Female artist standing next to her painting on an easel.
Kim VanDerHoek with her painting “Floating in the Blue.”
Female artist painting outdoors
Kim VanDerHoek painting en plein air.

How did you get started and then develop your career?

Kim VanDerHoek: What’s the fastest way to learn how to draw or paint? The answer to that question is to work from life, which is why I began my painting journey by working in plein air. Prior to starting on that path, I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree in illustration then worked as a graphic designer. It wasn’t long after I began painting landscapes that I realized I wanted to make it a full-time job.

Since then, it’s been an ongoing learning process figuring out how to make a creative life profitable as well as developing my technical painting skills. Early in my career I was fortunate enough to meet the late artist Greg LaRock who became an unofficial mentor and good friend. His guidance was invaluable.

How do you describe success?

While I don’t want to discount the importance of finances, it’s not the only way to measure success. To me success is having a flexible schedule that enables me to be home to raise my kids, traveling to new locations to paint, having a career I’m passionate about, watching students advance their painting skills, and being creative every day.

How do you find inspiration?

Most often in museums and galleries. When I see other artist’s work in person, I’m always inspired to get back to my studio to try something new. Being open to receiving inspiration from unusual sources has enabled me to combine unlikely ideas into something creative, especially when it comes to marketing my work.

What is the best thing about being an artist?

Exploring an internal feeling and turning it into something visual. When I paint, I don’t have an end result in mind that’s set in stone. I like to have a general plan while allowing room for spontaneity to happen. That approach gives each painting a unique look. It can be a little problematic when I attempt to replicate a spontaneous moment, but I’ve learned and grown so much since cultivating this method that I haven’t looked back. It also keeps my work looking fresh while preventing me from becoming bored and too set in my ways.

Woman artist standing next to three of her paintings on a brick wall
Kim VanDerHoek, “Cloud Triptych,” 40 x 90 in., oil, 2020
Oil painting of a landscape from the sky
Kim VanDerHoek, “Floating in the Blue,” 24 x 36 in., oil, 2021
Oil painting of the National Mall from a high view
Kim VanDerHoek, “National Mall View,” 16 x 20 in., oil, 2021
Oil painting of green fields with mountains in the background
Kim VanDerHoek, “A New Season Begins,” 16 x 20 in., oil, 2021

To see more of Kim’s work, visit: www.KimVanDerHoek.com


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