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.

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Dinner Time - Art for Sale - Country Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - Cows in a Painting - Farm Painting - Barn Painting - Family Room Art

"Dinner Time" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek


I made a rookie mistake when painting this one. What's worse, is I know better too.


When I pulled up to this spot in Petaluma, California and saw these cows peacefully grazing in the field with the farm buildings in the background I knew instantly I had a potential painting just waiting to happen. The cows were really close to the fence I was next too and for once, they stuck around for a while.


What mistake did I make you ask? In spite of the close proximity of the cows, I didn't paint them in right away, instead, I painted everything around them first. By the time I started putting the cows in they were much farther away and heading to the barn for the night. The result was a rushed job which I wasn't happy with.


The cows you see now are not the original ones I had quickly painted in. I ended up taking the painting home, letting it dry and using photographs of cows as reference to paint them in a second time. I much happier with them now.


My plein air students always ask me what they should paint first when beginning their paintings and I tell them to put down anything that is going to quickly change. Ironically, I should have taken my own advice.

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Ribbons of Light - Original Vineyard Painting - Art for Sale - Wine Country Art - Wall Art - Art for the Home - California Vineyard Painting - Sonoma

"Ribbons of Light" 16" x 20" | Oil on canvas panel | Sold

Framed prints available CLICK HERE

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek


Quite often when I'm out painting I'll spot a beautiful view that has the potential to become a strong painting but the light just isn't right. That was the case with this painting that I created during the Sonoma Plein Air Festival in September which is an outdoor painting event held in Sonoma County, the proceeds of which go toward funding arts programs in the public schools there.


When I first found this view it was midday and there were no shadows or highlights since the sun was at its highest. Fortunately, I knew I had several days worth of painting still to go for the event and I vowed to return early one morning when I thought the light might be right. This can be a gamble but in this case it paid off with magnificent dawn light cascading across beautiful vineyards and encircling the oak trees growing in the valleys. The rolling hills of Sonoma Valley, California created a dynamic Z shaped composition which was a little different in reality and I chose to take some liberties and arrange the large hill shapes for the painting's sake.


Dawn is my favorite time of day to paint not just for the breathtaking light but because it's usually very peaceful and I typically have more energy for painting in the morning. What is your favorite time of day to paint?

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Passing the Point - Sailboat Painting - Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Decor - Wall Art

"Passing the Point" | 11" x 14" | Oil on canvas panel

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

While visiting the town of Oxford in Maryland, I stopped to paint in the area during an outdoor painting event in that took place in nearby Easton. There was enough of a breeze past the point for sailboats to go sailing but in the cove the water was mostly calm with lots of reflections. Since it was a hot and humid morning the sky turned a wonderful shade of pink. That's something that doesn't happen very often in California and when it does it's usually at sunrise or sunset. In Maryland I've see that unique shade of pink in the sky at all times of the day.

I feel very lucky to be able to get to know an unfamiliar place through painting outdoors, I always experience and learn new things. It's led to some wonderful adventures and unforgettable moments.

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Handcrafted History - Wooden Boats - Handcrafted Classic Boats - Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Art

"Handcrafted History" | 16" x 20" | Oil on canvas panel

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

This was painted on location in July during the Plein Air Easton event. Since it was very hot and humid I was searching for a spot to paint that had some shade as well as something interesting to paint. I wandered over to the Cutts and Case Shipyard in Oxford, Maryland and found this scene just inside their showroom. It took me two painting sessions to complete this one. The first session I spent almost all of my time drawing, stopping when the light changed because a storm blew through the area. The second session involved paint application and once again it began to rain when I was a couple of hours into it. Fortunately, the staff that works there appreciates art (which is understandable since they create art in the form of beautiful wooden boats) and invited me inside the showroom so that I could finish working.

While I was there I took a few moments to look around and read some of the materials about the history of the boats. The boat in the back with the flag on it is the historic Foto chase boat once owned by Morris Roselfeld who photographed the heyday of yachting in 1920s and 1930s. The owner of Cutts and Case bought it when it was in disrepair and restored it.

The perspective in this painting was the most challenging part to get right and like I mentioned I spent a whole lot of time drawing. Out of all the artwork I created during Plein Air Easton this painting was the one I enjoyed working on the most because it was so challenging.

