"Tower" | 19" x 12.5" | Oil on panel
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com
If you've read my blog for a while or know my work then you probably know me as a Plein Air landscape painter (or painter of oil pumps). What you don't know is that I never planned on that being my final destination as an artist.
I knew going into this that I needed to have some basic skills and develop an understanding of some of the techniques and principals of painting. When I started out, the thought of tackling a blank canvas was daunting (dry throat, sweaty palms kind of daunting) and it was something I struggled with in college especially when my professors flatly refused to teach anything relating to representational painting. All those years ago I figured that Plein Air was a good place to start since there are no model fees involved, the landscape doesn't move around (unless there is a boat or car involved then they always move) and I could be out of the house away from the distractions of my family life (which used to include changing my kids diapers, so yeah, I really enjoyed being outside at the easel) .
Now that I have spent a number of years in the field painting from life I have a bit of a better handle on the basics (I'm not saying I'm any expert or anything because there is always more to learn and there is always someone else with way more miles on their paintbrush). So, this year I've spent more time painting in my studio (O.K. it's not really a studio, it's more of a tiny corner in a small house that I share with my whole family and their toys, shoes, books, craft supplies, dirty dishes, etc.).
Painting in the studio has allowed me to experiment with things that are difficult to do in the field. In this painting for example, I planned my color palette starting with the under-painting which I hoped would work as a highlight color on the Transamerica building. Fortunately, the under-painting also worked when I wiped away applied paint to indicate the windows on the other high-rise buildings. Allowing paint to run, leaving spots of the under-painting showing through, breaking more edges, mixing colors together from different areas of the painting to create harmony and using broken color are all things I wouldn't normally do when working en Plein Air. Studio painting is a much more deliberate process whereas Plein Air is more of a quick response to an ever changing moment.
As my work evolves I find I have a a number of paintings that head in all different directions stylistically, but, I trust that the schizophrenic look of my work this year will eventually evolve into a thing/style, whatever that my be.