December 2022 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Holly Irwin
As a child, Holly Irwin dreamed of becoming an artist. With encouragement from her mother, she began formal art classes at age 11, studying under Pittsburgh's legendary art teacher, Joseph Fitzpatrick, whose list of famous students include Andy Warhol. Four years later, at age 15 years, Holly was awarded a scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon University’s fine arts program for high school students.
“My mother was an artist, a fashion illustrator and a seamstress; she made all of our clothes, even coats and hats,” said Holly. “So I guess it’s not a surprise that fashion and design inspire me most. I create my own fashions on canvas using the language of color, line and composition. I love taking one of my drawings and elevating it to a large scale, fine art painting. Sketchbooks of figure drawings and dresses are everywhere in my home and studio. I try to sketch every day.”
Even though she has a fine art education and grew up in a creative environment, Holly considers herself a lifetime student of art. Over the years, she has taken many classes and workshops, and attended studio sessions to draw from live models. As she has grown in her artistic journey, she has kept her primary focus—to draw and paint what's authentically hers.
Holly paints with modeling paste, gel mediums, acrylics and oil paint using spatulas, brushes and palette knives. Her works on paper are evidence of her love of line drawing, pen and ink. “Each painting is a part of me, expressing what I'm feeling at the time. It's inspired by fashion, but in the end it's more about capturing an emotion in an abstract way,” Holly explained.
After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the 1990s, Holly was forced to leave her day job in marketing. Delving into her art, she realized that it was her passion for drawing and painting the human figure that gave her hope and a new life. Today, Holly’s sought-after work is collected from people all over the world. She has received numerous awards, including Best Local Artist of Atlanta by Jezebel Magazine and Best Artist Cobb County (Atlanta) by Cobb Life Magazine. Her medical and artistic journey have been featured in Arthritis Today and Rheumatoid Arthritis and You. You can read Holly’s inspirational story on her website.
She and her husband, Ron Irwin are both artists and have studios in their home in Roswell, Georgia. Her work can be purchased through dk Gallery, 25 West Park Square, Marietta, GA 30060; 770-427-5377; www.dkgallery.us, Beverly McNeil Gallery, 605 28th Street, S., Birmingham, AL 35233; 205-328-1761; www.beverlymcneilgallery.com, and Lyons Share Gallery, 330 De La Mare, Fairhope, AL 36532; 251-928-2507; www.lyonssharegallery.com.
You can view her portfolio of both archived and available paintings at www.hollyirwin.com.
Follow her on Instagram at @hollyirwinfineart, or on Facebook @HollyIrwinFineArt.