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The Year in Review Highlights – 2020

2020 brought us a global pandemic and was a very trying year. There were many hardships but also some bright silver linings. Here are the highlights  . . .

In February, Ike and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date. What a fabulous 3 decades it’s been. Lucky us!!

 

We visited Ike’s Mom in Canada in January. She turned 90 this year! (shown: Erik, Oma, Skyler)

 

 

Did amazing local hikes and met fascinating new friends by joining the San Jose Mid-Week Hikers Group. The group stopped meeting in March due to the pandemic, but a few of us continued to hike together (socially distanced, with masks, in groups of 2 or 3).

 

Spectacular week-long hiking vacation in Death Valley with my friend Adrienne (pre “shelter in place”).

 

Our oldest son Skyler graduated with honors from Saratoga High School. Due to covid, he had a drive-through graduation. Sky then headed off to Ohio to study bioengineering at Case Western Reserve University.

 

With my friend Maria, we did a 2-week road trip and visited 5 gorgeous national parks in Utah.  (shown: Arches National Park)

 

the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution recently gave Holly Van Hart the Women in the Arts Recognition Award, which spotlights women who have made significant achievements in their artistic fields.

Received the prestigious Art Recognition Award from the The National Society | Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

Loved loved loved the bounty from my husband’s garden – figs, tomatoes, persimmons, lemons, cala lilies, begonias and more 🙂

 

Mountain biked in the local Fremont Older Open Space Preserve every week with my friends Ellen and Ying. We usually cancelled when the air was smoky (as in this pic) but sometimes we just needed to get out there!

 

Started mentoring first generation college-bound students. The MVLA Scholars AVID mentoring program is all volunteer and very impressive.

 

At Mirada Fine Art Gallery in Colorado for my solo show. I’m proud to be working with this prestigious gallery. It has been selected for many awards, including American Art Awards “Top 25 US Galleries”.

 

Thanks to great friends, we enjoyed many happy hours and meals outside this year. Socially distanced, sometimes with masks, always super-fun.

 

One last highlight . . . and the most important for 2020 – Our family and extended family remained Covid-free. Knock wood. We have been so very fortunate.

 

All the best to you, my friend, for next year and beyond. Stay healthy. The best is yet to come!

Signature of artist Holly Van Hart

 

 

 

 

New! Petite Treasures

The holidays are almost here. Need a special gift for your special someone?

New! Petite Treasures are gift-sized original paintings by yours truly. They are created with the same great care used with my large-scale paintings, and with the highest quality archival materials. Each painting is museum-quality and ready to hang in the finest of homes and work spaces.

Click to see all available Petite Treasures

Treat yourself or a loved one! Click to see all available Petite Treasures.

 

Additional info here –  Purchase / Guarantee / Gift Certificates,  Petite TreasuresTry Before You Buy,  Studio Visit

Awarded Art Fellowship by Clark Hulings Fund

Clark Hulings Fund selects 20 artists for fellowship, including Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart

 

I was awarded an artist fellowship by The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists for 2017, and again in 2018, and am feeling very honored.

The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists is an acclaimed national nonprofit organization. It has chosen twenty artist fellows for its Business Accelerator Program, including me 🙂

The selected artists will participate in CHF’s innovative and comprehensive initiative, which seeks to transform the art industry by helping artists better manage their businesses.

 

To read additional press such as the Huffington Post interview of Holly Van Hart by John Seed, and the writings by art critic DeWitt Cheng, click here.

 

 

New! Slipping Between the Notes

With this new tree painting Slipping Between the Notes, the “notes” are the leaves on the trees. My intention was to paint a sunny, happy forest that tempted you to come in and play.

Will you please join me here, running around and slipping between the notes?

Here are some in-progress pics for this painting –

Here’s the finished painting –

And here’s how it would look against a blue wall –

Want to see all available paintings? Click here to request a digital catalog.

Abstract landscape – Following Your Fascinations

Join me on a boat ride over a vast sea. We’ll be following our fascinations. We’re not sure where they may lead us, or how long we’ll be gone.

Sometimes the ocean will be smooth, and other times we’ll hit many waves. But it will always be worth the journey!

