‘Soft Start’ was inspired by the nests of a bird called a swallow. Swallows live on all the earth’s continents except Antarctica. They use the feathers of other birds to line their nests and keep their eggs toasty warm.
Eggs that are incubated in such a cozy nest are surely full of possibilities, but with a softer start than most.
Celebration/Larger Than Life 54 x 72″ Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold) Buy a print
The larger-than-life sized nest and eggs in ‘Celebration’ are meant to represent the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed. Read more here, “What’s up with all the nests?”
There’s also a personal story behind ‘Celebration’ . . .
Birds will build their nests with whatever materials are available to them. One spring when I was a girl, my mother sprinkled snippets of red yarn in the yard near our summer home. She then encouraged us to see what happened next. Sure enough, a bird built a nest using the beautiful red yarn. (Sure wish I had a photo of that now!)
In ‘Celebration’ the birds have built their nest with twigs and ribbons. To me, ribbons have a celebratory feel, hence the title of the painting.
This painting was created in phases over many months. It leverages what I learned about painting nests and eggs from the other Possibilities paintings, as well as reference photos for the ribbons.
Are you in the mood to celebrate?
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In the words of the curators of the Triton Museum of Art . . .
“Holly van Hart warmed the jurors with her painting Possibilities Abound. A nest cradles eggs, rendered with a confident, loose brushstroke that evokes a sense that this could be any nest, anywhere. And as with all great art, the metaphor returns the image to contemplations of us, the viewers. Avian becomes human, the unborn promise becomes our own possibilities, to be nurtured and explored. We are seeing nothing less than the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed.”
Here’s a blast from the past . . . originally published December 2013, and updated afterward with new links –
West Valley Artist Wins Statewide Painting Competition Former high-tech worker is now pursuing a new career as a full-time artist.
By Rob Klindt , December 19, 2013
Artist Holly Van Hart poses with her oil-on-canvas painting “Possibilities Abound.”
A nature painting by Saratoga artist Holly Van Hart recently snagged a first place award in the 2013 Statewide Painting Competition hosted by the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara. Also garnering a first place award for his painting was San Jose artist Cuong Nguyen.
The competition, which was open to just California artists, drew more than 1,000 entries. From those entries, 92 were selected to be exhibited at the Triton Museum.
The winners were chosen by a panel of three jurors from the Triton Museum, including Chief Curator Preston Metcalf, Curator of Education Ester Fernandez, and Registrar/Curator Stephanie Learmonth.
Van Hart’s winning entry, an oil-on-canvas painting entitled “Possibilities Abound,” was showcased at a Dec. 13 reception for the winners at the Triton Museum. The nature-themed painting depicts a collection of eggs in a bird nest.
In acknowledging Van Hart’s first prize, the Triton curatorial team was complimentary of the artist’s style and technique. “Holly Van Hart warmed us with her painting Possibilities Abound. A nest cradles eggs, rendered with a confident, loose brushstroke that evokes a sense that this could be any nest, anywhere . . . We are seeing nothing less than the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed,” the team wrote.
Van Hart’s previous awards include 2009 Artist of the Year from the Los Gatos Art Association, and a California State Fair Merit Award. She is an art docent and volunteer math teacher at Foothill Elementary school in Saratoga.
After working 20 years in the Silicon Valley high-tech sector, Van Hart recently decided to move on and pursue a new career as a full-time artist. “I plan to enjoy a long career as an artist because this definitely feels like what I was meant to do,” she said.
Springing 40″ x 30″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (Sold)
‘Springing’ got its name because (to me) it looks like the whole painting is springing to life. A nest with 3 eggs, a tree with dozens of red flower buds, and sweeping textures are all combined to give the painting a certain energy and vivaciousness.
Have you ever left a safe harbor & sailed away without knowing what’s on the other side?
How did that feel? ‘Voyage to the Possible’ is meant to capture the sense of wonder and excitement (and fear) associated with the launch.
The ‘voyage’ moments that stand out the most in my life are – * having children (I really had no idea what was in store), * starting my art career (lots of lessons learned in that leap), * some of my new jobs while in high tech, and * heading out on a 6 month-around the world trip (without hotel or other reservations, we simply showed up in 15+ South Pacific and Asian countries, backpacks on our backs, and winged it).
I’m curious . . . what were the top ‘voyage’ moments in your life? Would love to hear back from you on this (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)