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Amazing Portrayals of Light

If you look at a painting of a mountain or lake or sky and then gasp because of its beauty, it’s often because of an amazing portrayal of light.

Two of the all-time masters at portraying light were JMW Turner and Claude Monet. You’ve probably heard of them ¬†ūüôā


“Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight”, JMW Turner, 1835

Turner was known as ‘the painter of light’, and was one of the greatest British landscape painters of his time. ¬†In the above work, take a look at Turner’s portrayal of the moonlight on the clouds and in the water, and the firelight and its reflections. Amazing!


“Haystacks (Sunset)”, Claude Monet, 1891

Twenty years after Turner’s death, Claude Monet founded Impressionism. Impressionism was all about the portrayal of light, and Monet would sometimes work on a dozen paintings a day; each one depicted a slightly different aspect of light.

Monet would continue working on these paintings over the course of days, switching from one painting to the next when the time and light were just right.

“Haystacks (Sunset)”, above, is one excellent example. What do you think of those sunset purples and reds? They just take my breath away.

“Morning Light”
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

This last work (very humbly put after the two above it) is mine. It is here as an example of a painting that was intended to capture the morning light over a beautiful little lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

Painting light was (and is) the focus of a great many artists.  Other masters include Vermeer, Valazquez, and Rembrandt.

Who are your faves? Drop me a line at holly@hollyvanhart.com and let me know.

Birch Trees in the Fall – ‘Autumn Reds’

'Autumn Reds', Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Autumn Reds
30 x 24″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print
Commission a forest painting

The other day, a friend asked why I had started painting birch trees. One reason is that they are so darn gorgeous!!  (I get reminded of this just about every day, because we have a lot of birch trees here in Saratoga.)

Birch tree trunks are highly textured and have a wide range of values, from white to very very dark in the shadows. And the leaves, in an autumn setting, offer a huge range of warm colors to work with – reds, oranges, yellows, golds. ¬†An artist’s dream!

 

Click here for more forest paintings.

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

Do you believe in fate?

Do you believe in fate? Or in creating your own future? Or a bit of both?

“Actions are the seeds of fate. Deeds grow into destiny.‚ÄĚ – Harry Truman.¬† Seems he was ‘a bit of both’ kind of guy.

This new painting was inspired by the idea of creating our own destiny . . .

To see all available paintings, click here.

You are welcome to come for a studio visit, or to try-before-you-buy.

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‚Äôs paintings . . . present their enigmatic subjects with both beauty and conviction, memorably.” ‚Äď DeWitt Cheng, Art writer for Art Ltd, Artillery, ARTnews, and Visual Art Source

If I were an egg

Hi there. Meet ‘Possibilities on High’.

In the upper right of this painting, you can see a big and colorful bird’s nest. ¬†It’s sitting up high on the branches of huge magnolia tree, on a warm summer day.

The nest looks peacefully and securely settled in the tree.  At the same time, it is quite exposed.

If I were an egg, I’d love to live in this nest in a magnolia tree (despite the risks of exposure). ¬†Would you?

(If you’re wondering “What’s up with all the nests?”, click here.)

Originally published in 2013, and just updated and republished

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 –

‚ÄúYou perfectly transformed my dream into a stunningly beautiful painting. I am deeply grateful.‚ÄĚ

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@hollyvanhart.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.

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.

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

[Top 50 Questions] Do you use photo references?

Yes, I use photo references for most paintings. Typically I’ll use 3-5 photo references as input for a single painting. The photos help me better understand the shape of the subject, its highlights, and shadows.

Often I’ll start a painting by creating a realistic rendering of the subject. Once I’m pleased with the design and the how the subject looks, then I put away the photo references and the real fun begins! I crank up the music, get loose, use my imagination, and start introducing exciting not-found-in-nature colors and shapes and rhythms. This is where the ‘abstract’ of my ‘abstract nature paintings’ comes in.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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Isn’t it hard to part with your paintings?

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 – ¬†Isn’t it hard to part with your paintings?

Yes, and no, mostly no.

Every time I set out to make a painting, I’m excited about the potential of it. If (after a few months of work) I complete it and am equally or more excited, than I know it’s done. I photograph the painting, post it to my website and blog, and start exhibiting it. When it sells, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and love the connection it establishes (or strengthens) with the collector.

I’ll make this analogy . . .
* Starting a painting is like having a newborn baby – exciting and exhausting.
* Making a painting is like raising a child Рtons of work,  challenging and fun.
* Selling¬†a painting is like having your child graduate university and land an excellent job – you’re elated that he/she has successfully ‘launched’ and sad that you’ll see less of him/her. ¬†But mostly elated.

That’s my experience. ¬†Do you have a similar experience to share?

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Get the latest paintings and exhibition info delivered to your inbox! Learn more here.

Latest Art News – Solo show at Gallery South

Fellow art lover,

Greetings! What are you doing on the night of Saturday November 17, 2018?