Here are some detail pics of ‘Following Your Fascinations’ –

If you’re browsing this website, you’ll see the ocean appear in many of my paintings. I absolutely love the water and the shoreline! I grew up in New York city, and lived in California for most of my adult life, so I’ve never been far from the coast. Lucky me!

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

Purchase details

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New tree painting! Mirror World

With this new tree painting, Mirror World, I wanted a feeling of mystery.

The trees in the distance have curiously different colors from the nearer trees. What’s going on there? Let’s take a stroll down this path and see for ourselves!

With every painting, I have an objective for the mood and look of the painting, and a separate artistic objective.

The artistic objective is typically a challenge to myself using new colors or style or different size brushes or canvas.

Here, I challenged myself to paint more loosely, using bigger brushes and with less defined edges. Can you see the difference compared to my other tree paintings? Please drop me a line at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

Would you like to see all available paintings? Click here to request a digital catalog.

Sometimes we need to climb a ladder

Sometimes our dreams are so close we can almost touch them.

And sometimes we need to climb a ladder or a tree (or learn to fly) to reach our dreams. In any case, it’s worth the stretch!!! That was what I had in mind while painting the magnolia flowers and nest in ‘Outside My Window’.

Outside our windows at home, we’re lucky to have an assortment of oaks, redwoods, and other beautiful trees. No magnolias, although there are plenty in our neighborhood.

For purchase info, please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

** Be the 1st to see new paintings, fresh off the easel. Click to learn more. **

Have you ever tried meditation?

Have you ever tried meditation?

I’ve tried it multiple times, including a 2-day class in Indonesia, but failed miserably each time. I can’t calm my mind in that way.

On the other hand, the act of painting has a meditative quality to it that I love.

Painting can completely absorb me and transport me to a different place.

My paintings often go through a bunch of twists and turns before they are done.  Sometimes, by the end of all that, I don’t quite remember how things progressed along the way.

‘Alternate Reality’ (shown above) was a painting that was totally absorbed me like that.

It felt so refreshing. Lucky me.

Do you have a meditation practice, activity, hobby or job like that?  If so, lucky you!

New Tree Painting – Standing tall

Trees can have a commanding presence, especially when they are tall. Do you love being surrounded by towering forest? I do!

I aimed to capture that feeling here with my new tree painting, Standing Tall –

Here are some in-progress pics for this painting –

Here’s the finished painting –

Want to be the 1st to see pre-release paintings? Click here to become a VIP member.

Wishing you a fabulous day!

Abstract nest painting by Holly Van Hart | Nest, eggs | Brown, blue, white | Oil painting

Soft Start
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

Wishing that your day will be as full of exciting possibilities . . .

as the eggs being incubated in this cozy feathered nest.

(Do any birds’ nests actually look like this? Well, yes, kind of . . . learn more here.

Holly

P.S. 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 from the museum exhibition.

 

 

A passion for lovely things

Meet “Posh”.  In this swirl of shiny ribbons, three eggs are being incubated by parents who have a passion for lovely things.

We all share a passion for beauty.  Some of us prefer the beauty of nature, others prefer human-made beauty.  And many of us (like the birds that built this nest) seek a big dose of each!

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?

Nestled close to our loved ones

Nestled is about the warm feelings of being nestled close to our loved ones. The variety of the twigs and branches in the nest symbolize the variety of personalities and habits and desires we have within our own families. They are all intertwined.

When you click on the image to get a larger view, you can see some of the texture that underlies this painting. This is meant to convey the complexity and nuances of the interactions in our families, oftentimes unseen to the outside world.

Gallery Wrap side view of "Nestled"

Gallery Wrap side view of “Nestled”

This painting is sold, but prints are available here.

Originally published in 2013, and updated with info on prints

A feeling of quiet and serenity

Painting by Holly Van Hart, landscape, lake, fallen leaf lake, morning, light, reflections

Morning Light
40″ x 30″ oil painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart (sold)

A few times a year my family spends the weekend at or near Lake Tahoe, CA. It’s a gorgeous place, with expansive views of the Sierras just about everywhere you look. And what makes it even more special is enjoying it with friends!

One Saturday morning, before everyone else was awake, I took a walk along the lake and snapped lots of photos. Back in my studio, I painted ‘Morning Light’. Morning is my favorite time of the day, and my aim was to convey a feeling of quiet and serenity.

