skip to Main Content
You're invited to my studio! (click for details)

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?“)

 

Running Free

Do you ever feel like leaving all your obligations and routines behind (at least for an hour or two, or a week or two)? Do you feel like running free?

I’d like viewers to look at this painting and get that exact feeling. To get lost in the forest and the light, and to feel completely unencumbered.

Ready?

 

If you’d like to see some in-progress pics of this painting, here you go –






 

Want to be the first to see new paintings as they are released? Become a VIP! Click for details.

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@hollyvanhart.com.  Free shipping in the US for VIP members.

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@hollyvanhart.com).

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 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@hollyvanhart.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@hollyvanhart.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?

 

 

‘Building the Future’

'Building the Future' Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Building the Future
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart, $1500
Purchase Info

‘Building the Future’ is about the choices we make for ourselves, and the excitement of preparing for a big life-change.

If the hands in this painting look at all familiar,  it may be because they were inspired by Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Three Muses”.  To see some of my earlier work inspired by Rodin, click here.

This is the first of a few paintings in my Possibilities series that were inspired by Rodin.  Living in Silicon Valley, we’re close to Stanford University and its amazing Rodin Sculpture Garden.  I love any excuse to get back there!  Stay tuned for more . . .

(If you’re curious about the Possibilities series, you can read more here, “What’s up with all the eggs and nests?“)

Comments?

Purchase
Commission a custom painting similar to this
Give a Gift Certificate

Gallery Exhibitions

My work can be seen in ongoing gallery exhibitions at The Studio Shop, Dean Day Gallery, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery and Slate Contemporary.

These paintings (and more) are being exhibited by these galleries –

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.

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.

Free instant download. No signup required.

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

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@hollyvanhart.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.

‘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.

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.

Did you always want to be an artist?

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.

Free eBook – Triton Museum of Art Solo Exhibition (Instant download)

Holly Van Hart: Possibilities Abound catalog for Solo Exhibition at Triton Museum of Art

‘Holly Van Hart: Possibilities Abound’ book for Solo Exhibition at Triton Museum of Art
Free Instant Download
No sign-up required

This 28-page full color book accompanies Holly Van Hart’s Possibilities Abound solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art.

Van Hart’s oil paintings feature larger-than-life birds’ eggs and nests to symbolize the promise of our own capabilities, to be nurtured and explored and stretched to their fullest potential.

This book features beautiful color plates of Van Hart’s richly colored paintings.

It includes essays by DeWitt Cheng, art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews and Visual Art Source, and Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator at the Triton Museum of Art. Van Hart has been featured in the Huffington Post, The San Jose Mercury News, and on Silicon Valley Talk Art Cable TV.

Free! eBook of Holly Van Hart’s Solo Exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art (Instant Download, no sign-up required)
Click here to buy the paperback version on Amazon

“It is work that is powerful in its simplicity and message of human connectivity.” – Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator of the Triton Museum of Art.

“Van Hart’s hard-won painterly skills are undeniable and compelling. Her naturalistic yet symbolic paintings . . . present their enigmatic subjects with both beauty and conviction, memorably. – DeWitt Cheng, Art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews, and Visual Art Source.

 

 

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.

What’s the meaning behind Forest Reverie?

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.

‘Into the Light’

I wanted this painting to capture our attention with its warm autumn colors, and to tempt us to walk toward the light at the end of the path.

What’s down that path? There’s only one way to know.  Come with me, let’s go for a stroll!

 

btw, on a topic related to color . . . 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‘.

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

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‘.

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

 

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

The land of opportunity

‘Opportunity’ is the latest member of the Possibilities series. When you look at this nest and eggs, can you see the limitless potential of the human spirit? I hope so. (Read more here, “What’s up with all the nests?“)

The colors of this painting are American colors and, to many of us, America (the US) is the land of opportunity. Personally I believe America is an amazing place where, with lots of passion and hard work, one’s possibilities are virtually unlimited.

‘Opportunity’ represents the sense of wonder, potential, and pride many of us feel for our country. Nothing is ever perfect, however; the underlying textures in this painting are meant to remind us of things unseen. We might live in the US and have many of its advantages, but success is not assured.

‘Opportunity’ was created in phases over many months. I started with a black and white reference photo of a real bird’s nest, and from there let my imagination and paintbrush wander (and wander and wander).  Success was not assured.

Some paintings converge quickly and others take more time and iterations. The more a painting deviates from the reference photos, the longer it takes me to complete it. Imagination takes time, especially if the end result is supposed to look like something real but not really.

 

Opportunity was one of the 18 paintings in my solo show at the Triton Museum of Art. For a walking tour video & pics of the exhibition, click here.

 

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!

Ideas Everywhere!

Many many layers (and weeks) later, here is the finished painting . . .

So you can see the details, here’s a ‘flyover’ of Ideas Everywhere –

And here is how Ideas Everywhere looks in my home –

Abstract forest landscape painting by Holly Van Hart - Ideas Everywhere - installed

‘Ideas Everywhere’
This painting is sold. To see available paintings, click here.

Thanks for visiting!


Join our VIP community!
Be the 1st to see fresh off-the-easel paintings.
Plus get a FREE instant download of
Holly Van Hart’s new book.
(Available on Amazon for $20)
Art book by Holly Van Hart | Nature's Inspirations

VIP members receive one artsy email every 3 weeks.
Your info will never be shared.

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.

 

 

[Top 50 Questions] How long have you been painting?

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 –  How long have you been painting?

I’ve been painting my whole life, with one hiatus while in college.

As a girl I made many types of art . . . I painted, made ceramics and did crocheting and calligraphy.  My Mom was an artist; she gave us lessons and let us use her top-quality art supplies.  (Thanks Mom!)

In college, studying engineering was all consuming and my art was put on hold.

After graduating, I worked in high tech and pursued painting passionately as a hobby – taking dozens classes, reading thousands of books and articles, forming an art critique group, and painting every spare minute.

Now, as a professional artist, I paint every day, all day (every weekday + some weekends).  And every day I learn something new.

My art education will never be done. That’s a huge part of the fun 🙂

 

btw, the above painting is Amid the Scent of Roses. Interested in seeing how it was made? Here’s a short video for you . . .

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

[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

Back To Top