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he paints nearly every day, and if she’s not painting, she’s doing all the other work it takes to be an artist. “There’s so much to be done— you’re a small business owner,” she explains. Her light-filled studio, which she calls the Rusty Barn, was originally built to be a horse-boarding facil- ity but was never used for that purpose. “It’s truly a barn—hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and with nooks and crannies that little creatures get into,” she says. “I share it with my aunt [artist Mary Ince] and our art community.” Holli usually has a couple of paintings going at one time. “I need the time to turn away from a work and look at it with fresh eyes,” she explains. Her paintings are most often representational— she calls herself a “contemporary realist”—but that might mean the very accurately drawn young girl in a bathing suit is about to leap not off a pool edge, but somewhere hundreds of feet in the air, as if this high dive were off an airplane (above). Such juxtapositions, captured so vividly, add to the psy- chological drama, for a viewer can’t help but feel the girl’s anxiety, adrenaline and bravery. “Beauty can sometimes be considered in our art world as trite or old-fashioned, yet when I walk into a museum and something is beautiful I’m drawn to it,” she says. “The challenge is ‘how can I make it have that feeling for me with as few strokes as possible’. Not out of laziness, but I don’t want to overwork it. It’s probably like a pie crust—you shouldn’t over-knead the dough.” Holli works mostly from photos and sketch- books. Her studio is her favorite place to paint. She is always working on projects that include multiple paintings and other types of art and keeps a sketchbook with notes for each project. “When I get an opportunity to go outdoors I want to explore the place. It’s hard for me to sit and do a painting for two hours,” she says. “I want to see what’s up around the bend.” This issue’s cover artist, Holli Harmon, inspires others through her artwork, inspirational words and through her life, which incorporates art from morning to night. Contemporary Realist Holli Harmon Making Magic with Paint By George Yatchisin • Art by Holli Harmon Cover Artist… S By George Yatchisin • Art by Holli Harmon 50 Montecito Magazine Fall 2018–Winter 2019