A little over two weeks ago was the first time I participated in a big craft show like the Renegade Craft Fair. I have been a long-time admirer of the show and the amazing group of vendors that participate. Needless to say, I am so happy I was selected to be a part of such a beautifully curated show alongside amazing craftspeople and artists. One of the most rewarding parts of the whole weekend was watching someone from a few feet away lock eyes with a painting or print and start to smile. I aim to evoke joy when I create and every time I see a smile, a laugh or a point and “oh wow” it means very much to me.
Meeting people that have some kind of connection to my art whether it is to the subject matter or to my style of painting is an amazing experience. I met a couple of hand therapists that were so kind and had such a gentle presence about them. They both collected art and jewelry that relate to the subject of hands and I felt so honored they stopped by and shared their love of hand inspired art with me. I also met a woman that made a comment in passing about needing the middle finger print for her office. I proceeded to ask what she did for work and she bashfully said, “I am a therapist.” and slunk away. (Insert hand over giggling mouth emoji here! ) On a sweeter note, there were a couple of folks that said they used the “I love you” hand sign among their family as a family symbol and that it means a great deal to them. There were so many other little connections that I didn't mention here but are equally appreciated. Whatever the connection was, hearing little bits of everyone's story means a lot to me. Thank you all for sharing.
(Images from my instagram @hollihartmanart)
I heard a few reoccurring questions at the fair that I would love to answer in a bit more detail:
Q: What is your process like?
A: Each painting is created using acrylic paint. For the hand paintings I start by photographing my hand, a friend’s hand, or a client’s hand in the sign desired. I don’t do anything fancy to the photo I just make sure that the hand is well lit so I can see all of the beautiful wrinkles and lines in the palm. I then start sketching in the most important characteristics of the hand with a soft color from my paint palette. Each color palette is selected differently. Sometimes I have a palette selected ahead of time and then other times I just see colors in a photo and amplify them. For the Barton Springs paintings I also work from photos. I look for interesting colors and patterns and amplify them as well.
Q: Why all the hands?
A: Haha! I know that to some it may seem a little odd when you first see the large collection of hands I have painted. I started by painting my hand as a study, which is something I remember doing many times in various mediums throughout school. For this practice I focused on expressing my painting style more than intentionally painting hands as a subject matter. Later when I decided that I wanted to pick a subject to focus an entire series on, I kept coming back to hands. One of many reasons is that there are endless options and poses with hands yet they are relatively ordinary which I felt like paired well with my bold colorful style. Another reason I feel drawn to paint hands is because I am a hands-on learner. I have always learned through doing. Everyone who has them, learns with their hands. We eat with them and care for ourselves and others with our hands. If you think about trying to go without using them for a little bit you realize how necessary and often you use them. I think one of the main ways many of us use our hands is to express emotion and communicate; love, hate, anger, hope, and so many other emotions. This is what I find the most fun to paint.
Q: Do you know Sign Language?
A: I do not know American Sign Language but I would love to learn! It is such an expressive and beautiful form of communication. I try to pick up little bits from friends who have studied the language and hope to enroll into a class to start learning more soon! If anyone knows of a good place to take a class please send your recommendations.
If you are still with me, thank you! I have a lot to say apparently. The last thing I want to share is that if you missed Renegade and want to check out some of the prints I had for sale at the show, you can find a few of them here on my website and even more on my Etsy shop. If you haven’t already signed up for the newsletter, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this page and sign up where it says newsletter. You will be the first to know which events I will be attending and when new work is released; and most importantly, you will be eligible for freebies! Below are some of the prints you can find here on my website on the prints page and also on my Etsy shop.
Thanks for reading and thanks again to everyone who came by my booth at Renegade Austin!