Morning Light 40″ x 30″ oil painting on canvas by Holly Van Hart (sold)
A few times a year my family spends the weekend at or near Lake Tahoe, CA. It’s a gorgeous place, with expansive views of the Sierras just about everywhere you look. And what makes it even more special is enjoying it with friends!
One Saturday morning, before everyone else was awake, I took a walk along the lake and snapped lots of photos. Back in my studio, I painted ‘Morning Light’. Morning is my favorite time of the day, and my aim was to convey a feeling of quiet and serenity.
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 . . .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
Do you love birch and aspen trees as much as I do? These days, I’m happily immersed in autumnal birch tree forests.
Here are some details from my in-progress painting, Autumn Dance (48 x 36″) –
There’s something about them that seems to be universally appealing. For one thing, they are so gorgeous.
Birch and aspens look very similar to each other, so I had to look up what the differences are. If you’re curious, 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?
btw, here’s the completed painting –
Autumn Dance 48 x 36″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart (sold)
Autumn Dance 48 x 36″ mixed media painting by Holly Van Hart
And here’s the completed painting hanging on my living room wall (left) –
‘Autumn Dance’ ‘Summer Sparkle’ and ‘Amid the Scent of Roses’
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.
‘Two Left Hands’, from my Rodin series, was just purchased by my new friend Elisa. Elisa saw this painting and decided to buy it immediately; she has a totally cool story behind the decision.
When Elisa was growing up, her Mom took her many many times to the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford University. If you haven’t been there yet, it is an amazing place to visit, day or evening or night.
Her Mom loved (and still loves) to look at the hands of the sculptures. Rodin created his sculptures with extra large hands, and they reminded her of her father’s hands, which were also extra-large. He was a professional hall-of-fame football player.
Elisa saw an image of this painting on my phone, and I mentioned the title was ‘Two Left Hands’. On the spot, she bought it as a gift for her Mom. (Oh, did I mention that her Mom is left handed?)
So many coincidences! Thank you, Elisa, for sharing your totally cool story with us.
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 –
Celebration/Larger Than Life 54 x 72″ Oil painting by Holly Van Hart (sold) Buy a print
The larger-than-life sized nest and eggs in ‘Celebration’ are meant to represent the potential of the human spirit, nestled in nature’s bed. Read more here, “What’s up with all the nests?”
There’s also a personal story behind ‘Celebration’ . . .
Birds will build their nests with whatever materials are available to them. One spring when I was a girl, my mother sprinkled snippets of red yarn in the yard near our summer home. She then encouraged us to see what happened next. Sure enough, a bird built a nest using the beautiful red yarn. (Sure wish I had a photo of that now!)
In ‘Celebration’ the birds have built their nest with twigs and ribbons. To me, ribbons have a celebratory feel, hence the title of the painting.
This painting was created in phases over many months. It leverages what I learned about painting nests and eggs from the other Possibilities paintings, as well as reference photos for the ribbons.
Are you in the mood to celebrate?
Follow Holly’s latest art news, exhibits, and special offers (and get a free eBook)
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.
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 –
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 . . .
Meet “Possiblities Alight”. This painting features a bird’s nest resting in the middle of brilliantly lit branches and flowers.
All my paintings with nests are meant to express the boundless possibilities and opportunities we have in our lives, and are part of my “Possibilities” series. Larger-than-life eggs and nests symbolize the promise of our own capabilities, to be nurtured and explored and stretched to their fullest potential.