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What is success?

A new article published on The Commissioned!

Meet Holly Van Hart, the Energetic and Calm Artist

Artist Holly Van Hart | Photo by Daniel Garcia of Content Magazine

You perfectly transformed my dream into reality in the form of a stunningly beautiful painting.
— Dr. S. Hall, Ventura, California (a satisfied collector of Holly’s paintings)

One word that best describes your style: Energetic yet calm

1. What does a typical day in your life look like?

I wake up and can’t wait to get painting! Usually I’m in the studio and painting in the early morning, then enjoy breakfast with my husband and sons, then back to the studio for a full day of painting. Evenings are for taking care of the business part of being an artist…updating my website, responding to emails, etc.

2. What does your studio look like?

I have a home studio in a separate part of the house that comfortably holds me and lots of canvases – big and small! It has lots of windows and even a door that is mostly a window.

3. Tell us one unique thing about you and your art.

Collectors tell me they find my work inspirational. I’m honored by that, because with titles like ‘Possibilities Abound’, ‘Larger than Life’, and ‘Dream Weaver’, that’s exactly what I had in mind when painting them.

4. What do you love most about being an artist?

I love how it connects me to people…giving me new friends and strengthening ties with established friends.

5. What are 3 things you can’t live without in a day?

Painting, chocolate, time with my family and friends.

6. Where do you get inspiration when you need it most?

Internally, and from looking around in nature. Also, other artists are a huge inspiration.

7. What does success look like to you?

Making paintings that I’m proud of, and finding collectors who love to have them.

To create a stunning piece of calm and beauty, visit hollyvanhart.com/commission-painting .

To see the rest of Holly’s Top 50 Questions, click here.

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

 

 

[Top 50 Questions] Can I see your work in a gallery?

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.)

Yes!  Thanks for asking 🙂

My paintings are in a bunch of galleries, listed here.

You can also see my work at my Open Studio and other upcoming events; click here for details.

 

Awarded Art Fellowship by Clark Hulings Fund

Clark Hulings Fund selects 20 artists for fellowship, including Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart

 

I was awarded an artist fellowship by The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists for 2017, and again in 2018, and am feeling very honored.

The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists is an acclaimed national nonprofit organization. It has chosen twenty artist fellows for its Business Accelerator Program, including me 🙂

The selected artists will participate in CHF’s innovative and comprehensive initiative, which seeks to transform the art industry by helping artists better manage their businesses.

 

To read additional press such as the Huffington Post interview of Holly Van Hart by John Seed, and the writings by art critic DeWitt Cheng, click here.

 

 

Tell me about the texture in your paintings

s and eggs) and emphasize their rhythm.

Most of my texture is created using heavy acrylics in an underpainting. That is, my first step is to apply acrylic paints to the stretched canvas (usually red paint, applied thickly), and let that dry before starting the first layer of oil paints. The textured swirls are made using a variety of tools; my favorites being a painting knife and a hair comb. (You can see a video demo of the texture process here.)

The texture sometimes aligns with the subject of the painting, and sometimes goes against the natural lines of what’s represented in the painting. That’s on purpose. It mirrors the complexity of our lives.

Thanks for your interest!

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Have a question to add to the top 50?  Ask away  (in the comments section below or send an email to holly.vanhart@gmail.com).

What does ‘vulnerability’ mean to you?

What does ‘vulnerability’ mean to you? Does hearing that word make you squirm and feel uncomfortable? It does that to me!

To put it all out there, my most vulnerable moments are when . . .
* I express love or appreciation to someone, and am not sure whether the feeling is returned
* My art is being exhibited and I’m in a room full of people seeing it for the first time
* I send an image of a new painting to the 500+ people on my email list
* Someone unsubscribes to my email list (ouch!)
* I post a new painting or article (like this one) on this blog
* My work is not accepted into a competition or exhibition
* My sons (now ages 11 and 13) are facing disappointment, and I can’t just ‘fix it’ for them any more

Luckily, from my years in high tech, I had many opportunities to experience both acceptance and rejection. I know how to roll with rejection. Sometimes I might need a few moments or hours or days to catch my breath and recover, but then I do, and life goes on and I can keep making progress. Thank goodness. Without that, life as an artist would be impossible!

