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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!

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

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.

If not me, who? If not now, when?

“If not me, who? If not now, when?” These are the words that Dr. Leslie Field asked herself about tackling the huge problem of global warming.

Dr. Field is a prolific inventor, the Founder of SmallTech Consulting, a Consulting Prof at Stanford University, a mom of two, an art-lover, and the founder of Ice911.

Ice911 is a boots on the ground solution to reduce global warming.

In this Facebook Live interview with Dr. Field, we learn more about what inspired her to start Ice911, and the steps she is taking now to slow down global warming.

Click below to listen and to get inspired!

Boundless Promise

My paintings are inspired by life’s limitless possibilities. In Boundless Promise, you’re invited to take a walk down this path with me. Here, we will soak up all the opportunities around us. They are everywhere!

This painting is sold, but you can check out available paintings here.  To purchase, email holly@hollyvanhart.com

Want to see how Boundless Promise was made? Check out these pics and video –

A new forest. My idea for this one is a gorgeous spring day. The type of day that puts you in an instant good mood!

My paintings usually show abundance.

My paintings usually show abundance, in this case lots of trees and (soon) lots of leaves.
It’s a way to remind myself (and hopefully all viewers) that life is abundant and full of possibilities!

This bright green instantly brings me to a spring day

This bright green instantly brings me to a spring day. Does it do that for you?

Close up view. You can see how roughly it is painted at this stage.

Close up view. You can see how roughly it is painted at this stage.

Have you ever noticed how much yellow there is in springtime greenery Trying to get that gorgeous yellow-green in the leaves

Have you ever noticed how much yellow there is in springtime greenery? Trying to get that gorgeous yellow-green in these leaves.

Adding darker leaves, and adding shadows to the tree trunks Adding darker leaves, and adding shadows to the tree trunks

Finished! Boundless Promise, 36 x 48 inch mixed media painting by HVH.

Finished! Boundless Promise, 36 x 48 inch mixed media painting by HVH.

Purchase info is here. To purchase, email holly@hollyvanhart.com

For more paintings and inspirations, please check out my new book, Nature’s Inspirations. Click here for Download here (free!).

A passion for lovely things

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

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

Do you believe in unlimited possibilities?

Unlimited Possibilities, 20" x 20"

Unlimited Possibilities
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Buy a print

“Unlimited Possibilities” is all about the unlimited possibilities of the baby birds, not yet hatched, with their whole lives still ahead of them.

Parallels can be easily be made with our own lives and our children’s lives. No matter what age we might be now, the possibilities ahead really are unlimited.  How exciting!

If you look closely, you can see underlying texture on this painting is oval shaped; this is meant harmonize with the shape of the eggs themselves.

The texture adds complexity to the painting, and symbolizes the complexity of nature and our lives.  We may have unlimited possibilities in our lives, but it’s not always easy to take advantage of them.

Unlimited PossibilitiesSide view20" x 20" oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Unlimited Possibilities
Side view
20″ x 20″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Unlimited Possibilities was one of 18 paintings in my solo exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art. For videos, pics, and a Triton Museum catalog (free), click here.

Do Tortured Souls Create Better Art?

Some people think that depressed or angry people create better art. Is that true?

Or, can happy people create masterpieces too?

There are no simple answers to these questions of course, but just for fun let’s look at a sample of the world’s greatest artists (my personal faves) and explore the question.   Here goes . . .

Winslow Homer "The New Novel"
“The New Novel”, Winslow Homer, 1877

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) was considered the greatest American painter of his time.  He created extraordinary landscapes, marine paintings, and figures too. Homer was a recluse and a bit odd, but not depressed, enraged or insane. That’s one point for ‘satisfied souls’.

Georgia O'Keeffe's painting
“Goat Horn with Red”, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1945

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) revolutionized American modern art with bold abstracts, landscapes and flowers.  For decades she lived by herself in New Mexico, and sometimes suffered from serious depression. One point for ‘tortured souls’.

Mark Rothko painting
“No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue)”, Mark Rothko, 1954

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was a Russian-Jewish abstract painter who emigrated to the US at the age of 10.  He achieved huge commercial success during his lifetime.  Rothko was most certainly depressed, drank heavily, took barbiturates, and sadly, at age 66, committed suicide.  Add a second point for ‘tortured’.

