S_V_H The music box You Were On My Mind

•10/10/2021 • Leave a Comment

Here is the all-done-but-the-signing studio image of the project, You were on My Mind. I completed it the day before it was to be hung in a local exhibition sponsored by the Valley Art Association, of which I am a board member. The next day I with the help of Jeff hung this artwork successfully at the Heyde Center for the Arts.

This other image is when I returned the day after to help to hang other artworks for the show. My caption I texted along with the image to Jeff (an art friend) reads, “Waiting to be seated.”

Jeff is an outstanding water colorist and art teacher. He is creative in his style, theme choices, and presentations. All that, along with his personality and motivational abilities, has contributed to his high level artistic respect among his peers and sales of his works. Luckily I have had a number of lunches with Jeff to discuss in my usual meandering way, what is art? its value, purpose, meaning, etc.

I have little else to add about this art project that is not in the following video. I do have some words about how this project has contributed to a change in this art.

In late 2018, I purchased my first cover license for Africa. That license was for 25 Music Boxes, which was the only option for a cover that made some logical sense for me. That project used a .5 watt sound system. Over the years, I have continued to purchase cover licenses for 25 music boxes when I have only ever used one copy of the music for every license. I am fine with that; I did not write the original music. Only recently have I sold my first piece made under a cover license. That buyer turned out to be a private company I once worked for, and who had purchased another work years earlier. To be honest, until my stuff sells for tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars, no one is going to pay me any attention. In the end, it is all about the value of the monies. No real money, no actual concern from the music industry. Their responses to this art so far have been pretty standard and generic, such as a dropped entry on Amazon, removed listing from Etsy, or a demonetization on YouTube. In money terms I have made little to cover my expenses in maintaining these promotional outlets. I used those three sites not for selling but more so to get the word out. Over many years, the results have been little to nothing. That matches my experiences with Art Fairs and Exhibitions, with the costs of exceeding the results. The only major benefits of my online promoting have been the hundred plus videos on YouTube and my 660 entries on this blog, which document this story.

That brings me to my first change that has come about because of this project. I am no longer calling what I do as Art (although the words art and artwork will still be used for description). Once, I added that push button to hear the music, I started to wonder what I should call what I am doing. My art genre title became Interactive Constructive sculpture (I made that up). After finishing this project I am now considering it is time to acknowledge the moving of my artistic needle to the center between performance art and visual art. Maybe, the genre term, Music Box, as a better description then artwork.

The fact that these music boxes are designed to hang on a wall instead sitting on an end table gives the impression to Art Jurors and Art aficionados the leeway to still call what I do as Art. That may keep me in the running for Group and eventually one person Art shows in the big towns. Think about it. For all the art venues out there that need to make monies calling a show of wall hangings of Interactive Constructive Sculptures is a mouth full. Easier to say come see and play the creative music boxes by Scott Von Holzen. That will certainly attract the ordinary gallery walker. As for the people with the monies, that may pert their interest for Art that they can easily afford and can actually have fun with.

With those thoughts I want to mention something interesting with these so called artistic music boxes of mine. Since the very first art that showed up on cave wall, to Van Eyck, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and beyond most visitors spend only seconds looking at art. This latest project has music that is about one minute twenty seconds in length. Since this art is fairly unknown add that time to another ten to fifteen seconds looking at the artwork. That brings the total viewing time to easily one minute and thirty seconds a visitor could spend looking and listening. That puts this artwork in an exclusive category. That is amazing considering I am and this art is still and unknown, unknown.

Finally, this is the grip I have. What is the deal with Jurored (the art deciders) Art Shows and their rewarding of honors and monies to at best is high end craftsmanship. What I am referring to is that all Art shows I have been apart of, from my first exhibition way back in the 1970’s to the Pablo show this early October, have been strangely captivated by the finely made, untouchable, buttery smooth looking, and exquisitely crafted objects that easily get a one-up on the competition? Throw in a shallow social or environmentally connection and you got a winner, or at less an honorable mention. It is absurd, and I will explain.

