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Amazing Portrayals of Light

If you look at a painting of a mountain or lake or sky and then gasp because of its beauty, it’s often because of an amazing portrayal of light.

Two of the all-time masters at portraying light were JMW Turner and Claude Monet. You’ve probably heard of them ¬†ūüôā


“Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight”, JMW Turner, 1835

Turner was known as ‘the painter of light’, and was one of the greatest British landscape painters of his time. ¬†In the above work, take a look at Turner’s portrayal of the moonlight on the clouds and in the water, and the firelight and its reflections. Amazing!


“Haystacks (Sunset)”, Claude Monet, 1891

Twenty years after Turner’s death, Claude Monet founded Impressionism. Impressionism was all about the portrayal of light, and Monet would sometimes work on a dozen paintings a day; each one depicted a slightly different aspect of light.

Monet would continue working on these paintings over the course of days, switching from one painting to the next when the time and light were just right.

“Haystacks (Sunset)”, above, is one excellent example. What do you think of those sunset purples and reds? They just take my breath away.

“Morning Light”
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

This last work (very humbly put after the two above it) is mine. It is here as an example of a painting that was intended to capture the morning light over a beautiful little lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

Painting light was (and is) the focus of a great many artists.  Other masters include Vermeer, Valazquez, and Rembrandt.

Who are your faves? Drop me a line at holly.vanhart@gmail.com and let me know.

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?

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

 

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.

Color-Full Lives

Possibilities in Full Color is about the lives within these 3 eggs, still to be lived. ¬†They are meant to be ‘full color’ lives, filled with joy and delight and exciting challenges.

This painting is also about the homes (nests) of the baby birds and their parents. Do you see the reds, oranges, greens, blues, and yellows? This ‘full color’ nest represents the unique and wonderful personalities of all the individuals that live within it, as well as the wonderful variety of homes that birds build for themselves.

What do you see in “Possibilities in Full Color”? It’s always fascinating to learn how paintings are interpreted. ¬† I’d love to hear¬†your thoughts and comments (holly.vanhart@gmail.com).

 

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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 Рtons 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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‘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. ‚ÄėEmbracing the Light‚Äô (above) was paired with a cocktail I named ‚ÄėRed Smash‚Äô.

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 ‚ÄėDutch courage‚Äô.

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

Gin uses ‚Äėbotanicals‚Äô 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 ‚ÄėEmbracing the Light‚Äô 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!)

Paradise Found

Here’s a video on the making of Paradise Found –

Questions? Interested in hanging this painting in your home? Contact holly.vanhart@gmail.com. Click here for purchase info.

Nest at Night

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, nest eggs, red, moon

Nest at Night
36″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
Sold
Commission a nest painting

I’d like to introduce you to ‘Nest at Night’, the latest member of my Possibilities series.

‘Nest at Night’ is a more abstracted painting than most of the others in this series. ¬†I was inspired by –
*  the idea (the virtually limitless possibilities we have in our lives if we choose to embrace them),
*  the mood (mysterious), and
* the color (a very deep red).

As I was painting, I got absorbed (and even lost) in the reds.  It took many layers of oil paint (and believe it or not, many different colors)  to achieve the desired hue and depth.   The dark reds and the sliver of a moon contribute to the mysterious feel of this work.

Do you like mystery in artwork? ¬†I’d love to know; ¬†please comment below.

(In case you’re wondering,¬†click here to read “What’s up with all the nests?“)

 

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 Treasures,¬†Try Before You Buy,¬†¬†Studio Visit

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.

 

Let’s stay in touch! Become a VIP member. ¬†Learn more

 

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‘.

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

Originally published in 2013, and just updated with info on upcoming events and prints.

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.

This painting is sold. For prints, 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.

This painting now resides in a beautiful home in the UK. To see available paintings, click here.

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

 

How did you make that painting? (video)

How did I make this painting? Watch a video here –

 

This painting is sold.

To  see available flower paintings, click here https://hollyvanhart.com/available-originals

The Stories They Tell

Did you know that aspen colonies can be thousands of years old? In fact, one of the world’s oldest and most massive living organisms is a grove of quaking aspens. It’s in Utah and it is 80,000 years old.