 

To see the rest of my top 50 questions, click here.

 

Have a question for me? Click here.

 

Let’s stay in touch! Become a VIP member.  Learn more

 

On a totally different note . . . 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‘.

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.


Are oil paintings easy to care for?

'Building the Future' Oil painting by Holly Van Hart

Building the Future
24″ x 18″ oil painting by Holly Van Hart
Purchase Info

Yes!  Oil paintings are very easy to care for.  Here are my top tips for painting care . . .

– Hang your new painting on your wall as soon as you can (to get it out of harm’s way).

– Hang your painting out of direct sunlight.

– Dust it every once in a while.

– Enjoy!

Oil paintings are very durable too.  They can last hundreds of years, maybe longer.  This means they can be enjoyed for your lifetime, and then passed on and treasured for many generations to come.

For details on oil painting care from a preservation professional, click here.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

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.vanhart@gmail.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.vanhart@gmail.com

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

Running Free

Do you ever feel like leaving all your obligations and routines behind (at least for an hour or two, or a week or two)? Do you feel like running free?

I’d like viewers to look at this painting and get that exact feeling. To get lost in the forest and the light, and to feel completely unencumbered.

Ready?

 

If you’d like to see some in-progress pics of this painting, here you go –






 

 

Running Free is sold, but you can <a href=”https:///available-paintings/#forest-paintings” target=”_blank”>see available forest paintings here</a>.

 

Want to be the first to see new paintings as they are released? Become a VIP! Click for details.

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!

Nestled close to our loved ones

Nestled is about the warm feelings of being nestled close to our loved ones. The variety of the twigs and branches in the nest symbolize the variety of personalities and habits and desires we have within our own families. They are all intertwined.

When you click on the image to get a larger view, you can see some of the texture that underlies this painting. This is meant to convey the complexity and nuances of the interactions in our families, oftentimes unseen to the outside world.

Gallery Wrap side view of "Nestled"

Gallery Wrap side view of “Nestled”

This painting is sold, but prints are available here.

Originally published in 2013, and updated with info on prints

Above All Things

To live life to the fullest, we’re often told to give the highest value to our relationships. And that things like fancy cars, clothes, homes, TVs, phones, etc give us only very fleeting pleasure.

Do you find this to be true for yourself?

I do, for the most part. Spending time with family and friends is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Hands down. Without question. I value these relationships above all things. (Hence the name of the painting.)

Don’t get me wrong . . . many things give me lasting pleasure too. Mostly visual things. I still love the shape of the wedding ring we picked out over 15 years ago. And the windows in our home that let in lots of light. And some pieces of our furniture. My husband’s garden. The list is very long.

What’s your experience? What do you value ‘above all things’?

To check out more flower paintings and the inspirations behind them, click here.

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

Get the latest paintings and exhibition info delivered to your inbox! Learn more here.

Can I see your studio? (Video tour + invitation)

Yes! Here’s a video tour video. (Also, you are invited to visit in person. Click for details.)

It’s actually, 3 short video tours –  a partial tour of my home gallery, a tour of the (cleaned up) studio where I paint, and a tour of the (messy) studio a few days before the event.

Want to check it out in person? My studio is located in Saratoga, CA. Please call or email me (650 646 5590, holly.vanhart@gmail.com) to make an appointment. Click for details.

Birch Trees in the Fall

Abstract nature painting by Silicon Valley artist Holly Van Hart, featuring birch trees in autumn with red and gold leaves

Autumn Gold
24 x 18 oil painting by Holly Van Hart

In the heat of the summer, I was dreaming about the crisp fall days of my favorite season. So here’s ‘Autumn Gold’.

