Find out more:

Our 2018 Featured Artist

— Holly Kroening

My paintings express the joy, delight and passion I feel when I paint. “Letting it go” provides freedom and self expression. These things come true when I paint with my grandchildren. They have managed to break down the barriers by painting green zebras and outside the lines and creating masterpieces, “WHAT JOY” I love knowing that one of my paintings reached out and touched someone.

My art mediums are watercolor, fabric art, acrylic and wood and metal art.

Medium: Watercolor & Acrylic

Festival 2017 “People’s Choice” Winner

For 2018, the festival organizations have selected  Holly Kroening, last year’s winner of the “People’s Choice” Award with her striking horse portrait in acrylics, “Running Reid.”  All of Holly’s paintings attracted a lot of “oohs” and “aahs,” and festival goers were so impressed that they lined up to purchase cards and prints of her work, as well as one of her large originals.

Since Holly made a very strong impact on the 2017 Festival, her selection as featured artist or 2018 seemed natural to the Art Association Board.

Her favorite artwork

Holly J. Kroening has been painting since 2003 and has been making African-themed art since 2008. Holly says, “I paint subject matter that speaks to me. My children have invested their lives in Africa and painting something that represents that investment brings me joy and fulfillment.” She expresses herself through the mediums of watercolor, acrylic, and fabric art. She works on her watercolor pieces, one at a time, 2-3 hours a day, from one day up to three months. Her fabric art takes longer due to the amount of detail involved. All mediums include African-themed scenes.

Holly’s favorite artwork to create is that of “women that represent strength and joy.” In 2008, when she began painting these women, it was just meant to be fun. In fact, she never thought it would take off the way it has. She also used these female figures of strength to get through sad days, to get lost in her thoughts, as her parents had just passed away. These women are more than just color on paper. They are a beautiful representation of the strength and vibrancy found in women everywhere.

Holly’s art has also greatly benefited from her commitment to the Rural Health Collaborative, a Portland based project to help women in eastern Ghana.  In 2008 this connection led Holly into doing Africa-themed work, and it has informed her creativity ever since, as can be seen in her dynamic compositions and flamboyant color choices.

This aspect of her work also is linked with Holly’s family.  She says, “I paint subject matter that speaks to me.  My children have invested their lives in Africa, and painting something that represents that investment brings me joy and fulfillment.”

What inspires her work

Holly believes in paying it forward, and through her artistic talent she is able to sell pieces and donate much of the profits to organizations such as RHC. There are many personal things that influence Holly’s thoughtful paintings, and we’re extremely proud to be a part of the inspiration for such beautiful art.

“Jason and Olivia have shown my husband and I that when we ‘can’, we ‘should’.  I feel my talent can make a difference in this work.” We think so too, Holly!