"If You Paint It They Will Come"

Black Sox

I don’t know why I feel scared, but maybe this is a good indication that what I am about to embark on is a real challenge. I was inspired last night. Returning home from a wonderful Christmas dinner, with maybe one too many glasses of wine, walking to the door I heard “You will paint 100 paintings in 2012”. Is this a revised version of “If you build it they will come”? At first, I heard myself saying, “100 paintings that is absurd”, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Oh dear, I was falling into my own trap of wanting everything to be perfect. I was reminded of a previous blog that I wrote called “Perfectionism What a Killer”.

Ok, I did though have a conversation with myself. I didn’t want the challenge to be so unrealistic, that I would have many excuses not to complete the challenge. I decided to match the amount of weeks in a year, and the last I heard there were fifty-two. Fifty-two paintings, is still quite a challenge. I have never painted close to that amount in a year. My word means a lot to me and to proclaim that I will do something, I better honor it or have a good reason not to.

I’m answering the call. I Janet Vanderhoof, will paint fifty-two paintings, in the year of 2012. I will post my paintings on Twitter as they are completed, follow the hashtag, #paint52. I will also keep a blog journal of the weekly creating. I would be very honored if you would follow me on my journey, perhaps subscribe to my blog to keep abreast of the progress.

Man, am I scared, please support my journey, I know I will need it. Painting above SOLD

"What do you do?"



What do you do?  How many times I have been asked that and just stood dumb founded. I feel caught off guard an unable to express myself. I also feel that others can’t really understand what I do, so what’s the use and I don’t believe that they would even want to take the time to hear what I have to say.  It’s about time I take a different approach.

So, today when I have been asked to respond to the question from a workshop I am taking, by Alyson B. Stanfield, “What do you do?” and limit it to a ten second reply as well, that makes it even more difficult.  “I have a son with Down syndrome”, I reply and “I stay home to take care of him”.  As, I said time to reply differently.  My son is now 25 and it’s about time I let people know that I am not just a mother, housewife, or caretaker and that I am an Artist.

“I am an Artist that interprets your thoughts, visions and dreams into Technicolor.”  What does this mean?  I love to do commissions.  I love to take your vision for your home or office, take your lifestyle, your tastes, colors, surroundings, environment, location of piece, create the size for the scale in your room or rooms and co-create with you a unique piece of art.  My art is always vivid and colorful and will be a dramatic piece and focal point in your room, thus the word Technicolor. I’m a colorist and whatever I paint must have rich, luscious color.  My goal is for you to see the intensity and brilliance that I see in color. It doesn’t matter what I paint, but it does matter if I paint with color. My neutrals are pearlescent and are a springboard for color.  Color is my passion.

It’s important to be able to tell people what you do and if you can say it in 10 seconds that is even better. This is a great marketing tool.  If you are prepared with an answer, it will allow further conversation to develop.  You can offer more detail and perhaps develop a future customer.  It might not be a bad idea to hand out a business card, as well. Even though, this is one aspect of who you are and not to be attached to the identification, it still is nice to validate and acknowledge. Be confident, be open, let them know just enough to be interested to ask you questions, but be proud of what you do.

Where's Daddy?


A customer and friend of mine gave me a commission to do five 9" X 10" paintings, of her father who passed away.  I was honored to do this for her. Her father loved golf and she had found a small photo of her father putting, I believe at his favorite golf course, Cypress point.  She was worried that I wouldn't be able to paint her father with five "different" images, and was leaving it to me to experiment and create something unique for each one. Here is the original photo of her father.  It was important to capture her father and I asked her what were some of the characteristics that identified her Dad.  She said he loved to wear that specific hat, he liked light colored clothing; he always wore his watch and wore Khakis. Taking all this into consideration, I decided to use my iPad to expand further on the idea.  I have loved how creative the iPad has been for me and allowed me quite a variety of tools to create.  I knew her father loved Cypress Point Golf Course and decided to incorporate the photo on his favorite holes.  The iPad allowed me to download the photo of the Cypress hole, crop scenes, expand or edit.  I had to take into consideration the different lighting, scale and shadows to correlate with the scene.  Here is an example of me laying the photo in the picture.            



And here is the finished painting.





Here is one more example. I placed her father on a hole by the water . Below is the image laid into the scene.


And here is the finished painting using the photo for reference.  It was important that the lighting was correct and that the figure was in proper scale to the flag.


The iPad was such a great tool to use and my customer was estatic and happy she could bring her father to life in these settings.

I love doing commissions and hope you will contact me with your future needs.

In Search of the Perfect Beginning

"In search for the perfect beginning," quoted by Robert Henri, painter and teacher. Have you ever painted a painting and no matter how much detail or paint you put on it, it was destined for the trash. In the same respect, have you ever done a painting that was flowing so freely that you completed it in a no time? How important is the beginning of the painting? It is very, very, very, important. Did I say very? Yes if you don't have good bones to the painting a good foundation to the painting in the very beginning, no matter what frills you add it will not work. Have you ever seen a small painting from afar and it carried; I mean the shapes, the patterns the values visible. So many times we believe that if we add more it will be a better painting, "First the dog then the fleas." Less is definitely more.

So many of us don't know the rules of a good composition. Now I don't like rules, they are meant to be broken, but you must learn them first and then you may break them. I remember I once heard that prior to being 10 years old, we easily did great compositions, because we were using the right side of the brain. But, when our brain matures and the left-brain gets involved, we sensor, we forget what was innately part of our being. So, I guess we are back to learning some basic rules.

Now composition can be done with line, color, shape and value. An entire painting can be off, but you could balance it in the corner by a dominant splash of red. Or you can have a wonderful composition and the values are to close together, so if you squint your eyes it looks like one shape. Take a black and white photo of your painting and you will see the values. All of the above aspects are very important to give you the dynamic and fabulous painting you desire. Let me give you another example, Have you ever done a still life fruit and a vase of flowers? Is every object spread out? Or did you try overlapping some and maybe even going off the page with others, using the full canvas or paper.

There are endless aspects of a good composition, but it is amazing how when we see a great one, we all know it instantly. This is the foundation of a great painting.  So, before you lay on any paint, check out the composition, search for your perfect beginning.