Gallery Wrap side view of "Morning Light"

Gallery Wrap side view of “Morning Light”

The Boundary of Spring

One of my recent paintings took an imaginative and unexpected turn. It started out as one thing, but ended up as something else entirely!

Abstract landscape painting by Holly Van Hart

I started this painting thinking it would be an abstracted forest. Once the sky was painted, I was going to let it dry before working on the trees and leaves.

New landscape painting by Holly Van Hart

But . . . I was really digging the colors and simplicity of this first layer of paint, and decided to go in a different direction.

The painting would be an abstract landscape. It would need many more layers to give it the depth and glow I was seeking.

And here’s the finished painting . . .

What does this painting make you think of? I’ve heard many different interpretations from friends and other studio vistors!

New painting in entryway

The Boundary of Spring
48 x 36″ oil and acrylic painting by Holly Van Hart
$4800
Currently hanging in my entryway, but it could be hanging in yours!

More info
* For purchase info, click here.
* Questions? Interested in owning this painting? Please contact holly.vanhart@gmail.com or 650 646 5590. Your email or call is always welcome.
* See this painting in person with a studio visit or with the try-out program.

To see all available paintings, click here.

Aspen painting – A Hundred Yellow Ribbons

A playful and celebratory painting . . . aspens draped with dreamy turquoise and yellow gold ribbons.

Don’t be shy. Call me or email me with questions or for purchase info (408 309 5564, holly.vanhart@gmail.com). Shipping is free for VIP members.

If you’d like to see more abstracted forest paintings, click here.

Related info –

Available paintings
Commissions
Studio visit
Purchase details
Try Before You Buy program

 

What’s up with all the nests? (Video)

In “Top Fifty Questions”,  I answer the top 50 questions I’m asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties and other fun social events).

I’ve gone crazy for nests. Well, really I’ve gone crazy for eggs and nests and what they represent.

All my paintings with nests are meant to express the boundless possibilities and opportunities we have in our lives, and are part of my “Possibilities” series.  Larger-than-life eggs and nests symbolize the promise of our own capabilities, to be nurtured and explored and stretched to their fullest potential.

My intentions are given away by the titles of some of the paintings – Possibilities in Full Color, Unlimited Possibilities, and Possibilities Abound (winner of the California Statewide Painting Competition).

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Follow Holly’s latest art news, exhibits, and special offers (and get a free eBook). Learn more here.

Book Preview (Video) – Free instant download

See Holly Van Hart’s top 25 paintings, paired with favorite inspirational quotes. Free eBook full of exciting images and ideas!

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.

 

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).

Abundant Possibilities

Abundance30" x 40"Sold

Abundance
30 x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

Abundance is part of my Possibilities series that includes nests and eggs as the subject. This painting signifies the abundant possibilities that are available to the little lives that are in this very full nest.

The calm of the surface of the eggs is offset by the variety of colors and complicated weaving of the nest. This contrast reflects the reality of our lives, which are often some combination of calm, colorful, and complicated.

Like most of my work, Abundance was built up using multiple layers of oil paints. The layers give a special glow to the eggs, and extra texture and depth to the nest.

This painting is sold, but you can buy a print here.

Originally published in 2013 and recently updated to include information on prints

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).

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!)

 


Just released . . . Free Art Book!

Nature's Inspirations | Top 25 Paintings Paired with Favorite Inspirational Quotes | author and artist Holly Van Hart

See Holly Van Hart’s top 25 paintings, paired with favorite inspirational quotes. Free Book full of exciting images and ideas!

‘Building the Future’

'Building the Future' Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Building the Future
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
See available paintings here

‘Building the Future’ is about the choices we make for ourselves, and the excitement of preparing for a big life-change.

If the hands in this painting look at all familiar,  it may be because they were inspired by Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Three Muses”.  To see some of my earlier work inspired by Rodin, click here.

This is the first of a few paintings in my Possibilities series that were inspired by Rodin.  Living in Silicon Valley, we’re close to Stanford University and its amazing Rodin Sculpture Garden.  I love any excuse to get back there!  Stay tuned for more . . .

(If you’re curious about the Possibilities series, you can read more here, “What’s up with all the eggs and nests?“)

Comments?

