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Free Book! Paintings Paired with Inspirations (instant download here)


Guess what . . The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art has an amazing show called Detritus. An image of my studio wall is included!Posted here from Instagram

Our biggest, boldest dreams

The daisies in ‘Dream Field’ represent our dreams, some dreams bigger than others, some growing and developing, others on the decline, and all of them dancing around through the turbulence and beauty that we call life.

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

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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!)

What’s the favorite part of your job?

What’s the favorite part of your job? Whether you’re a banker, lawyer, stay-at-home parent, or an artist, we all have something we love most about our jobs.

The favorite part of my job is . . . you!

For realz. The absolute best part of being an artist is that it gives me an excuse to get to know you better.

So, today I’m featuring a collector of my art and friend, Tamami Honma –

Tamami Honma

Tamami Honma
Internationally acclaimed pianist
Friend and a collector of my art

Here are some of the many things that are totally cool about Tamami –

  • Tamami is an internationally acclaimed pianist who has performed in many of the world’s great musical institutions.
  • Tamami is head of the Saratoga Education Foundation, and (for the last 6 years) a cub scout leader.  Scouts is where we met.
  • She is a mother of 4 gorgeous children. All except the youngest play 2 instruments.
  • If you want to see one of her absolutely breathtaking performances, check out the performance schedule here – www.tamamihonma.com/ .

I’m honored that 4 of my paintings hang in Tamami’s home. The latest is Rose Jamboree –

Abstact rose painting | Holly Van Hart | abstract red roses with green and multi-color leaves, oil painting, title 'Rose Jamboree'

Rose Jamboree
Oil painting by Holly Van Hart
See latest nature paintings

Watch a video of this painting being made here.

 

(Link to all videos on Holly’s YouTube video channel)

It’s a privilege to know you Tamami!!!

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 – tons 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

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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!)

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.

What are your strengths?

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

 

btw, the Genius in All of Us was purchased as a surprise birthday gift for my new friend Heike by her husband.

flower botanical painting | tulips red violet orange yellow | American painter Holly Van Hart

The Genius in All of Us
Hanging in their beautiful home in Silicon Valley, California
Heike is thrilled with her new painting, so I’m thrilled too 🙂

 

 

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.

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.

New! A Deep Breath

As you scroll down, you’ll see the progression of a newly released painting called ‘A Deep Breath’.

But first, I’d like to share this quote because captures my inspiration for this painting . . .

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.” — Alice Walker

Starting a new forest drip painting. After failing at a bunch of earlier drip paintings Im determined to approach this differently | Holly Van Hart

One cool way to make a perfect, imperfect painting is to rely on lots of drips. That’s what I’ll do here.

Forest landscape painting in progress | Holly Van Hart

The drips can look like trunks, and branches, and, well, drips.
In the art world, when you can clearly see signs that something is a painting (and not a photo and not a photorealistic painting), we call this “painterly”.
This will be painterly.

Detail - A Deep Breath - Mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart - 48 x 48

Here’s a detail view.
The closer up you look, the more painterly it gets!

And (take a deep breath) here’s the finished painting . . .

Abstract landscape forest painting by Holly Van Hart | A Deep Breath48 x 48 mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart$6500 | Brown white blue

A Deep Breath
48 x 48″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
$6500

Installed painting - Landscape forest - A Deep Breath - Mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart - 48 x 48 INSTALLED (Custom)

‘A Deep Breath’ is hanging in my entryway.
It could be hanging in yours!
Purchase info here
To purchase, email holly.vanhart@gmail.com

To see all newly released paintings, click here.

For more paintings & inspirational quotes, click here.

[Top 50 Questions] Will this painting look good in my home?

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

Will this painting look good in my home? Great question. Here’s my take . . . if you fall in love with a painting, you can almost always find the right spot to hang it in your home. You may have to move another painting or a mirror or a print. But if you love the new painting, it’s worth the effort.

