Tomato Harvest, 36×48, by Hope Olson

Interview with the Artist: Hope Olson

Holland Weekly: What type of art do you most like to do? What is your choice of medium/materials?

Hope Olson: I like to create acrylic paintings and mixed media-works that focus on themes of home, community, and old-fashioned ways of life. My whimsical still life and landscape paintings utilize unusual color schemes and mark-making.

Wildflower Vase Orange, 24×36, Hope Olson

When did you become interested in art? What first drew you to it?

Like most artists, I have had an affinity to create since I was a young child. Some of my favorite activities growing up were building with wooden blocks, drawing pictures, and sketching architectural floor plans of imagined homes and structures. My interests in subjects like early 20th century art, interior decorating, historic architecture, and stories about small town life all began as a young girl.

Could you take us into that moment when you are creating a new work? Walk us through your process, either externally (materials, radio on/off, lighting) or internally (mindset, what occurs or doesn’t occur)?

My artistic process often begins outside of the studio, as ideas for paintings and themes I want to explore will occur to me when I am reading, talking with a friend, or listening to a sermon. I jot these ideas down to refer to later. Back at the studio, even before I put paintbrush to panel, I create a specific plan for the painting: its concept, its composition, and its colors. This process includes writing notes about the narrative I want to share, sketching a small drawing of the composition, and gathering paint chips to design a color scheme. After all this envisioning, I shut the studio door, put on my smock, queue up some jazz or Irish music, and finally begin painting!

Maple Men, 36×48, Hope Olson

Why art? Why now?

Throughout history, art was considered good when it enriched people – doing so through beauty, artistic excellence, and emotional depth. However, in recent times, art scholars often determine a piece’s merit based on its coarseness and shock factor. In my own work, I want to reclaim the former purposes.

When you have free time, what do you do with it?

Read, explore a thrift store, cook a new recipe.


Hope Olson is a painter and mixed-media artist based in Holland, Michigan. Her art celebrates home and a sense of belonging. Hope’s abstracted still life and landscape paintings borrow from the sensibilities of the Fauvist art movement, which emphasizes strong marks and colors that magnify mood and compel curiosity.  She earned a B.S. in Interior Design from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and also focused her college coursework in studio art and marketing.

Hope’s website: www.hopeolson.com
Original paintings are available at Button Gallery in Douglas, Michigan. Framed prints are available at The Galleria in Holland’s Washington Square.

Hope Olson


Rosa Parks Green neighborhood street scene in fall. Photo by KS.
Rosa Parks Green neighborhood street scene in fall. Photo by Holland Weekly.


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