Paula Holtzclaw: Capturing the Atmosphere

“Sundown”, 13×20, Oil on Linen Panel, available at the 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition, the Principle Gallery, Charleston, SC.

The quiet warmth of the sunset is a scene that we always remember, but few capture convincingly. “Sundown” gives us not only the scenery, but the feeling of heavy air about to change to darkness, never the same sunset again. Atmosphere in a landscape painting is the one thing that can surely communicate feeling, and “Sunset” has that atmosphere.

“Moonlit Whispers”, 24×30, Oil, Highlands Art Gallery

Paula Holtzclaw has devoted her time and effort to painting with great success. As a self-taught artist, she has gained national recognition in numerous organizations. Her knowledge and skill, gained from workshops, self-study, and hours and hours of practice has developed into a signature style comprised of realism and impressionism.

“A Brand New Day”, 24×20, Oil Private Collection

Paula draws inspiration from the beautiful yet elusive coast of the eastern US, particularly the marshlands and inlets, uninhabited except for wildlife. She has been influenced by Tonalist painters such as Inness and Whistler, for their “ability to evoke emotion through creating atmosphere and moodiness”. Contemporary artists such as Nancy Boren, with her freshness and humor, and Elizabeth Robbins with florals and portraits.

“Blue Ridge Lights’, 12×16, Oil, Private Collection

Holtzclaw works mainly in oil currently, having switched from acrylics. Her paintings begin with a toned canvas upon which she then wipes out the rough design. She has long realized the importance of painting from life, from plein air to still life. Though she may work from photos, the plein air experience is evident in her moody landscapes.

In her studio, one could see more than one work in progress at a time; paintings in different stages await the final brushstrokes as the artist takes the time to “wait and see what needs to be done.”

“Orchids and Pears”, 16×20, Oil, Private Collection

Paula is currently at Master Signature Artist with the American Women Artists, Women Artists of the West, a Signature artist with the Oil Painters of America, the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, and many more. She has won numerous national awards, has been featured in prestigious art magazines, and participated in fine art exhibitions in museum settings.

As an assiduous artist, Holtzclaw knows the necessity of many hours of easel time; “just keep at it. Put in miles and miles of canvas. Not every painting works, but in every painting is a lesson”.

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society is proud to have Paula Holtzclaw on the Panel of Award Judges for the 2021 Best of America Small Works National Juried Competition.

“Shining Seas”, 24×30, Oil, Currently at the WAOW National Show at the Western Museum of Art, Kerrville, TX

Her work is represented at Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA; Cheryl Newby Gallery, Pawleys Island, SC; Highlands Art Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Hughes Gallery, Boca Grande, FL; and Providence Gallery, Charlotte, NC.

To see more work by Paula Holtzclaw go to

To view the 2021 NOAPS Best of America Small Works National Juried Exhibition, visit

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