On an ordinary 7 day working week I spend 10 hours a day in my Studio. Around 60 hours of that time a week I use for project time. The rest of my time is being used for maintenance of everything else art and music related. This project’s worksheet has a start date of September 8th. I finished on October 7th, with the signing. I spend four weeks on this artwork for a guess total of 240 hours spent in the planning, figuring out, solving problems, correcting mistakes, and the constructing of the artwork out of wood, aluminum, canvas and paints. Then there is the writing of the music followed by the creating of the performance and the building of the stereo system along with speaker boxes needed to hear the artwork’s music. All this effort requires a high level of learned skill, or craft, which is a process that I have taught myself. I use this process to put together all the items I created with the end goal being a work of art.All art starts as craft, and end only as art when the final object represents something greater then the sum of its physical parts. Recently I have found a simpler way to expressed that idea of something greater with the words ennobling an object (from the french writer Guillaume Apollinaire concerning the rejection of Marcel Duchamp’s infamous Fountain by a 1917 jurored exhibition he help organize). His three words separate Art from Craft and I am sure the art deciders of this world would understand that. But instead they have convinced themselves that high Craft, a level of skill, is itself art. It is not. Artisans who take ordinary objects and combine them together in a presentations that are buttery smooth, with a meticulously finish, that screams do-not-touch, your fingers will mar the shine, and that intimidate the viewer with absurd amounts of attention to detail create nothing more then high craft which is lovely to look at and expensive to own. Those considerations has caused jurored art exhibitions, and the art deciders to raise high craft in stature to their art comfort level. They keep awarding an art process as the artwork itself. In reality I see high craft as the putting separate parts together to create an overall high finished object that substitutes for everyday ordinary. It is the high finishing that the art deciders see that raises craft to art. They are rewarding the ennobling of the process not the objects. They know not what they do.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H You were on My Mind scrapping demo

•10/03/2021 • Comments Off on S_V_H You were on My Mind scrapping demo

Well, I thought it was time to do a video demonstration of my scrapping technique that I first used in early April 2020 on the project I Will. I’m writing this many days after I made this video, and have continued to scrap here and there to further my graffitiing of this musical portrait.

I have since the beginning of this art in 2006 used words to reinforce the artwork’s connection to the music I was portraying. My thinking is that the copyright people are touchy with the use of lyrics, so to not to offend I felt it was necessary to select words found in common language from the lyrics. That, of course, then diminished their impact. Still, I felt the words, much like the up and down flow, represented what I was portraying. By being selective in my words, I found I could create the added possibility of different meanings.

Recently, I have added more words to my artworks for a different purpose. I do this by breaking up sentences or phrases into smaller pieces and placing them randomly all about the canvas, like graffiti on a wall. Then, to negate their value as words, what do I do? I scrapped them away. It is the words’ presence, not their meaning is what I am after. It is like the artwork. I am not painting sheet music. I am portraying an up and down flow from the music.

By graffitiing the words, I am borrowing a technique used by Jean-Michel Basquiat where he would paint over words, as if so to say ignore them. I changed my mind. I agree with that. This is a continuation of a fundamental part of this art, whose principal theme has always been to portray music like a portrait painter: yea, it kinda looks like him, but it isn’t actually him, it’s a portrait.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H You were on My Mind image 1

•09/27/2021 • Comments Off on S_V_H You were on My Mind image 1

This is the background image. Again, as in the past, nothing fancy or creative. My goal was to cover up the white primer paint with colors that fit together. The final top layer of paint will again cover up this high school abstraction. Later, after scrapping the top layer of paint, a higher abstraction painting will appear.

This image shows my graffiti words from the song, and the two layers of Prussian Blue topcoat. I learned from Play that Song, out-of-frustration in trying to cover the entire base coat, to let some of the base show through adding interest and depth. This next image shows the results of taking a small pallet knife and scrapping away the Prussian paint to reveal the base layer. The scrapping across the graffiti scrabbles the words’ presence while intensifying the abstraction. The use of a small scrapper creates narrow lines that display the action of the artist’s hand (Jackson Pollock without the dripping)

Starting with the first music painting back in early 2006, I had to deal with what to do with the background canvas. From the beginning, I had straightforward ideas of how I was going to apply the up and down movement of the music the artwork was portraying. What I did not have was what to do with the background. Since I did not want to paint sheet music. I knew I would not paint in the five lines and four spaces that make up a music bar line staff. What I came up with was to paint background rectangles that had the basic shape of a staff but more so resembled the artwork style of Mark Rothko. Here is an image of an early music artwork and a masterpiece by Rothko.

