S_V_H The Liechtensteiner Polka image1

•04/16/2018 • Leave a Comment

No, I am not disparate for source material. And “Ja (yes)” this artwork’s subject matter is Polka music. Before you click on the link to Ten reasons you should lower your expectations,” or ” Fifteen ways to justify your personality flaws,” know that this was one of the few remembered songs that I played on the accordion when I was seven to maybe ten years old. “Ja das ist” the Liechtensteiner Polka.  I must point out, I  have to use a cheat sheet to spell “Lie_ch_ten_steiner.

This is the first rather empty image 1 of the Liechtensteiner Polka.  This artwork now consists of two small 4 x 6 inch canvases with an aluminum frame, about 36 inches in length.  The white and black colors come from the costumes worn in the videos.

In my accordion days I remember this music as an instrumental:

What I have now found is that the Liechtensteiner Polka by Will Glahé reached to number 19 on the Billboard Weekly Top Forty in late December of 1957.  Sam Cooke’s You Send Me was number one, while Jailhouse Rock, by Elvis was number two that same week.  I would have been nine years old at that time. I have no memory of listening to either Sam Cook, Elvis or the Lie_ch_ten_steiner Polka.

In fact I was a little shocked when first listening to Will Glahé singing the Liechtensteiner Polka in German. I know it makes sense that Polka music is sung in German, but actually hearing my favorite accordion song in German, reminded me of old war movies about the Nazis and Adolf Hitler. I know not to stereotype Germany. My heritage is 50 percent German Swiss. Still, having an English version would have been nice, except for the, “Ja” parts of the music.  I was all in on that language. In fact after listening to this catchy tune multiple times sung in Germain, I  found myself singing at random moments,  with no clear reasoning, “Ja, Ja, Ja.”

Here is that vocal version of Liechtensteiner Polka:

I do counter the Germanic voices in my head by watching and listening to other videos, including the legionary David Bowie singing live, wind sweep hair and all, “Bring Me the Disco King,” a favorite.

"ja, das ist gut"

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vogue Final Image

•04/10/2018 • Leave a Comment

Vogue, acrylic on three canvases, with aluminum and wood features, 64 1/4″ in length by 22 1/4 in height.

Vogue, what the Hell are we looking at here? For the first time viewers of this blog they probably see a mixed media abstraction, minus fabric and beads.* To returning quests  Vogue’s style (stripped of emotion) is that of a three dimensional representation of a flow of music that is the theme Vogue. Looking at Vogue I can see this artwork in either way. Together that means Vogue shifts from the main purpose of the background which is to physically support the music.  With Vogue this is a return to the blending of the music into the artwork as seen in these early examples.

Joy to the World – 2006

Mood Indigo – 2007

Aspects of how Vogue blends the music into the background can be seen in comparison with In The Mood, the current header image of this blog site.  The obvious difference with Vogue is the amount of decorative design, and the overall use of the same colors for the music and the background, not seen in In The Mood.

A notable physical change with Vogue is the spacing of the music which is purposely tight, to create more tension between pieces. In comparison the music from In The Mood spreads across the background as if to take up space, resembling sheet music. Another blending technique is in the stem design. The stems used for In The Mood are all standardized, similar to their appearance in sheet music. With Vogue the sheet music look is broken by the varying depth of the stems across the artwork.

I consider Vogue a major work because of its size, complexity, and the time required, over three weeks, to complete. Vogue is the third original artwork completed this year. That means a possible total of only twelve new original artworks for 2018. That is not much output, that became startlingly obvious when the local gallery took seven of my current artworks. This left the number of newest works for other venues, very thin. That is where the development of my mini-artworks, that average each a day or less to produce, will help the production numbers.


(This video like all my videos starts out great for the first few seconds, and then quickly deteriorates into a lot of mumbling and incomplete sentences.  What saves this video is the self deprecation of the lyrics discussion near the end.  It is a laugh.)

Scott Von Holzen

*reference to a local artist genre

S_V_H Vogue Image 4

•04/04/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Vogue Image 4

With this fourth image Vogue is nearing completion.  What still needs to be done are the words,  a few minor add-on wood pieces,  and the finishing. In past projects finishing meant mostly touching up the paint, and sharpening edges.  What will be different with Vogue is the finishing.

Vogue builds on the influences of the Vivaldi artwork RV531, mentioned in an earlier blog, and the recently completed commercial project, Like A Rock. Where Vogue differs from its predecessors  is the overall emphasis on the decorative.  In addition to my standard touching up I am going to look at adding some extra Art Deco features to Vogue.

