S_V_H The Blue Danube Final Image

•08/17/2019 • Leave a Comment

The Blue Danube (2001 Space Odyssey) 82″ length x 35.5″ in height x 4″ in-depth

I posted a final video on The Blue Danube on July 4th.  The video explains how I connected the Artwork to the music, to the movie.  I have been working on this project since May 23rd.  Following the lead of The Theme from Schneider’s List, the overall color range for The Blue Danube resembles the look of the movie 2001 Space Odyssey. The main colors are neutral,  a mix of black, gray, white.  Beyond the color blue, I added small splashes of brighter accent colors, found in the movie, to add interest and contrast.   My style now is to stay away from the rainbow look of using too much and too many bright colors creating art that is strongly punchy.  When I see a lot of flashy colors in a lot of today’s contemporary art,  I think baby toys.  All that mix of bright colors diminishes the impact and can be a fallback tool to distract from the lack of originality.

For this work, I thought I would experiment with another wood frame.  My thinking was that the white-painted wood frame would match the movie better than a bright metal frame.  I did not see a lot of bright metal in the movie.  Because of the length of eighty inches for the frame pieces, I found cutting the wood a challenge.  They required a lot of sanding.  One advantage of using wood frames is that the music, also made of wood,  adheres strongly to the frame.  This is not the case when I am using metal frames for I am gluing wood to metal.  What I like about metal is its strength, straightness,  and modern look.

I specifically created The Blue Danube project for entry in this year’s Major fall art show at the Eau Claire Confluence center.  Since it is important to always submit the maximum number artworks, I also entered Giant Steps and The Turkish March (rejected for last year’s show).  I received this news on August 7th.

“Dear Scott,

Congratulations!  You have been selected as an exhibiting artist for the Confluence of Art Annual at Pablo Center at the Confluence.

The work selected for this exhibition is:

The Blue Danube

Pablo Center has kept images of all the accepted artwork for use in publicity for the exhibit.
Exhibition Dates:     September 13-November 3
Meet the Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony: Friday, October 4, 5-7pm
Rose Dolan-Neill
Visual and Literary Arts Manager PABLO CENTER AT THE CONFLUENCE
128 Graham Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 547011.715.471.6130
Pablo center. org •    

The exposure will be valuable.  The Pablo show is the next addition to this artist’s best showings including Eau Claire’s ArtsWest, The Secura show at the Trout Museum in Appleton, and the current ROOTS exhibition at the Center for the Visual Arts in Wausau.  Being at display at the Pablo may offer a greater benefit of turning this unknown, unknown artist, into the unknown local Artist. Looking forward to the reception.

I am close to finishing my current project, Walking in Memphis, that like The Blue Danube will be my primary entry for another exhibition later this fall at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Wausau.


This is my 600 Blog Entry.  Vincent Van Gogh sent Theo 663 letters.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 3

•08/13/2019 • Leave a Comment

This Artwork, Walking in Memphis, has a constructed look similar to the previous project The Blue Danube (2001 Space Odyssey), and is a continuation of a style trend that first appeared in Giant Steps.  In this image I have added features to separate Walking in Memphis from previous music.  Examples are the obvious Elvis image (public domain).  It looks to me that this image is from the song Jailhouse rock.  In the video of Walking in Memphis it shows the gates of Graceland opening.  I was hoping to find a free-to-use image of Graceland music gates, but could not.  I found several interesting images like this one with Elvis in front of the gates.   Being also a photographer, I am uncomfortable using any images in my artworks that are not copyright free, or public domain.  For this artwork the high-resolution image of Elvis in action looks great and covers the mentioning of Elvis in the song.

26 April 1957: Elvis stands in front of the gates to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee
Picture: Everett Collection / Rex Features

Just below the Elvis image, on the bottom section is another public domain image, but this time it is of W. C. Handy.  Marc Cohen mentions him early in the song.  According to Wikipedia he is the Father of the Blues, and was too first to publish Blues music, and who wrote the song Beale Street Blues in 1917.