Who doesn’t love the colors of fall leaves? The variety and brilliance are an artist’s dream!

To see more abstract forest paintings, click here.

Let’s stay in touch!  Learn more

‘Saratoga Rose’

Originally posted here in 2016, and reposted now in honor of the Saratoga marching band

Saratoga Rose, Watercolor painting by Holly Van Hart

Saratoga Rose, Watercolor painting by Holly Van Hart

The amazing Marching Band at Saratoga High School has been selected to march in the 2016 Rose Bowl Parade.  Congratulations!!!

You can read more here in the San Jose Mercury News article, and see a YouTube video of this exciting announcement here.

In the Marching Band’s honor, I am posting this watercolor painting, ‘Saratoga Rose’, created a few years ago.

Once again, a huge congratulations to the Saratoga HS Marching Band!!!!

Want to see more flower paintings?
Click here.

For a free catalog of Holly Van Hart’s paintings, click here.

A Full Life

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 holly.vanhart@gmail.com for details.

To see all available paintings, click here.

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!

Become a VIP member – click here to learn more

What’s up with all the nests? (Video)

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).

I’ve gone crazy for nests. Well, really I’ve gone crazy for eggs and nests and what they represent.

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.

My intentions are given away by the titles of some of the paintings – Possibilities in Full Color, Unlimited Possibilities, and Possibilities Abound (winner of the California Statewide Painting Competition).

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions

Follow Holly’s latest art news, exhibits, and special offers (and get a free eBook). Learn more here.

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.

How do sunsets make *you* feel?

Abstract Nature Painting by Holly Van Hart, sailboat, harbor, sunset, blue, pink, orange

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 holly.vanhart@gmail.com.

Originally published in 2013, and just updated

For more “What inspired this painting” articles, click here.

Beckoning (new abstract floral painting)

Funny thing happened the other night.  A friend came to dinner and it was the height of the gladiolus season. He looked at my husband’s garden –

and then at this painting hanging on our living room wall –

He pointed to one, and then the other, and asked the question . . . which came first, the flowers or the painting?

Oddly enough, the flowers came from my imagination about 6 months before my husband grew his first gladiolus flowers. But his garden is spectacular and will inspire many more paintings to come!

‘Beckoning’ is currently hanging in our home. If you’d like to hang it in yours, please email me at holly.vanhart@gmail.com or call 650 646 5590.

 

To see all available paintings, click here.

High quality prints are available here (on canvas, paper, metal, framed, unframed, and so much more).

Treat yourself!  🙂

Are you glad you became a full-time artist?

Yes, absolutely!  Being a full-time artist feels like what I was meant to do.

In 2013, I made the decision to leave a 20-year career in high tech to become a professional artist. (While in high tech, I painted with passion, exhibited my work, and sold it. But painting was a hobby then.)

Being in high tech was challenging, interesting, and rewarding. High tech gave me the opportunity to work with so many fascinating people, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

But I definitely made the right decision! High tech was fun, but a career in the arts is even “funner”.

 

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50 Questions I’m asked as an artist (usually at cocktail parties or other fun events).

Secrets Within

Here’s one of my latest abstracted forest paintings . . .

 

Secrets Within is currently available. Would you like to see more? Please email holly.vanhart@gmail.com to inquire about delivery (free in the continental US) or to arrange a studio visit.

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.

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You’ll also get early access to new paintings and other special offers.

(One email every 2-3 weeks.)


To see past events, please check out Holly Van Hart’s resume/CV  (includes the most important career highlights such as solo shows, museum shows, awards, fellowships, and press, podcasts, and TV interviews.

Totally cool story about ‘Two Left Hands’

'Two Left Hands', 15“ x 11” (sold)

‘Two Left Hands’ by Holly Van Hart (sold)

‘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.

Originally published in 2012
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