JMW Turner "Norham Castle"
“Norham Castle – Sunrise”, JMW Turner, c 1835

JMW Turner (1775-1851) was a renowned English landscape painter known as “the painter of light”. Turner seemed like a fairly normal guy.  He had plenty of friends, and wasn’t depressed, enraged, or insane.  Now it’s even, two points for ‘tortured’ and two points for ‘satisfied’.

Joan Mitchell painting
“La Grande Vallee XIII”, Joan Mitchell, 1983

Joan Mitchell (1925 -1992) was a prominent Abstract Expressionist who lived in Chicago, Manhattan, and Paris. Mitchell was an alcoholic, often depressed, and described many of her paintings as “violent and angry”.  ‘Tortured souls’ lead at 3 points to 2.

This last painting, very humbly put after the ‘greats’ above it, is mine.  As for me, am I enraged or depressed or feeling like a tortured soul?  No, not especially, but on any given day I may be any of those things. (Just ask my husband and children.)  Is my art better on those days?  No, but I think it is more experimental, sometimes to better effect but not always.

Summing up this totally non-scientific survey . . . The ‘tortured souls’ are ahead at 3 points (Rothko, O’Keeffe, Mitchell) to 2 (Turner, Homer).   Perhaps the conclusion is ‘you don’t have to be unhappy to create great art, but it helps’.

What do you think? Do tortured souls create more expressive art? Leave a comment on Facebook www.facebook.com/hollyvanhart  or  Email me with your thoughts – holly@hollyvanhart.com

 

Related links: 

 

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!

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 each and every dream, we can live fuller and more abundant lives.

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

 

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

‘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’s your work-day like?

In “Top Fifty Questions”, I’ll answer the questions I’m most frequently asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties and other fun social events).

What’s your work-day like as an artist?

Some of you have been curious about my work-day as an artist. Believe it or not, I’m working more hours per week now than I did in high tech.  (I left a fun and fulfilling career in high tech for an even ‘funner’ career as a full-time artist.)

I have a home studio, and am in the studio painting every day from 8 am til 3 or 4pm. Every day. (Well, every weekday, and sometimes on the weekends.)

Chuck Close, a famous American painter, offers a great perspective on this. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. . . . All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.”

I buy into that. Through the process of painting every day, I challenge myself to create my very best work. And to keep learning and experimenting.

An artist’s job is not done when the art is created. Part of the role is running your own art business, with your website, blog, marketing, galleries, exhibits, etc.

I try to dedicate my daytime to painting, and take care of the business stuff in the evenings. (When my sons are doing their homework, I’m doing mine!)  This takes many hours, on most days. Having come from a long business career, I like this part of the job too.

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

How much time does it take to complete a painting? (Video)

How much time does it take to complete a painting?

For me, it takes 4-6 months from start to finish (elapsed time) to complete an oil painting.  This is mostly because I paint in layers. Each painting has five to ten layers of paint, and each layer takes a week or so to dry.

Plus I need extra time at the end to reflect on the (almost) finished work and make any last improvements. Sometimes what seems like a minor improvement will make me soooo much happier with the end result.

The actual working time on any one painting is typically 60 – 120 hours. And sometimes more. It varies greatly by subject matter, size, and style. It also varies by how much I’m stretching myself into new territory; the more experimental, the longer it takes.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

 

New Book! Top Paintings paired with Favorite Inspirational Quotes.

Download here (free!)

Standing Naked in Front of a Crowd

In “Top Fifty Questions”,  I answer the top 50 questions I’m asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties and other fun social events).

How does an artist feel before a big art exhibition?

Like standing naked in front of a crowd!

Do you know that feeling of creating something new (product, recipe, marketing campaign, etc), and then feeling exposed and vulnerable when you revealed it?

Well, that’s how we artists feel every time our art is exposed to the world . . . vulnerable. It’s true for novice artists as well as the most experienced and even (I hear) famous artists.

Posh, oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Putting on a brave face before my Open Studio event
Behind me is ‘Posh’, oil painting by Holly Van Hart

And the bigger the art exhibition, the greater the feeling of exposure. The reason is that the most authentic artwork will reflect an artist’s deepest feelings and thoughts and ideas.

So when we exhibit our art, it feels like we’re standing naked in front of a crowd. (Or how I imagine that would feel, as I’ve never actually been naked in front of a crowd.)

Holly

 

 

Sweet Escape

We all need to escape sometimes!

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