At the core of every human soul exists the capacity to recognize true beauty and excellence when we encounter it. We all know at some level that the truly good things in life need no complicated explanation or recommendation and can often be found in the simplest of things – a crocus pushing up through a patch of melted snow or a cup of tea shared with someone we love. Holly Storman’s art celebrates the everyday glimpses of beauty and joy that feed our souls. Life is not always easy and in fact is oftentimes hard. The wise and the faithful would tell us to find beauty and joy where we can.
Holly’s life tells the story of an artist’s drive to create beauty even when life isn’t beautiful.
Growing up in the 1950s as the oldest daughter of six children, born to an alcoholic father and a self-interested, working mother, Holly’s childhood was tough and unforgiving. Far from receiving encouragement or recognition for her innate artistic abilities Holly was burdened early with adult cares and responsibilities, often having little time or energy left for basic homework, let alone special interests like art. However, even under the shadow of this oppressive home life Holly was always sensitive to beauty and cherished it no matter where she found it, whether it be in the delicate features of her baby sister or in the woods where she was sometimes able to escape. Though money was tight and time was scarce, she found ways to create when she could, even if it was just etchings on stones or vegetable dyes on scraps of old sheets.
Some of the few bright spots in Holly’s childhood were her twice yearly, week long visits to her maternal grandmother’s home. Holly credits these precious visits for not only allowing her artist’s soul to bloom but for giving her the hope and strength to make it through her troubled childhood. Grandmother was beautiful and earthy with an artist’s touch in all she did – from lovely little hobby paintings to her gorgeous garden, she elevated her modest life with love and style. Every minute spent with grandmother was a delight to Holly’s young heart but it is the special memories of afternoon tea time with her grandmother that Holly cherishes most. Holly was enchanted by the lovely tea implements – the silver infuser, the delicate cup and spoon, and most especially the beautiful china teapot. And perhaps even more seductive was the ritual of tea time itself – a moment taken to observe the age-old rite of shared civility, a rite that spans the centuries and nearly every culture.
Teapots and tea time feature large in Holly’s artwork for this reason. The aesthetic form of the teapot itself is also a beautiful example of form following function – a design principle that appeals to all of us at an innate level.
Although Holly took a job right out of high school and married young to escape her miserable childhood home, life didn’t suddenly become easy. The marriage was not a happy one and with two small boys to raise on only a meager teacher’s salary, Holly had to channel her creativity into frugal homemaking and later into helping her husband renovate a rental home to make ends meet. It wasn’t until her two boys were in their teens that Holly was able to pursue art in any serious way by enrolling in the local community college to take art classes.
She was never able to afford more than a year and a half of college classes but Holly continued to teach herself painting technique through books and videos from the library, developing at that time her signature and unusual style of utilizing watercolor paints. While watercolor paintings are usually soft edged and light in tone, Holly skillfully manipulates watercolor paints to allow her to create incredibly vivid and detailed scenes, without losing the delicate beauty of the watercolor medium.
The college art classes finally gave Holly the confidence to join her local art community and to enter 30 plus local or regional art exhibitions over the following dozen years – in every one of which she won an award!
With over 300 accomplished paintings and regional notoriety, Holly continues to paint today because she loves it – perhaps more than most because the freedom to pursue art in her life has been so hard won. Through the big tragedies and the little, mundane burdens that can wear us all down, day in and day out, Holly has fought to find the beauty in life and to give it back to the world in her art.
Hannah, Holly’s daughter-in-law, has always loved and admired Holly’s work and has long believed that it should have a wider audience.
With a background in art, business management, and website design Hannah has worked to develop a product line of beautiful quality giclee reproductions of Holly’s paintings, available unframed or in a wide variety of matting colors and frame styles. Hannah also uses Holly’s artwork as inspiration to produce lovely handmade stationery and note cards, with original and unique inscriptions.
For Hannah, working to share Holly’s art with the world is both a joy and a privilege.