Is aspens could talk, could you imagine the stories they would tell?!

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Circling of the Seasons

Hi there! Here’s one of my latest forest paintings (and the first one completed in a square format) . . .

Circling of the Seasons
48 x 48″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
For available forest paintings, click here

Want to see how this painting was made? Here are some pics . . .

And, in video . . .


For more info, check these out –
* Try before you buy program
* Come for a studio visit
* Info on purchasing

To purchase, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.


Want to see more in-progress paintings? Check out these videos http://hollyvanhart.com/youtube-videos

Thanks for being here!

Do Tortured Souls Create Better Art?

Some people think that depressed or angry people create better art. Is that true?

Or, can happy people create masterpieces too?

There are no simple answers to these questions of course, but just for fun let’s look at a sample of the world’s greatest artists (my personal faves) and explore the question. ¬† Here goes . . .

Winslow Homer "The New Novel"
“The New Novel”, Winslow Homer, 1877

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was considered the greatest American painter of his time.¬† He created¬†extraordinary landscapes, marine paintings, and figures too. Homer was a recluse and a bit odd, but¬†not depressed, enraged or insane. That’s one point for ‘satisfied souls’.

Georgia O'Keeffe's painting
“Goat Horn with Red”, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1945

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) revolutionized American modern art with bold abstracts, landscapes and flowers.¬† For decades she lived by herself in New Mexico, and sometimes suffered from serious depression. One point for ‘tortured souls’.

Mark Rothko painting
“No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)”, Mark Rothko, 1954

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was a Russian-Jewish abstract painter who emigrated to the US at the age of 10. ¬†He achieved huge commercial success during his lifetime.¬† Rothko was most certainly depressed, drank heavily, took barbiturates, and sadly, at age 66, committed suicide.¬†¬†Add¬†a second¬†point for ‘tortured’.

JMW Turner "Norham Castle"
“Norham Castle – Sunrise”, JMW Turner, c 1835

JMW Turner (1775-1851) was a renowned English landscape painter known as “the painter of light”. Turner seemed like a fairly normal guy.¬† He had plenty of friends, and wasn’t depressed, enraged, or insane.¬†¬†Now it’s even, two points for ‘tortured’ and two points for ‘satisfied’.

Joan Mitchell painting
“La Grande Vallee XIII”, Joan Mitchell, 1983

Joan Mitchell (1925 -1992) was a prominent Abstract Expressionist who lived in Chicago, Manhattan, and Paris. Mitchell was an alcoholic, often depressed, and described¬†many of her paintings as “violent and angry”.¬†¬†‘Tortured souls’¬†lead¬†at 3 points to 2.

This last painting, very humbly put after the ‘greats’ above it, is mine. ¬†As for me, am I enraged or depressed or feeling like a tortured soul? ¬†No, not especially, but on any given day I may be any of those things. (Just ask my husband and children.)¬† Is my art better on those days?¬† No, but I think it is¬†more experimental, sometimes to better¬†effect but not always.

Summing up this totally non-scientific survey . . . The ‘tortured souls’ are ahead at 3 points (Rothko, O’Keeffe, Mitchell) to 2 (Turner, Homer).¬†¬† Perhaps the conclusion is ‘you don’t have to be unhappy to create great art, but it helps’.

What do you think? Do tortured souls create more expressive art? Leave a comment on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hollyvanhart  or  Email me with your thoughts Рholly.vanhart@gmail.com

 

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Interviewed on Silicon Valley TV

On TV! Heather Durham and Holly Van Hart, SVTAGS

Holly Van Hart (left) being interviewed by Heather Durham (right) for her Silicon Valley TV show, SVTAGS

I was honored to be interviewed by Heather Durham on her Silicon Valley TV show.

