Tuesday, October 29, 2013


It's been a little quiet here on the Art Tips blog because I'm relocating from North Carolina to California. Wow! Excited about all the adventures ahead.  However, this move is happening very quickly and have about 587 things to accomplish on my TO DO LIST.  So, I'm putting my Art Tips on hold for just a little while.  My goal is to be back for the new year, if not sooner. I'm also starting a new blog "Kelley Makes A Move" to chronicle this new chapter in my life. So stay tuned and thanks for following me.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Guest Contributor - Kim VanDerHoek Art Tip

It's been a little crazy at my house as of late, so I'm grateful to have such wonderful artists willing to share their art tips with me.  Today's tip is from a wonderful California painter, Kim VanDerHoek.  Kim is an avid plein air painter & she has some great tips for “How to Nail Down Things That Move When Plein Air Painting”.  Thanks, Kim and Happy Painting.

"Quiet Day at the Cove"

"Maritime Reflections"

When painting outdoors everything is in a constant state of change and it’s part of your job as an artist to capture the essence of what is there while doing your best to create a successful painting.

It’s challenging trying to paint a view that changes every 15 minutes; here are some tips to help you overcome that challenge.

  1. Observe the scene when you are setting up your easel. Often artists are drawn to a view because of a beautiful light condition, a shadow pattern, a bold color note or other dramatic element. By the time your easel is set up and you have a brush in your hand the element that initially caught your eye might have already moved or lost some of its drama. Paying attention to the scene, thinking about how you want to paint it, carefully observing it before you get started will help you remember what that fleeting element looked like when it first grabbed your attention and before it started changing.

  1. Have a plan of attack. If there is an element or lighting condition, like a shadow, reflection, cloud, etc., in your painting that will move as you are working it’s a good idea to draw that element onto your canvas as part of your sketch or, if there is time, create a thumbnail value sketch on paper before you begin mixing color. That way you have a guide that will help keep you on track even as the view changes.

  1. Paint it right now. Don’t wait until you are 3/4 of the way through your painting to start working on that fleeting element. Paint it in while it is still fresh in your mind and before it’s changed so much that you’ve forgotten why you wanted to include it in your painting in the first place. This is especially important for things that are key elements in your painting that are a focal point. How devastating would it be if you had a boat as the focal point in your painting and you spent most of your working time painting in the water under the boat only to have the boat owner hop in and sail your focal point away before you could get around to painting it?

  1. 4. Don’t chase the light. Highlights and shadows are elements that always change in plein air landscape painting. For example, if you’ve been working for several hours the shadow underneath a tree could move from one side of the tree to the other during that time. Be mindful of where the highlight needs to be on the tree casting the shadow in relation to it. It’s your job to make sure the light is consistent in your painting. If a tree has a shadow on one side, then the highlight needs to be on the other. Don’t get caught up painting in every changing lighting condition you see or you might end up with a tree that has a highlight and shadow on the same side, which won’t make visual sense to anyone viewing your painting.
"Have a Seat"

For more about Kim & her work:

Kim lives in Orange, California with her husband and two children. She has a BFA in 
Illustration from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California. She began 
painting en plein air because it combined her love of being outside and creating art. "I 
enjoy the challenges plein air painting poses. Dealing with the weather, changing light 
and the other hurdles of outdoor painting has forced me to learn to make decisions 
quickly, to paint with commitment and above all, to have a plan for each painting." Kim 
feels that her plein air work has, in turn, strengthened her studio paintings.

Kim’s website – www.KimVanDerHoek.com

Kim’s Blog - http://vanderhoekart.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Contributor - Carrie Waller Art Tip

Carrie Waller is a fabulous watercolorist.  I've been following her blog for a long time & she always has such fascinating paintings.   

Carrie's Art Tip

I've been participating in 30 paintings in 30 days challenge and I think that this has been the best experience.  Having that goal and the deadline of having a painting due each day has really pushed me.  I have produced a lot in a short time and I'm so thankful that I signed up to participate.  So my biggest tip would be to set a goal for yourself that you think is inconceivable, like 30 paintings in 30 days and see what happens.  I've heard from other painters that it has made them work through some problems in their paintings that they would usually start over but because they have a deadline to finish a painting that day they have pushed through and been successful.

To see more of her work:

Carrie Waller is an award winning, Internationally recognized watercolor artist, military wife, and mother to two young sons.  Her unique works are bold, dramatic, vibrant, and  full of light and color. "I've always had a fascination with watercolor.  The difficulty of the medium challenges me  and the transparent layering can not be replicated with any other medium.  I challenge myself to push the medium by creating saturated colors and let the white of the paper sparkle through to create my dramatic lights.  I love the process of being a still life painter.  Conceptualizing the painting in my head, the hunt for the props, setting up my finds in the perfect dramatic, natural lighting and seeing my idea come to life.  I love to make every day objects come to life in a new and creative way.  My intention is for the viewer to be captivated by the beauty and light of the piece and for it to give them an amazing visual experience."  Carrie is a guest co-host and contributor Artists Helping Artists the art blog radio show.  She is also signature member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society and has paintings in collections around the world.