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.