S_V_H Mozart’s Rondo Alla Truca image 2

•06/14/2018 • Leave a Comment

This is an artwork in progress, and not sections of a ladder with marshmallows attached to one side.  This  Mozart piece needs to be finished by June 18th, to be entered in the Inaugural art exhibition at the Pablo Center of the Confluence.  If selected this artwork will hang in exhibition on a wall, as a combination three-dimensional painting, sculpture, an assemblage artwork.  Until then,  this artwork is currently laying on a table in pieces waiting to be glued to a six-foot aluminum frame.

This image’s construction demonstrates the amount of craftsmanship that is now needed to portray Music. This art started as paintings of music.  Even today when asked what I paint, my response still is, “I paint Music.” Because of the physical work now needed to assemble these artworks I have lately wondered if I am becoming too crafty. This came to mind recently when a customer picked up a commissioned work.

On seeing their artwork for the first time, he quickly mention how the aluminum frame could be given a high gloss finish using wet high grit sandpaper.  I felt guilty when he said that. Than I thought his suggestion deserved some merit because the aluminum, even when carefully picked,  always has small scratches and abrasions that need to be removed.  I thanked him for his suggestion.  Latter, that discussion reminded me that most local art is exactly that,  ‘high gloss.’  The public sees a high quality finish as quality Art, and Artists comply.  I am sure many see such a finish as a way to improve sales and to charge more for their artwork.  What I see is a lot of local artwork that lacks originality and creativity, but sure is pretty.

Are you becoming to crafty?   For now the answer is probably, yes, but I see this art constantly evolving. My guess is that in time I will loosen up on accuracy in portraying music. This will allow me to move away from craftsmanship to more true assemblage. I think the true meaning of this art form will then begin to come into focus.  I also believe the fundamentals of the flow will continue, but everything thing else that depicts that movement is up for grabs. That openness to change is the product of me needing to innovate to avoid the fear of boredom.  I am also kinda-of-a geek: I am always looking for the next best thing.

Scott Von Holzen




S_V_H God Only Knows

•06/02/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H God Only Knows

God Only Knows, 29 3/4″ x 13 1/2″ Canvas, aluminum with wood features.

This little commission artwork is finished. It took a lot longer than I thought. The issue, and I already know this, is no matter the size of the artwork the prep, the decision-making and the problem solving ends up consuming the same amount of time no matter the size of the artwork.

I am not comfortable working with the color green. That really is silly for I have a great range and variety of greens in jars to work with, and for this music green had to dominate the look.
So it does, but don’t expect the next artwork to carry on this look.

The words you see in this work, “God knows you,” come from the music’s lyric, “God only knows what I’d be without you.” What you see in these two sentences, are some shared words with different meanings.  My need, for any words that I use, is that together they do not refer directly to the music.  I always Google down three pages to confirm that there is no connection.  I actually like working with the words in this way.  These artworks go beyond the music that they start with, in direction and meaning. They also have greater depth than any abstract image of the music. As mention in many blog entries before, these artworks are a portrait of an individual piece of music. They represent a musical piece uniqueness and character.

I have to comment on two aspects of this artwork.  The blue you see above the canvases represent the sky. The lighter blue rectangles represent clouds.  The brighter greens and browns you see below the canvasses represent different layers of the earth.

Finally, I do not think I have ever used the word “God,” in any of my artworks. For this music it made sense. My lovely wife, Barb, pointed out that the word ‘knows’ was harder to read than the other two words.  Like all my earlier artworks I have always used one color for all the lettering.  This became a contrast issue after coloring in of the word ‘God,’ on a darker blue-green background,  and then using the same light blue for the word ‘knows’ that is on a lighter green background.  But, when I than tried a darker color for the word ‘knows’,  that made that word too prominent for its use.   My solution was to use the same light blue for all the words. This than allowed the important words “God and You’ stand out while the lighter looking word ‘knows’ to still connect the phrase.   A result, in doing the words this way, is that people will first see the capitalized words ‘God’ and ‘You, and then be presented  with the choice to read, or not, the softer looking in between word ‘knows.’  All this adds complexity, and challenge for the viewer to define their own meaning of this artwork and the music it is portraying.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H God only Knows image 1

•05/26/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H God only Knows image 1

God only knows is a Series artwork  that for now is 27 1/2 inches in length and just over 6 inches in height.  This is also a commissioned project from the 1966 Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. This song reached number twenty-five, and the album number two, on The Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs and 500 greatest albums of all time.