Over the years, my backgrounds became less Rothko looking and more generic. Probably out of the repeating need to apply pretty paint to blank canvas, to form a foundation for the music, and/or maybe to add some value to the artwork. Here is an example of a well used horizontal abstraction style using a roller.

American Pie 2008

A latest new background style came about when I constructed my own squeegees and practiced the technique developed by Gerhard Richter. This large Bach work BWV 1065 from 2014 is an example of my squeegee efforts.

I used those background styles and many others less unique for my backgrounds over the years. For each new painting, I had the same goal to fill in the canvas behind the music. It was not until early 2020 that I developed the idea of scrapping paint. Now, in later 2021, and with this latest scrapped work, I believe I am close to replicating this technique consistently. To this day, I am surprised with each first scrap of the pallet knife that what I am actually doing actually works.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Play that Song Final

•08/30/2021 • Comments Off on S_V_H Play that Song Final

I started Play that Song on May 17th. The artwork was finished in early July. The artwork project was completed with the adding of the music and the signing and dating on August 25th. This is the only artwork project that was completed in 2021. The only other artwork I have finished was After the Gold Rush, at the end of February in Minnesota. Although I completed the music for this artwork, I never built the framed or created the sound system. All that never happened because we were getting ready to leave. On March 1st we returned home back to Wisconsin.

Here is my YouTube video discussing this artwork. The music still sounds “catchy” to this day. That convinces me that k after all these months spent on this project the choice of music holds well.

To add to the video review of Play that Song, here are some of the technical improvements that were made. My aluminum frame for this artwork now using one inch angle instead of three-quarter used previously. That makes for a stronger, stiffer frame for the artwork. Moving the speakers out from behind the artwork to in front allows the artwork to sit closer to the wall. The pastel colors I chose for the canvas framed speakers and the controller box, I have used before in early artworks. The pastels were used on small pieces of the artwork. I never had the concern if the pastel colors actually work with the overall color scheme of the artwork. Being an old school photographer, I was always looking for interesting contrasts, so that is where the pastels come in. Besides, the music having its own color scheme and its outside placement on this work allows displays its independence from the artwork.

The challenge remains: how do I, or don’t I, connect the art, the music, and the artist. That mystery still lies deep, only partially uncovered. The last improvement is the first time use of magnets instead of glue to connect the wooden music pieces to the canvas frame. Although the magnets can cause damage to the top coat of paint, their easy removal releases the wood pieces, which better protects the canvas when being moved. The idea of gluing rigid wood pieces to a foldable piece of canvas, and then trying to handle that canvas without having the wood tear loose, is absurd. Especially when I am still using an experimental layering of top paint that needs to be easily scraped off, and takes time to harden.

On September 2nd we will take this artwork to be exhibited in the important fall art exhibition at the Pablo Annual. In 2019, to my surprise, The Blue Danube took third place. Surprisingly not, nothing came from that moment in the light event. Now, two years later and the payment of a twenty-dollar exhibition fee, we will give it another try. I hate pay-to-display events, but I want to convince the Pablo that it is time to schedule this art for a one person show. That means I need to keep myself in their face while working to convince them that my combination of art and music fits well with the Pablo’s overall approach to the arts. I am going to make this happen, knowing that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. What grease and this art have in common I am not aware of, but that metaphor pops up from memory like “Once there was this little old ant who thought he could move a rubber tree plant.” From the time I first heard this song to today I have considered myself to be one of those stubborn son-of-a-bitch ants. So it is. So it goes. So goes I.


Scott Von Holzen

S V H my Brother my Patron

•08/30/2021 • Comments Off on S V H my Brother my Patron
Roger Lee Von Holzen

This bog site has existed for over ten years with the sole purpose of documenting this artist’s journey. That is what it has done and also that limitation is why at times it has failed to do. It turns out there is more to this story than me creating art. It is time to acknowledgement this art’s greatest patron, my brother Roger Von Holzen. Here are the images of the artworks and prints that hang in his home and a rental of theirs. Added to these pieces are the other art items, including prints which he gave to friends and associates, and his pivotal help in the sale of two other major artworks.

