Contemporary Windmills - Original Oil Painting of Windmills - Desert Windmill - Contemporary Art - Energy Art - Modern Home Art


"Contemporary Windmills" | 9" x12" | Oil on canvas panel

 

This one had me stumped for a few months. I blocked it about six months ago with a colorful underpainting and then got sidetracked by plein air painting events and general life stuff. So, this one sat around my studio for a while and each time I passed it I'd think, "I've got to finish that one before I forget where I was going with it."

 

At the time I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do to it once the underpainting was dry and I even painted a small sketch which I was happy with, but in the end my sketch didn't translate into a larger piece. In my ongoing quest to experiment, I tried painting the sky orange to see if I could get a warm color to work in that area. Unfortunately, the orange sky dominated the painting and not in a good way. Sometimes I need to break the rules though just to see what happens in this case I'm glad I gave it a shot even though it didn't pan out. What it left me with was an exciting underpainting and I really like how it peeks through the sky now.

 

The windmills also went through some changes. Starting out a light gray and looking too white and bright with the orange sky behind them the windmills appeared disconnected from the sky and lacked atmosphere. I tried softening their edges and streaking my brush through them which helped but still didn't solve the problem. In the end I needed to change the color of the windmills but only after I had painted in the new yellow/blue sky. Instead of their original light gray I changed their color to a light yellow with a hint of blue in it to integrate them into the sky. Their hard edges had to be softened again and I liked the sense of movement I got the first time around when I streaked my brush through them so I repeated that effect.

 

The other areas of the painting didn't change a whole lot from my initial sketch, although I did keep the drips on the right side of the painting because it's one of the few times I've gotten them to work. A lot of edges were softened throughout too. It was quite a ride painting this piece.

 

As someone obscure master painter somewhere in an exotic European country once said long ago, "There is a lesson in every painting," or in this case, more than one.

Comment on or Share this Article →

A Place to Sit - Post Workshop - Original Oil Painting of an Interior - Art for the Home - Art For Sale - Living Room Art - Living Room Decor


A Place to Sit

"A Place to Sit" | 12" x 9" | Oil on canvas panel

 

If you read my last post about the workshop I took with artist William Wray then you know I learned a new approach to painting. In the workshop I created a painting of a gas station that William helped me a bit on by making adjustments and suggestions when I got stuck. I finished it with about an hour to spare before the end of class. Painting time is very precious to me since I have two kiddos at home that need a lot of my attention and I wasn't about to give up the chance to get started on another painting while I had a peaceful studio space to work in so, I started the painting you see here.

 

In class I only managed to get the initial drawing done before it was time to pack up. I'd hoped to get William's input on it but he was busy helping other students. I took it home and worked on the rest of the painting there.

 

I am including my reference photo which is a friend's living room. As you can see, the finished painting is very different from the reference and that is a huge lesson I took away from the class. You can see I omitted a lot of information, paring things down to what I felt were the important elements like the chair, window, sofa and coffee table. During the painting process I had a couple of other elements like the door behind the chair in the painting and a picture on the wall behind the lamp but, they were distracting and I removed them.

 

 

I choose a specific color scheme based on something William said in class which was selecting colors that are opposites on the color wheel. Orange seemed appropriate since the sofa is that color which meant blue would be the opposite I would use in the painting. I knew I wanted the light in the window to be my lightest value and it needed to frame the chair which allowed me to keep the wood parts of the chair very dark. It also helped me decide to keep most of the values a bit darker than what you see in the photo to add to the feeling of brilliant light in the entering the room.

 

Another thing I tried was working on a dark gray toned canvas, something I rarely do that helped me key the values I was after. An added bonus is that you can see the gray peeking through some of my brushwork.

 

It was a fun exercise that I would approach a little differently if I had it to do over again, which I may or may not do, but I did learn a lot in the process.

Comment on or Share this Article →

William Wray Workshop Recap - A New Approach


"Easton Gas Station" | 12" x 9" | Oil on panel | NFS

 

In early November I had the opportunity to be a student once again. I've been teaching painting for a few years now and haven't taken a class or workshop in a long time. I was lucky enough to be on FaceBook just as artist William Wray posted the announcement for his workshop. Knowing it was a rare opportunity to study with him and figuring the class would fill up in minutes, which it did, I quickly signed up.