Another feature of this artwork, I mentioned in a previous post, has to do with my notes painted in a color similar to Elvis’s Blue Suede Shoes.  I added to the look of those shoes even further by placing five little drops of gold paint on each note to signify a row of the five golden grommets on his blue suede shoes.  One last obvious mention are my musical ties painted to look like a piano keyboard.  That design represents the dominant piano heard and that Marc Cohen plays at the Hollywood throughout the music video.

Next up, adding the last of the artwork features and words, which are always difficult to do.


Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 2

•08/06/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 2

Artwork over 80 inches in length.

For this image of Walking in Memphis I have used a spacer boards so I can display the two sections together.  Right now the length of the artwork is eighty-four inches.  My music for Walking in Memphis is all in place and portrays the ending of the song, where it repeats the beginning.  Here are those words:

“Put on my blue suede shoes And I boarded the plane.  Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues In the middle of the pouring rain.”
-Walking in Memphis Marc Cohen
The video for Walking in Memphis is in black and white.  I painted many of the shafts black and white with shades of gray in between.  I also picked a color to represent the Blues and painted the remaining shafts blue.  I arranged all the shafts into the two sections of the artwork.  To show my appreciation for Jackson Pollock, I clamped all the shafts from each section together.  Then I chose four different colors of fluid acrylics and pour each color into syringe like small plastic bottles.  I then squeezed out the fluid paint across all the wood pieces.  I chose the colors red, blue, yellow, and green for they appear in many of the Beale street neon signs.  Here is an example:
My version of Pollock’s style of drip painting when first applied mimics his style: swirls of paint.  My twist is that I then separate all the shafts.  This spreads the flow creating more movement and drama.
Finally,  I chose for the notes a mixed blue to resemble the color of the only pair of Elvis’s blue suede shoes:

In the four corners I have eight by ten canvases that I have covered with digital canvas night images of today’s Beale Street.  Later on I will add some much older black and white images of Beale Street, and other interesting items Marc Cohen sings about.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 1

•07/29/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 1

Walking in Memphis first image shows the prep so far for this sculpture.  My work sheet has a start date of July 16th.   Since then I have spent much of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings cutting, sanding, and painting pieces of wood.  Now the fun part, putting the artwork together.

I have always liked this song.  One connection to this music is that I visited Memphis around the early nineties and toured Elvis’s home and the grounds.  My remembrances are that the house was not ‘big’ for a mansion, and I could not go up the long stairs to the bathroom where he died.  It shocked me to look at the Google Street view of Graceland today.  It now looks like a theme park.  During my visit I don’t recall many other visitors being there.  I remember walking through the gates and into the house, no guide, and then wandered the other buildings and his grave.  The house with its unique theme rooms are still the coolest part.

After choosing this song I spent days doing research.  I read up on Beale Street and searched for images both new and old.  The past pictures I found several copyright free images.  As for current images, because of the neon everywhere, finding night pictures was difficult.  Most of the Beale Street images I found had copyright requirements for their use.   After more exhausting search, I found three free use images by Heidi Kaden only asking, if you wish, this photography credit:  Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash.   I looked at Beale Street using Google Street view.  It is almost being there without worry about parking.  Beale Street was where the Memphis Blues style developed with the help of great musicians like Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Albert King, B. B. King and other blues and jazz legends (Wikipedia).   To my surprise, they performed on a short two block stretch of blues clubs from 4th to 2nd street.

