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New forest painting – Anonymous for a Little While

New! Where would this path lead us to? Not sure? Neither am I, but it looks like a fun and colorful place. Let’s check it out!

This painting is sold, but you’re invited to check out these available paintings.

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What bird nest was this painting inspired by?

‘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

The gift of time

Have you ever been drawn to something so strongly that you needed to do it? Even if it was risky and even if you might not succeed, you knew this was the right direction for you?

With ‘Into the World of Light’, I wanted the viewer to feel compelled to enter the painting. To bask in the warmth of the sun. To explore what’s over those hills. To ponder the freedoms that lie ahead.

To find the right direction for myself, I usually need lots of time to think and let my mind wander freely.  Without that, it’s too easy to get pulled into everyday obligations and routines.

‘The gift of time’ is one of the best things I can do for myself. Do you find the same?

Here are in-progress pics for Into the World of Light –

acrylic painting by Holly Van Hart | green brown forest field

The start of the painting. It may look like fog, but my plan is for this to become a well-lit forest.

abstract forest painting by Holly Van Hart | sunlit field branches leaves

Next I painted in the sunlit field and (at the top) some branches and leaves.

mixed media forest painting by Holly Van Hart | watercolor techniques

Here I’m using my new watercolor techniques (but with acrylic paints).

Mountain, tree trunks, watercolor and drip painting techniques | by Holly Van Hart

Close-up of the sunlit mountain.

forest painting | sunlight tree trunks hills field | painting by Holly Van Hart | shown at Desta Gallery solo show 'Embracing the Light'

Finished!
Into the World of Light
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

 

This painting is sold, but you can view available paintings here.

‘Embracing the Light’ is paired with a custom cocktail

Embracing the Light
48 x 60″ mixed media painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart
Sold

For a holiday party, I paired paintings with custom cocktails. ‘Embracing the Light’ (above) was paired with a cocktail I named ‘Red Smash’.

Here’s the recipe –
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 ounce Rose’s lime juice
Whole fresh cranberries, for garnish

It was a big hit!!

Why Red Smash is paired with Embracing the Light
In keeping with the Dutch theme for our party . . . gin was first made in Holland and is known as ‘Dutch courage’.

The gin in this drink uses juniper berries as its primary ingredient. ‘Embracing the Light’ is primarily dark green, like juniper.

Gin uses ‘botanicals’ to give it its complex flavor. In addition to juniper, Boodles British Gin includes hints of coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cassia bark, nutmeg, rosemary and sage. The painting ‘Embracing the Light’ uses an equally wide range of colors to give it its complexity; in fact it uses all the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and many variations.

Enjoy! (The cocktail and the painting!)

‘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

[Top 50 Questions] How are you preparing for your museum exhibition?

Originally posted in 2013 and just reposted with updated links to pics and videos of the show

 

My solo exhibit at the Triton Museum of Art will run from late November 2014 – mid February 2015.  If you haven’t been there before, the Triton is a beautiful contemporary art museum in Santa Clara, CA.

This exhibit opportunity came about because my painting ‘Possibilities Abound’ was awarded first place in the Statewide Painting Competition hosted by the Triton.  The prize was a solo exhibit.

The title of the solo exhibit will be ‘Possibilities’, and the theme is the virtually limitless possibilities that are available to us in life.  In the Possibilities series, eggs are used to represent the unborn promise in our lives, and the nests represent the wonderful variety of homes we build for ourselves.

I’ll need about 15-20 paintings for the exhibit.   About 1/2 are done. Some of the paintings are sold but (luckily!) the owners have offered to loan them back.

Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator of the Triton Museum, will decide how the paintings will be hung in the Rotunda gallery.  He asked that I be there to give input, and I’m very much looking forward to the day we work together to hang the show.

The reception is December 12, 2014, 6-8pm.  This will be the biggest art event so far in my career.

 

For photos and videos of my solo show and reception at the Triton Museum of Art, click here.  (You can also download the catalog from the show . . . free!)

 

New – Cocktail paired with a Painting!

For a holiday party, I paired a painting with a custom cocktail. ‘The Boundary of Spring’ (above) was paired with a cocktail I named ‘Spring-tini’.

Here’s the recipe –
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce pear juice
1 ounce rosemary syrup (I used rosemary from our front garden)
A squeeze of fresh lemon (we picked the lemons from trees in our back yard)
Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Why Spring-tini is paired with The Boundary of Spring

The Spring-tini cocktail has pear juice. Pear is a soft flavor; it is analogous to the soft sky in the painting.

Rosemary has a tea-like aroma and an assertive piney flavor; it is analogous to the stronger color of the green/brown ground in the painting.

Vodka is a subtle but absolutely necessary component of this drink. Similarly, the texture in the painting is both subtle and absolutely necessary to the success of the painting.

 

Enjoy!

Latest art news: Shhhhh . . . it’s a secret

Hi there. Hope you’re well!

We’re experiencing hot summer weather this week, but it feels like Christmas!

Two new 8″ brushes just came in the mail. (Guess I’m easy to please.)