I have not been to my Brothers home for many years. It was an eight-hour drive to Missouri, and his considerable busy social and work related travels, and his many other travels around the world, made planning a trip to Missouri seemed a distant idea. Lucky for us, he and Myk traveled North each year to our family reunion and occasional visits. I am certain if I would have asked them they would have found the time and insisted on a visit. Our move to Eau Claire help cut travel time to seven hours, which made the difference.

There I was finally back at his house and the moment I walked in his front door, the artwork over the fireplace took my heart and breath away. Roger and his husband Myk, on a visit in 2008, bought What’s New, painted in 2007. My heart continued to fill again with emotions each time I walked into another room and there was another artwork or print on view. I knew the art he bought from me. What I did not know was how much this art meant to him. I should have known. I should have been more grateful. If only I would have.

Roger passed from my life on the morning of August 9th. I held his left hand, my other Brother Jeff held his Right hand, while Myk whispered in his ear, and around us were his closes friends and hospital staff. All of us were there for him until his last breath unselfishly allowed us to let go.

2020 Myk and Rogers last visit to our new home
I will always Love You

In 2017, I created this artwork for Roger as a gift for Myk. I remember Myk chiding Roger over the artwork’s theme song sung by Whitney Houston. Roger smiled and pushed gently back, defending his feelings.

Life is for the living, and I will try harder now to live it to my fullest. Roger certainly did. What he stood for and taught me was to do things while you can, whether it is creating great art, traveling to enrich your life, or attempting to connect with those you care about. Roger reminds me every day that the time is now, for the future may have other plans. I now understand Roger’s sentimentality over a song whose words speak about his love and devotion. Roger will remain a missing part of me that I can no longer touch, hug, or share a smile. I breathe for him in remembrance.

Scott Von Holzen

SVH “Sold” Walking in Memphis

•08/29/2021 • Comments Off on SVH “Sold” Walking in Memphis
Walking In Memphis 2019
Walking In Memphis 2019

Before I talk about the sale of Walkling in Memphis, I would like to comment on this image of Jaime O, the person who questioned me about why I gave up painting. This photo of Jaime in front of Twinkle and Gold Rush is how I see and know him. I see his pride in what this art has accomplished and, importantly, his part in this artist’s comeback. Well deserved. The question he presented to me back in late 2005 came from one of our many conversations.

Jaime O picture at my CVA exhibition in Wausau

Jaime’s office was across the hall from mine. And since I did not have a window, and he did, in search of a break or a change of scenery, I would often venture into his office. This occurred more often in the midafternoon, let’s say from 2pm and on. When Jaime was in his office, and not on the road selling, and it was around that 2pm time he would this tendency to get a little sleepy. To help refocus both of us, I would check my watch, listen to hear if he was on the phone, decide that world of IT was safe for this moment, and only then wander into his office.

I enjoyed his view, but it was a conversation I was in search of. Either of us would start it with a tease. Jaime was then, and probably still is, a world traveler selling to many markets. This allowed him In this spare time abroad to visit the local art museums and such. I, of course, found this art connection interesting and one I wanted to converse with him. That was something Jaime enjoyed. He not only understood great art, he also throughly enjoyed talking about himself. Although I always felt engaged with our conversations, no matter the subject.

It was during one of our exchanges around art that he questioned me about why I gave up painting. That became the change moment that may have helped instigate my shift away from traditional photography and into digital photography. Eventually, his words spun me around, away from photography and back to art that I had abandoned in the early 1980s.

I gave him an artwork as a thankyou in early 2006. Finally, I remember one brief conversation we had when he said that my name, “Von Holzen.” sounded like an artist or high end stereo equipment. I thought that was a wonderful comment. Years later, neither of us knew I would develop the potential to become both.

Gift to Jaime, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony

This is the video I received on my phone with the Owner of the company saying, “sold,” for Walking in Memphis.

Late in my fifties, I returned to a two-year tech school for five semesters to earn a decree in Computer Information Systems. This company then hired me for their IT department. Almost all these smiling faces I worked with, supported, exchanged stories, debated with, learn from, care about, and still miss today after being away for five years. They are from the sales department of the company I worked for fifteen years. The name mentioned in the video is a great work friend and one of the company’s top salesperson. I received this video from him and we still exchange text messages to this day. Of course I took this photo that like Jaime’s image clearly displays the character of this special friend of mine.

