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What is ‘failing toward success’?

Fail fast, fail often, fail forward . . . you may have heard these terms before. They mean that you have to fail many times before you succeed.

I prefer the more descriptive, happier-sounding ‘failing toward success’. If you’ve ever had the experience of painting (or any challenging creative endeavor), you’ll know that not every attempt yields success.

Even the most experienced artists create paintings that fail. Lots of them. That’s one way we learn, and it’s a natural part of the artistic process.

Recently I invested in a new digital system that will help me ‘fail toward success’ more quickly, and to create my very best work.  Here it is . . .

New computer, monitor, painting tablet, and painting software - this set-up will help me 'fail to succeed' more quickly

New computer, monitor, painting tablet, and painting software – this set-up will help me ‘fail toward success’ more quickly

For now, I use this digital set-up to design paintings, and then use traditional canvas and oil paints to create the paintings. After 3 long months of slogging through user manuals and YouTube tutorials, I’m finally at a place where I can use digital tools to focus on creative design (vs fumbling around with the technology).

‘Your Highest Potential’ (above) is one of my paintings created with this new process. The name is a story in itself that I’ll share with you sometime.

In the future, using these new digital tools may morph me into a ‘mixed media’ artist. But for now I’m still in love with the beautiful, textured, buttery sheen of oil paints and don’t plan to give them up any time soon.

Bet you have have lots of experiences with ‘failing toward success’. What are your most memorable ones?  Please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com. I’d love to hear about them.

 

On a different note . . . are you moving into a new home, remodeling, or just freshening up a room? Are you wondering how to jazz things up with splashes of color (artfully)? If so, you can get a Free Color Guide by clicking here – ‘The Top 7 Designer Secrets for Adding Color to Your Space‘.

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
Try Before You Buy program

Questions?  Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

Thanks for your interest!

 

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You’ll also get early access to new paintings and other special offers.

(One email every 2-3 weeks.)


To see past events, please check out Holly Van Hart’s resume/CV  (includes the most important career highlights such as solo shows, museum shows, awards, fellowships, and press, podcasts, and TV interviews.

Woodscent – New forest painting

 

Do you love being in a forest and inhaling deeply?  Forest air smells so pure, so fresh and so alive!

This sensory experience is what inspired my new painting ‘Woodscent’ (above). For purchase info, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

Thanks very much for stopping by! If you’d like to see more abstracted forest paintings, click here.

More info here –
Studio visit
Purchase details
Try Before You Buy program

 

New sunflower painting, Embracing It All

Sometimes we have to make choices in life . . . it’s this OR that. Here OR there. Tomorrow OR next week.

And sometimes we can do both! This AND that. Here AND there. Tomorrow AND next week. That’s called ‘Embracing It All’ –

Embracing It All is currently hanging in my living room. But it could be hanging in yours! Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com for details

Latest Art News – Solo show at Gallery South

Fellow art lover,

Greetings! What are you doing on the night of Saturday November 17, 2018?


Busy getting ready for the solo show at Gallery South in Saratoga

If you live in Silicon Valley, please join me at the grand opening of my show at Gallery South in Saratoga. It’s also the grand opening of the gallery itself!

The party starts at 7pm. Food and drinks are being served. Click for details.

The latest paintings will be on exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek . . .


Relaxing in the Pause
31 x 50″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Inspired by a local scene in the hills of Saratoga.


Summer’s Lavish Brush
28 x 36″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
A splash of flowers! Inspired by the extended warm weather we’ve been experiencing here in Silicon Valley.


Freedom
10 x 10″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Returning to a favorite subject – the ocean & sailboats. Gift-sized!


The holidays are approaching quickly.
Why not treat a loved one (or yourself) to the gift of original art?
You deserve it!

Join me!
Solo show at Gallery South
Hope to see you there, my fabulous friend.

xoxo

P.S. Don’t live in Silicon Valley? No problem. Please check out my catalog of available paintings. Shipping is free for VIP members (that’s you!).

Mountains, sea, sky in blue, orange and gray, mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart | abstract flow technique

Magnetic Dreams
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

Magnetic Dreams
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Read the story behind the painting.

Whispered Peace (new aspen painting)

Welcome to my world of Whispered Peace.

The aspen trees in this painting are surrounded by whisper-soft hues of gold, red, green and blue. All co-existing peacefully on three large canvases 🙂

For purchase info, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

More info here –
Studio visit
Purchase details
Try Before You Buy program

 

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

 

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.

 

Prestigious Arts Recognition Award

Los Altos Town Crier

 

 

New!  Arts Recognition Award from the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution in the Los Altos Town Crier.
“The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution recently gave Holly Van Hart the Women in the Arts Recognition Award.”   Read full article here.

Feeling so honored!!

Embracing the Light

Here’s my latest abstracted forest painting –

Abstract landscape painting | forest trees land sky | green blue yellow brown red | painting by Holly Van Hart | Best of Houzz | Architect of Peace

Embracing the Light
48 x 60″ mixed media painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart
$7,500

This pic shows Embracing the Light installed (center) –

Abstracted forest paintings by Holly Van Hart
Woodland Symphony, Embracing the Light, Autumn Dance, and The Stories They Tell

Please contact holly.vanhart@gmail.com or 650 646 5590 for availability and pricing. Your email or call is welcome any time.

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?

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.

