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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 🙂

 

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!

‘Saratoga Rose’

Originally posted here in 2016, and reposted now in honor of the Saratoga marching band

Saratoga Rose, Watercolor painting by Holly Van Hart

Saratoga Rose, Watercolor painting by Holly Van Hart

The amazing Marching Band at Saratoga High School has been selected to march in the 2016 Rose Bowl Parade.  Congratulations!!!

You can read more here in the San Jose Mercury News article, and see a YouTube video of this exciting announcement here.

In the Marching Band’s honor, I am posting this watercolor painting, ‘Saratoga Rose’, created a few years ago.

Once again, a huge congratulations to the Saratoga HS Marching Band!!!!

Want to see more flower paintings?
Click here.

For a free catalog of Holly Van Hart’s paintings, click here.

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

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the top things I’m 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.

 

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

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 🙂

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!

Architect of Peace – Abstract forest painting

Trees and forests can be magical, beautiful and mysterious. They captivate me, and have inspired hundreds of landscape paintings.

With Architect of Peace, I want you the viewer to feel intrigued enough to step into the painting. To explore this new world that shimmers with light and colors and peace. Welcome. Enjoy.

To enquire about this painting, please email holly.vanhart@gmail.com or call 408 309 5564.

Purchase details

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Abstract forest painting – Wandering in Wonder

Does ‘Wandering in Wonder’ make you want to wander through this forest? And take in the wonder of nature and life? Hope so!

Here’s how this painting looks in a living room –

Wandering in Wonder is sold, but you can see available forest, flower, landscape, and nest paintings here.

More info here –
Studio visit
Purchase details
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Questions?  Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

Thanks for your interest!

 

Yellow Passage

Yellow Passage, abstract nature painting, Holly Van Hart, red, yellow

Yellow Passage
20″ x 16″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

“Yellow Passage” is meant to convey the majesty and mystery a large mountain range. The size and angular forms of the mountains indicate the majesty, and unusual red and yellow colors add intrigue.

This scene was inspired by my time in the Rocky Mountains a few years ago. I used a photograph as a very loose reference for the shapes of the mountains and the lake, and my imagination for the colors and texture.

This painting is sold and here’s how it looks in its new gorgeous home –

Yellow Passage, Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, installed

Yellow Passage, Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, installed

Thank you Susan and Steve for placing my artwork in your dining room. I’m honored! Love how you had it framed, and found just the right spot for it.

For more pics of paintings installed in collectors’ homes, 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.

In Our Own Dream World

Come along for a walk into my dream world . . .

 

In Our Own Dream World is currently available. Free delivery in the continental US.

Would you like to see more? Please email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

More info here –
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Purchase details
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What inspires you? (Free eBook)

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What do you like most about being an artist?

oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Palm Winds
Detail of oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
See full painting here

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the top 50 questions I’m asked as an artist.

What do you like most about being an artist?

The absolute best thing about being an artist is that it opens up a whole world of connections and friendships. It also strengthens the friendships I already have. I love that.

In terms of my work, I love creating a painting that is a personal breakthrough, or that others really like. (The overlap is not always 100%.) It’s hugely inspiring when a painting wins an award, or is accepted into an exhibit, or is purchased by a collector. These things make me thrilled to be in the studio and painting every day.

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

[Top 50 Questions] How long have you been painting?

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 –  How long have you been painting?

I’ve been painting my whole life, with one hiatus while in college.

As a girl I made many types of art . . . I painted, made ceramics and did crocheting and calligraphy.  My Mom was an artist; she gave us lessons and let us use her top-quality art supplies.  (Thanks Mom!)

In college, studying engineering was all consuming and my art was put on hold.

After graduating, I worked in high tech and pursued painting passionately as a hobby – taking dozens classes, reading thousands of books and articles, forming an art critique group, and painting every spare minute.

Now, as a professional artist, I paint every day, all day (every weekday + some weekends).  And every day I learn something new.

My art education will never be done. That’s a huge part of the fun 🙂

 

btw, the above painting is Amid the Scent of Roses. Interested in seeing how it was made? Here’s a short video for you . . .

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Divulging the Secrets

Living a life of abundance means so many different things. For me, part of the satisfaction of an abundant life includes sharing with others.

I love it when friends, artists, gallery owners, curators and others share their secrets with me. Even after all these years here on earth, I have plenty to learn about life, love, art & everything!

And I’m happy to divulge my secrets in return. (I’m pretty much an open book, so there really aren’t many secrets. But I’m not a chatty person so you might have to ask me to draw them out.)

‘Divulging the Secrets’ is a celebration of sharing!

 

This painting is sold, but you can see available forest, flower, and landscape paintings here.  (Also, you can check out the try-before-you-buy program, and purchase info.)

 

To see more flower paintings and read more about their inspirations, click here.

[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!)

 

Adding some sparkle to your day!

My intent for Winter Sparkle was to create a winter scene that draws you in.

The sky had to be sparkly, and give the effect of light shimmering through the trees. (Turns out this required about 20 layers of light blue, yellow and pink paints.)

I wanted the path to be inviting.

The painting was intended to give the feeling of one of those cold, wintry days that makes you feel so alive!