Here is the music of Marc Cohen who sings and wrote the 1991 song Walking in Memphis:


Coming up more ideas on the many ways I will connect this artwork with the music, and the street.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H The Blue Danube image 3

•06/26/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H The Blue Danube image 3

In this third image of Blue Danube, I have both sections connected for a length of eighty-one inches.  In this image, you can see the mix of black and white objects.  If you could see the artwork from the side,  I have place white dots on the black stems to refer to deep space.  The white stems represent all the different spaceships from the movie.  They designed those spaceships with detailed and varying surfaces.  At first, I tried to used stencils to add some markings to the white stems. That did not work.  Instead, I used a mechanical pencil to draw in the shapes from the stencil and then sealed them with a white glaze.  In the lower section, right side, I have designed the highest note to look like the space station from the opening scenes from the Blue Danube video.  All this would look a lot more interesting if the background would be darker.

I have until the eighth of July to entry this artwork.  I still have a lot of decorative and interest items to add.  Those types of things are important to the look, and depth of the artwork.  The last thing then would be to add the stereo music system.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Blue Danube image 2

•06/18/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H The Blue Danube image 2

First image of the Top Moon section of Artwork

I am fortunate to bring this artwork into existents.  I base it on the music, The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II, from the movie 2001 Space Odyssey.  Luckily YouTube offers a clip of the music from the movie that still amazes me, and that captivated my imagination then.  As a kid I grew up in the space age knowing the names of the nine planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (now considered a dwarf planet).  No matter,  from the start Saturn was always my favorite.  Its name started with an S (for Scott) and those rings made the planet even more special.  I remember having a paper cutout mobile of the solar system that hung in my bedroom.

One other recall, from that time, was a Christmas wish for a telescope, that I never got.  My parents said something about the order not being sent.  I never asked either of them if there was more to the telescope story.  Throughout my life, I debated buying a telescope;  I have not.  I now live in the city that has a bright sky,  street lights, and few stars which makes a telescope an impractical idea.  And yet, I found a new connection to my past.  Our latest house is on a hill facing south towards the city.  To my surprise, I can see the moon many nights throughout the year.  An unexpected delight is finding the moon, during the night, as it moves across our bedroom windows.  Didn’t need a telescope then.  Don’t need it now.  Wonderful that on many nights the spirit of that little boy, and the space age he grew up with,  lives on.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Blue Danube Waltz image 1

•05/31/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H The Blue Danube Waltz image 1

The first image of my newer projects show this small gathering of lots of pieces that took time and effort to produce. This artwork, The Blue Danube Waltz, will follow the trend of stacking the art in sections to form a rectangle look.  Otherwise,  my pre-2019 pencil shape style lengthens this artwork to over twelve feet.

Once upon three years, I was a student at the University of Wisconsin Madison. On rare occasions, on campus, I would go to a movie.  I recall only two times, but not at a theater.  On campus, now or then, movies were free or cheap.  One movie I remember seeing was Deep Throat. Yes, that movie. How could you not?  Away from a small town, I had a deep curiosity in the ways of the big town.  The other more memorable movie, that left a lasting impression, was 2001 Space Odyssey. This movie stirred emotions for Johann Strauss’s waltz,  and the theme of this artwork, The Blue Danube.  The unpredictable combination of the 3 4 beat of a waltz and images of earth from space captivated me.  Here is a clip from that unforgettable sound and visual of The Blue Danube.

In this initial image, you see the second version of digital canvas prints.  The first time I printed them I took their look from the movie clip to be more green than blue. Looking at the accompanying scenes the earth appears in an array of bluer green colors.   Noticing that, I removed the first set of glued prints from the canvas.   No matter how I disliked reprinting, I pulled back on the green.  I increase the color blue to give the oceans a more natural look.  Using colors from a video as a starting point is a frequent procedure for me.  It connects the art to the music.

I mentioned in a blog post about last years rejection by The Pablo Center’s Annual Juried Exhibit: Confluence of Art.  What a way to motivate me.  This year’s judge may again reject this art.  The judging varies each year and is subjective, and uncertain even if the art is ready for prime time viewersTo make some sense of this nonsense, I have a favorite quote from Velveteen Rabbit, “…. once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”  For me, the quality of this art is there, but if it does not win recognition, unlike the art world, I understand.

Scott Von Holzen