 

I first heard about Wray in 2007 when I was in the very early stages of learning how to paint. He was slated to demo. at a local art organization I belonged to at the time. He had also just released a book full of his paintings titled Dirty Beauty. His focus back then was gritty urban scenes. I became an immediate fan as soon as I saw his work.

 

Click here to see William Wray's work and a movie about his process. Fair warning, if you are easily offended and overly sensitive, skip the video.

 

Not everyone understands why a painting of a shopping cart in a parking lot or an old mobile home would be wall worthy art but, what many painters know, is how challenging it is to create something beautiful out of a mundane and humble subject. Wray handles the mundane with aplomb, elevating the ordinary into something with grandeur.

 

Over the years his work has evolved, which has been fascinating to watch because he's pushing the limits of his representational painting, loosing details, painting fewer "things," focusing on shape and value, loosing edges and taking his work into the realm of abstraction.

 

In the last year I've been doing a lot of thinking about my own work. Asking questions about the direction I would like to go. I've always viewed Plein Air landscape painting as a necessary part of my personal learning process but never a means to an end. Now that I have a lot of time behind my field easel and I've put a few miles on my paintbrush I'd like to explore territory beyond what I know how to do.

 

I hoped William Wray would teach a different approach in his workshop and he did. Here's a recap.

 

Day 1

Wray painted a quick demo. explaining what he wanted us to focus on that day while we were out in the field. Unfortunately, we were painting Plein Air. I was really hoping to work in the studio because I thought I'd be able to push the limits in my work more in the studio and that I'd have more one on one time with Wray, but, I paint a lot en Plein Air so it wasn't totally out of my comfort zone. He told us he wanted us to work small, like 3" x 4 1/2" or so. He also said we could only use 3 values in our studies and that we needed to think carefully about color harmony. He said that most of us wouldn't grasp what he was talking about right away and it did take me some time to figure it out.

 

 

Here are my first four for the day before his edits -

 

 

What I misunderstood was the local color lesson and the color harmony thing was also pretty tricky. I struggled to find compositions that worked in 3 values. Below are Wray's edits -

 

 

You can see he lost a lot of the edges in the first three and changed the colors by intermixing them creating a better harmony. He caught me off guard by telling me he didn't want to "mess up" the last one with the figure and that he was hesitant to edit my work because he felt I was more advanced. I've felt that way myself with my more advanced students when I teach but I really wanted him to show me firsthand where I was going wrong so, I pushed him and let him know I wanted him to rework the studies.

 

Here are my next four. I was playing around with going totally abstract. Not that he told us to do that, I decided to break the rules (there is always one in every workshop, right) and play for a while.

 

 

Wray only edited the bottom left. The others weren't worth the time and it was noon so, we all headed off to lunch.

 

Here are my last four from day 1 -

 

 

I felt like I was beginning to figure out what type of subject this approach works well on. Below are Wray's edits.

 

 

He killed more edges and created more color harmony.

 

Day 2 was more of the same. We went to downtown Pasadena with it's wonderful architecture and plentiful shade. I spent a ton of time wiping off my little studies trying to get something to work. A couple of these are sideways. Sorry, they are all iPhone photos.

 

 

 

Wray made a few edits here and there to these by changing a few shapes. I felt like I was grasping the lesson and I could see the potential for creating future paintings using this approach. I looked forward to day 3 when I could apply this lesson to a larger, more finished painting.

 

Day 3 was in the studio. Wray finished the demo. he'd begun on the first day, showing us how to take our studies to more of a finish before turning us loose to work from our own photo reference.

 

 

The finished Wray demo. painting -

 

 

Below is my photo reference. This is an old gas station in Easton, Maryland that I shot during a painting event.

 

 

Here is my finished painting.

