This is the first of a few paintings in my Possibilities series that were inspired by Rodin. Living in Silicon Valley, we’re close to Stanford University and its amazing Rodin Sculpture Garden. I love any excuse to get back there! Stay tuned for more . . .
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 Possibilities Side view 20″ x 20″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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.” – 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 . . .
New inspiration! While walking with my sister along the High Line trail in Manhattan, we spotted these cool looking flowers. I especially liked how some flowers were much taller and stood above the rest.
I wanted to capture the strength of these tall flowers. Also, I wanted to keep pushing myself with new watercolor-like techniques using acrylic paints. (See all those drips?)
In this next step, I added many smaller flowers and aimed to get the feeling of movement.
To test a design, sometimes I snap a photo and look at it in black and white. A good painting will look good even without the colors.
Outside My Window 24 x 30 oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Threshold of Miracles 20 x 40 oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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!
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.
These days, I’m happily immersed in autumnal aspen forests. There’s something about these trees that seems to be universally appealing. For one thing, they are so gorgeous.
Aspens and birches look very similar to each other. If you’re curious what the differences are, here are the highlights –
Birch are famous for having bark that peels back like paper; aspen bark does not peel.
Birch trees grow in the eastern US and Canada, while Aspens are found all over North America, Europe and Russia.
And, amazingly . . . each ‘colony’ of aspen trees actually shares a single large root system. The root system can be huge, covering multiple acres, and can be thousands of years old. As old trees die off, the root system sends up new trunks. Incredible!
How about you . . . what are your favorite trees?
Here’s the completed painting, shown from two different angles –
Breathing Autumn 54 x 54″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
(Three 54 x 18″ canvases, installed)
$7500 Story behind the painting
Breathing Autumn 54 x 54″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
(Three 54 x 18″ canvases)
This painting is hanging in my living room, but it could hanging be in yours 🙂
Possibilities in Full Bloom 30 x 40 oil painting by Holly Van Hart
‘Possibilities in Full Bloom’ is meant to convey the idea that life is chock full with possibilities. The eggs in the nest are radiating warmth, and the magnolia tree is loaded with lush flowers. Life abounds!
This painting was fun to create for many reasons. One of my favorite parts was leaving the underlying red color and texture showing through in many places. (Can you see this? Click on the image to see a larger version.) To me, this gives the work a fresh feel.
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
One cool way to make a perfect, imperfect painting is to rely on lots of drips. That’s what I’ll do here.
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.
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 . . .
A Deep Breath 48 x 48″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart $6500
‘A Deep Breath’ is hanging in my entryway. It could be hanging in yours! Purchase info here To purchase, email email@example.com
Dream Field 24 x 30″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart $2500
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!
Following Your Fascinations 30 x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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’ –
Following Your Fascinations 30 x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart (detail, lower right) Lots of texture in this painting!
Following Your Fascinations Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (detail, middle left) Here you can see the red underpainting peeking through near the horizon
Following Your Fascinations Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (detail, lower left) Here you can see the signature etched into the thick oil paint
Following Your Fascinations Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
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!
Sunset Glow 30″ x 40″ oil painting on canvas (sold)
‘Sunset Glow’ is about the stunning beauty of the sky and water at sunset, especially its glorious colors. It’s also about the exciting reflections in the water, which amplify the colors and the take-your-breath-away feeling of sunsets like these.
If you look carefully, you can see some swooping textures underlying this painting (under the water, on both sides of the painting); on the left side, the texture runs from the water, through the docks, and into the horizon line.
What’s this texture about? It represents things that might not be so wonderful about this scene. Mostly the things we cannot see but can only speculate about, or the things we would need to have prior knowledge about.
For example, this harbor looks beautiful on this evening, but just 8 months prior, it had been completely ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. There’s always more to the story than meets the eye.
The artist creates the painting, and the viewer (that’s you) completes it with their personal interpretation. What’s yours? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in 2013, and just updated
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!)
Palm Winds Side view 30″ x 40″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
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.
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Opportunity 30 x 40 oil painting by Holly Van Hart
‘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.
Have you ever strolled through a forest and felt strong sunlight beaming through the trees? That’s what I was aiming for with this new painting, Washed in Light. It is set in springtime, with lots of bright yellow-green leaves. Come take a walk with me down the winding path!
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
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.