Today, was the first time that I actually listened to the entire album. No surprise that I enjoyed listening to the hits Sloop John B, Wouldn’t Be Nice and God Only Knows. As for the rest of the album the music reminded me that my appreciation of the Beach Boys was just that, the hits. Of course the hits where the only Beach Boys songs I heard growing up with the transistor radio.

This basic color scheme for this artwork comes form the Pet Sounds album, and a later Pet Sound Sessions commemorative release:

The color green does not dominate a lot of my artworks.  It is a color that I feel needs the support of other colors, mainly blue, to make it work.  That is why I was glad to see a nice pale blue used on both album covers.  I will build the music from that color.

Here is a new version of God only Knows, sung by Brian Wilson,  who wrote the music:

Finally, here is the original studio version song by Brian’s younger brother Carl Wilson:

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Rondo Alla Turca First Image

•05/19/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Rondo Alla Turca First Image

This is a special project for an important event.  To start with this Artwork, of course, will build on the past, but already there are some big differences from recent works. This work is already six feet in length and the two end 6 inch by 8 inch canvases are all that I will be using.  Also, the distance between the canvases is incredible long and empty which will make for a lot of issues and needed problem solving.   Another first time feature is my use of printed decoration that I than attach to the canvases.

I realized while doing Vogue that many of the Art Deco designs I would like to reproduce on canvas would be extremely time-consuming and  difficult for me to hand paint.  Vogue took weeks to finish as it is. I chose than to go with simpler Art Deco designs,  for the reason that this art is about the music first and decoration is secondary.  Recently I found some nice Art Deco design files on-line,  and again they too have their limitations, but for now they will add a higher quality decorative look to this Mozart project.  The designs I print on Epson exhibition canvas using their archival inks.  I than coat the canvas with museum rated canvas varnish.  This makes me more comfortable with this option. That, and the expanding of my techniques, by continuing the art of modern collage created by Barque and Picasso, tells me I am good to go.

This first image of Rondo Alla Turca has the dimensions six feet in length by eight inches high.  I am creating this work specifically to be entered in the first juried exhibition at the new Confluence Art Center in Eau Claire.

Here is the interesting parts of the application:

My planed was to enter two artworks,  Vogue and this Mozart project until I read the application which stated a 60 inch artwork limit.  Vogue is 64 inches in length.  Than to my delight I read further about 3D artworks being accepted under 7 feet.  This Art is easily defined as sculptural, and since it is definitely three-dimensional, I think Vogue qualifies, and this Mozart project, will for sure, be just under 7 feet in length.

The Juror for this show is Dana Major who does “sculptural light installations and performative interactions……..,” so I find that interesting, and a small positive.  What I have figured out so far about guest art jurors is that this may limit the show promoters influence on who gets invited.  That also means that from year to year the quality and the making of the show can vary.  For this show  it is better that the Juror is from faraway Chicago, instead of locally.  The idea of a Big City Artist as the judge, may work to my benefit,  if she takes our local art seriously, and for me if she gets what this art is about.

The deadline for entry is June 18th and I will know by the end of July, if this local boy can nudge his way into limelight of this important first show at the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Liechtensteiner Polka Final Image

•05/18/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Liechtensteiner Polka Final Image

. . . . . .   ………   ………………….

This project titled, Liechtensteiner Polka, with the subtitle, Back-to-the-Future as a seven-year old living in a small town learning to play the accordion art project, is finished.

Below is a picture of my Father’s accordion, that I used for my later lessons.  I still have my little red accordion, but the bellows are bad. The bellows on this accordion are functional along with all the keys and the bass buttons.  Not bad for an accordion over 60 years old that never receive any special care.  To my disappointment it worth today what Dad paid for it originally.

I did have to adjust the straps, but still found myself struggling to put it on. The accordion is heavy.  After a little research on how to play and read the bass buttons, I eventually had the basics of the Liechtensteiner Polka, although not good enough to video the results. This art project is now over, and music from Mozart is up next.