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Balboa Classic - Original Oil Painting of Sailboats - Yacht Art - Sailing Art - Living Room Art - Family Room Art

"Balboa Classic" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California. The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014.

Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

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Colorful Morning Walk - Original Oil Painting of Balboa Island - Yacht Decor - Wall Decor - Living Room Decor - Balboa Island Art - Just Plein Fun

"Colorful Morning Walk" | 8" x 16" | Oil on canvas panel

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California. The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014.

Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

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Floating Under the Clouds - Original Oil Painting of Boats - Yacht Art - Sailing Art - Living Room Art - Family Room Art

"Floating Under the Clouds" | 8" x 10" | Oil on canvas panel

This was painted on location during the week-long Just Plein Fun event on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California. The event is an invitational outdoor (plein air) painting event arranged by Debra Huse Gallery. The show features work by 13 artists who painted on the Balboa Peninsula over the course of a week.

This is the first painting I completed for the week and it came together very quickly in spite of the sprinkling of rain that came down while I was working. Fortunately, it was a very warm morning and the light shower cooled me off. Since I work in oils my painting wasn't affected by the change in weather and the rain only lasted a short time. I was out the door before dawn hoping for some dramatic light on the island and since a rare storm had just passed thorough Southern California I found the sky was filled with clouds as well. Calm water made for bold reflections and when I spotted this group of boats I set up me easel and went to work.

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014.

Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

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All Dressed Up - Sailboat Painting - Just Plein Fun - Balboa Island Sailing Art - Yacht Art - Living Room Art

All Dressed Up

"All Dressed Up" | 9" x 12" | Oil on canvas panel

©2014 by Kim VanDerHoek

A little over a week ago I was one of 13 participating artists in the Just Plein Fun event organized by Debra Huse Gallery that took place on Balboa Island. All of us painted in and around the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, CA for a week dropping off our paintings at Debra Huse Gallery daily. It was exciting to see the new work hung on the walls every day.

At the end of the week there was a timed two hour Brush Off along Marine Avenue. After the Brush Off all of us framed our paintings and took them over to the gallery to see the final show. Jean Stern, director of the Irvine Museum, was the judge for the show.

The award winners -

1st Place - Rita Pacheco Fun Zone

2nd - Michael Clements 'View from Washington St. Pier'

3rd - Toni Williams 'Diamond Alley'

HM - Mark Fehlman 'Our Little Paradise'

HM - Michele Byrne 'Castle Contest on Ruby'

Brush Off - Mike Carroll 'Call of the Bells'

People's Choice - Sally Jordan

The Just Plein Fun Exhibition and Sale will run through Sept. 1, 2014.

Debra Huse Gallery - 229 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, CA

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Plein Air Easton 2014 - My Thoughts and Highlights

"A Morning of Reflection" | 14" x 11" | Oil | Sold

It's been a while since I last posted. My kids are out of school for the summer and I have been busy with their activities as well as several art shows. On July 9th I flew out to Baltimore, Maryland to be one of 58 participating artists at Plein Air Easton 2014. This was the 10th year of the event and the Avalon Foundation doubled the prize money for the show with the grand prize award at $10,000.

"Dining Al Fresco" | 8" x 16" | Oil | Sold

Plein Air Easton is the largest and most prestigious juried plein air painting competition in the United States. In its 10th year, it is held annually in Easton, Maryland each July. Plein air painters produce art from life (as opposed to in the studio). Artists from all over the United States and beyond apply to this competition. The 58 competing artists paint throughout Talbot County, Maryland the week of July 12-20, 2014. The resulting original works of art were displayed in the Academy Art Museum where awards were announced and paintings were sold throughout the weekend.

"A Charming Pair" | 8" x 16" | Oil | Sold

If you don't know about Plein Air Easton it is the best plein air event in the U.S. right now. The community support for it is unrivaled with attendance between 6,000-8,000. The Avalon Foundation sells more than $300,000 worth of art during the two days that the show is hanging. The Quick Draw brings in hundreds of artists, onlookers and collectors. Sounds like heaven, right? What's the catch you might be wondering. Well, this event is extremely difficult to get into. Artists must submit plein air paintings for a jurior to review and score. As you can imagine many painters from the U.S. and abroad apply and few are chosen. In fact, there are many absolutely amazing painters that don't make it in.

