"Approaching Dusk" | 11" x 14" | Oil on panel
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com
This piece is from the Los Gatos Plein Air Festival that I participated in recently. It was my first time being part of the event and for me, that meant spending a lot of time driving around searching for a location to set up my easel and start painting.
Before I head out I've usually done my best to research potential locations but the problem is I really don't know what I'll find until I'm actually there. A lot of spots that are suggested by event organizers are certainly pretty places but, don't hold enough interest in order to create a successful painting or the location is so specific that only a small group of people would be interested in owning a painting of that place. Other problems include, arriving at the suggested location at the wrong time of day or being unable to find an area large enough to set up an easel and paint, or worse, I'll get a case of the "What's Around the Bend" syndrome where I pass up a perfectly good spot hoping to find something even better. That syndrome can last for a while and has led to plenty of frustration and wasted work hours.
With this piece I spent a fair amount of time searching for a view and when this one finally came along it wasn't perfect but had enough information for me to work with. I ended up editing out a lot of messy, unattractive shrubs, fences, and buildings and I pushed a bit more color into the foreground to pop the perspective lines that were created by some type of farm equipment but appeared to be much more subtle in the actual scene. There was also a lot going on in the distant hills that I had to make work for this painting.
It's always tempting to paint everything I see out there but, too much detail in the wrong place often detracts from the main idea in a painting. It's a lesson I am reminded of every time I go out to paint and one I try to pass on to my students.