 

 

You can see it's very different from my reference and that was what I took away from the whole experience. Now I know a way of working that frees me from simply rendering what the subject is and allows me to be more expressive and make decisions about what I want to say in a painting. It's really opened up a whole new world for me. I've created a number of paintings since the workshop. Some have been complete failures, while others are more successful and a couple are downright exciting (to me anyway).

 

In case you are wondering the "Easton Gas Station" painting is not for sale because it's going into my own personal collection. I need hold onto it to remember what I learned when creating this painting, plus, I really couldn't sell is as my own work because even though I painted most of it, Wray made a number of critical edits. Most importantly however, it's also a souvenir, an enjoyable moment in my life as a painter I want to remember.

Comment on or Share this Article →

6 Inch Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - Chairs and Umbrellas on the Beach at Sunset


"Waiting for Sunset" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

 

This painting is currently part of the 6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, California.

 

For online purchase information please go to www.DailyBrushwork.com

 

Randy Higbee Gallery

102 Kalmus

Costa Mesa, CA

Comment on or Share this Article →

6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - People on the Beach at Sunset - Art For Sale - Holiday Art Show


"Waiting for Sunset" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

 

This painting along with two others will be available at the 6" Squared Show and sale which is opening on this Saturday, December 6th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

 

The 6" Squared Show and sale at Randy Higbee Gallery is one of my favorite shows to be part of each year. If you've never been to an art show this is the one to go to. The sheer volume of outstanding paintings in this show every year is staggering. Some attendees go to the gallery 2-4 times during the exhibit because it is so extensive it's almost impossible to take it all in with only one visit. Many of the best painters from across the U.S. enter work in this show, some are so elusive that this is the only time and place you will see their work on the west coast.

 

If you love original artwork but have never made a purchase at an art show or gallery before this is a great place to start collecting. With the small size of each painting there are many budget-friendly options and Randy's staff is always happy to help you make that special painting yours, just look for the people holding clipboards and running throughout the gallery (they get very busy so be persistent). A red dot next to a painting indicates that it is sold, something that happens very quickly on opening night, so if you are interested in a piece you should act fast before that piece you love finds another home to hang in.

 

If you can't make it to Costa Mesa, CA to see the show in person, you can view all the artwork and make purchases online at www.DailyBrushwork.com

 

Randy Higbee Gallery

102 Kalmus

Costa Mesa, CA

Opening Reception: Saturday, December 6th 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Comment on or Share this Article →

6" Squared Art Show and Sale at Randy Higbee Gallery 2014 - 6 x 6 Art Show - Group Art Show - Art For Sale - Holiday Art Show


"Go Angels!" | 6" x 6" | Oil on canvas panel | Available HERE

 

My work has been changing lately. This year I've spent a considerable amount of time thinking about which direction I want to go, what areas I want to work on and which aspects of my painting process I want to explore further. The resulting work has been a mixed bad of successes and dismal failures. Fortunately, I have more than a few years of painting experience under my belt I was able to look at the setbacks as stepping stones that were necessary to get me to the next painting. I have to say it's been an exciting ride and I've been pleasantly surprised at a few pieces I've managed to pull off.

 

The painting you see here is one of those successful moments. My family and I had been given tickets to an Angels game. We were seated much higher than this view but I snapped this shot with my iPhone while we were marching to the top of Angels stadium to find our seats. We ended up at the very top next to the stadium wall and boy, was that a hike. The view was all-encompassing but a bit too high for the kids to really enjoy the game.

 

In this painting, I wanted the slash of light on the baseball field to be as dramatic as I remembered when I was standing in Angels Stadium. In order to get that effect, I knew the surrounding areas needed to be much darker than they were in reality and I muted the color in the bottom and top of the painting so that the reds and greens on the field would pop out. The tricky part came with the three figures in the foreground. Those figures needed to read like they are part of the dark shadowy foreground but they still required some color to help tell the story. Again, I muted them and took out some of the saturation and kept the edges soft.

 

This was one of those fun painting moments all artists chase, when everything comes together and works. This painting along with two others will be part of the 6" Squared Show at Randy Higbee Gallery in Costa Mesa, CA. For more information about that show keep reading.