If you’re interested in one of the paintings here on my website, but are not sure if it will work in your living room, dining room, etc, please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com. If you live locally, I can take the painting (or a few paintings) to your home and we can try them out. If one works, great. If not, no worries.

To see related advice and ideas from interior design professionals, click here.

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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.

New – Cocktail paired with a Painting!

For a holiday party, I paired a painting with a custom cocktail. ‘The Boundary of Spring’ (above) was paired with a cocktail I named ‘Spring-tini’.

Here’s the recipe –
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce pear juice
1 ounce rosemary syrup (I used rosemary from our front garden)
A squeeze of fresh lemon (we picked the lemons from trees in our back yard)
Rosemary sprig, for garnish

Why Spring-tini is paired with The Boundary of Spring

The Spring-tini cocktail has pear juice. Pear is a soft flavor; it is analogous to the soft sky in the painting.

Rosemary has a tea-like aroma and an assertive piney flavor; it is analogous to the stronger color of the green/brown ground in the painting.

Vodka is a subtle but absolutely necessary component of this drink. Similarly, the texture in the painting is both subtle and absolutely necessary to the success of the painting.

 

Enjoy!

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.

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.vanhart@gmail.com.

 

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

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

[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

Open Studio Event – You’re Invited

This Open Studio art show was  held in May 2019.

Missed it? No problem!  You’re welcome to come for a studio visit. Click for details.

===================================================================

Hello art lovers!

You’re invited to my Open Studio solo exhibition. Please join me at my home gallery and studio in Saratoga, California.

Dates:   May 18-19, 2019, 11 am – 5 pm
Location:  20830 Boyce Lane, Saratoga, CA 95070

Come visit and say hello!  Enjoy browsing through my home gallery and studio, while enjoying nibbles and drinks.  Bring your friends and family.

(Don’t want to wait? No problem!  You are welcome to come for a studio visit. Email holly.vanhart@gmail.com or call 650 646 5590 and let’s make a date.)

More than twenty new abstract nature paintings will be on display and for purchase – forests, fields, flowers, nests, landscapes and more.  Smaller paintings, prints and notecards are also available for purchase.

Plus you’ll see some brand new experimental work that is only available in my studio.

Abstract-Nature-Paintings | Birch Aspen Trees Roses | Autumn Dance | Summer Sparkle | Amid The Scent of Roses-by-HollyVanHart | Installed paintings | Living Room | Oil and acrylic paintings

The Open Studio event includes a tour of my home gallery as well as my home studio.

Studio tours will be offered throughout the day.

Seeing art in person is the absolute best way to experience it. Please take this opportunity to visit!

This exhibit is part of Silicon Valley Open Studios; during this same weekend, you can enjoy visiting studios of many other Silicon Valley artists.

Add it to your calendar today.  See you then!

P.S. if you’d like a sneak peek at this year’s work before the event, email me at holly@hollyvanhart and let’s make a date.


For news on upcoming open studio and gallery events, sign up for my mailing list. (One email every 2-3 weeks.)


Interviewed on Silicon Valley TV

On TV! Heather Durham and Holly Van Hart, SVTAGS

Holly Van Hart (left) being interviewed by Heather Durham (right) for her Silicon Valley TV show, SVTAGS

I was honored to be interviewed by Heather Durham on her Silicon Valley TV show.

“On this show, Holly talks about her art, career change, and some amazing honors she has received since she has started this new career. We also get a peak at some of her work.” – Heather Durham, Executive Producer, SVTAGS (www.svtags.org/)

Watch the first 10 minutes of the 30 minute show here
SVTAGS_coverimage

Let’s stay in touch!  (And get some free goodies.) Click here to learn more

    😍    What fascinates you?    😍

    😍    What fascinates you?    😍

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The strong pull of what you truly love<!–


Fellow art lover,

What things in life fascinate you?  What do you really love?
 

