Kim VanDerHoek
Kim VanDerHoek

When Kim VanDerHoek won a poster contest in kindergarten and received art supplies as her reward, she stifled disappointment over not getting a trophy like the second place winner. In retrospect, she realizes the oil pastels and watercolors were an excellent choice for a budding artist.

“The world may not give you what you want, but it gives you what you need, and I used those art supplies,” says VanDerHoek, who has won awards for her oil paintings, which are shown at Copperwood Artware Gallery in the Plaza. “I even saved the oil pastels and used them in college.” 

Although she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 1993, VanDerHoek didn’t discover the painter within until 2005 after leaving her 11-year career as a graphic designer to have her first child. When her son Jordan was 10 months old, she took a plein air (outdoor) painting class as a creative outlet and found more than a hobby. “I’d searched my whole life for the thing I was passionate about, and it was painting all along,” she says. 

Kim VanDerHoek

VanDerHoek quickly built a body of work and began marketing her paintings online and in galleries while continuing to study the craft. By 2008 she started entering shows and competitions and at the time painted a series of oil pumps at a location in Anaheim, which attracted attention. 

“People responded positively to the paintings, and one in particular I titled ”Locally Grown“ turned out really well, so I entered it in competitions and it started winning,” says VanDerHoek, who was a finalist in the 2011 American Artist Magazine’s cover competition. 

She painted “Rocky Shores of Crystal Cove” pictured in this issue of the Plaza Review, on an overcast day at the beach in June 2011. “A painter looks for a focal point to draw viewers in and then rewards them with eye-candy once they’ve captured their attention,” says VanDerHoek, who also teaches painting classes. “When I initially saw the view in this painting, I knew what to do in terms of painting the rocks and shoreline to create a sense of depth and bring you into the painting, from there drawing the eye to the cottages and people in the background.” 

While it is difficult to capture movement in a painting, VanDerHoek does so in the “Rocky Shores of Crystal Cove,” says Kimberly Haas, who owns Copperwood Artware Gallery with partner Christine Thompson. “When I look at the painting, I picture a crowd of people standing on the beach behind Kim as she paints.” 

The gallery will feature VanDerHoek’s work in a solo exhibition from September 14th through October 14th. “Kim’s vision is unique,” says Haas. “She is one of those artists capable of capturing the magic in a square box. It’s been a pleasure to see her evolution as an artist, and we’re excited for her to have her own show.” 

For more information on the artist, visit Find Copperwood Artware at


Article Published in the
Jul / Aug 12 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie Bawden-Davis
Get the Most from Your Article
Discover exclusive framed articles, digital elements, and photos from your photoshoot, all available for purchase for featured subjects.