What bird nest was this painting inspired by?

'Soft Start', Original oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Soft Start
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
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‘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.

 

btw, Soft Start was featured in my solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art.  Would you like to know more about the show? You’re invited to read my interview in the Huffington Post, or to view the pics and videos and catalog from the Triton museum exhibition (and get a free download of Triton museum catalog).

Van Hart’s paintings . . . present their enigmatic subjects with both beauty and conviction, memorably.” – DeWitt Cheng, Art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews, and Visual Art Source

Video Tour of my Open Studio

In case you missed my Open Studio event last weekend, here’s a video tour.

It’s actually, 3 short video tours –  a partial tour of my home gallery, a tour of the (cleaned up) studio where I paint, and a tour of the (messy) studio a few days before the event.

Want to check it out in person? It’s not too late.  My studio is located in Saratoga, CA. Please call or email me (650 646 5590, holly@hollyvanhart.com) to make an appointment.

 

Larger than Life!

Celebration30" x 40" oil on canvas$2,100Purchase Info

Celebration/Larger Than Life
54 x 72″ Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
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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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Grand Prize Award – California Painting Competition

Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, nest, blue, nature's colors abstracted

Possibilities Abound
30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Grand Prize Award – California Statewide Painting Competition
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Originally published in 2013, and just updated

I’m walking on air . . . I was honored to have won Grand Prize at the California Statewide Painting Competition.

The 1st place award was a solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art.  (To see pics and videos of my solo show, click here.)

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.”

– Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator
– Ester Fernandez, Curator of Education/Curator
– Stephanie Learmonth, Registrar/Curator

Click here for photos taken at the Triton Museum during the 2013 California Statewide Painting Competition Exhibition.

For upcoming events, click here.

Lessons Learned – Building your own website

Abstract Forest Trees Painting Holly VanHart | Abstract Nature Painting | Inspired by forest in New York state | green red brown blue

Summer Sparkle
48 x 36″ oil and acrylic painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
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A couple of years ago, I set about creating a brand new art website (the site you’re on right now). I learned lots, had fun, and am happy with the result. But it took waaaaaaaaay longer than expected.

So that others could learn from my experience, I wrote an article about lessons learned called “Build Your Own Website in 10 Minutes (Not)“. The article is posted on Alyson Stanfield’s art marketing blog, artbizcoach.com blog. Read the article here.

btw, if you’re an artist, I’d highly recommend subscribing to the artbizcoach.com blog.

Do you have any experience with building your own website? If so, we’d love to hear from you – holly@hollyvanhart.com

West Valley Artist Wins Statewide Painting Competition

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
Holly Van Hart, 1st place award photo

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.

The Triton Museum of Art is located at 1505 Warburton Avenue in Santa Clara, California.

To see the solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art (photos, walk-through video, free download of museum catalog), click here.

Springing to Life!

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, nest eggs, blue, red, flowers

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.

btw, if you’re wondering ‘What’s up with all the nests?’, click here.

Originally published in 2013. This painting now resides in a new home in the UK.

Have you ever left a safe harbor?

Painting by Holly Van Hart

Voyage to the Possible
30 x 40 inches
Oil, acrylic, and silica sand on canvas
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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 holly@hollyvanhart.com)

 

 

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‘Into the Light’

I wanted this painting to capture our attention with its warm autumn colors, and to tempt us to walk toward the light at the end of the path.

What’s down that path? There’s only one way to know.  Come with me, let’s go for a stroll!

 

btw, on a topic related to color . . . are you moving into a new home, remodeling, or just freshening up a room? Are you wondering how to use color successfully in your home or office? If so, you can get a Free Color Guide by clicking here – ‘The Top 7 Designer Secrets for Adding Color to Your Space‘.

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

Are we having fun yet?

Having Fun
Oil painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart
(self portrait)
20 x 16″

“Having Fun” was intended to capture an amazing afternoon spent with 3 girlfriends. We went on a huge hike, and at the top of the mountain, took some goofy photos of each other.

A photo was snapped of me. To keep the moment alive, I used it as inspiration for this painting.

A lot of people don’t realize this is a self-portrait. But my intent was to capture the vibrancy of the moment (not the details of facial features & skin colors).

When I finish a painting, I often let it rest out of sight for a week or two, and then take it out with a fresh eye and make some improvements.

“Having Fun” was different. I finished the painting relatively quickly (for me at least) and then felt it was done.  It didn’t get the normal ‘out of sight’ treatment that my other paintings get.

What do you think . . . will this painting stand the test of time?

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