Busy getting ready for the solo show at Gallery South in Saratoga

If you live in Silicon Valley, please join me at the grand opening of my show at Gallery South in Saratoga. It’s also the grand opening of the gallery itself!

The party starts at 7pm. Food and drinks are being served. Click for details.

The latest paintings will be on exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek . . .


Relaxing in the Pause
31 x 50″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Inspired by a local scene in the hills of Saratoga.


Summer’s Lavish Brush
28 x 36″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
A splash of flowers! Inspired by the extended warm weather we’ve been experiencing here in Silicon Valley.


Freedom
10 x 10″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Returning to a favorite subject – the ocean & sailboats. Gift-sized!


The holidays are approaching quickly.
Why not treat a loved one (or yourself) to the gift of original art?
You deserve it!

Join me!
Solo show at Gallery South
Hope to see you there, my fabulous friend.

xoxo

P.S. Don’t live in Silicon Valley? No problem. Please check out my catalog of available paintings. Shipping is free for VIP members (that’s you!).

Mountains, sea, sky in blue, orange and gray, mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart | abstract flow technique

Magnetic Dreams
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

Magnetic Dreams
48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
Read the story behind the painting.

A Full Life

The abstract nature paintings you see on this website are inspired by life’s limitless possibilities!

Each painting is meant to convey a sense of plenty, fullness, color, prosperity, and opportunity. Sometimes we have all of these things in our lives. Sometimes we’re only wishing for them.

But it’s always nice to think and dream about them!

‘A Full Life’ is available for purchase (30 x 40″ original oil painting on canvas, painted on the edges, wired on the back, ready to hang, $3800 + tax). For a limited time, shipping is free for VIP members. Contact holly@hollyvanhart.com for details.

To see all available paintings, click here.

Sometimes we need to climb a ladder

Sometimes our dreams are so close we can almost touch them.

And sometimes we need to climb a ladder or a tree (or learn to fly) to reach our dreams. In any case, it’s worth the stretch!!! That was what I had in mind while painting the magnolia flowers and nest in ‘Outside My Window’.

Outside our windows at home, we’re lucky to have an assortment of oaks, redwoods, and other beautiful trees. No magnolias, although there are plenty in our neighborhood.

For purchase info, please email me at holly@hollyvanhart.com.

 

** Be the 1st to see new paintings, fresh off the easel. Click to learn more. **

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 ‚ÄúPossibilities Abound.‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôs winning entry, an oil-on-canvas painting entitled ‚ÄúPossibilities Abound,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs first prize, the Triton curatorial team was complimentary of the artist‚Äôs style and technique. ‚ÄúHolly 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,‚ÄĚ 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.¬†‚ÄúI plan to enjoy a long career as an artist because this definitely feels like what I was meant to do,‚Ä̬†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.

New abstract floral painting, The Genius in All of Us

Most of us may not feel like geniuses, but everyone has a special quality or skill that is unique to this world. That is the ‘genius in all of us’.

This new floral painting “The Genius in All of Us” features large abstract tulips in red, purple, blue, yellow, and orange. The tulips represent and celebrate the diversity of our individual strengths.

My strength is painting. I suppose another strength is being a jack-of-all-trades generalist that includes (many of the) business skills needed to be a full-time artist and entrepreneur. (Still working on the other business skills!!)

What are your strengths?

 

Interested in having this painting hang in your home?  Please email holly@hollyvanhart.com or call 650 646 5590.

Interested in seeing other available floral and tree paintings?  Or learning about commissions (custom paintings)?

Or learn more on these pages – About, Press (Huffington Post, Professional Artist, ABC News, and more), Testimonials.

[Top 50 Questions] Can I see your work in a gallery?

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.)

Yes! ¬†Thanks for asking ūüôā

My paintings are in a bunch of galleries, listed here.

You can also see my work at my Open Studio and other upcoming events; click here for details.

 

Divulging the Secrets

Living a life of abundance means so many different things. For me, part of the satisfaction of an abundant life includes sharing with others.

I love it when friends, artists, gallery owners, curators and others share their secrets with me. Even after all these years here on earth, I have plenty to learn about life, love, art & everything!

And I’m happy to divulge my secrets in return. (I’m pretty much an open book, so there really aren’t many secrets. But I’m not a chatty person so you might have to ask me to draw them out.)

‘Divulging the Secrets’ is a celebration of sharing!

 

For more info and to purchase, email holly@hollyvanhart.com.  (Also, you can check out the try-before-you-buy program, and purchase info.)

 

To see more flower paintings and read more about their inspirations, click 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!

How did you make that painting? (video)

How did I make this painting? Watch a video here –

 

This painting is sold.

To  see available flower paintings, click here hollyvanhart.com/available-originals

Leaves & spiders!!!

See Purchase Info and call/email holly@hollyvanhart.com, (650) 646 5590.

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

Get Holly Van Hart’s
Top 25 Paintings and favorite inspirational quotes.

Free Instant Download. Enter your email here –

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).

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