"Rolling Hills" | 8"x 16" | Oil on panel
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com
Most artists produce a themed series of work at some point in their careers and typically the series has a subject that is visually similar and is painted in a similar style like Kevin Macpherson's Reflections on a Pond series or Ann Gale's Head series.
From my own experience in painting I believe most artists attempt a series because they hit on a subject they want to explore in as many different ways as they possibly can and the most successful subjects are the ones that have enough substance in them that the artist doesn't loose interest while working. Of course, a series can be many things and isn't always limited to a subject that looks similar, what a series needs is a common thread that weaves through the work like a series based on environmental issues or landscapes from a particular location.
Until recently I hadn't thought that any of my body of work could be considered a series. Which brings me around to this piece from Sonoma Plein Air which I guess you could say is part of a series now.
This was painted is my sweet spot, a location in Sonoma County that I seem to find my way back to each time I visit there. To date I've created 9 paintings along the road that runs next to this view. Every year when I drive through this area I ask myself if it's been played out, I ask myself if I really do have any more to say in this location and every year I leave with several more painting ideas in my head that I could have done there.
If you paint plein air and want to push yourself I highly recommend finding a sweet spot of your own, a place that speaks to you and inspires you. Once you've found it, work the area for a while, see just how many different paintings you can create. Use what's in the area to your advantage, move things, find the best light of the moment, if something interesting shows up in the area paint it (my sweet spot includes lots of cows and one unpredictable farmer that welcomes me one year and shoos me away the next), change your color palette, try different techniques, try a composition you've never attempted and use a new tool. If you're not bored after your 5th painting then I say you've found a muse and after that....paint on my friend!