 

 

Mirada Fine Art Gallery (ongoing)

If you’re in the Denver area, please come see my latest paintings at Mirada Fine Art gallery.

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”.

Click for details.

Directions & Hours

 

abstract tree paintings by Holly Van Hart showing at Mirada Fine Art in Colorado

Vibrations in Time (on wall, right)
Mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
At Mirada Fine Art

Larger than Life!

Celebration30" x 40" oil on canvas$2,100Purchase Info

Celebration/Larger Than Life
54 x 72″ Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

The larger-than-life sized nest and eggs in ‘Celebration’ are meant to represent the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed. Read more here, “What’s up with all the nests?

There’s also a personal story behind ‘Celebration’ . . .

Birds will build their nests with whatever materials are available to them. One spring when I was a girl, my mother sprinkled snippets of red yarn in the yard near our summer home.  She then encouraged us to see what happened next.  Sure enough, a bird built a nest using the beautiful red yarn.  (Sure wish I had a photo of that now!)

In ‘Celebration’ the birds have built their nest with twigs and ribbons.  To me, ribbons have a celebratory feel, hence the title of the painting.

This painting was created in phases over many months.  It leverages what I learned about painting nests and eggs from the other Possibilities paintings, as well as reference photos for the ribbons.

Are you in the mood to celebrate?

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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. **

Ready for a cruise?

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, mountains, lake, cruise boats

Autumn Cruise
30″ x 40″ oil painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart (sold)

‘Autumn Cruise’ is about the majesty of the mountains and the allure of the alpine lakes. This painting includes two cruise boats ready to take us on a tour of the lake, up closer to the mountains.

The unusual textures in ‘Autumn Cruise’ (for example, in the sky in the upper right, and skirting the mountains in the upper left) are there to remind us of nature’s unseen forces – potential rainstorms, winds, avalanches, floods, and hungry bears.  Nature is beautiful and alluring, and also commands the utmost of respect.

Ready to cruise up the lake?  Sure, it’s a crisp, clear autumn day and looks like a safe bet.  (If there were dark clouds overhead, then it would be a different story.

 

btw, if you’d be interested in some art freebies (free art books and more), click here.

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).

The feeling of being home (and well taken care of)

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, nest eggs, blue

Serenity
20 x 20″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

View video of this painting being created

Every painting tells a story. When we look at a painting, we absorb and interpret the story in our own unique way.

My abstract nature paintings are about the beauty and peace of nature.

This painting, ‘Serenity’, shows 3 robin’s eggs, resting serenely in their nest.  The strong reds in the nest, branches, leaves, and buds represent the fullness of life outside the nest.  The lives of the 3 siblings in this nest are full of possibilities.  When the eggs hatch into birds, they will experience all that life has to offer outside the nest.

That’s my story for ‘Serenity’.  What’s yours?  (Email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com)

To see a video of this painting being created, click here.

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

Originally published in 2013, and just updated

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Free eBook!

Treat yourself to
inspiring art and ideas.

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(Printed book available on Amazon for $19.99)

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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

Loaded with lush flowers

‘Possibilities in Full Bloom’ is meant to convey the idea that life is chock full with possibilities.  The eggs in the nest are radiating warmth, and the magnolia tree is loaded with lush flowers.  Life abounds!

This painting was fun to create for many reasons.  One of my favorite parts was leaving the underlying red color and texture showing through  in many places.  (Can you see this?  Click on the image to see a larger version.)   To me, this gives the work a fresh feel.

In case you’re wondering . . . click here to read “What’s up with all the nests?

What’s the favorite part of your job?

What’s the favorite part of your job? Whether you’re a banker, lawyer, stay-at-home parent, or an artist, we all have something we love most about our jobs.

The favorite part of my job is . . . you!

For realz. The absolute best part of being an artist is that it gives me an excuse to get to know you better.

So, today I’m featuring a collector of my art and friend, Tamami Honma –

Tamami Honma

Tamami Honma
Internationally acclaimed pianist
Friend and a collector of my art

Here are some of the many things that are totally cool about Tamami –

  • Tamami is an internationally acclaimed pianist who has performed in many of the world’s great musical institutions.
  • Tamami is head of the Saratoga Education Foundation, and (for the last 6 years) a cub scout leader.  Scouts is where we met.
  • She is a mother of 4 gorgeous children. All except the youngest play 2 instruments.
  • If you want to see one of her absolutely breathtaking performances, check out the performance schedule here – http://www.tamamihonma.com/ .

I’m honored that 4 of my paintings hang in Tamami’s home. The latest is Rose Jamboree –

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Rose Jamboree'

Rose Jamboree
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart
See latest nature paintings

Watch a video of this painting being made here.

 

(Link to all videos on Holly’s YouTube video channel)

It’s a privilege to know you Tamami!!!

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).

 

Studio visit
Purchase info
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See all available paintings.

Art achievement award from the National Association of Pen Women

February 1, 2020 –

Today I was just awarded a prestigious art achievement award from the National Association of Pen Women. Feeling so very honored!!

 

Holly Van Hart, art recognition award from the National League of American Pen Women.

At the Celebrity Luncheon for the National League of American Pen Women, about to receive the arts achievement award. (Thanks to Patricia Dennis for the photo.)

 


Guess what . . The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art has an amazing show called Detritus. An image of my studio wall is included!Posted here from Instagram

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