Also, the climate is incredibly challenging to paint in (especially for someone like me who was born and raised in the mild Southern California climate). Plein Air Easton takes place in July which is typically the hottest and most humid month of the entire year. Temperatures reach well over 100 degrees with very high humidity. If you've never painted all day in those conditions let me tell you they are draining and dangerous if you do not stay hydrated. Let's not forget about the bugs. Mosquitoes lay in wait (I'm not sure where they hide out but they are everywhere) day and night for the opportunity to make a meal out of unsuspecting painters, but, they are nothing compared to the Lyme disease carrying ticks that attack from both above and below, either leaping onto you from trees or creeping up your legs from the grass. Many East Coast painters have had Lyme disease and they are happy to scare the pants off of anyone brave enough to ask about the symptoms. Click here for more information about Lyme disease if you really want to get freaked out.

"Handcrafted History" | 16" x 20" | Oil | Available

In spite of the challenges I've felt extremely lucky to be part of Plein Air Easton both last year and this year. This time around I learned a few things I'd like to share with you. This year I arrived a few days early so that I could attend some of the pre-competition events that took place. One was on Tilghman Island and the other was in Cambridge, both beautiful places to paint. While I didn't sell work at the pre-competition events that took place, they did give me the opportunity to generate additional work for sale and to get warmed up for the rest of the week. While painting I was interviewed (click here to see the video) by Talley of the Avalon Foundation and he asked me what makes Plein Air Easton unique compared to other plein air events in the U.S. I wish I'd had a more thoughtful answer than the one I gave in the video. Since the interview, I've had a lot more time to think about that question and I'd like to give you a little back info. that leads me to my point (this is a really long post so stay with me if you can).

Dawn light that makes getting up when it's still dark out worthwhile.

While sitting with two of the main organizers of Plein Air Easton at dinner one night they shared with me their philosophy that drives the decision making process for the event. It's very simple and I was completely taken by surprise when I heard it. They told me what it all boils down to is one question and that is, will it make the artists happy? Wow. Spend a moment thinking about that. I expected to hear a slew of other Mission Statements about fundraising or community benefits, anything but what they told me that night.

"Quiet Landing" | 16" x 20" | Oil | Sold

I tell you this because at the end of my time in Easton I had my answer to what makes Plein Air Easton special - and I can only speak for myself here so if you ask another artist their answer might be different. When I said in the video that the community support for the event is amazing what I specifically meant was that the people who enjoy and support Plein Air Easton treated me as though what I did was important, that it was special, appreciated and enhanced their community and lifestyle. In my day to day existence as a painter it's pretty rare to experience anything more than a casual curiosity about what I do when I meet someone new. It's even rarer to meet a large group of people who find meaning and connection on a deep level to representational painting. For the twelve days I was there I felt as though what I was painting was a relevant and valid expression of the connection we share with our environment. In this time of social media and technology, making a deeper connection to our community and environment (something that was essential in the time of the French Impressionists) is as important as ever. Slowing down, creating with thought, deliberation and meaning has become uncommon in our fast-paced world. To be able to share those quiet moments in the landscape that I translate onto canvas with collectors and fellow artists is significant to me.

Farewell dinner with my Easton host family and roommates. I miss them already. L to R - Kat Sowa (artist), Za Vue (artist), Larry, Paul, Virginia and Denise.

At the end of the event I was absolutely exhausted from waking up before dawn, creating all day and going to bed late. I learned that getting enough rest is essential because I don't make good painting decisions when I'm tired. Most of the time I listened to my body and rested when I needed to, with the exception of one day where all my paintings were a complete disaster. Lesson learned. It was wonderful seeing friends I met last year again and meeting new friends. It was very fulfilling being able to pursue my passion every day for more than a week uninterrupted (meaning no one under five feet tall asked me for a snack). My hosts this year were a blast to hang out with and they treated my roommates and I to a magical (I never use that word but it's the best adjective to describe it) last night in town dinner celebration that made saying goodbye heart-wrenching. While I was ready to see my two kids, my husband and my memory foam mattress (best mattress I've ever had), it was difficult to take off my Easton name badge (or as I refer to it, my backstage pass because it opens many doors) and return to being just me again instead of one of "the artists."

