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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.

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New landscape painting – Grazing the Light

Landscapes are a subject I come back to again and again. Even in the midst of working on a series of forest or flower paintings, sometimes I feel compelled to paint an abstract landscape using oil paints.

With ‘Grazing the Light’, I was aiming to capture the feeling of an overcast day, but with some sunlight breaking through.  Across the expanse of water, we can see mountains near and far. But what is that splash of yellow/orange? Is it man-made or natural? It is meant to add mystery to the painting.

It’s hard to see in this digital image, but etched into the foreground of this painting (bottom left) is part of a poem by Walt Whitman, “Every hour is an unspeakably perfect miracle”.

If you’d like to see a higher resolution image, please lmk.

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

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[Top 50 Questions] How does living in Silicon Valley impact your art?

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

Silicon Valley, in northern California, is a hotbed of technology innovation. It is a place where anything is possible, and failures are just stepping stones to the next success.

I love this part of the culture, which played out in my life every day for 20 years as a Silicon Valley-based high tech exec, and now in my art.  My whole ‘Possibilities’ series is rooted in the unrelenting optimism of Silicon Valley.

You can read more about my Silicon Valley experience here on LinkedIn.

Not everyone loves Silicon Valley as much as I do. Have you lived or worked here?  What’s your take?

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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.

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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Why do we love birch trees so much?

Do you love birch and aspen trees as much as I do? These days, I’m happily immersed in autumnal birch tree forests.

Here are some details from my in-progress painting, Autumn Dance (48 x 36″) –

Abstract Birch |Aspen painting by Holly Van Hart, detail

Abstract Birch |Aspen painting by Holly Van Hart, detail

Abstract Birch |Aspen painting by Holly Van Hart, detail

There’s something about them that seems to be universally appealing. For one thing, they are so gorgeous.

Birch and aspens look very similar to each other, so I had to look up what the differences are. If you’re curious, here are the highlights –

  • Birch are famous for having bark that peels back like paper; aspen bark does not peel.
  • Birch trees grow in the eastern US and Canada, while Aspens are found all over North America, Europe and Russia.
  • And, amazingly . . . each ‘colony’ of aspen trees actually shares a single large root system. The root system can be huge, covering multiple acres, and can be thousands of years old. As old trees die off, the root system sends up new trunks. Incredible!How about you . . . what are your favorite trees?

btw, here’s the completed painting –

And here’s the completed painting hanging on my living room wall (left) –

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

‘Autumn Dance’ ‘Summer Sparkle’ and ‘Amid the Scent of Roses’

 

This painting is sold. To see all available paintings, click here.

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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).

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.

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.

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!!

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

Because of you

Friends,

Thank you!  Because of you, my life is filled with warmth and friendship and color and fun. You inspire me!  Don’t know what I’d do without you and your amazing support.

For a fun flashback, thought you might like to see a few photos from the installation of my 2014 solo show at the Triton Museum of Art . . .

With Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator at the Triton Museum of Art, on day of installation of my solo exhibition. Photo by my artist friend Marie Cameron.

With Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator at the Triton Museum of Art, on day of installation of my solo exhibition. Photo by my artist friend Marie Cameron.

 Preston wrote an essay about my work.  If you’re curious what it says, click here.

Photo unloading paintings from truck

Oh, the glamorous life of an artist! With Bryan Callanta unloading 17 paintings from the Uhaul truck into the Triton Museum of Art. Photo by Marie Cameron.

Feeling gleeful after all paintings were unloaded and delivered unharmed to the Triton Museum of Art. Photo by Marie Cameron.

Feeling gleeful after all paintings were unloaded and delivered unharmed to my favorite contemporary art museum 🙂 Photo by Marie Cameron.

Photos are compliments of Marie Cameron, a wonderful friend, artist and photographer. Thank you Marie!

Videos of the Triton Museum exhibition, an exhibition catalog, and more photos can be seen here by clicking here.

Warmly,
Holly

[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.

