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‘Embracing the Light’ is paired with a custom cocktail

Embracing the Light
48 x 60″ mixed media painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart
Sold

For a holiday party, I paired paintings with custom cocktails. ‘Embracing the Light’ (above) was paired with a cocktail I named ‘Red Smash’.

Here’s the recipe –
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 ounce Rose’s lime juice
Whole fresh cranberries, for garnish

It was a big hit!!

Why Red Smash is paired with Embracing the Light
In keeping with the Dutch theme for our party . . . gin was first made in Holland and is known as ‘Dutch courage’.

The gin in this drink uses juniper berries as its primary ingredient. ‘Embracing the Light’ is primarily dark green, like juniper.

Gin uses ‘botanicals’ to give it its complex flavor. In addition to juniper, Boodles British Gin includes hints of coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cassia bark, nutmeg, rosemary and sage. The painting ‘Embracing the Light’ uses an equally wide range of colors to give it its complexity; in fact it uses all the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and many variations.

Enjoy! (The cocktail and the painting!)

What do you like most about being an artist?

oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Palm Winds
Detail of oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
See full painting here

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the top 50 questions I’m asked as an artist.

What do you like most about being an artist?

The absolute best thing about being an artist is that it opens up a whole world of connections and friendships. It also strengthens the friendships I already have. I love that.

In terms of my work, I love creating a painting that is a personal breakthrough, or that others really like. (The overlap is not always 100%.) It’s hugely inspiring when a painting wins an award, or is accepted into an exhibit, or is purchased by a collector. These things make me thrilled to be in the studio and painting every day.

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

All the Corners of My Mind

Each of us has so many dreams. If we search in all the corners of our minds, we’ll find dreams for our relationships, careers, homes, travels, and much much more.

The flowers in this painting represent our dreams, shown in their full color and glory. By remembering to give thought and attention to our most important dreams, we can live fuller and more abundant lives.

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

Here are some details pics –

And here’s the completed painting –

This painting is on 1.5″ gallery wrap canvas. The painting is continued around the edges of the canvas. It is wired and ready to hang, and really commands a presence!  It is currently hanging in my home, but it could be in yours 🙂

To inquire about this painting, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com. Click here for purchase details.

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

Featured on cover of Denver Life Magazine


So excited to open a special envelope . . . it contains my forest painting on the cover of Denver Life Magazine. (As well as a 2-page spread inside the magazine.) Join me! Click on video to view.

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

So honored to have this painting featured in the 2019 Designer Showhouse in Denver, Colorado, and on the cover of Denver Life Magazine.

Huge thanks to Steve Sonnen of Mirada Fine Art Gallery for this opportunity 🙂

 

On related note, congratulations to Mirada Fine Art for being selected for these prestigious awards –

‘Top 25 Galleries in the U.S.A.’
-American Art Awards, 2019

‘Denver’s Best Art Gallery’
-Denver A-List, 2016, 2017 & 2018

Here are two images of the painting in the magazine –

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

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.

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

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 inspires you? (Free eBook)

Treat yourself to
inspiring art and ideas.

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

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Top 25 Paintings and favorite inspirational quotes.

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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!

 

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.

 

 

Summer’s Lavish Brush – field of flowers inspired by color

Here are some pics of Summer’s Lavish Brush in the making –

To inquire about this painting, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

To see other available paintings, click here.

Color-Full Lives

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, nest eggs, red, yellow

Possibilities in Full Color
24″ x 30″ oil painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart
Purchase Info

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).

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

The gift of time

Have you ever been drawn to something so strongly that you needed to do it? Even if it was risky and even if you might not succeed, you knew this was the right direction for you?

With ‘Into the World of Light’, I wanted the viewer to feel compelled to enter the painting. To bask in the warmth of the sun. To explore what’s over those hills. To ponder the freedoms that lie ahead.

To find the right direction for myself, I usually need lots of time to think and let my mind wander freely.  Without that, it’s too easy to get pulled into everyday obligations and routines.

‘The gift of time’ is one of the best things I can do for myself. Do you find the same?

Here are in-progress pics for Into the World of Light –

acrylic painting by Holly Van Hart | green brown forest field

The start of the painting. It may look like fog, but my plan is for this to become a well-lit forest.

abstract forest painting by Holly Van Hart | sunlit field branches leaves

Next I painted in the sunlit field and (at the top) some branches and leaves.

mixed media forest painting by Holly Van Hart | watercolor techniques

Here I’m using my new watercolor techniques (but with acrylic paints).

