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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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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.

Do habits help (or hinder) creativity?

Do you stick to certain daily habits?  Would you think that habits help (or hinder) your creativity?

This might surprise you, but many creative people have strong daily habits.  And we go to enormous lengths to maintain them.

Habits allow our mental bandwidth to be channeled to create new stuff (art, music, computer programs, legal strategies, etc), rather than being wasted on the mundane (for example, which route should I take to work?).

If this topic fascinates you (as it does me), you might like to check out the highly rated book ‘Daily Rituals: How Artists Work‘ by Mason Currey.

One of the conclusions of ‘Daily Rituals’ is that there is no set of habits that is best for creativity.  But when we develop habits that suit our values and lifestyle, we are setting ourselves up for success.

Some of my habits include eating oatmeal for breakfast every day (all 7 days of the week, all 52 weeks of the year, with very rare exceptions), and heading to my studio to start painting as soon as my sons leave for school.

One of my habits is eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning. I vary the extras (strawberries, nuts, cinnamon, coffee, hot chili pepper, . . . ) but the oatmeal stays the same.

One of my habits is eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning.
The extras vary (strawberries, nuts, cinnamon, coffee, hot chili pepper, . . . )  but the Quaker Oats stay the same.

I have some other daily habits (bad ones) that I’m trying to kick and that do not contribute to my creativity – like eating far too much chocolate.  But that’s a subject for another time.

What daily habits do you find most helpful?

 

At cocktail parties and other fun social events, people often ask me questions about life as an artist. They are answered in my ‘Top 50 Questions’ list. This blog post is the latest addition to my Top 50. To see the other questions & answers, click here.

 

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 hollyvanhart.com/commission-painting .

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

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?

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 hollyvanhart.com/available-originals

If not me, who? If not now, when?

“If not me, who? If not now, when?” These are the words that Dr. Leslie Field asked herself about tackling the huge problem of global warming.

Dr. Field is a prolific inventor, the Founder of SmallTech Consulting, a Consulting Prof at Stanford University, a mom of two, an art-lover, and the founder of Ice911.

Ice911 is a boots on the ground solution to reduce global warming.

In this Facebook Live interview with Dr. Field, we learn more about what inspired her to start Ice911, and the steps she is taking now to slow down global warming.

Click below to listen and to get inspired!

Birch Trees in the Fall

Abstract nature painting by Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart, featuring birch trees in autumn with red and gold leaves

Autumn Gold
24 x 18 oil painting by Holly Van Hart

In the heat of the summer, I was dreaming about the crisp fall days of my favorite season. So here’s ‘Autumn Gold’.

Who doesn’t love the colors of fall leaves? The variety and brilliance are an artist’s dream!

To see more abstract forest paintings, click here.

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

Abstract forest painting – Wandering in Wonder

New!

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 currently hanging in my home, but it could be in yours!

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

Purchase details

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[Top 50 Questions] What if you’re not inspired to paint?

Yes, that does happen sometimes, unfortunately.

Usually I’m brimming with ideas for paintings, and almost always have a few ideas that are competing for attention on any given day.

But on some days I’m just not feeling it. When that happens, I follow the advice of Chuck Close, an amazing and famous artist, who says “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. . . . All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

That’s my experience too.  Once I pick up a pencil or paintbrush, ideas will often reveal themselves.  Then I’m inspired all over again!

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Have a question to add to the top 50?  Please send an email to holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

Free eBook – Top 7 Designer Secrets

Want to choose exciting colors for your home, but not sure what goes with what?

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What’s the best thing about being an artist?

Collector of Holly Van Hart's oil painting, commissioned for her living room

Meet Diane F
Adventurer, Mom, Retired Sales Executive
A collector of my art, and now a friend

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!

Really. The absolute best part of being an artist is that it gives me an excuse to get to know you better. I feel honored to know you, and to keep in touch with you.

(Plus, as you may have guessed, I love playing around with gorgeous, buttery oil paints all day long.)

So, today I’m featuring Diane F, a fascinating and accomplished woman, a collector of my art, and now a friend.

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

  • As a sales exec in the electronics industry, Diane aimed to retire by the age of 45 and succeeded.
  • Last year, Diane became a Mom of an amazingly adorable son.
  • She holds a Masters degree in Computer Education
  • While in college, Diane led a group of 50 teenagers on a bus tour across the US.
  • As a world traveler and adventurer, she has (in her words) “seen half the world, and still has half to go”.