“On this show, Holly talks about her art, career change, and some amazing honors she has received since she has started this new career. We also get a peak at some of her work.” – Heather Durham, Executive Producer, SVTAGS (http://www.svtags.org/)

Watch the first 10 minutes of the 30 minute show here
SVTAGS_coverimage

Let’s stay in touch! ¬†(And get some¬†free goodies.) Click here to learn more

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

Relaxing in the Pause – New abstract forest painting

While strolling in my neighborhood recently (in Saratoga, CA), I spotted a wooded field with sun streaming through the trees. The shadows and colors were captivating! I snapped some pics and excitedly ran back to my studio. Many moons later, this is what resulted –

forest trees field sunlight - mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart - Relaxing in the Pause - 31 x 50 x 1.5 (Custom)

Relaxing in the Pause
31 x 50″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
$4500

We lead such hectic lives, and I wanted this painting to give us reason to slow down and ponder the fascinations of life. Hence the title, “Relaxing in the Pause”.

If you’re interested, please contact me (holly.vanhart@gmail.com, 650 646 5590). For VIP members, shipping is free in the continental US. To see this painting in person, you are welcome to come for a studio visit.

Click here for more available paintings (forests, flowers, and landscapes).

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.

[vcex_button url=”https://hollyvanhart.com/purchase”¬†title=”Purchase info” style=”flat” align=”center” color=”orange” size=”medium” target=”blank” rel=”none”]Purchase info[/vcex_button] [vcex_button url=”https://hollyvanhart.com/available-paintings/#landscape-paintings”¬†title=”See all available landscapes” style=”flat” align=”center” color=”blue” size=”medium” target=”blank” rel=”none”]See all available landscapes[/vcex_button]

How do you know when a painting is done?

When I look at the painting and am pleased with it, then it’s done.

To be pleased with it, the painting needs to convey the desired idea or feeling or mood, be well designed, well executed, and have some kind of pop or surprise or glow that makes it special. If it’s missing any one of these things, it’s not finished!

I sometimes have the feeling that a painting is done, but then after a couple of weeks, decide it needs further tweaks or even major changes.  Then it goes back to the easel.

On rare occasions, I know right away when a painting is done. ¬†It feels like¬†a¬†personal breakthrough, and all the stars and moons have aligned, and I’m really digging what I see in front of me. ¬† Wish I had more of those days ūüôā

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Be the first to get Holly Van Hart’s latest paintings, art exhibit news, and VIP members-only special offers (includes a free gift). Click here to learn more.

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.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Here’s an interesting question for you ¬†. . . ‘What advice would you give to your younger self?’

If you feel like sharing your answer, please drop me a note at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

After giving lots¬†of thought to this question, and tossing aside a¬†few false starts, I found my answer . . . ‘To be successful in your career, you need to work smart, work hard, and add a healthy¬†dose of self promotion.’ In the past I was pretty good at the 1st two (working hard and smart), and totally oblivious to the self-promotion part.

I’m starting to get better at it¬†now (if I didn’t, no one would know my art existed!), but¬†still have plenty to learn.

Do you have any tips?¬†I’m all ears!

Holly

P.S. ¬†Speaking about self-promotion, the painting shown above is named¬†‘Every Restless Night’. It is sold, but available paintings can be seen online here.¬† Free delivery for VIP members. Free local installation and hanging in the Silicon Valley area.¬† If you’re¬†interested, please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.


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!

Do you believe in fate?

Do you believe in fate? Or in creating your own future? Or a bit of both?

“Actions are the seeds of fate. Deeds grow into destiny.‚ÄĚ – Harry Truman.¬† Seems he was ‘a bit of both’ kind of guy.

This new painting was inspired by the idea of creating our own destiny . . .

To see all available paintings, click here.

You are welcome to come for a studio visit, or to try-before-you-buy.

How much time does it take to complete a painting? (Video)

How much time does it take to complete a painting?

For me, it takes 4-6 months from start to finish (elapsed time) to complete an oil painting.  This is mostly because I paint in layers. Each painting has five to ten layers of paint, and each layer takes a week or so to dry.

Plus I need extra time at the end to reflect on the (almost) finished work and make any last improvements. Sometimes what seems like a minor improvement will make me soooo much happier with the end result.

The actual working time on any one painting is typically 60¬†– 120¬†hours. And sometimes more. It varies greatly by subject matter, size, and style. It also varies by how much I’m stretching myself into new territory; the more experimental, the longer it takes.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

 

New Book! Top Paintings paired with Favorite Inspirational Quotes.

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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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