 

 

It's time for the 6" Squared Show and Sale

 

The 6" Squared Show and sale at Randy Higbee Gallery is one of my favorite shows to be part of each year. If you've never been to an art show this is the one to go to. The sheer volume of outstanding paintings in this show every year is staggering. Some attendees go to the gallery 2-4 times during the exhibit because it is so extensive it's almost impossible to take it all in with only one visit. Many of the best painters from across the U.S. enter work in this show, some are so elusive that this is the only time and place you will see their work on the west coast.

 

If you love original artwork but have never made a purchase at an art show or gallery before this is a great place to start collecting. With the small size of each painting there are many budget-friendly options and Randy's staff is always happy to help you make that special painting yours, just look for the people holding clipboards and running throughout the gallery (they get very busy so be persistent). A red dot next to a painting indicates that it is sold, something that happens very quickly on opening night, so if you are interested in a piece you should act fast before that piece you love finds another home to hang in. If you can't make it to Costa Mesa, CA to see the show in person, you can view all the artwork and make purchases online at www.DailyBrushwork.com

Comment on or Share this Article →

Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay - Art for Sale - Beach Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Beach Painting - Coastal Art - Beach House Art


"Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay" | 9" x 12" Oil on canvas panel

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

 

This was my second painting for the day when I was part of the Sonoma Plein Air event in August. I'd finished a painting earlier that morning( see the post Beautiful Bodega Bay for more information about the earlier piece). What you see here, "Rocky Shores of Bodega Bay" was also completed en plein air in the afternoon a few miles north of my morning location.

 

I chose this spot because I liked the rocks, bluffs and color of the distant hills. When painting bluffs and/or coastal rocks I try to keep some sharp edges and straighter lines to give sense of hardness to those elements. Too many rounded curves tend to make rocks look like potatoes and turn craggy bluffs into gentle rolling hills. I stated most of the foreground pretty simply with the rocks rendered in one dark color and the bluff in three. There are a few variations in value here and there but, I find that for the most part these elements look better when kept simple and stated with a strong hand.

 

The mid-ground bluff required more effort and detail since I designed the composition to lead your eye there. It's tempting to paint the shadow areas of a distant bluff as dark as my eye sees them but what happens if I do that is the picture plane flattens out and the look of distance becomes lost. Therefore, the shadow shapes on that mid-ground bluff need to be lighter than the darkest darks in the foreground bluff as well as a closer value to the highlight shapes on the mid-ground bluff. The entire bluff is more muted, bluer and less saturated than the one in the foreground.

 

The distant hills are again a little lighter and less saturated than the mid-ground bluff with soft edges where they meet the sky to help reinforce the atmospheric feel.

 

In this painting I was faced with a choice about how to handle the water. This is usually the case with an ocean painting since the ocean is constantly in motion. There were crashing waves at times as well as moments of calm between sets. For this piece I chose to keep the water pretty calm for two reasons, one, this is a small canvas and adding a bunch of waves in such a small area wouldn't necessarily make the painting any better and two, adding a lot of detail to the water would steal the focus away from the rocks and bluffs which isn't what I wanted to happen. Also, it's helpful to have quiet, less detailed passages in a painting because they highlight, in a sense, the areas that contain more detail.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Storm Building - Impressionist Painting - Art for the Home - Original Painting - Wall Decor - Art for Sale


"Storm Building" | 16" x 8" | Oil on canvas panel | Available at Hillside Fine Art

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

 

This piece was painted in the afternoon during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival. I'd gone out painting early in the morning and there was a passing storm that brought intermittent showers. Luckily not enough rain fell to force me to pack up my easel and head for shelter though. After lunch most of the storm had passed leaving behind lots of dramatic clouds in the sky which I was determined to paint.

 

Unfortunately, I didn't find an ideal location but I was running out of time to get to work on an afternoon painting and I had to set up in a spot that I didn't find particularly inspiring. When that happens I've learned to use my artistic license and do my best to create a strong painting. The image below was my actual view and as you can see it wasn't very exciting.

