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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

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.

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.

New Tree Painting – Standing tall

Trees can have a commanding presence, especially when they are tall. Do you love being surrounded by towering forest? I do!

I aimed to capture that feeling here with my new tree painting, Standing Tall –

Here are some in-progress pics for this painting –

Here’s the finished painting –

Want to be the 1st to see pre-release paintings? Click here to become a VIP member.

New eBook!

New Book! Free download >>

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

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.

 

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.

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

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.

Can you feel the ocean breeze?

Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, blue, landscape, palm trees

Palm Winds
30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)

Welcome to the tropics!

As you view “Palm Winds”, can you feel the warm wind on your skin? This painting is meant to instill a feeling of peacefulness from the beauty of the trees, sea, and sky. The empty picnic tables are inviting you to sit down and have a meal. It is a hot day, and the wind is offsetting the tropical heat.

The inspiration for this painting draws on my travels to Tahiti, Thailand, Costa Rica and other places of tropical awesomeness.  In addition, it was inspired by an amazing photo taken by my friend Veronique Gillard. (Thank you Veronique!)

Oil painting by Holly Van Hart, yellow, blue, abstract, circles

Palm Winds
Side view
30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart

This painting is sold. For available paintings, click here.

Originally published in 2013, and just updated

Reminiscence – Abstract landscape painting by Holly Van Hart

In Reminiscence, I blended two of my favorite subjects – forests and mountain landscapes – onto one large canvas (5 feet across). This is the first painting of this type.

In my travels to over 40 countries, I’ve seen lots of amazing scenery, and this painting was inspired by an amalgamation of vistas observed in these far-off places.

When you look at Reminiscence, do you feel the crisp air? I’d like to invite you to linger and appreciate the beauty of the distant mountains, the ripples on the water, and the light on the trees.

Are you free later today? Want to head off into this vista with me?

For more landscape paintings, click here.

For more forest paintings, click here.

Have you ever tried meditation?

Have you ever tried meditation?

I’ve tried it multiple times, including a 2-day class in Indonesia, but failed miserably each time. I can’t calm my mind in that way.

On the other hand, the act of painting has a meditative quality to it that I love.

Painting can completely absorb me and transport me to a different place.

My paintings often go through a bunch of twists and turns before they are done.  Sometimes, by the end of all that, I don’t quite remember how things progressed along the way.

‘Alternate Reality’ (shown above) was a painting that was totally absorbed me like that.

It felt so refreshing. Lucky me.

Do you have a meditation practice, activity, hobby or job like that?  If so, lucky you!

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

Latest art news – The Two Yvonne’s

Hi there.

Every once in a while in my VIP emails, I feature a collector of my work. Here’s a fun fact. Two collectors of my paintings are both named Yvonne and they are both CEOs of San Francisco-area companies. What a coincidence!

Meet Yvonne Linney –  



Yvonne Linney
CEO of Transcriptic
PhD in Genetics
Mother of 2 happy teenage sons
Collector of my paintings 🙂


This is the first painting Yvonne & her husband John purchased from me –
You’re Invited, 60 x 40″ mixed media painting.


As soon as Yvonne saw this painting, she knew it would be a perfect fit for her entryway.  She was right!

Yvonne simply radiates positive energy. In addition to being a busy CEO, she is active in our local schools and community. You’re amazing Yvonne. I feel lucky to know you, and honored you’ve chosen my paintings for your beautiful home.

btw, if you’re wondering what’s been going on in my studio lately, here’s a taste . . . 



 
 I’ve been painting up a storm!  To see more, click here . . . 

Brand New Releases


Shine on, my beautiful friend!
 
xoxo


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.


New! Slipping Between the Notes

With this new tree painting Slipping Between the Notes, the “notes” are the leaves on the trees. My intention was to paint a sunny, happy forest that tempted you to come in and play.

Will you please join me here, running around and slipping between the notes?

Here are some in-progress pics for this painting –

Here’s the finished painting –

And here’s how it would look against a blue wall –

Want to see all available paintings? Click here to request a digital catalog.

Latest art news: Shhhhh . . . it’s a secret

Hi there. Hope you’re well!