Big paintings require big brushes. And my previous 8″ brush is worn out.  Can’t wait to dip these babies into some fresh paint!!

In the meantime . . . I’m continuing to work at making my paintings more abstract, as (I hope) you can see in these two sister paintings –

 

Divulging the Secrets (Orange)
32 x 32″ mixed media painting by HVH, Available.
 

Divulging the Secrets (Blue)
32 x 32″ mixed media painting by HVH, Sold.

These inspiration behind these paintings is about secrets, specifically, about sharing secrets.

I’m kind of quiet and not usually very good at sharing things; these emails are a stretch for me. But I’m aiming to get better! To read more, click here –

Story + Completed paintings

What secrets might you like to share?!!

Thanks for being here, my most amazing friend!

xoxo

P.S. Want to see what else is available?

See all available paintings
 

Writing My Own Fate, 48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

Writing My Own Fate (above) is sold. If you’re thinking of treating yourself or a loved one to a painting, please click here and you’ll get the best choice (before the holiday rush) –

See new forest and flower paintings

To purchase a painting, email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.
Shipping is free for VIP members (that’s you!)

btw, if this email was forwarded to you, and you’d like to get on my VIP list to receive future emails (one every 3 weeks), click here.

 

[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?

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions.

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

 

 

 

 

Ideas Everywhere!

Many many layers (and weeks) later, here is the finished painting . . .

So you can see the details, here’s a ‘flyover’ of Ideas Everywhere –

And here is how Ideas Everywhere looks in my home –

Abstract forest landscape painting by Holly Van Hart - Ideas Everywhere - installed

‘Ideas Everywhere’
This painting is sold. To see available paintings, click here.

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[Top 50 Questions] What subjects inspire you?

My husband is a gardener.  I feel very fortunate to have his beautiful trees and and flowers growing all around us as inspiration for my paintings.

On my short walk to the studio each day, I pass bougainvillea, roses, amaryllis, daffodils, lemons, oranges, figs and more (depending on the season).  Lucky me!

I am also inspired every time I go for a walk in our neighborhood and on local hiking trails.

 

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Can you feel the ocean breeze?

Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, blue, landscape, palm trees

Palm Winds
30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

Welcome to the tropics!

As you view “Palm Winds”, can you feel the warm wind on your skin? This painting is meant to instill a feeling of peacefulness from the beauty of the trees, sea, and sky. The empty picnic tables are inviting you to sit down and have a meal. It is a hot day, and the wind is offsetting the tropical heat.

The inspiration for this painting draws on my travels to Tahiti, Thailand, Costa Rica and other places of tropical awesomeness.  In addition, it was inspired by an amazing photo taken by my friend Veronique Gillard. (Thank you Veronique!)

Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, yellow, blue, abstract, circles

Palm Winds
Side view
30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart

This painting is sold. For available paintings, click here.

Originally published in 2013, and just updated

Abstract floral painting, The Genius in All of Us

Most of us may not feel like geniuses, but everyone has a special quality or skill that is unique to this world. That is the ‘genius in all of us’.

This new floral painting “The Genius in All of Us” features large abstract tulips in red, purple, blue, yellow, and orange. The tulips represent and celebrate the diversity of our individual strengths.

What are your strengths?

My strength is painting. I suppose another strength is being a jack-of-all-trades generalist that includes some of the business skills needed to be a full-time artist and entrepreneur. (Still working on those others!!)

 

btw, the Genius in All of Us was purchased as a surprise birthday gift for my new friend Heike by her husband.

flower botanical painting | tulips red violet orange yellow | American painter Holly Van Hart

The Genius in All of Us
Hanging in their beautiful home in Silicon Valley, California
Heike is thrilled with her new painting, so I’m thrilled too 🙂

 

 

Interested in seeing other available floral and tree paintings?  Or learning about commissions (custom paintings)?

Or learn more on these pages – About, Press (Huffington Post, Professional Artist, ABC News, and more), Testimonials.

White roses and school soccer

What do school soccer and ‘Threshold of Miracles’ have in common?

Inspiration is everywhere!

The inspiration for this painting was a big bush of white roses planted at a local high school.  The roses were brilliantly lit in the afternoon sun.  I noticed them during the half-time break from my son’s soccer game, and couldn’t resist snapping a bunch of photos.

Using my computer, I tried a few combinations of photos until one stood out as the best design. Then I set to work in my studio with paints and brushes and lots of excitement!

This painting is called ‘Threshold of Miracles’.  It symbolizes all the amazing things we can do with our lives (and the miracles we can create) when we keep our eyes open.

Wishing you lots of sunshine and miracles in your life!

New botanical painting – I Remember It

Today I’d like to share a quote that captures the spirit of a new botanical painting.

“Enthusiasm is the electricity of life.” Gordon Parks

What are you enthusiastic about today?

 

When making this painting, I was enthusiastic about the field of dancing flowers I originally saw in Canada.

The colors, shapes, and smells were riveting, and I made a little oil painting on the spot.