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strong pull of what you truly love.”  — Rumi
 
My top loves include family & friends, spending time in nature, and exploring faraway places. And, of course, painting 🙂




High school starts this week for our sons, so we did some family outings to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. This is us as we walked over the Golden Gate bridge, through a thick fog bank. I really love spending time with these 3 men!

(That’s Erik on the left, and Ike on the right. Skyler snapped the photo.)


This painting, Following Your Fascinations (oil painting by HVH), is about seeking the things we truly love. 

It found a new home this week in Los Angeles. Thank you Fred. I hope it brings you a lifetime of happiness!
 


Other landscape paintings are still available. Would you like to see them?  Click here – 

Available Landscape Paintings


OK, my most amazing friend . . . three cheers to you for following your fascinations!


P.S. Into forests or flowers instead?


Spreading Love, 18 x 29″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
 
Available forest and flower paintings



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Do habits help (or hinder) creativity?

Do you stick to certain daily habits?  Would you think that habits help (or hinder) your creativity?

This might surprise you, but many creative people have strong daily habits.  And we go to enormous lengths to maintain them.

Habits allow our mental bandwidth to be channeled to create new stuff (art, music, computer programs, legal strategies, etc), rather than being wasted on the mundane (for example, which route should I take to work?).

If this topic fascinates you (as it does me), you might like to check out the highly rated book ‘Daily Rituals: How Artists Work‘ by Mason Currey.

One of the conclusions of ‘Daily Rituals’ is that there is no set of habits that is best for creativity.  But when we develop habits that suit our values and lifestyle, we are setting ourselves up for success.

Some of my habits include eating oatmeal for breakfast every day (all 7 days of the week, all 52 weeks of the year, with very rare exceptions), and heading to my studio to start painting as soon as my sons leave for school.

One of my habits is eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning. I vary the extras (strawberries, nuts, cinnamon, coffee, hot chili pepper, . . . ) but the oatmeal stays the same.

One of my habits is eating a bowl of oatmeal every morning.
The extras vary (strawberries, nuts, cinnamon, coffee, hot chili pepper, . . . )  but the Quaker Oats stay the same.

I have some other daily habits (bad ones) that I’m trying to kick and that do not contribute to my creativity – like eating far too much chocolate.  But that’s a subject for another time.

What daily habits do you find most helpful?

 

At cocktail parties and other fun social events, people often ask me questions about life as an artist. They are answered in my ‘Top 50 Questions’ list. This blog post is the latest addition to my Top 50. To see the other questions & answers, click here.

 

[Top 50 Questions] Do you ever miss being in high tech?

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

Do you ever miss being in high tech?

Sure!

I definitely miss seeing my work-friends and colleagues more regularly.  They were/are an amazingly talented and multi-faceted group of people.  Good thing Facebook and LinkedIn give us an easy way to keep in touch!

What I also loved about high tech was the opportunity to constantly stretch myself and learn new things. Luckily I have that in abundance as an artist too.

One thing’s for sure . . . Being a full-time artist feels like what I was meant to do.

To read more about my career move to professional artist, click here.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions.

 

‘Safe’

'Safe', Original oil painting by Holly Van Hart

‘Safe’
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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Looking at ‘Safe’ (above), you can see two hands from two different people.  Their right hands are coming together to protect their greatest treasure – a nest filled with eggs.

‘Safe’ is part of my Possibilities series of oil paintings.  It is meant to carry a message of warmth and caring and safety.

To read more about the Possibilities series, click here  –  What’s up with all the nests?)

‘Safe’ was inspired by a sculpture of two right hands created by Auguste Rodin in 1908.  Over the years I’ve made dozens of paintings and sketches inspired by Rodin, including ‘Two Left Hands‘, ‘The Kiss‘, and others  (see more here).

Rodin’s hands are captivating for many of us.  Stanford University’s leading hand surgeon (Dr. James Chang, Professor and Chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) was inspired to create a fascinating art-science exhibit around them.

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‘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‘.

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