Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ten Tips for Painting Without Fear

"In Absence" 24"x18" oil and pencil on panel
Avaliable at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Control. We all want it. We all believe we have it.

So many aspects of painting are about control because we artists are trying really hard to create a decent painting. Control is difficult to let go of.

As a teacher I see control ruin a lot of good paintings. I've seen control ruin a lot of my own paintings.

Where does it come from and why is it difficult to let go of? The short answer - fear. Fear of ruining a good area in a painting, fear of completely failing and creating something that will go straight into the trash. Fear of negative comments about the painting (or a lack of "likes" on social media). Fear of rejection.

Fear ruins paintings too. Fear is always there whispering in my ear. I believe it shouts in my student's ears when they are in my class.

My 6 year old daughter is fearless. She creates anything she thinks of with complete abandon and has absolutely no regard for what anyone else thinks about her creation. She creates to please herself.

Here are a few tips I use to shut the fear up -

1) Remember, it's just a painting. No ones life hangs in the balance if it doesn't turn out well.

2) You paint because you enjoy it. If it isn't fun find another profession that you enjoy because it will probably have a better health plan and a 401k.

3) Start your painting with a plan and then be open to things that happen spontaneously. They might just be the best part of the whole piece.

4) Listen to your instinct. If your gut says, "add blue," then add blue!

5) Remember, you're not working in permanent marker, you can always make changes.

6) Intentionally ruin an area you like (I bet the fear just screamed, "NO!").  Sometimes the most interesting things happen when you destroy an area you really like.

7) If the painting sucks, no one ever has to know.

8) Paint another one. Stop beating yourself up about the failed painting and paint something else. The next one could be the best painting you've ever created because of what you learned from the failed piece.

9) Break the rules. We are artists, it's our job to break the rules, even our own rules. Isn't it written in the handbook somewhere?

10) Paint what you feel like painting. Want to paint a chair because it speaks to you? Don't overthink it and worry if anyone will like it or buy it. Paint the chair.

That said - this is one in a series of chair paintings I've been working one lately. In this group of work I've experimented with different color palettes, edge treatments, texture and larger panels (at least for me). You can see I even scratched into the paint with a pencil to indicate the shapes on the ground. I've been using photo references only as a starting point in the painting process. At a certain stage it's best to put the reference away and only respond to the needs of the painting or what my instincts tell me to do.

There are more in this series of chairs. I find the implied meaning about waiting, loss and potential in an empty chair interesting.

I hope you are out there fearlessly doing what you love!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crimson Clouds - Sunset Painting - Cloud Painting - Art with Red - Painting with Red - Art for the Home

"Crimson Clouds" 9" x 12" Oil & Pencil on Arches Oil Paper
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Sometimes you just want to paint a moody sunset.

These works on paper are all very affordable. Click the link above for pricing info.

Here's a detail shot showing some of the brushwork and pencil.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Twilight Drift - Oil Painting - Art for the Home - Wall Decor - Home Decor

"Twilight Drift" 9" x 12" Oil & Pencil on Arches Oil Paper
Available at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Recently, I asked my students to study and paint clouds in class. Even though I'd painted several demos. I was so inspired by watching them work that I stayed late to paint this twilight cloud scene just for my own enjoyment.

These works on paper are all very affordable. Click the link above for pricing information.

Here's a detail shot showing some of the brushwork and pencil.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Macy Street/Cesar Chavez Bridge - Los Angeles River Bridges - Historic Bridges of L.A. - Urban Art - Plein Air - Urban Plein Air

"Macy Street/Cesar Chavez Bridge" oil on 9" x 12" panel
See more artwork at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

I had 30 minutes to complete this painting and it was a blast to paint! Was it a timed quick draw painting from a Plein Air event? No, I was out painting with friends one morning and had finished one painting early on but a person in our group needed 30 more minutes to finish her piece. I had lots of paint mixed and ready to go on my palette that was leftover from the morning painting so, I turned my easel around, grabbed a blank canvas and decided to go for it.

30 minutes isn't very long when you have to mix all your paint from scratch, but like I said, I had lots leftover and even though the colors and values weren't an exact match I figured I could modify them enough to create a new painting. The view was similar to the one in my morning painting which meant the colors/values were similar too.

I started without an initial sketch (a different approach than I typically use). Instead, I massed in the dark underside of the bridge first, then I painted in the blue river. Why? My instinct told me that they were the most important shapes in this piece and I should put them in first so that I could place them exactly where I wanted in order to create a dynamic composition. Then I painted in the rest using thick paint which sped up the process of filling in the large shapes with a few brushstrokes.

When painting like this I go by what my gut is telling me to do. There isn't time to second guess my decisions. I have to be confident and go for it. In this case I was warmed up since I'd already completed one (much slower and more carefully considered) painting that morning.

Even though this piece took very little time to complete I want you to know that the majority of my paintings aren't finished this quickly, nor should they be. There is a time and a place for painting using this method. Painting shouldn't be a sprint, it should be a long walk for the most part interspersed with moments where you sprint simply for the joy of it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but the ride sure is fun.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In Suspension - Contemporary Painting - Contemporary Art - Modern Art - Mid Century Modern Decor

"In Suspension" 18"x24" oil and pencil on panel
Avaliable at www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Remember those small paintings on paper I wrote about a few posts back? No? Well, here's the link.

This piece came from one of those small paintings on paper. Besides a bridge obsession I also have a thing for chairs. Weird? Yes, I'm aware of that.

The fact is I've always loved a well-designed chair. I'd collect them if they didn't take up so much space. If there was a chair museum, I'd go. I'd go often.

As for this painting, it is one in a series of chair paintings. In this group of work I've experimented with different color palettes, edge treatments and texture. It's been a wonderful learning process and I find all the implications about waiting, loss and potential in a simple chair interesting enough to explore further.

Here are a few detail shots