skip to Main Content
Free Book! Paintings Paired with Inspirations (instant download here)

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.

[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.

 

Purchase
Commission a nature painting
Give a Gift Certificate

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

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.

Abstract forest painting, ‘Every Restless Night’

Hi there! Thanks for being here to check out my new work.  Here’s the latest!

This painting has gotten great feedback & has been featured on the cover of Denver Life magazine.

Denver Life October 2019 - painting by Holly Van Hart over fireplace

Every Restless Night, 48×48″ painting by Holly Van Hart
Featured on the cover of Denver Life Magazine

Questions? Interested? Please contact Steve Sonnen of Mirada Fine Art gallelry, (303) 697-9006, info@miradafineart.com or holly.vanhart@gmail.com

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!)

 

Leaves and Spiders!

This painting is sold, but you can see the latest available paintings here.

 

To see more pics and articles on ‘What Inspired This Painting?’, click here.

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.

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!

 

Best of Houzz Award

A blast from the past!  As published in 2017

Just found out I was awarded Best of Houzz award for my abstract nature paintings. This is the second year in a row. Wow, feeling so honored!

Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart awarded Best of Houzz 2016 for her commissioned nature paintings

Huge thanks to my supporters and collectors and reviewers on Houzz. You are the best!

If you’re not already familiar with Houzz, it is the leading platform for home design and remodeling. It is chock full of awesome images that people use to find design ideas for their homes.

To see what my paintings look like in collectors’ homes, look at the pics below (or to the right, depending on your screen). Here’s one example –

You're InvitedOil and acrylic paintingHung in collector's entryway

You’re Invited
Oil and acrylic painting
Hung in collector’s entryway

These awards were based in part on the many 5-star reviews received on Houzz and other testimonials from collectors.

Thank you to all the reviewers. You made my day (my year!)

 


Just released . . . Free Art Book!

Nature's Inspirations | Top 25 Paintings Paired with Favorite Inspirational Quotes | author and artist Holly Van Hart

See Holly Van Hart’s top 25 paintings, paired with favorite inspirational quotes. Free Book full of exciting images and ideas!

Do you dig the warmth of the sun?

If you dig the warmth of the sun (like I do), please step into my forest.

‘The Grand Escape’ is fresh off the easel, not even dry yet!

Additional abstract forest paintings are available for sale here.

Questions? Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com

Does drinking help with creativity?

Question #23   Does drinking help with creativity?

For me, the answer is both yes and no.  With a glass of wine or two, my mind sometimes opens up to new ideas.

But if I have a drink and then try to apply paint to canvas, mostly I make a big mess.

So, the trick is to harness the ideas without messing up any in-progress paintings!

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Have a question to add to the top 50?  Email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Do you like to dream big?

Do you like to dream big?

I do!  As a die-hard optimist, my art (and life) are inspired by the idea of limitless possibilities.

In ‘How Dreams Are Made’, the flowers  represent the colorful opportunities in our lives . . . exciting and bountiful opportunities swirling all around us.

The visual inspiration came during a walk in Saratoga on a windy day. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught some gorgeous yellow flowers getting tossed around by the wind. A quick snap of the camera gave me a photo reference to work with.

Back in the studio, I quickly got to work. I wanted the painting to have a breezy look and lots of movement, like Field of Dreams.

This painting was fun, but it did not come easy!  There were many points when I wondered whether it would succeed.

For some strange reason, a lot of my best work comes after those sinking moments of doubt. I think the uncertainty frees me up to make bold decisions.

Speaking of which . . . bold decisions are exactly what we need to chase big dreams.  Let’s go for it!!

 

btw, you might also be interested in this article How do you know when a painting is done?  One of the hardest decisions in making a painting is knowing when to stop!

 

[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.

West Valley Artist Wins Statewide Painting Competition

Here’s a blast from the past . . . originally published December 2013, and updated afterward with new links –

West Valley Artist Wins Statewide Painting Competition
Former high-tech worker is now pursuing a new career as a full-time artist.

By Rob Klindt , December 19, 2013
Holly Van Hart, 1st place award photo

Artist Holly Van Hart poses with her oil-on-canvas painting “Possibilities Abound.”

A nature painting by Saratoga artist Holly Van Hart recently snagged a first place award in the 2013 Statewide Painting Competition hosted by the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara. Also garnering a first place award for his painting was San Jose artist Cuong Nguyen.

The competition, which was open to just California artists, drew more than 1,000 entries. From those entries, 92 were selected to be exhibited at the Triton Museum.

The winners were chosen by a panel of three jurors from the Triton Museum, including Chief Curator Preston Metcalf, Curator of Education Ester Fernandez, and Registrar/Curator Stephanie Learmonth.

Van Hart’s winning entry, an oil-on-canvas painting entitled “Possibilities Abound,” was showcased at a Dec. 13 reception for the winners at the Triton Museum. The nature-themed painting depicts a collection of eggs in a bird nest.

In acknowledging Van Hart’s first prize, the Triton curatorial team was complimentary of the artist’s style and technique. “Holly Van Hart warmed us 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 . . . We are seeing nothing less than the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed,” the team wrote.

Van Hart’s previous awards include 2009 Artist of the Year from the Los Gatos Art Association, and a California State Fair Merit Award.  She is an art docent and volunteer math teacher at Foothill Elementary school in Saratoga.

After working 20 years in the Silicon Valley high-tech sector, Van Hart recently decided to move on and pursue a new career as a full-time artist. “I plan to enjoy a long career as an artist because this definitely feels like what I was meant to do,” she said.

The Triton Museum of Art is located at 1505 Warburton Avenue in Santa Clara, California.