Mountain, tree trunks, watercolor and drip painting techniques | by Holly Van Hart

Close-up of the sunlit mountain.

forest painting | sunlight tree trunks hills field | painting by Holly Van Hart | shown at Desta Gallery solo show 'Embracing the Light'

Finished!
Into the World of Light
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

 

This painting is sold, but you can view available paintings here.

White roses and school soccer

What do school soccer and ‘Threshold of Miracles’ have in common?

Inspiration is everywhere!

The inspiration for this painting was a big bush of white roses planted at a local school (Holly Oak Elementary in San Jose, CA).  The roses were brilliantly lit in the afternoon sun.  I noticed them during the half-time break from my son’s soccer game, and couldn’t resist snapping a bunch of photos.

Using my computer, I tried a few combinations of photos until one stood out as the best design. Then I set to work in my studio to make this painting.

This painting is called ‘Threshold of Miracles’.  It symbolizes all the amazing things we can do with our lives (and the miracles we can create) when we keep our eyes open.

Wishing you lots of sunshine and miracles in your life!

Circling of the Seasons

Hi there! Here’s one of my latest forest paintings (and the first one completed in a square format) . . .

Circling of the Seasons
48 x 48″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
For available forest paintings, click here

Want to see how this painting was made? Here are some pics . . .

And, in video . . .


For more info, check these out –
* Try before you buy program
* Come for a studio visit
* Info on purchasing

To purchase, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com.


Want to see more in-progress paintings? Check out these videos hollyvanhart.com/youtube-videos

Thanks for being 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.

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!)

 

Taking a hiatus

Have you ever taken a hiatus from something you really love?u

Bicycling is something that gives me great joy. I love the thrill of the hills (up and down), the views, the smells, and even the tired muscles. For some inexplicable reason, I let my bike sit idle for the last couple of years.

Have you ever taken a pause like that?  Why do we do that?



Just last month, I started cycling again, huffing and puffing, and slowly getting my groove back. It feels great!!

Over the years, I’ve taken week-long biking vacations in some beautiful places including the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the San Juan Islands in Washington, and the Norwegian fjords. The latter two have inspired abstract landscape paintings such as this one . . .

 

Magnetic Dreams, 48 x 60″ mixed media painting by HVH,
shown hanging in my home.
 

Magnetic Dreams (detail of the sky)
 

Magnetic Dreams (detail of the mountains and water)

To read the story behind the painting, click here –

Story + Completed painting
See more abstract landscapes

To purchase a painting, email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.
Shipping is free for VIP members (that’s you!)

Taking a hiatus is normal and just fine. But having returned to biking makes me wonder . . . what else do I need to get back into?

How about you . . . what do you miss?

Something for us both to ponder.

And now, borrowing a word from an Australian friend of mine  . . .
Cheerypip,

P.S. Into forests or flowers instead?

 

The Secrets Within, 40 x 30″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
See new forest and flower paintings

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.

 

[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.

 

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Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

Free eBook – Solo Exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art

This 28-page book features the richly colored oil paintings exhibited by Holly Van Hart at the Triton Museum of Art.

This book includes essays by DeWitt Cheng and Preston Metcalf –

Van Hart’s 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

powerful in its message of human connectivity
– Preston Metcalf, Chief Curator of the Triton Museum of Art

Click for FREE Instant Download

(This book is also available on Amazon for $27)

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

New tree painting! Mirror World

With this new tree painting, Mirror World, I wanted a feeling of mystery.

The trees in the distance have curiously different colors from the nearer trees. What’s going on there? Let’s take a stroll down this path and see for ourselves!

With every painting, I have an objective for the mood and look of the painting, and a separate artistic objective.

The artistic objective is typically a challenge to myself using new colors or style or different size brushes or canvas.

Here, I challenged myself to paint more loosely, using bigger brushes and with less defined edges. Can you see the difference compared to my other tree paintings? Please drop me a line at holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

Would you like to see all available paintings? Click here to request a digital catalog.

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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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.

Purchase details

Try Before Your Buy program

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.

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.

Paradise Found

Here’s a video on the making of Paradise Found –

Questions? Interested in hanging this painting in your home? Contact holly.vanhart@gmail.com. Click here for purchase info.

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.

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