Is Your Ladder Against the Wrong Wall?

Gateway to Chinatown

Joseph Campbell says, “The definition of middle age is, when you are at the top of the ladder, and found that it's against the wrong wall”.  How can we prevent this from happening?

Throughout my life I wanted to become an artist.  Twenty years old, waiting in line to sign up for Speech Pathology and Audiology classes, I already knew that I didn’t want to follow this path. There were many reasons why I didn’t major in art, one it wasn’t practical, two I thought I had to have a special gift, three I had to support myself in the future.

Middle age started young for me, my ladder was on the wrong wall and my dreams were never acknowledged.  It took having a child with Down’s syndrome at 38 years old, to finally give myself permission to follow my dream.   Having my son Blake was definitely a wake up call, I realized that I wasn’t getting any younger and needed to make this leap of faith.

Sometimes, you don’t need much to motivate you, when you reach this point. This wasn’t a hobby I was attempting, but something I took very seriously.  I asked a  good artist friend of mine, where to go from here, “What should I do? Do I have potential? Was I too old? Would people think I was crazy?’  I had the dream, but no idea where to start.  She was a great support.  She told me it was never too late, (my biggest fear, as well as being called crazy) and suggested I take a class at my local junior college. This one little acknowledgement and permission was enough to take me on my journey. We all need this support when we are moving that ladder.  The ladder is a lot easier to move with two people.

I’ll end this with another favorite quote of mine of Joseph Campbell’s, said so eloquently.

“All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.”  

This is my thirty-ninth painting of my #paint52 challenge, medium Atelier Interactive Acrylic on vellum, measures 8" X 8", Title-"Gateway to Chinatown", price $175 plus Shipping and Handling. SOLD

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!

You Are What You Paint

When the Lights Go Down in the City

How important is the subject matter you choose?  A friend of mine trying to become a famous artist in Soho, said that every artist was looking for the next gimmick. Jackson Pollock was looking for that next big thing. He practically locked himself up in the barn at East Hampton, hoping to make that break through to become legendary.

Some artists are known for the subject matter they choose, Gauguin for his tropical paintings, van Gogh for his sunflowers, Willem de Kooning for his crazy looking naked women, Wolf Kahn for his beautiful trees and landscape, Cezanne and his famous mountain Montagne Sainte Victoire in the south of France, Degas for his ballet dancers, Monet for his garden paintings of Giverny, Soutine, obsessed with life and death celebrated and painted food, especially meat and Singer Sergeant know for his portraits; the list goes on. 

Some are known mostly for a single painting, such as American-born painter James McNeill Whistler, who painted Whistler’s mother, Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, The Scream, by Edvard Munch, American Gothic, by Grant Wood, The Girl With the Pearl Earring, by Vermeer (a book was even written about the inspiration of this painting), and Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. 

And still others are know for their style, their use of color, their craftsmanship, drawing ability, line, mediums they use, scale, etc.

I have painted many series, from horses, flowers, people, still life, etc, but I do believe that I will always be known for my color.

What do you think you will be known for? 

This is my thirty-eighth painting of my #paint52 challenge, medium Atelier Interactive Acrylic on vellum, Title-When The Lights Go Out In the City, measures 6-3/4" x 9-3/4", price $175 plus Shipping and Handling.

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!

Color Sensibility


Waiting for the Cup at Pier 23 Cafe

More about color it’s meaning and influence visually, auditorily and sensually.

 Did you know that green is the most restful color to the human eye also represents fertility, rebirth and freedom. Most street signs are painted in metallic green with white letters for easy readability, hence the green and white sign above Pier 23 Cafe.

Did you know our perception of color could be associated with a perception of another sense?  This is called Synthesis, for example a color could represent a sound; red = loud, yellow = shrill or blue = distant.  Warm colors are associated with loudness and cool quietness.

Do you find that you are attracted to certain colors when painting or purchasing art?  This could reflect your personality and also affect you psychologically.

Have you noticed that grey is very popular lately in homes?  Could this reflect the meaning of the color, a stamp of exclusivity and creativity?  Grey is a color that enhances all colors that surround it.  Neutrals make bright colors sing.  Artists who are colorists would do well to know about neutrals.

For every positive side to a color there is also a negative.  Black can mean elegance at the same time represent fear and death. Colors can also create different meanings to certain cultures.  Although purple is found to symbolize royalty, it can also be the color of mourning for people from Thailand.

 A preference for certain colors could reflect your inner desires. Curious what is your favorite color?  Tell me your favorite color and I will tell you the qualities you have or perhaps a clue to what you desire?

How can color influence your art, now that you know it is so symbolic and not just visual?

This is my thirty-seventh painting of my #paint52 challenge, medium Atelier Interactive Acrylic on vellum, measures 10" x 10", price $240.00 SOLD

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!

Follow Your Bliss

Embark On The Embarcadero

Can you remember the first life changing experience that lead to "Follow your bliss" or your dream?  Was it dramatic?  Was it inspired? Was it meant to be? Did you know what you always wanted?  Were you born with the dream, “I knew I would always be a singer, a dancer, a scientist, an artist”?.

Did your dreams take a detour?  Did others influence you?  Did extenuating circumstances, force you to do something else?

Did you believe if you followed your dream that you would lose the people you love?  Did you think others would think you were crazy?  Did you go against the norm?

Did you feel you were worth it or capable?  Did you believe in yourself?  Did you have someone believe in you?

All these are hard questions, I have experienced many of these situations on the journey to follow my dream, “Follow my bliss”, to become an artist.  "Follow your bliss, is the heroes’ journey", says Joseph Campbell.  You will find a lot of dragons to slay along the way.  The challenge is not to be detoured and to not give up, to find a way to “Follow your Bliss”.

This is my thirty-fourth painting of my #paint52 challengeAtelier Interactive Acrylic on vellum, measures approximately 7″ X 11″, price $230.00.  The painting portrays the Streetcar found on the Embarcadero, adjacent to the Piers an addition to my San Francisco Series. SOLD

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!




 Artists have you ever had a chill while painting a painting? 

Influenced by the movie “Vertigo” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, I was drawn to paint a scene taken place at Ernie’s Restaurant in San Francisco.  It became more enticing to paint, since it could also used as part of my San Francisco series. 

There was no avoiding the red; it became very psychological, just as Hitchcock wanted it to be.  He purposely used certain colors in certain scenes indicating warning, guilt, polarity, ambiguity and death.

It is hard to paint a red painting without be moved emotionally.  Using a touch of pink softened the aggressiveness.  The Hitchcock blue intentionally used in the suit of Jimmy Stewart's was to indicate guilt, I didn’t realize this until more research was found. 

While painting the painting, my father showed up, with his familiar hairline, stature and common gesture of placing his hands in his pocket. No matter what I did, the painting resembled my father, my father who passed away 52 years ago. That’s when the chill came, my own little Hitchcock experience in my studio appeared.

This is my thirty-third painting of my #paint52 challenge, Atelier Interactive Acrylic on velum, measures approximately 8" X 8", price $175.00.

*All art from Janet Vanderhoof’s Fine Art Gallery, maybe seen in Janet’s studio at Morgan Hill, CA.   You may purchase through contacting my email or phone (408) 460-7237.  Thank you!