To see the solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art (photos, walk-through video, free download of museum catalog), click here.

What do you find fascinating?

I’m wondering . . . what do you find fascinating in life?

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strong pull of what you truly love.”  — Rumi
My top loves include family & friends, spending time in nature, and exploring faraway places. And, of course, painting 🙂



High school starts this week for our sons, so we did some family outings to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. This is us as we walked over the Golden Gate bridge, through a thick fog bank. I really love spending time with these 3 men!

(That’s Erik on the left, and Ike on the right. Skyler snapped the photo.)

 

This painting, Following Your Fascinations (oil painting by HVH), is about seeking the things we truly love.

It found a new home this week in Los Angeles. Thank you Fred. I hope it brings you a lifetime of happiness!

Other landscape paintings are still available. Would you like to see them?  Click here –

Available Landscape Paintings

OK, my most amazing friend . . . three cheers to you for following your fascinations!

P.S. Into forests or flowers instead?

 

Spreading Love, 18 x 29″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Available forest and flower paintings

 

 

[Top 50 Questions] Do you listen to music when you’re painting?

Yes, I love to listen to music all day long in my studio!

Usually I listen to a custom Pandora station or downloads on Spotify. Some of my current faves are  –

The XX
Portishead
Lorde
Florence and the Machine
Feist
Lana Del Rey
Jem
Bjork

Sometimes I need a break from music, and will switch to listening to podcasts. (For my list of top ten podcasts for artists, click here.)

When I need a break from podcasts, then I listen (not watch) Netflix movies.  I’m too occupied with painting to ‘get’ the whole movie, but I get enough to make it fun and interesting.

How about you . . . do you listen to anything while you work?

 

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

If you’d like to ask a question, please email me holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Are you glad you became a full-time artist?

Yes, absolutely!  Being a full-time artist feels like what I was meant to do.

In 2013, I made the decision to leave a 20-year career in high tech to become a professional artist. (While in high tech, I painted with passion, exhibited my work, and sold it. But painting was a hobby then.)

Being in high tech was challenging, interesting, and rewarding. High tech gave me the opportunity to work with so many fascinating people, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

But I definitely made the right decision! High tech was fun, but a career in the arts is even “funner”.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions I’m asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties or other fun events).

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!

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’ and it’s for sale 🙂 The price is $6,500 (+ tax in California). If you live nearby, I can come to your home or office and hang it on the wall for you.  If you’re interested, email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.


A passion for lovely things

Meet “Posh”.  In this swirl of shiny ribbons, three eggs are being incubated by parents who have a passion for lovely things.

We all share a passion for beauty.  Some of us prefer the beauty of nature, others prefer human-made beauty.  And many of us (like the birds that built this nest) seek a big dose of each!

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

What bird nest was this painting inspired by?

‘Soft Start’ was inspired by the nests of a bird called a swallow.  Swallows live on all the earth’s continents except Antarctica.  They use the feathers of other birds to line their nests and keep their eggs toasty warm.

Eggs that are incubated in such a cozy nest are surely full of possibilities, but with a softer start than most.

 

btw, 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 and catalog from the Triton museum exhibition (and get a free download of Triton museum catalog).

Van Hart’s paintings . . . present their enigmatic subjects with both beauty and conviction, memorably.” – DeWitt Cheng, Art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews, and Visual Art Source

Are oil paintings easy to care for?

'Building the Future' Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Building the Future
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
Purchase Info

Yes!  Oil paintings are very easy to care for.  Here are my top tips for painting care . . .

– Hang your new painting on your wall as soon as you can (to get it out of harm’s way).

– Hang your painting out of direct sunlight.

– Dust it every once in a while.

– Enjoy!

Oil paintings are very durable too.  They can last hundreds of years, maybe longer.  This means they can be enjoyed for your lifetime, and then passed on and treasured for many generations to come.

For details on oil painting care from a preservation professional, click here.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

What gives you the most joy?

Abstract nature painting by Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart, containing yellow daffodils and red-orange flowers

Your Highest Potential
30 x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
$3,200
To purchase, contact Pam Regan at Bluestone Fine Art Gallery
or email holly.vanhart@gmail.com

Joy, delight, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture.
We want it all!

How do you like to create joy in your life?

If your world is anything like mine, sometimes the days are so busy that it takes conscious thought to make time for life’s most delightful moments.

For me, in any one week I’m abundantly happy when I’ve enjoyed all of these experiences –

  • time connecting with my 3 men (husband and 2 sons), other family, and friends
  • lots of laughter
  • absorbing nature and getting some exercise with hikes and bike rides
  • contributing to an important cause, usually with a focus on children, women, or art
  • feeling that I’ve advanced in life in some meaningful way (relationships, health, career)
  • painting, of course!
  • remembering to be full of thanks, wonder and awe for all of the above

What makes you happy?

 

If you have any tips for creating more bliss in life, please drop me a line at holly.vanhart@gmail.com, I’m all ears.

 

Top questions I’m asked as an artist –

How do you know when a painting is done?

How much time does it take to complete a painting?

 

 

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 🙂

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 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!

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

Purchase details

Try Before Your Buy program

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.

What’s the meaning of this painting?

I am inspired by life’s limitless possibilities, and my abstract nature paintings are meant to spark new excitement about reaching our biggest, boldest dreams.

This latest painting ‘Forest Reverie’ represents the beginning of a new year or a new season. Colorful opportunities sparkle all around us, and beckon us to reach them. Will we pick the closest, easiest one, or will we stretch further to find our passion?

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

This blog post is the latest addition to my ‘Top 50 Questions’ list.  See/read more here.

Back To Top