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[Top 50 Questions] Are you worried about oil paints being toxic?

I’m not worried about oil paints being toxic. Oil paints are toxic if you eat them. Otherwise, they are fine.

Paint solvents, thinners, and thickeners are often toxic. I don’t use any of these, except for turpentine to deep-clean my brushes (which I do outside).

Oil painting mediums (such as thickeners and thinners) tend to be an artist’s best friends. I had some favorite mediums that were toxic, but after some intense experimenting around, I found and fell in love with two that aren’t – walnut oil to thin the paints, and Gamblin Solvent-Free Gel as a thickener.

And I try my best not to eat the paints ūüôā

 

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[Top 50 Questions] Do you ever miss being in high tech?

In ‚ÄúTop Fifty Questions‚ÄĚ, I‚Äôll answer the top things I‚Äôm asked as an artist. (These questions usually come up at cocktail parties and other fun social events.)

Do you ever miss being in high tech?

Sure!

I definitely miss seeing my work-friends and colleagues more regularly.  They were/are an amazingly talented and multi-faceted group of people.  Good thing Facebook and LinkedIn give us an easy way to keep in touch!

What I also loved about high tech was the opportunity to constantly stretch myself and learn new things. Luckily I have that in abundance as an artist too.

One thing’s for sure . . .¬†Being a full-time artist feels like what I was meant to do.

To read more about my career move to professional artist, click here.

 

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[Top 50 Questions] Do you use photo references?

Yes, I use photo references for most paintings. Typically I’ll use 3-5 photo references as input for a single painting. The photos help me better understand the shape of the subject, its highlights, and shadows.

Often I’ll start a painting by creating a realistic rendering of the subject. Once I’m pleased with the design and the how the subject looks, then I put away the photo references and the real fun begins! I crank up the music, get loose, use my imagination, and start introducing exciting not-found-in-nature colors and shapes and rhythms. This is where the ‘abstract’ of my ‘abstract nature paintings’ comes in.

 

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Best of Houzz Award

A blast from the past!  As published in 2017

Just found out I was awarded Best of Houzz award for my abstract nature paintings. This is the second year in a row. Wow, feeling so honored!

Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart awarded Best of Houzz 2016 for her commissioned nature paintings

Huge thanks to my supporters and collectors and reviewers on Houzz. You are the best!

If you’re not already familiar with Houzz, it¬†is the¬†leading platform for home design and remodeling. It is chock full of awesome images that people use to find design ideas for their homes.

To see what my paintings look like in collectors’ homes, look at the pics below (or to the right, depending on your¬†screen). Here’s one example –

You're InvitedOil and acrylic paintingHung in collector's entryway

You’re Invited
Oil and acrylic painting
Hung in collector’s entryway

These awards were based in part on the many 5-star reviews received on Houzz and other testimonials from collectors.

Thank you to all the reviewers. You made my day (my year!)

 


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Just released . . . Free Art Book!

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”10302″ alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=”http://hollyvanhart.com/free-painting-inspirations-book/”][vc_empty_space height=”16px” css=”.vc_custom_1483468001264{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”][vc_column_text width=”450px”]See Holly Van Hart’s top 25 paintings, paired with favorite inspirational quotes.¬†Free Book full of exciting images and ideas![/vc_column_text][vcex_button url=”http://hollyvanhart.com/free-painting-inspirations-book/” align=”center” size=”medium” color=”red” custom_color=”#ffffff” custom_hover_color=”#cccccc” css_wrap=”.vc_custom_1483486607972{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]FREE DOWNLOAD[/vcex_button][vc_empty_space height=”16px” css=”.vc_custom_1483468001264{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]

Does it get lonely painting all day?

Holly Van Hart | abstract nature painting | studio | forests trees birch aspen

Working on Woodland Symphony (almost as tall as I am)

Question #25  Does it get lonely painting all day?

Nope. I treasure my time alone in the studio, and follow that with lots of time with friends and family. For me, it’s a perfect combination!!!

On a related note . . . on personality tests, the results usually show me to be 50% introvert and 50% extrovert. So it makes sense how this plays out in my work and personal life.

Which are you . . . extrovert or intravert?

btw, if you’re curious, here’s the finished painting . . .

Other questions I get asked a lot –

Do you listen to music when you’re painting?

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

What is the hardest part of creating a painting?

The hardest part of creating a painting is coming up with an amazing idea, and then turning that idea into an inspired design.

Producing the painting (that is, putting the paint on the canvas) ¬†isn’t a piece of cake either, but that seems to flow once the first part is nailed down.

 

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Have a question to add to the top 50?  Ask away  (in the comments section below or send an email to holly.vanhart@gmail.com).

[Top 50 Questions] How does living in Silicon Valley impact your art?

In ‚ÄúTop Fifty Questions‚ÄĚ, I‚Äôll answer the top things I‚Äôm asked as an artist. (These questions are usually raised at cocktail parties and other fun social events.)