 

 

I decided turn my 8" x 16" canvas vertical to allow me plenty of room to create big storm clouds in the sky. With the sky as the main subject I kept the land pretty simple, including the distant hills for atmosphere and keeping the eucalyptus tree on the right which gives the painting a sense of scale. I chose to shape the tree a bit differently because I wasn't thrilled with the shape of the real tree and I eliminated the telephone poles because I felt they would steal the focus away from the clouds with their straight lines and hard edges.

 

Paintings like this that require more thought to put together are both challenging and freeing. Challenging in that I can't rely too heavily on the landscape for information and liberating because I am free to make significant edits without worrying about rendering the scene exactly.

 

Some might would argue that this isn't true plein air but, I don't agree because I still use the landscape as a source of inspiration. I feel it's part of my job to create the strongest painting I am able to even when the view isn't painting worthy. Besides, if the plein air police stop buy to check on me I'll be sure to flash my artistic license at them.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Night Dwelling - City at Night - Nocturne Painting - Impressionist Painting - Art for the Home - Original Painting - Wall Decor


Night Dwelling" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Not For Sale

 

While participating in the Sonoma Plein Air Festival I took some time for myself one night to paint a nocturne. I began this painting with no expectations as to how it would turn out, I simply wanted to explore the subject and work on my nighttime plein air painting skills.

 

An interesting thing happens when painting at night, color becomes almost irrelevant because I can't see what paint I am mixing very well, even with my headlamp on and surrounding light. That might seem like an exercise in frustration but, it was quite the opposite. The painting became all about value (how light or dark each color is).

 

When I decided to mix a green, for example, it really wasn't hard because I knew exactly where each paint color is located on my palette. That's because I place them in exactly the same spot each time I paint. So when I wanted a green I was able to mix that color by dipping my brush into the right piles of yellow and blue.

 

The tricky part wasn't getting the correct color (or hue), like I said it was mixing the right value (how light or dark a color needs to be). Even with diminished light I was able to see well enough to tell when a value was off. That's because when the values were too similar to each other I wasn't able to see any edges or differences between the shapes, they all would blend together.

 

For example, if the gray on either building was too dark it blended right into the midnight blue sky in the background even though their colors are different. Now, I might see the color difference if I had been painting in daylight, but at night those value relationships are critical simply because I couldn't see the colors of each element at all.

 

It was surprisingly liberating to paint without worrying about what color choices I was making. Plus it's always a surprise to take a nocturne painting home and look at it under better light to see what I end up with. This time I was really happy with the result. I have to wonder if that is because I started the painting without any expectations, if it was because I didn't over-think my color choices, or was it simply because the stars aligned and everything came together for me in that particular moment? Either way, I really enjoyed painting this one, it's a great memory for me and because of that I am keeping it in my own personal collection.

Comment on or Share this Article →

Beautiful Bodega Bay - Art for Sale - Beach Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Beach Painting - Coastal Art - Beach House Art


"Beautiful Bodega Bay" | 11" x 14" | Oil on panel

Available through Chemers Gallery

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

 

It took me an hour to drive to Bodega Bay in the dark before the sun came up to get the colors and light you see here. While I'd normally say that any time of day is the perfect time to paint at the beach, I do really enjoy starting a painting before dawn so that I can take advantage of the warm light and dramatic shadows.

 

I've painted at this location several times and this view is always a little different. Mostly it's the ocean that changes. I've seen it turquoise, silver, deep ultramarine blue and once it even had hot pink streaks because of an algae bloom. One day the water was very calm with small waves lapping at the shore and another day the waves were so large they created a deafening crash each time they hit the rocks lining the shore.

 

This particular day the waves were strong and created a lot of foam on top of the water. I planned to have a large open area of ocean in the foreground of my painting because I wanted to take advantage of what the ocean was doing an include some of the foam swirls. The foam was the very last thing I added to the painting (except for my signature, of course) and when I got to that point I thought if I designed them just right they would create a nice visual path into the painting.

 

Up until that point I wasn't sure how well this painting was going to turn out. All the other elements looked fine and all but the excitement and magic of the scene was still missing. As soon as I added those foam lines all the work I'd put into it that morning really came together.

Comment on or Share this Article →