Walking in Memphis sold for $4,000 dollars. This is my largest single sale ever. Once again, I want to thank the company not only for their generosity, about also for their remembrance of my many enjoyable years serving their needs. As for the two person show at the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau, Wi that was a disappointment. Although I am pleased to show and split the sale monies with them, nothing else came out of that effort. I did not expect to “Break on through to the other side,” but no feedback? Only experience was gained. I expected such and was proven right.

Scott Von Holzen

Play that Song, the Artwork, finished

•07/01/2021 • Comments Off on Play that Song, the Artwork, finished

These are the words with the music. I am not displaying lyrics, only words. In the early days artworks had a word or two. In time that changed as their number became more common and complicated. That was when a remembrance came to mind.

In my earlier summer job days I worked at my father’s car and truck dealership doing whatever I was told to do. While there I was in awe of the sign painter and his beautiful hand lettering who painted the customers’ truck doors. I thought of him when adding words became increasingly important. Seeing back to his slow motion painting and precision lines influenced my lettering style and personalize my the font style I used. It was as if I was assuming the position as a lettering painter. My artwork word standard became a challenging and time-consuming task. For example, I wanted to make sure all the letters looked similar and had the right width, height and spacing.

It was only recently when I was going to fill entire canvases with words that I came convinced that my precision letters and the time this type of lettering required no longer made sense. My alternative because a looser and more like my natural hand printing style. Besides, I thought after painting all the words, my next step would be to take a pallet knife and scrape parts of them away. I added another reason for my lettering change with this project.

When standing back from the artwork and seeing the words, the thought came to me: I was looking at graffiti. Now, I do not know if that is the right description for graffiti artists certainly are better word craftspeople, and better at using more elaborate fonts. Maybe my wording is more a reflection of the hand printing style used by Jean Michel Basquiat who was not a graffiti artist. All the words in this artwork are in my natural abstract graffiti style, which fits this music filmed in the city and works with the darker background and the scrapping.

The image above is the artwork in a near finished look. This is the first artwork using the technique where the music is held onto the canvas with magnets. When I hung the art pieces to the canvas, to take a photo for an exhibition, I knew the top coat of paint was still sensitive to scratching and could easily be damaged by the pressure of the magnets. Now days later, as the top coat is hardening, I am testing lighter strength magnets with different covers to prove that they are a viable hanging option that can be easily moved and removed.

I have not signed it yet, nor have I built the aluminum frame that enables it to by hung and supports the music. I was in a hurry. I wanted to meet the deadline for a major local show at the Pablo in Confluence Center in Eau Claire. My submission application made it in on the 24th meeting the deadline. My current stand is to not do group exhibitions, especially if there is an entrance fee, but this show is the exception. It is the most important art show in this area and more so I want a one-person show from the Pablo. This is an example of pay to play ($20 entrance fee) and playing to find a way.

Part of the Exhibition application

I will know by July 30th if this artwork makes it in the Jurored exhibition. I will then build the frame and add the music. The drop off is not till September. Otherwise, it will go to storage, and I will have another reason to hate group exhibitions.

Scott Von Holzen

SVH Play that Song 1st image

•06/22/2021 • Comments Off on SVH Play that Song 1st image

This is the first image of the artwork Play that Song from the music by the band Train. This is what I call the back image. I picked two shades of blue that represent the sky in the video. Since this blog is taking forever to write below is another image of the final top layer of paint, which consists of two coats of Bone Black and a third which is a more here-and-there coat of Payne’s Gray.

Image from the new Studio under construction.

The image above with the two examples of the attached music is a proof-of-concept test. I wanted to confirm that I can use magnets to attach the music to the canvas. This would then make it considerably easier to store and move the artwork about. Using magnets to attach the loose canvas to a frame, and magnets to attach the music to the canvas creates a constructed and assemblage artwork.

My past artworks using the scratch of technique involved attaching the wooden music to the soft and vulnerable top layer with glue. Making things worse, the canvas is attached with magnets to the support frame and not stretched. The attaching anything permanently to what is a loose piece of canvas to a layer of fresh paint that can be scrapped off, can be a challenge. Even with careful handling, the attached music can tear away from the top layer of paint and canvas. A solution was that by scrapping down to the original background canvas the glue in those contact areas would hold to the canvas. I am also seeing some evidence that over time the top paint layer may harden enough to diminish the attachment issue. Using magnets attached to the wooden underside of the music and then attached to other magnets placed on the backside of the canvas, eliminates the need for glue, and creates a secure, and a safer to move temporary hold of the music to the canvas.