Silicon Valley, in northern California, is a hotbed of technology innovation. It is a place where anything is possible, and failures are just stepping stones to the next success.

I love this part of the culture, which played out in my life every day for 20 years as a Silicon Valley-based high tech exec, and now in my art. ¬†My whole ‘Possibilities’ series is rooted in the unrelenting optimism of Silicon Valley.

You can read more about my Silicon Valley experience here on LinkedIn.

Not everyone loves Silicon Valley as much as I do. Have you lived or worked here? ¬†What’s your take?

 

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Tell me about the texture in your paintings

s and eggs) and emphasize their rhythm.

Most of my texture is created using heavy acrylics in an underpainting. That is, my first step is to apply acrylic paints to the stretched canvas (usually red paint, applied thickly), and let that dry before starting the first layer of oil paints. The textured swirls are made using a variety of tools; my favorites being a painting knife and a hair comb. (You can see a video demo of the texture process here.)

The texture sometimes aligns with the subject of the painting, and sometimes goes against the natural lines of what’s represented in the painting. That’s on purpose. It mirrors the complexity of our lives.

Thanks for your interest!

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Have a question to add to the top 50?  Ask away  (in the comments section below or send an email to holly.vanhart@gmail.com).

[Top 50 Questions] Do you listen to music when you’re painting?

Yes, I love to listen to music all day long in my studio!

Usually I listen to a custom Pandora station or downloads on Spotify. Some of my current faves are ¬†–

The XX
Portishead
Lorde
Florence and the Machine
Feist
Lana Del Rey
Jem
Bjork

Sometimes I need a break from music, and will switch to listening to podcasts. (For my list of top ten podcasts for artists, click here.)

When I need a break from podcasts, then¬†I listen (not watch) Netflix movies. ¬†I’m too occupied with painting to ‘get’ the whole movie, but I get enough to make it fun and interesting.

How about you . . . do you listen to anything while you work?

 

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If you’d like to ask a question, please email me holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Are you glad you became a full-time artist?

Yes, absolutely!  Being a full-time artist feels like what I was meant to do.

In 2013, I made the decision to leave a 20-year career in high tech to become a professional artist. (While in high tech, I painted with passion, exhibited my work, and sold it. But painting was a hobby then.)

Being in high tech was challenging, interesting, and rewarding. High tech gave me the opportunity to work with so many fascinating people, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

But I definitely made the right decision!¬†High¬†tech was fun, but a career in the arts is even “funner”.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions I’m asked as an artist¬†(usually at cocktail parties or other fun events).

Does drinking help with creativity?

Question #23   Does drinking help with creativity?

For me, the answer is both yes and no.  With a glass of wine or two, my mind sometimes opens up to new ideas.

But if I have a drink and then try to apply paint to canvas, mostly I make a big mess.

So, the trick is to harness the ideas without messing up any in-progress paintings!

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Have a question to add to the top 50? ¬†Email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

Great question.  I like all artists who push the envelope in some exciting way.

Some of my favorite artistic influences include¬†JMW Turner‚Äôs late expressionistic landscapes, Georgia O‚ÄôKeeffe‚Äôs magnified images of nature, Mark Rothko‚Äôs color-fields, and¬†Joan Mitchell’s huge abstract expressionist paintings. ¬†I’m also a huge fan of Walt Whitman, an American poet.

How about you? Who are your faves?

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Are oil paintings easy to care for?

'Building the Future' Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Building the Future
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
Purchase Info

Yes!  Oil paintings are very easy to care for.  Here are my top tips for painting care . . .

– Hang your new painting on your wall as soon as you can (to get it out of harm’s way).

– Hang your painting out of direct sunlight.

– Dust it every once in a while.

– Enjoy!

Oil paintings are very durable too.  They can last hundreds of years, maybe longer.  This means they can be enjoyed for your lifetime, and then passed on and treasured for many generations to come.

For details on oil painting care from a preservation professional, click here.

 

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My painting ‘All Distances’ selected for book cover

Book cover with cover image, All Distances (detail), by Holly Van Hart, abstract oil painting

Cover image of this book
is a detail of my abstract oil painting ‘All Distances’

My painting ‘All Distances’ was selected for¬†the cover of this book!

Here’s a note in the book from the editor¬†. . .
“Special thanks go to artist Holly Van Hart from the San Francisco Bay area, who once again has kindly given her permission to use one of her paintings, All Distances, for the book cover. Even though we never met in person, her paintings formed the bridge that brought us into contact, reiterating the underlying concept about how we are all connected across nations, distances, time and cultures.”

The book is titled¬†The European Court of Human Rights, Implementing Strasbourg’s Judgments on Domestic Policy, edited by Dia Anagnostou.

Dia and I have met by email (she’s based in Greece) and I hope to meet her in person one of these days/years soon.

 

Let’s stay in touch! ¬†Be the first to see my new paintings. ¬†Learn more here.

 

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