Capturing fleeting moments
This story was featured in the February 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
Californian Kim VanDerHoek recalls that one of her college professors once asked the class to write an essay answering the question, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” VanDerHoek says a vision came to mind immediately: “I saw myself sitting in front of an easel, painting,” she says. “I’ve held onto that image for years.”
VanDerHoek took a few detours before realizing her vision, though. After graduating from California College of the Arts in Oakland with a degree in illustration, she worked as a graphic designer for more than a decade before leaving to become a full-time mom. Although she didn’t feel that her artistic talents had been well utilized at her former design job, she did feel a creative void without it. One Christmas her husband gave her an easel and suggested she paint again. Within a few months she was attending plein-air painting classes. “That’s when I realized I had found my ideal job,” VanDerHoek says.
Today the landscape painter is a regular participant in shows like Sonoma Plein Air and Plein Air Easton. Last year one of her works took home the Best of Show award at a Southern California Plein Air Painters Association event. In many ways VanDerHoek has returned to her roots and her childhood love of the outdoors. Growing up in Big Bear City, CA, she spent hours climbing trees, sledding down snow-covered hills, and hiking through the woods. Now she brings that passion to the canvas and is dedicated to capturing “unique and fleeting moments in time.”
As a former graphic designer, VanDerHoek gravitates toward scenes with strong design elements, such as the scene she depicted in PADDLEBOARDS. “The way the colorful paddleboards were lined up against the color of the sand created a visual rhythm that inspired me,” she says. “I like how one paddleboard on the left was out of step with the rest. The man with the oars provided a nice upright counterpoint to all the horizontal shapes of the paddleboards.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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