a blog by Kim VanDerHoek

Original Oil Painting of Tuscany, Italy - Titled "Chianti Road"

11 X 14 inch oil painting on canvas panel. 
Titled "Chianti Road"

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Lately, I’ve been painting a whole lot of demonstration paintings. I never imagined a year ago I would be painting this much in front of large groups of people. Needless to say, it can be extremely nerve-wracking. Especially, when I get overly ambitious and decide to paint a scene I’ve never painted before. This was one of those views that I painted at the O.C. Fair and while I have painted very similar scenes, this one was new to me. Luckily, it turned out well in spite of the fact that I was talking my way through it the whole time and answering questions.

It’s a delicate balance between teaching technique and creating art and often the art is sacrificed a bit so that key painting techniques can be passed along. I’m finding however, that the more I talk my way through my painting process when teaching, the clearer my objectives for each painting have become. In addition, there are a lot of things I am learning from watching my students paint and I can’t help but be inspired by their hard work, persistence and enthusiasm.

This scene is outside a monastery in Tuscany, Italy. The photo I used to paint from is very different than my final painting. Many people who stopped to watch me paint at the Fair were shocked at what a departure this is from my reference. Of course, that was a great opportunity to talk about using photographs as inspiration, not a literal translation, in order to create a better painting. I truly believe that it helps to put away any photos I’m using after a while so that I can focus on the painting itself and not get caught up in the details of reality. After all, I’m not going to display the photograph alongside my finished painting, what matters most at the end of the day is what’s in the frame. I’ve posted the original photograph below.

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