Then back in my studio, over a period of years, I continued to revisit this theme in a variety of sizes and media, each time stretching myself in some new way.

This painting is now hanging in our bedroom at home –

Another reason for me to be enthusiastic today is a  new relationship with a beautiful art gallery outside of Denver, Colorado – Mirada Fine Art Gallery. So excited!!

Thanks for being here. Shine on, my beautiful and enthusiastic friend!

 

To see more available paintings, click here.

To see more paintings hanging in the homes of collectors, click here.

Birch Trees in the Fall – ‘Autumn Reds’

'Autumn Reds', Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Autumn Reds
30 x 24″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print
Commission a forest painting

The other day, a friend asked why I had started painting birch trees. One reason is that they are so darn gorgeous!!  (I get reminded of this just about every day, because we have a lot of birch trees here in Saratoga.)

Birch tree trunks are highly textured and have a wide range of values, from white to very very dark in the shadows. And the leaves, in an autumn setting, offer a huge range of warm colors to work with – reds, oranges, yellows, golds.  An artist’s dream!

 

Click here for more forest paintings.

Gallery Exhibitions

My work can be seen in ongoing exhibitions at these fine art galleries –  The Studio Shop, Mirada Fine Art, and JCO’s Art Haus.

These paintings (and more) can be viewed at the galleries –

[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 🙂

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Want to know what’s going on in my studio? Friend me on Facebook and see something new every day!

Award of Merit – California Fine Art Competition

“You too I welcome”
24 x 30″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

Re-sharing a special moment from 2009 . . . I have some good news to share with you.  My painting “You too I welcome” was accepted into the California Fine Art Competition and Exhibition, and it won an Award of Merit.

The juror was Jack Ogden, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento. Jack Ogden has received numerous awards and honors over his career, and his work is in the permanent collections of many museums.

Thank you Professor Ogden. I’m feeling very honored 🙂

[Top 50 Questions] Can I see your work in a gallery?

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the top questions I’m asked as an artist. (These questions are usually asked at cocktail parties and other fun social events.)

Yes!  Thanks for asking 🙂

My paintings are in a bunch of galleries, listed here.

You can also see my work at my Open Studio and other upcoming events; click here for details.

 

Abstract landscape painting – Sky Song

Sky Song is my latest abstract landscape painting. It’s full of heavily textured oil paints, which have a gorgeous sheen.

The distant mountains are gray and pink and purple and blue, and have an air of mystery.

The sky is alive with light. It’s singing a song. Can you hear it?

Here’s a flyover of ‘Sky Song’, so you can see the buttery texture of the oil paint –

To purchase, please email holly.vanhart@gmail.com. Purchase details

If you live in Silicon Valley, delivery and installation are free. If you don’t, shipping is free!

Would you like to see this painting in person?

Try Before Your Buy program

Vast Worlds Unfolding

Vast worlds tumbled around in my head, unfolded through my arm and paintbrush, mixed with gorgeous blue and gray hues on my palette, and landed as an abstract painting on this large 6 foot x 5 foot canvas. Now known as “Vast World’s Unfolding”, this painting is currently hanging in my home, but it could be hanging in yours 🙂

Purchase details

Studio visit

Try Before You Buy program

 

Holly’s Video Tour through Triton Museum solo show

Come take a tour through my solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art! Learn the stories behind a few key paintings, and see the exhibition installed in the Triton’s Rotunda Gallery.

Van Hart’s hard-won painterly skills are undeniable and compelling. Her naturalistic yet symbolic paintings . . . present their enigmatic subjects with both beauty and conviction, memorably.” – DeWitt Cheng, Art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews, and Visual Art Source

<!–Special Offer – Choosing art should be easy, exciting and fun. With my new 'Choosing Art with Confidence' cheatsheet, you’ll receive hot tips on choosing art and letting it work its magic on you! Click here for your ‘Choosing Art with Confidence’ cheatsheet – Free!–>

Walk on the Wild Side (botanical painting)

Walk on the Wild Side
30 x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
$3800

Interested? Please email holly.vanhart@gmail.com, or call 650 646 5590.

Thanks for being here 🙂

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).

Isn’t it hard to part with your paintings?

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the top questions I’m asked as an artist. (These questions are usually asked at cocktail parties and other fun social events.)

Question #4 –  Isn’t it hard to part with your paintings?

Yes, and no, mostly no.

Every time I set out to make a painting, I’m excited about the potential of it. If (after a few months of work) I complete it and am equally or more excited, than I know it’s done. I photograph the painting, post it to my website and blog, and start exhibiting it. When it sells, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and love the connection it establishes (or strengthens) with the collector.

I’ll make this analogy . . .
* Starting a painting is like having a newborn baby – exciting and exhausting.
* Making a painting is like raising a child – tons of work,  challenging and fun.
* Selling a painting is like having your child graduate university and land an excellent job – you’re elated that he/she has successfully ‘launched’ and sad that you’ll see less of him/her.  But mostly elated.

That’s my experience.  Do you have a similar experience to share?

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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