Sunday, March 29, 2015

Double Overpass - Urban Art - Street View Oil Painting - Cityscape - Freeway Art - Bridge Painting

"Double Overpass" | 8" x16" | Oil on panel
Available at

A while ago a very talented painter friend of mine, Terry Miura, wrote an excellent post on his blog about painting tonally. Click here to read it. After reading it I realized that I had never tried using any of the methods he described. With his permission I decided to share his lesson with my students. First however, I needed to paint using one of the approaches he detailed in his blog post.

I have a mix of beginners and more advanced painters in my Monday night studio class and I decided to go with the simple approach Terry described using three gray values mixed with black and white. I chose a violet hue for the overall color scheme and added various amounts of that color to the three gray values I started with. This way of working allowed me to add more or less of blue and red as needed to each mixture while still keeping the overall color harmony going. It was amazing how easily the whole painting came together and of course it was primarily because I was painting in value with subtle hue shifts.

How did my students enjoy the lesson? Many of them struggled through it and there was a lot of grumbling about their paintings looking "too gray." It was a challenging lesson for them but one that I hope taught them how important value is.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's Your Sign - Urban Art - Street View Oil Painting - Cityscape - Freeway Art - Bridge Painting

"What's Your Sign" | 16" x 20 | Oil on panel
Available at
©2015 by Kim VanDerHoek

I've been working quietly in my studio lately, painting small studies, working on more urban and architectural subjects, trying out new ways of applying paint and removing paint. During this process I've fallen hard for night scenes. It started last year when I painted a nocturne during Sonoma Plein Air (click here to see that post).

Since then I've realized that I love the muted color at night and I enjoy making my own choices as to what colors I want to keep or change instead of faithfully trying to record what is actually there. Color is very seductive. When I paint a landscape there is so much color and there are many choices I must make in the painting process related to hue and chroma (as well as value) that it's easy to be overwhelmed and to let color overwhelm the painting itself.

With a night scene the dark dominant value structure makes a strong graphic statement. Also, I am finding that by keeping the color simplified and harmonized I have more control over the mood and focal point.

It's been quite a learning process with a long road ahead still, however, I feel that I'm heading in a new, exciting direction. Not that I'm going to abandon landscape painting anytime in the near future, this is just an added enhancement to what I do.