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New Abstract Landscape painting – Magnetic Dreams

With Magnetic Dreams, I was aiming for a moody painting. The scene is imagined, drawn from a love of the ocean and memories of many captivating ferry rides.

The calm of the quiet mountains is juxtaposed with the energy of the watercolor techniques and drips. (This is a mixed media painting on canvas, using acrylic paints, but painted with watercolor techniques.)

Here are some detail pics –

To purchase, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.  Free shipping in the US for VIP members.

[Top 50 Questions] Can I mix styles of art in my home?

oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Palm Winds (detail)
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart
See full painting here

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

Can I mix styles of art in my home? Yes!

Combining a mix of art styles in your home shows off your unique tastes, life experiences, and creativity.  It personalizes your home, makes it even more interesting, and opens up whole new conversations.

That’s my humble opinion 🙂   To look at some ideas from professional interior designers, click here.

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

 

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?

How do sunsets make *you* feel?

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, sailboat, harbor, sunset, blue, pink, orange

Sunset Glow
30″ x 40″ oil painting on canvas (sold)

‘Sunset Glow’ is about the stunning beauty of the sky and water at sunset, especially its glorious colors. It’s also about the exciting reflections in the water, which amplify the colors and the take-your-breath-away feeling of sunsets like these.

If you look carefully, you can see some swooping textures underlying this painting (under the water, on both sides of the painting); on the left side, the texture runs from the water, through the docks, and into the horizon line.

What’s this texture about? It represents things that might not be so wonderful about this scene. Mostly the things we cannot see but can only speculate about, or the things we would need to have prior knowledge about.

For example, this harbor looks beautiful on this evening, but just 8 months prior, it had been completely ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. There’s always more to the story than meets the eye.

The artist creates the painting, and the viewer (that’s you) completes it with their personal interpretation.  What’s yours? Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

Originally published in 2013, and just updated

For more “What inspired this painting” articles, click here.

Did you always want to be an artist?

Abstract flower painting by Holly Van Hart | Blue, red, orange | Inspired by poppies

Dreaming in Full Color
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

When we’re young, most of us have big dreams for our lives. Have your dreams changed over time? Do you find that some doors have closed, but other (perhaps better) doors have opened?

Do you dream in full color?

My long-term dream of being a professional artist has come true, and my sons are turning into fine young men, but many of my other dreams have slipped away. Or maybe they just haven’t happened yet (like my dream of exercising consistently).

At the age of 15, my older son Skyler dreams of being a pediatrician, a software developer, or an ‘IT guy’. Erik, age 13, wants to be an architect or engineer or inventor like his Dad. At this age, all doors are open. Anything is possible! They are, as they should be, dreaming in full color. Isn’t that grand?

In this painting, ‘Dreaming in Full Color’, the flowers represent our dreams, shown in their full glory. The flowers are dancing around through the turbulence and beauty that we call life. Some dreams won’t survive this turbulence, but others will become bigger and stronger.

When it comes to your dreams, here’s wishing that your most color-full ones come true!

Your friend,
Holly

P.S. This post is based on one of the Top 50 Questions I’m asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties and other fun events). To see the Top 50, click here.

What does ‘vulnerability’ mean to you?

What does ‘vulnerability’ mean to you? Does hearing that word make you squirm and feel uncomfortable? It does that to me!

To put it all out there, my most vulnerable moments are when . . .
* I express love or appreciation to someone, and am not sure whether the feeling is returned
* My art is being exhibited and I’m in a room full of people seeing it for the first time
* I send an image of a new painting to the 500+ people on my email list
* Someone unsubscribes to my email list (ouch!)
* I post a new painting or article (like this one) on this blog
* My work is not accepted into a competition or exhibition
* My sons (now ages 11 and 13) are facing disappointment, and I can’t just ‘fix it’ for them any more

Luckily, from my years in high tech, I had many opportunities to experience both acceptance and rejection. I know how to roll with rejection. Sometimes I might need a few moments or hours or days to catch my breath and recover, but then I do, and life goes on and I can keep making progress. Thank goodness. Without that, life as an artist would be impossible!

 

To see the rest of my top 50 questions, click here.

 

Have a question for me? Click here.

 

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On a totally different note . . . 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‘.

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