Backstage Pass

If I haven't bored you to tears and you're still wondering what the highlights were then read on, I'll try to keep them brief. First, there was the paintout on beautiful Tilghman Island. Artists that arrived early could paint anywhere on the island on July 10th and at the end of the day we all hung our work and were fed a traditional Maryland crab feast at Harrison House. At the show artists selected their favorite painting and voted via secret ballot. The winner Ken DeWaard, received a cash prize for his beautiful painting "Tilghman Morning."

Pictured L to R - Doris and Bill Nielson, Ken DeWaard, Al Bond who is holding Ken's winning painting and Buddy Harrison, Jr.

The two paintings below are my paintings from the Tilghman Island paintout.

"Double Dipping" | 12" x 9" | Oil | Sold

"Retired" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Private Collection

Next we had a paintout in Cambridge with a tasty lunch and informal art show at Snapper's Restaurant. My painting turned out horribly so I won't be posting it ... ever..... That night it was time to check-in at the Avalon Theater, pick up my artists welcome packet, my backstage pass and get my canvases stamped for the week. As always, the staff at the Avalon did a great job making the artist's orientation an entertaining and informative part of PAE. There were a lot of laughs, music and dancing.

This was my morning painting spot on Saturday. My easel had the dock all to itself for a couple of hours.

Saturday we were set loose to paint where we pleased. I finished two paintings in the morning and then packed up my gear for the Sponsor's Dinner held on a large waterfront estate. Artists were encouraged to paint before guests arrived so that they could see us finishing up our work. Then we framed and hung our paintings on our easels for guests to view and purchase. I don't have a good photo of my painting from that night because it sold that evening to a nice couple.

The stunning location for the Sponsor's Dinner. A wonderful place to paint and relax. Note the lighthouse in the distance.

After that it was a whirlwind of painting all over Talbot County, Maryland ending with the sold out Collector's Preview Party and show at the Academy Art Museum. John Sills was the grand prize winner with his lovely painting "Meditation" (42"x30"). The Avalon Foundation sold more than $300,000 worth of art during the two days the show was hanging.

L to R - Peter Trippi the judge for the show with John Brandon Sills and his wining painting.

"Night Mooring" the Artist's Choice winner by Zufar Bikbov.

Painting at Cutts and Case boatyard was another highlight for me.

The guys at Cutts and Case make art in the shape of working sailboats. A wonderful painting location with very nice people working there. My painting near the beginning of this post "Handcrafted History" is from Cutts and Case.

My Quick Draw painting. "The Avalon" | 9" x 12" | Oil | Sold

After the opening reception, the next morning it was time for the Quick Draw. While working on my Quick Draw painting a huge truck parked in front of the building blocking my view of the lower half which I happened to be blocking in at that moment. I didn't realize it but there was a large crowd of people behind me watching me paint and when the truck parked they all let out a collective, "Awwww!" One of them was kind enough to track down the driver and ask him to move. I don't know which impressed me more, the bystander that volunteered to track down the driver or the driver who willingly moved his vehicle. To top things off my painting sold as soon as I took out the price tag and then about 10 more people came over to inquire about its availability.

Hundreds of people attending the Quick Draw at the end of the week.

After a long day painting and waiting by our easels we could finally relax. A few friends invited me out to dinner. Talking shop with other painters at plein air events is one of my favorite things. I always learn a lot and have a few laughs.

Dinner with artist friends at the end of the week. From L to R - John Sills (the grand prize winner of PAE this year), Me, Rob Barber, Greg LaRock and Ken DeWaard.

Saying goodbye to friends. L to R - Louis Escobedo, Doug Clarke, Yer Za Vue, Me and Zufar Bikbov Artist's Choice winner.

Plein Air Easton wouldn't be the most successful and enjoyable event in the U.S. without the hard work and dedication of the volunteers and staff at the Avalon.

Pictured here - Al and Jess run things with efficiency and a sense of humor, a winning combination.

I wish I had a good photo of all the staff and volunteers that make Plein Air Easton happen. A HUGE thanks to Cindy, Suzy, Rose, Talley, Jason, Shawn, Chrissy, Jenn, Victoria, Al, Jess and everyone else I am forgetting, you guys are magic makers! It's only been a week and I am missing Easton already, hopefully, I will get to return next year.

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