Diane recently remodeled her home, and commissioned me to make a painting for her spacious living room. In honor of Diane’s cool accomplishments, the painting is named ‘Dreams within Reach’.

Video – The making of Diane F’s custom painting
(Link to all videos on Holly’s YouTube video channel)

It’s a privilege to know you Diane!!!

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.

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. **

Woodland Symphony

You know that sense of grandeur we get when surrounded by a beautiful forest? That’s what I was aiming to capture with this painting, Woodland Symphony.

When giving this painting its name, the word ‘symphony’ came to mind. In a great symphony, all the musical notes work together in intriguingly complex and beautiful ways. In a painting, the color notes have to work together in similarly intriguing ways.

btw, if you’re curious, here are some in-progress pics of Woodland Symphony –

2cktMgO.jpg

The beginnings of Woodland Symphony

Holly Van Hart | abstract nature painting | studio | forests trees birch aspen

Working on Woodland Symphony (almost as tall as I am)

Sometimes it’s better to work on a painting sideways

Woodland Symphony (left), Wandering in Wonder (center) and The Grand Escape (right), mixed media paintings by HVH. These paintings are currently hanging in my living room, but they could be hanging in yours 🙂

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

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

Above All Things

To live life to the fullest, we’re often told to give the highest value to our relationships. And that things like fancy cars, clothes, homes, TVs, phones, etc give us only very fleeting pleasure.

Do you find this to be true for yourself?

I do, for the most part. Spending time with family and friends is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Hands down. Without question. I value these relationships above all things. (Hence the name of the painting.)

Don’t get me wrong . . . many things give me lasting pleasure too. Mostly visual things. I still love the shape of the wedding ring we picked out over 15 years ago. And the windows in our home that let in lots of light. And some pieces of our furniture. My husband’s garden. The list is very long.

What’s your experience? What do you value ‘above all things’?

To check out more flower paintings and the inspirations behind them, click here.

Our biggest, boldest dreams

The daisies in ‘Dream Field’ represent our dreams, some dreams bigger than others, some growing and developing, others on the decline, and all of them dancing around through the turbulence and beauty that we call life.

Here’s wishing that our biggest, boldest dreams come true!

Become a VIP member – click here to learn more

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?!

Studio Visit

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Consumer’s Guide to Original Art

Whether you own 100 pieces of art or are looking for your first one, this book gives you the info you need to shop confidently (and have loads of fun!). Includes 5 things you must do when collecting original art, and 3 things to avoid.

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If you like this book, please share it with your friends!

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.

Blue is for strength and leadership

When you see the color blue, what do you think of?

In the art world, the color blue represents trust, loyalty, strength, and leadership.

Truth is, when painting How Dreams are Made (above), none of that was top of mind. ‘Dreaming big’ was in my thoughts. Read/see more here

[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!

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!

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.

 

 

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

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

New Tree Painting Inspired by a New York Forest

Here’s the story of the inspiration and making of a new tree painting named Summer Sparkle –

Inspiration for Abstract Forest Painting | Holly Van Hart | son | Forests Trees | New York

Erik (our younger son) gave me a tour of the lush New York forest. He drove my Dad’s ATV. I sat behind him and snapped photos.

Inspiration for Abstract Forest Painting | Holly Van Hart | son | Forests Trees | New York | Photo

One of the 100+ photos I took while on the ATV that afternoon.
 

In keeping with my theme of limitless possibilities, I’m inspired by subjects that reveal life and growth and abundance. In this case, lush green trees were everywhere. I also like the sense of motion in this pic.

Abstract Forest Painting | Holly Van Hart | in progress painting | Forests Trees

Back in the studio . . . the start of a new forest painting, ‘Summer Sparkle’

Abstract Forest Painting | Holly Van Hart | in progress painting | Forests Trees

In progress pic of ‘Summer Sparkle’ (detail)

Abstract Forest Painting | Holly Van Hart | in progress painting | Forests Trees

Completed painting – Summer Sparkle
48 x 36″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Abstract-Nature-Paintings | Autumn Dance | SummerSparkle-AmidTheScentofRoses-by-HollyVanHart | Installed paintings | Living Room

Autumn Dance‘ ‘Summer Sparkle’ and ‘Amid the Scent of Roses
They are hanging in my living room, but they could be in yours :-).

 

This story was first published for my VIP subscribers. If you would like to be first to see new paintings, please become a VIP.

To see all tree and forest paintings, click here.

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