Artist's Statement: Painting the figure is personal because understanding the figure means understanding me. It says, "Be who you are," and it's a journey that goes on. There is a girl within. She is me. She is a friend. She might even be you or someone you know. She could be any age but she will always be young. She feels that life can be simple and uncomplicated. She's perfect just the way she is. Her soul lives in my work. Her life breathes in my paintings. It seems that I am always searching for her, searching for ways to paint her feelings and emotions. I always come back to her. This is why I paint the figure. Biography: When Holly Irwin was a child, she loved to watch her mother, a fashion illustrator, draw pen and ink figures of women in beautiful dresses and paint lush portraits in oil. With her encouragement, Holly began formal art classes at age 12 and was eventually awarded a scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon University's fine arts program. Over the years, Holly has taken many classes and workshops and regularly attends an open studio where she draws the figure from a live model. She considers herself a "lifetime student of art" and is always open to new techniques and inspirations. After being diagnosed with a chronic illness in the 1990's and being forced to leave her job, it was her passion for drawing and painting the human figure that gave her hope and a new life. For the past decade, her work has been focused on the figure. Through years of weekly drawing classes and model sessions, she have developed an artistic voice, an interpretation of the human form that allows for self expression. She feels that her work will always be an ongoing process as she continues to experiment with the balance between line and shape, representation and abstraction. Holly is represented in galleries throughout the Southeast and has been featured in several publications including The House of Fifty, for which she was the feature artist in their 2012 Winter/Spring Issue, Mobile Bay Monthly, and The Marietta Daily Journal, to name a few.