This is the top background image. Once I paint on the words for the artwork I will then scrap this layer of paint, to reveal the blue and white original background.

This top image differs from my past efforts in that some areas of the background still show through. That happened because I only applied three layers of paint to cover the back layer. In the past I would apply many more layers until the background image was completely covered. I have given up on that idea. I don’t know why I was thinking I needed a solid cover background, other than that would be a traditional art technique that others would approve of. But I was never trained in traditional art techniques. I have only seen them in museums, books, and videos. At this point in this art’s development, my time is too precious to accommodate.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Play that Song rough cut

•05/21/2021 • Comments Off on S_V_H Play that Song rough cut

I like to keep the cover music for this artwork around one minute or less. That does not always happen, but this is the goal. I have my reasoning. Go to any museum and stopwatch the viewers as they pause at your favorite Van Gogh, Turner, Matisse, Picasso, or Rembrandt, painting. You will notice their stare time is around 30 seconds. Looking at the timing for this art my guess is less than 30 seconds for the viewer would soon discover the music push button. That then adds a one minute, more or less, of extra viewing time. Finally, to bring the total view to near two minutes, I would probably get extra starring seconds once the music stops and before the confused viewer finally moves on to the Picasso. That added average viewing time would certainly help this art stand out in a person’s memory, and make the great ones envious.

Every cover song starts with the piano as my foundation for my notation. If the music has voice, then I include a better representative, either a string or woodwind instrument for their Legato (dictionary meaning is a smooth flowing manner, without breaks between notes.) For this rough cut version of the cover music I am using the software Notion for the Alto Flute, Viola, and Cello for voice parts, supported by the piano, banjo and drums.

In the past, before sound, I would use a phrase from the music in order to create the artwork. When I first added music, its purpose was to help the viewer follow the musical notation the artwork was displaying, which then enhanced their experience. That worked for a while. Eventually, as my musical skills increased, the cover music grew not only longer but included more instruments. This resulted in the increasing difficulty in following the artwork along with the music. I made this even worse because the artworks were also getting bigger to accommodate the increased length of the cover music. My temporary solution was to make my notation smaller. When I discovered even I was having trouble following the music along with the artwork, I knew that the causal viewer would simply stop trying. The solution became to have the artwork cover only parts of the cover music for the artwork. At that moment, the artwork no longer controlled the music. No longer am I creating artworks. They are now presentations with the visual and the sound being equal partners. 

Creating a presentation with this music makes added sense considering that this is not a major piece of music, and after counting the lead vocal notes for the cover music. They added up to over one-hundred. If I would then go with my average notation size, which is 50 millimeters, the artwork would have a length of over sixteen feet. That would be the size of a major Vivaldi artwork, and a silly waste of time for this small, but adorable song by the band Train.

This is my 81st day back Home and the first posting of the start of a new project. I am still working in a temporary studio. Yesterday, they installed the commercial carpet squares in the soon to be new permanent Studio.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Play that Song

•05/17/2021 • Comments Off on S_V_H Play that Song

This is the process that I go through trying to figure out what song should be my next project. In my last post I said this: “I need to find a song. It always starts that way. But it is difficult. I need to find a song I can spend a month or more with and still like the music. That is tough.” Let me add to that description the words frustrating, confusing, and even boring after sifting through dozens of songs. Here is how it went down for my next project.

I have a list of songs that I keep in my computer note software call Songs to Paint.

Part of my song list possibilities

Each of these listings where added because I had an emotional moment that matched up to the listening music moment. If I pick a song on the list, I remove them otherwise they remain on the list long after I have “lost that loving feeling.” Sometimes I am lucky and a song or a piece of music just catches me when I need a source. Other times, when nothing trips-my-trigger, I start my search with the list.