 

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

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

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’s late expressionistic landscapes, Georgia O’Keeffe’s magnified images of nature, Mark Rothko’s 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

 

Do you do custom paintings (commissions)? Video

Yes! I do custom paintings.

In fact, I just delivered a custom painting to a new collector, and this is what she had to say –

“You perfectly transformed my dream into a stunningly beautiful painting. I am deeply grateful.”

Wow, I feel so honored. That made my day (my week!). Thank you Sue!!!

I love creating custom paintings. Good thing, because I’m currently working on 6 of them, ranging in size from 16 inches wide up to 80″ wide. That’s wider than you are tall!

If you’d like to learn more about custom paintings, click here (hollyvanhart.com/commission-painting/) . (They make great gifts, and come with a 100% money back guarantee.) Or email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

Whether you’re interested in commissioned paintings or not, thank you for your interest in my work.

— Holly

P.S. If you want more info, check out more testimonials and pics of paintings installed in collectors homes.

P.P.S. My custom paintings were awarded Best of Houzz. Check out the details here.

Lessons Learned – Building your own website

Abstract Forest Trees Painting Holly VanHart | Abstract Nature Painting | Inspired by forest in New York state | green red brown blue

Summer Sparkle
48 x 36″ oil and acrylic painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

A couple of years ago, I set about creating a brand new art website (the site you’re on right now). I learned lots, had fun, and am happy with the result. But it took waaaaaaaaay longer than expected.

So that others could learn from my experience, I wrote an article about lessons learned called “Build Your Own Website in 10 Minutes (Not)“. The article is posted on Alyson Stanfield’s art marketing blog, artbizcoach.com blog. Read the article here.

btw, if you’re an artist, I’d highly recommend subscribing to the artbizcoach.com blog.

Do you have any experience with building your own website? If so, we’d love to hear from you – holly.vanhart@gmail.com

Receive invitations to upcoming art shows

Sign up below, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming art shows.

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.

Beyond the Visible

 

What’s beyond the branches that we see here? ‘Beyond the Visible’ (above) nudges us to reflect on the mysteries of the unknown.

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

For purchase info, click here.  Questions? Email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com

To see other available paintings, click here.

The making of a rose painting (video)

Detail shots of ‘Amid the Scent of Roses’ –

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Amid the Scent of Roses'

Watch a video of this painting being made here.

If you’d like to see this painting in person, please email me, holly.vanhart@gmail.com

Thanks for your interest!

What inspires you to paint?

This is one of the top questions I get asked as an artist!

I am inspired by . . .

– the painting process itself – creating something new and different using canvas, pigments, and my imagination

– the idea of communicating ideas and feelings and energy to other people through the finished work, and

– seeing the paintings resonate with you, the viewer. This is one of the very best parts!

What inspires *you* and keeps you invigorated?

 

To see how I answered this question in my ‘Talk Art’ TV interview, click here.

 

This is one of the top 50 questions I get asked as an artist.  Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions (with answers!)

 

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

‘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.

Video by Holly Van Hart – How a painting is created

Many of you have been curious about the painting process, and how paintings are created.  Watch this video to learn my take on this topic.

This is the first of a series of videos I’ll publish on how a painting is created.  Enjoy!

 

Standing Naked in Front of a Crowd

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).

How does an artist feel before a big art exhibition?

Like standing naked in front of a crowd!

Do you know that feeling of creating something new (product, recipe, marketing campaign, etc), and then feeling exposed and vulnerable when you revealed it?

Well, that’s how we artists feel every time our art is exposed to the world . . . vulnerable. It’s true for novice artists as well as the most experienced and even (I hear) famous artists.

Posh, oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Putting on a brave face before my Open Studio event
Behind me is ‘Posh’, oil painting by Holly Van Hart

And the bigger the art exhibition, the greater the feeling of exposure. The reason is that the most authentic artwork will reflect an artist’s deepest feelings and thoughts and ideas.

So when we exhibit our art, it feels like we’re standing naked in front of a crowd. (Or how I imagine that would feel, as I’ve never actually been naked in front of a crowd.)

Holly

 

 

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