To practice my instruments is a decision I have to make everyday in my Studio. I use my Studio time for creating and promoting this Art. Everything else that consumes Studio time than takes away from those goals.  The result is that although I would love to play the Liechtensteiner Polka on the accordion, I still cannot. I need more practice.  The accordion will stay in my studio to compete for Studio time along with my saxophone, violin, guitar, and my piano. Little do they know that I enjoy listening to great music more than actually practicing music.  Maybe this will change as this Art matures,  and I am looking for new directions in music.  Maybe, would it not be wonderful,  if someday I could actually play on any instrument, the Music I paint.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Key of C & The Polka image 3

•05/04/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Key of C & The Polka image 3

Key of C No.1 18 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ Acrylic paint wood and aluminum

This is the prototype for the series Musical Keys. Since there are no sharps or flats this is the Key of C.  It does have the relative natural minor which would be A minor, but that is another music theory story. The question in my mind throughout the hours it took to plan and produce this first results was, why am I doing this? I guess I thought the idea was worth exploring.  After doing three of these I now think these Keys are kinda cute, and appealing to those that appreciate music. An interestingly of the 24 major and minor scales, guess the obvious, they are all different. That means even if I would go with a similar color scheme all the individual scales would like different. This is the Key of G in Burnt Umber instead of Silver.

Key of G No.1 18 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ Acrylic paint wood and aluminum

Since I will create, signed and numbered hand-made duplicates of these Keys, they will obviously belong in the same Class of works as my Beethoven 5th, as their own Series. That means these works are crafty artworks. The Liechtensteiner Polka artwork came to a stop to work on the Key Series works, and a show I will be displaying my Series artworks in this weekend.  Still, this delay should not affect this artwork, for all that is left are the words and some clean up.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Liechtensteiner Polka image 2

•04/23/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Liechtensteiner Polka image 2

Liechtensteiner Polka second image shows an interesting look and use of my choices for the best Polka music colors. That and the style of stripping certainly sets this artwork apart from everything before it and probably whatever else is yet to come. It’s a Polka, so I want a happy, bouncy, nothing fancy here, look. In retrospect, I have remembered another story about the Polka beyond my accordion.

My high school years were split,  so I was a junior when I meet Allen, who would eventually be my best man at my wedding. His parents were of German heritage, typical for the area, and on weekends all around Central Wisconsin on weekend nights there was live polka music, and on Sunday television localized polka dancing. I remember tagging along with Allen and the family to a local dance hall especially the one in Rozellville Wis. I do not recall if I was ever a good polka dancer, but I do remember their daughter, Charlene.  She had short dark hair, and beautiful eyes.  She also walked with a slight limp but that did not bother me. What I saw was a beautiful girl, that was  smart and more worldly than me.  She taught me how to polka. I fell for her. I became concerned with my acne medicine. And yet by my senior high school year,  rock ‘en roll  became my music. I stopped polka dancing. Charlene and I had drifted away from each other. Our time dancing to the polka is not my only memory of Charlene.  What I long remember is our good night scene from our first date.

We were in her house, the lights where down low,  left on by her sleeping parents.  I was about to leave when to my surprise she wrapped her arms warmly around me. And then, in a moment that remains one of my most regrettable life choices:  it did not happen.  I did not kiss her.  I said something about this being our first date, and I did not think it was right thing to do. It could also be that I  wanted her to see me as a perfect gentleman. Whatever it was, she dropped her arms.

Our relationship was never the same. My last memory of Charlene was hurt feelings when I learned that she was dating a Brylcreem hair guy in a fast car.  A few years later, hanging out with my best friend Alan,  I discovered Charlene’s, now older,  younger sister, Linda.  She was aggressive, and to quote Dylan “Ah, but I was  so much older than, I’m younger than that now.”

Both sisters for very different reasons played their part in the story of who I am today. Maybe then it is not just because I played the Liechtensteiner polka on my accordion that I am painting this music. Maybe it has something to do with long ago memories of dancing the polka. This artwork may be a part of a Once-upon-a-time tale of a boy and a girl swirling about the dance floor. I am that boy with a smile on my face, and my first love in my arms. Together, we where both lost in the music. Once again, together.

Scott Von Holzen