We’re experiencing hot summer weather this week, but it feels like Christmas!

Two new 8″ brushes just came in the mail. (Guess I’m easy to please.)



Big paintings require big brushes. And my previous 8″ brush is worn out.  Can’t wait to dip these babies into some fresh paint!!

In the meantime . . . I’m continuing to work at making my paintings more abstract, as (I hope) you can see in these two sister paintings –

 

Divulging the Secrets (Orange)
32 x 32″ mixed media painting by HVH, Available.
 

Divulging the Secrets (Blue)
32 x 32″ mixed media painting by HVH, Sold.

These inspiration behind these paintings is about secrets, specifically, about sharing secrets.

I’m kind of quiet and not usually very good at sharing things; these emails are a stretch for me. But I’m aiming to get better! To read more, click here –

Story + Completed paintings

What secrets might you like to share?!!

Thanks for being here, my most amazing friend!

xoxo

P.S. Want to see what else is available?

See all available paintings
 

Writing My Own Fate, 48 x 60″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart

Writing My Own Fate (above) is sold. If you’re thinking of treating yourself or a loved one to a painting, please click here and you’ll get the best choice (before the holiday rush) –

See new forest and flower paintings

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

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.

 

Abstract landscape – Following Your Fascinations

New!

Join me on a boat ride over a vast sea. We’ll be following our fascinations. We’re not sure where they may lead us, or how long we’ll be gone.

Sometimes the ocean will be smooth, and other times we’ll hit many waves. But it will always be worth the journey!

Here are some detail pics of ‘Following Your Fascinations’ –

If you’re browsing this website, you’ll see the ocean appear in many of my paintings. I absolutely love the water and the shoreline! I grew up in New York city, and lived in California for most of my adult life, so I’ve never been far from the coast. Lucky me!

Would you like to see this painting in person?

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

Purchase details

Try Before Your Buy program

Top 50 Questions I’m asked as an artist

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I answer the questions I’m most frequently asked as an artist (usually asked at parties and other fun events). For the answers, click on the links. Enjoy!

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

Thank you!

Just wanted to thank you, my friends, collectors, followers, and other art-lovers, for all your support and enthusiasm. You’re awesome. My life is richer because of you!

What is ‘failing toward success’?

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
Purchase (email Bluestone Fine Art Gallery
or holly.vanhart@gmail.com)

Fail fast, fail often, fail forward . . . you may have heard these terms before. They mean that you have to fail many times before you succeed.

I prefer the more descriptive, happier-sounding ‘failing toward success’. If you’ve ever had the experience of painting (or any challenging creative endeavor), you’ll know that not every attempt yields success.

Even the most experienced artists create paintings that fail. Lots of them. That’s one way we learn, and it’s a natural part of the artistic process.

Recently I invested in a new digital system that will help me ‘fail toward success’ more quickly, and to create my very best work.  Here it is . . .

New computer, monitor, painting tablet, and painting software - this set-up will help me 'fail to succeed' more quickly

New computer, monitor, painting tablet, and painting software – this set-up will help me ‘fail toward success’ more quickly

For now, I use this digital set-up to design paintings, and then use traditional canvas and oil paints to create the paintings. After 3 long months of slogging through user manuals and YouTube tutorials, I’m finally at a place where I can use digital tools to focus on creative design (vs fumbling around with the technology).

‘Your Highest Potential’ (above) is one of my paintings created with this new process. The name is a story in itself that I’ll share with you sometime.

In the future, using these new digital tools may morph me into a ‘mixed media’ artist. But for now I’m still in love with the beautiful, textured, buttery sheen of oil paints and don’t plan to give them up any time soon.

Bet you have have lots of experiences with ‘failing toward success’. What are your most memorable ones?  Please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com. I’d love to hear about them.

 

On a different note . . . are you moving into a new home, remodeling, or just freshening up a room? Are you wondering how to jazz things up with splashes of color (artfully)? If so, you can get a Free Color Guide by clicking here – ‘The Top 7 Designer Secrets for Adding Color to Your Space‘.

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.vanhart@gmail.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.

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.

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

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