Kim VanDerHoek attempting to paint at Big Bear Lake in California

As a busy professional artist and mother of two small children, Californian Kim VanDerHoek knows that any attempt to paint during a family outing can lead to extreme conditions. That’s certainly what happened during a recent trip to Big Bear Lake.

“The week after Christmas, my husband and I took our children to Big Bear for some fun in the snow,” reports Kim VanDerHoek. “After a short hike, lunch, and some play time, I was sure I could knock out a quick painting. However, as soon as I began setting up my easel, the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped, my daughter got tired and started crying uncontrollably, and it began to snow. My husband did his best to get our 3-year-old warm and active, but nothing worked.

Kim’s husband and son try to stay warm and busy while she’s painting

“I was about halfway through a pretty awful painting when the snow really started coming down heavily. In a matter of minutes, my palette was covered with snow and the oil in my paint began to seize up. So, with my daughter tired and crying, my son bored, and my husband frustrated by the whole situation, I wiped off my canvas and packed up my gear.”

Unique snowflakes on Kim’s gloves

VanDerHoek says, “If there was a silver lining to the otherwise stormy experience, it was that my son pointed out he could see the shape of the snowflakes as they landed on his jacket. We were all amazed and our spirits were instantly lifted, and I can confirm that each and every snowflake was unique. Amazingly, my iPhone was able to capture a pair of flakes that landed on my gloves, and I was reminded that the wonder of nature is greater than anything an artist can capture in a painting.” For more information, visit or


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