Thursday, August 27, 2015

Original Inspiration - Joahua Meador - Disney Animator - Palette Knife Painter

 Paintings in this post are by artist Joshua Meador 1911-1965

The more I teach workshops I find there are some common questions that I am asked. One of the most frequent questions is, what inspired me to start painting?

My grandparents were close friends with a Disney animator named Joshua Meador and his family. Meador, like many Disney artists, painted in his spare time. He worked in oils using a palette knife to create his paintings. My grandparents collected a great deal of his artwork.

 Paintings in this post are by artist Joshua Meador 1911-1965

If you don't know what a palette knife is, it's a metal, diamond shaped tool used for mixing, scraping off and applying paint. When used as a painting tool it creates simplified and loose style of painting.

  Joshua Meador 1911-1965

When I would visit my grandparent's house as a child I would see the dozen or so paintings that they owned by Joshua Meador. I was fascinated by the what I call the "Monet effect" in which each one of the paintings appeared to be an abstract mess up close but a few steps back each would coalesce into recognizable shapes and scenes.

Joshua Meador 1911-1965

Through the years I would visit them and every time I would find myself standing in front of his paintings trying to absorb every detail and understand how each was created. I believe that's where my love of painting began and ever since I've paid close attention to fine art, expanding my knowledge of art and artists. While I've picked up many new influences along the way, without being exposed to Joshua Meador's work I may never have started painting.

 Joshua Meador 1911-1965

A quick thank you to Patience Brewster for their kind email encouraging me to participate in Artist Appreciation Month. Patience is a talented artist and designer of handmade and handcrafted unique Christmas ornaments and gifts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Intransigent Arrangement - Beach Rocks - Crystal Cove Beach - California Beach - Beach House Art - Art for the Home

"Intransigent Arrangement" | 8" x 10" | Oil on panel
Available at
©2015 by Kim VanDerHoek

Some days when I head out to paint, the usual pretty beach view doesn't grab my attention. Such was the case the days I painted this group of beach rocks. It was overcast and the long view down the beach seemed to lack it's usual magic. The rocks along the shore however, were colorful and full of interesting shapes.

Since I can always learn more about painting rocks I chose to focus on this group. I learned that there really weren't a lot of big value changes on this particular day but, there were a number of temperature and hue shifts like the warm almost flesh toned rock in the upper center and just to the right of that the cooler gray rock. I also played with edges, softening most of them and keeping a few hard ones to lead the eye into and through the painting. Many of the rocks were slabs with a repeating pattern to them and I tried to keep some of that feeling without getting too many repeating shapes that would result in a boring image.

Another idea I played with was painting my subject in a way that worked both as a representation painting as well as an abstract piece.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Farmhand - Tractor Painting- Farm Painting - Rural Art - Country Art - Original Oil Painting

"Farmhand" | 9" x 12" | Oil on panel | ©2015
Available at

This farmhand lives next to a pretty vineyard in Temecula, California. A few years ago I snapped a photo of it and finally got around to painting it during a gallery demo. Most of the shapes are boxes and fairly easy to paint. The hard part to get right are the wheels. What makes them tricky are the ellipses.

As a student my initial approach was to paint them as circles carefully attached to the bottom of the tractor (I realize this probably isn't a tractor but I don't know a thing about farm equipment so you'll have to excuse me). Since then I've done a lot more careful observation and discovered a few things.

Any wheel at an angle won't be a perfect circle, it will be an ellipse with more tread showing on one side. With these wheels they get a bit more complicated because they don't have hubcaps, instead, you can see inside part of the wheel. The center forms another ellipse but between the rubber tire and the center there is a "C" shape that helps it all look 3D.

Since this is probably easier to understand by seeing a visual I've included a diagram breaking it all down below. I hope you find it helpful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lexington Lake Reflections - Los Gatos Plein Air - Plein Air Landscape Painting - Award Winning Landscape Painting - Art for the Home

"Lexington Lake Reflections" | 8" x 16" | Oil on panel | SOLD

This one was painted on location during the Los Gatos Plein Air event in June. It was my last painting of the week-long event.

When I found this spot I wished I'd found it sooner because there were several paintings I could have created within walking distance. It was also one of those rare paintings that just seemed to come together all on it's own without a putting up much of a fight. There were no arguments, no questioning every stroke, no insults were hurled, no easels kicked over and no brushes broken. O.K. that's an exaggeration but, if you paint then you know what I'm saying.

In the end I was pretty happy with it and amazingly, so was the judge for the show Mr. Paul Kratter. Paul is a very talented artist himself and it was an honor that he gave my painting and honorable mention award.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Canyon Road in Spring - Rural Art - Laguna Beach Canyon - Country Art - Landscape Painting for the Home - Art for Sale

"Canyon Road in Spring" | 11' x 14" | Oil on panel
Available at

One of the lessons I repeat often in my painting class is demonstrating how to mix a variety of greens. As a landscape painter I am often confronted with a view that is green stacked on green. Knowing how to mix a variety of greens has enabled me to create a successful painting even when my view isn't very interesting color-wise.

If you use a split palette of warm and cool colors then some of the work is done for you. Keeping the cool paint mixtures for background objects and warm paint mixtures for foreground objects takes some of the guesswork out of the process. In this post I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite paint mixtures for achieving different greens.

Warm greens -

1. Ultramarine Blue + Cad. Yellow = Basic true green

 2. Mars Black + Cad. Yellow = Nice warm olive green

3. Ultramarine Blue + Yellow Ochre = Warm brownish green

Cool greens -

1. Cobalt Blue + Naples Yellow = Cool green
2. Cobalt Blue + Naples Yellow + Cad. Yellow = Slightly warmer but still on the cool side green

3. Cobalt Blue + Naples Yellow + Alizarin Crimson = Not really green, more of a violet but goes well with the other cool greens. It tends to look green when surrounded by other colors

These paint mixtures might seem like a formula but, keep in mind that using different ratios of each color, adding white or adding a third color like a red or orange changes the mixtures further. The trick is knowing what to use and when to use it.