Woman artist in her studio
Paula B. Holtzclaw in her studio
Photo of an artist's studio
Paula B. Holtzclaw’s studio

How did you get started and then develop your career?

Paula B. Holtzclaw: I drew and painted in my early teen years and throughout college, but this waned when I joined the workforce and had children. In the 90s, I began to paint again primarily for myself and for my home. Friends began to see my paintings and started requesting commissions. From there an invitation to a local gallery came. After that, came miles and miles of paintings, along with knocking on doors (galleries, antique stores, show submissions). In 2001, I left my lifelong career to focus on my art full time. I am fortunate to be a part of some wonderful galleries, many for decades now. But it only came through many hours of constant work, dedication and determination!

How do you find inspiration?

One of my favorite quotes is by Chuck Close, regarding inspiration: “The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you, and something else will occur to you, and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I fine that’s almost never the case.”

I always find visiting art museums, looking through art books and magazines as well as all of my photographs to also be very inspiring. Again, just showing up to the canvas will create inspiration. And a trip to the coast!

What is the best thing about being an artist?

The best thing about being an artist is truly being able to recognize, being aware of, and taking in the beauty that surrounds us. I believe artists have the gift of being present in the moment; we have to be in order to absorb and then portray. I know that lucky and not always common, is the person who is able to do exactly what they love to do.

Who do you collect?

I collect many artists’ and friends’ works, paintings and sculptures. I can truly say I enjoy all of them every single day. My husband and I began a tradition many years ago when we purchased a painting for our wedding anniversary gift. That has blossomed into sometimes birthdays or just any special event, I laughingly admit. Some of the paintings are by Kyle Ma, Daniel Keys, Ann Larsen, Brian Blood, Ralph James, Cindy Baron, Cynthia Feustal, Bill Cramer, Romona Youngquist, Darcie Peet, Gladys Roldan-de-Moras, and sculptures by Gwen Marcus, Stephen Savides, Diane Mason, Louise Peterson. Each one has a special meaning. I had a beloved Great Dane for 11 years, so I especially enjoy my Danes by Louise Peterson.

Oil painting of a landscape
Paula B. Holtzclaw, “In Silence,” 30 x 40 in., oil, 2019
Oil painting of a boat at the end of a dock
Paula B. Holtzclaw, “In Silence,” 30 x 40 in., oil, 2019
Oil painting of sand dunes and a beach at sunset
Paula B. Holtzclaw, “The Golden Hour,” 30 x 40 in., oil, 2021
Oil painting of a lake with fireflies
Paula B. Holtzclaw, “Luminescence,” 35 x 45 in., oil, 2018

To see more of Paula’s work, visit: www.paulabholtzclawfineart.com


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