Until recently, once I found the music I wanted to paint I would look for a phrase, or a sentence with a clean start and a clean finish. If the music had words that I also wanted to include in the artwork, I then had to make sure that the notation was interesting to catch the viewer’s eye. That part of the process remains today, except I am now a lot more flexible with my word use. What I have added since 2018 is the sound of the music the artwork is portraying. Having to create a soundtrack for an artwork complicates my project choices. It has also changed my project flow. I now create my cover music for the chosen song, which then becomes the template for the artwork 

I create the soundtracks using a Digital Audio Workstation (computer) using StudioOne. There is an immense learning curve with this software. To keep things simple, I build my notation with an instrument I am familiar with, the piano. It then takes a week or more to build a respectable sounding cover that often includes the addition of other instruments, mostly strings and woodwinds. Getting my soundtrack to sound decent and polished is demanding. My music needs to sound good enough to represent the why I chose this music. My goal is never to I match the original music. The goal is that my cover music, when played, presents to the listener the spirit of the music that the artwork is displaying to the viewer.

For this project, I rejected everything I had on my list. Here then are some of the music choices that I considered and discarded over a couple of days:

Bob Dylan Forever Young. But I have already painted Rod Stewart version

I started with Bob Dylan but moved on to Jeff Lynne singing Lift Me up. This music I like for its uplifting music and lyrics and its musical lightness. I feel that combination would be a suitable match for my mood. But I hesitated. It was not quite what I wanted. It did not ring-my-bell.

Jeff Lynn I love this uplifting music but again in this moment I did not feel it.
Elvis Presley live singing Love Letters. I listen to other versions, but could not convince me, but his voice is amazing.
I like the lyrics to this music, but the music flow and notation pace I did not thing would work with either the piano or a string instrument.

In desperation, and the hope to find a potential classic song material amongst today’s music, I turn to the google search looking for the “Best songs of the 21st Century.” I went through a number of lists: 100 Greatest Songs of the Century – So Far- The Rolling Stone, Every song of the Summer of the 2000s, 150 songs of the 21st century (so far), The Best Songs of 21st Century – Ranker. I even listen to a Spotty playlist Best Songs of the 21st Century. Besides Mr. Brightside, which I have already painted, nothing I listen to tripped-my-biffy, and which I thought I could notate and create a respectable soundtrack.

The next day, I thought for a moment to go with Born in the USA. No, I am not doing another Bruce Springsteen song. I did like the song’s rebellious sound, which got me to think about finding a Punk Rock song to paint. That idea popped up after listening earlier on my walk to the Violent Femmes singing Blister In the Sun. I have for a long time wanted to paint an example of this music genre. It somehow relates to my youth when I played the organ and sang backup with a local garage band. So I looked around. I started with the Ramones. I then moved on to play a few other bands, mostly from Spotify Punk Rock playlist. Nothing tripped-my-trigger. Besides, punk uses a lot of guitar which I have limited skill level to produce. The band Green Day surprised me as their music shows up in the punk music category. I have always liked their music. For me they felt like a garage band, but that wasn’t enough to move me.

Born in the USA, but enough of Bruce, please expand your range I told myself
The Violent Femmes. A good Song but not good enough to paint.
The Ramones and Blitzkreig Bop
Green Day I like the sound of these guitars but for now I do not think I have the skill or time to figure out how cover those guitars and drums.

I then thought about doing a song by Bon Iver (I liked his voice on the Taylor Swift song) They are a kind of local band, but that also went nowhere. Finally, I thought I could turn back the clock and so I searched but found nothing: not a pop standard or a Jazz Standard, or even a torch song was going to flip-my-switch. All delightful music, but again no light went on. I was in the dark, not knowing which way to go. Then in a soft desperate voice I spoke to myself that I needed a song to play, “Play that song,” I said. At that moment I paused as a faint connection with those three words popped into my head. In my Spotify search I typed “Play that Song.” There it was, Play that song by the band Train.

Finally, a song that caught my attention. It had that similar uptempo sound and interesting lyrics as my earlier option, “Lift me Up,” but its title and its story fit my current emotional situation better. I even think I can listen to this music, maybe for a month. Maybe. Hopefully.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia Play that Song”…. incorporates the melody of “Heart and Soul.”

Oh my god, this video played after I listen to the Cleftones, Heart and Soul. Would you know it? There was Bruce Springsteen with Chuck Berry singing Johnny B. Goode. Definitely on the list. I thoroughly enjoyed this video.

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This is a special blog post. For this is my 651 post, and it ties the number of letters Vincent Van Gogh sent to Theo Van Gogh. Somewhere in a long ago blog post I set that as a goal to reach. Today I have. The best stuff is yet to come.

Scott Von Holzen