This painting is inspired by the same forest as my painting entitled Summer Sparkle. Same forest, different season. To see the latest spring, summer, fall, and winter forest paintings, click here.

 

To see all available paintings, click here.

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What is success?

A new article published on The Commissioned!

Meet Holly Van Hart, the Energetic and Calm Artist

Artist Holly Van Hart | Photo by Daniel Garcia of Content Magazine

You perfectly transformed my dream into reality in the form of a stunningly beautiful painting.
— Dr. S. Hall, Ventura, California (a satisfied collector of Holly’s paintings)

One word that best describes your style: Energetic yet calm

1. What does a typical day in your life look like?

I wake up and can’t wait to get painting! Usually I’m in the studio and painting in the early morning, then enjoy breakfast with my husband and sons, then back to the studio for a full day of painting. Evenings are for taking care of the business part of being an artist…updating my website, responding to emails, etc.

2. What does your studio look like?

I have a home studio in a separate part of the house that comfortably holds me and lots of canvases – big and small! It has lots of windows and even a door that is mostly a window.

3. Tell us one unique thing about you and your art.

Collectors tell me they find my work inspirational. I’m honored by that, because with titles like ‘Possibilities Abound’, ‘Larger than Life’, and ‘Dream Weaver’, that’s exactly what I had in mind when painting them.

4. What do you love most about being an artist?

I love how it connects me to people…giving me new friends and strengthening ties with established friends.

5. What are 3 things you can’t live without in a day?

Painting, chocolate, time with my family and friends.

6. Where do you get inspiration when you need it most?

Internally, and from looking around in nature. Also, other artists are a huge inspiration.

7. What does success look like to you?

Making paintings that I’m proud of, and finding collectors who love to have them.

To create a stunning piece of calm and beauty, visit http://hollyvanhart.com/commission-painting .

To see the rest of Holly’s Top 50 Questions, click here.

The Sun’s Warmth – New abstracted forest painting

Like a cat, I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Do you?

Come step into this sun-soaked forest . . .

This painting is hanging in my home, but it could be hanging in yours 🙂

Would you like to see this painting in person?  Email me for a studio visit.

To purchase, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.  Free shipping in the continental US.

Purchase details

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To see all available paintings, click here.

Totally cool story about ‘Two Left Hands’

'Two Left Hands', 15“ x 11” (sold)

‘Two Left Hands’ by Holly Van Hart (sold)

‘Two Left Hands’, from my Rodin series, was just purchased by my new friend Elisa. Elisa saw this painting and decided to buy it immediately; she has a totally cool story behind the decision.

When Elisa was growing up, her Mom took her many many times to the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford University. If you haven’t been there yet, it is an amazing place to visit, day or evening or night.

Her Mom loved (and still loves) to look at the hands of the sculptures. Rodin created his sculptures with extra large hands, and they reminded her of her father’s hands, which were also extra-large. He was a professional hall-of-fame football player.

Elisa saw an image of this painting on my phone, and I mentioned the title was ‘Two Left Hands’.  On the spot, she bought it as a gift for her Mom. (Oh, did I mention that her Mom is left handed?)

So many coincidences! Thank you, Elisa, for sharing your totally cool story with us.

Originally published in 2012

[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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Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

Latest art news – The Two Yvonne’s

Hi there.

Every once in a while in my VIP emails, I feature a collector of my work. Here’s a fun fact. Two collectors of my paintings are both named Yvonne and they are both CEOs of San Francisco-area companies. What a coincidence!

Meet Yvonne Linney –  



Yvonne Linney
CEO of Transcriptic
PhD in Genetics
Mother of 2 happy teenage sons
Collector of my paintings 🙂


This is the first painting Yvonne & her husband John purchased from me –
You’re Invited, 60 x 40″ mixed media painting.


As soon as Yvonne saw this painting, she knew it would be a perfect fit for her entryway.  She was right!

Yvonne simply radiates positive energy. In addition to being a busy CEO, she is active in our local schools and community. You’re amazing Yvonne. I feel lucky to know you, and honored you’ve chosen my paintings for your beautiful home.

btw, if you’re wondering what’s been going on in my studio lately, here’s a taste . . . 



 
 I’ve been painting up a storm!  To see more, click here . . . 

Brand New Releases


Shine on, my beautiful friend!
 
xoxo


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.


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

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New abstract landscape painting – Dreams that Dance

Hi there!

Here’s the story behind Dreams That Dance.  Some of my paintings are designed in advance, and others (like Dreams That Dance) are the result of a more experimental process.

When starting Dreams That Dance, I aimed to push the boundaries of abstraction with a lively and mysterious landscape. I chose the colors (light greens and blues, offset by darker browns) and set off on an adventure, not knowing what the future would hold.

The horizon was demarcated with a straight gray-brown line; then, acrylic paints were used in an experimental watercolor-like fashion to approximate the sky, clouds, land and water. The paints were applied with a brush and allowed to drip in ways that I found pleasing, and then the canvas was lay flat to dry. (The non-pleasing drips got wiped away or otherwise eliminated.) I repeated this with 15 or more layers of paint until satisfied with the overall result.

In my work, I like to balance a feeling of peacefulness with a certain liveliness and happy energy. Does that show through here?

 

If you’d like to see more, please click here to see additional available landscape paintings.

[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.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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