My unwritten plan for Vogue was to abandoned more of the last influences of sheet music. With Vogue I am seeing the typical domination of the flow of the music, lessened  by other features that can also represent music.  With the artwork Vogue the next giant step forward may now be possible.  It is time.  After twelve years of work I need to finally step through that door, and close it behind. There are other handles needing reaching.

This is my 550th post. I think that is remarkable documentation of this artist’s journey.  The best is yet to come.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Vogue Image 3

•03/28/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Vogue Image 3

With image 3 of Vogue I am using a technique for the music first used for the Vivaldi Artwork RV 531. It was that project that l first used a cutting mat with its measuring marks. That allowed me to accurately group together sections of the music. This method also works with Vogue where the background is mostly empty space, and the music groups well together.

Here is my low-keyed explanation of this technique:

This artwork requires an exact plan to place 22 pieces of  good-sized music, in an intentional small length of 64 inches. To make everything fit I knew I had to tighten the spacing of the music.  This action than improves the tension in the artwork, filled up the space of the background, and enhanced the sense of movement of the artwork.

Vogue will be over five feet in length when finished which is a change from my tendency of late of creating artworks around the three-foot range.  My thinking for Vogue was that I needed to create a larger work that  would have more visual impact on the viewer. Bigger would have been even better, but I also want an artwork that I can reasonable price to fit the local market. It does me no good to add to my already large stacks of unsold, 8, 10 foot and longer artworks, all in storage, and all out-of-sight.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vogue 2nd image

•03/18/2018 • 2 Comments

This is the artwork, Vogue. The background, for now, is finished.  The two side canvases where purposely kept small to give the background a sparse look, but that made the attaching of the music a challenge. Having the aluminum frame mounted to the front of the canvases resolved that issue.  I can now attach the music, or even extra support, all along the frame edge. This results in an open look of the background, and at the same time, will allow the music to seem to be floating across the artwork. Exposing more of the metal also enhances the Art Deco appearance.  

I have always liked the look of Art Deco. My first painting, in that style, was 2015’s I Won’t Dance.  Art Deco is also the theme of the Vogue Madonna video, and now this artwork.   I am looking for new ideas and a fresh new look for 2018. Each artwork builds on the last, but for 2018 I am planning some major new construction starting with Vogue.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vogue image1

•03/15/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Vogue image1

This early first image is of the music Vogue made popular by Madonna. This work is 10 inches by 60 inches in length.  You can see the influence of the previous commissioned work, Like on Rock, that pushed me to try fresh ideas, and techniques to meet the customers expectations. I want to keep that trend going.  Vogue  does that by allowing me to return to a favorite design theme, Art Deco.  That can be seen in this black and white video of Madonna’s Vogue.

In the eighties and early nineties my favorite first name wonders where,  Prince and Madonna. I consistently bought their CDs. Vogue is my favorite Madonna song, while Purple Rain, at that time, was my favorite Prince music. I have already painted Purple Rain. That artwork pushed me to innovate.

Now,  it is Madonna’s turn. It is like the restlessness one feels as winter slowly gives way to Spring. I am looking for a new trend.  I accomplished a tiny fraction of that with Prince and Purple Rain. Vogue feels like it has that same possibility.  Madonna’s  music can be a great incentive to create a feisty, spicy, unpredictable, an innovative performance of art.  Time to “Strike a pose.”

Scott Von Holzen



Like A Rock2 final Image

•03/10/2018 • Comments Off on Like A Rock2 final Image

LikeARock2 52.25″ x 20″ in height. Three canvases, aluminum, wood features, and added music

Like a Rock the second version is finished.  I must admit I was a little concerned about how to go about this project, but to my surprise ( every time I say it is a surprise) but it is not, (for I always figure it out in the end), the results of this artwork are beyond my expectations.

This artwork’s theme is from one of the longest advertising campaigns that ran for over a decade. This video demonstrates this artwork’s added tribute to the music from those Chevrolet commercials over the years, and is for the private use of the owner.

Because this is a commission work with a specific theme I kept the design and the colors of this project focused on what I would consider is a good representation of the subject matter, with a small amount of creative interest added, so not to bore me or the viewer.

Commission works are challenging,  educational, and rewarding.  At the same time they are restrictive in every creative way.  That means for my next project, my choice,  I will be looking for music that allows me to do it differently. Maybe it is time for some Team Spirit, or a little Thriller, or how about what’s in Vogue.  We shall see.

Scott Von Holzen