Fine and Mellow is finally finished. For its size this painting took forever to complete. Well at less it felt that way. I must admit things drag on way longer after I heard of the death of B. B King. At that moment I could not stop spinning the Blues. Since Fine and Mellow is a Billie Holiday Blues song, with a great video, and B. B. King is the Blues, the Blues kept flowing through me. It is if it was hard for me to let go. I could not move on. Surely, during this time the death of my favorite Uncle, Walter, and our cat, Roxy, must have played a part. And yet there must come that moment, that we all understand, that Life is for the Living. So this is it. After I post the blog entry, I am returning my music choice back to Quick Mix on Pandora, letting everything go including letting B. B. King fall back in place with the other 99 channels on Pandora.
Fine and Mellow, consists of three canvases about 20 inches by 50 inches in length. All during this painting, I have had my concerns, after watching Billie Holiday sing this song with such great accompaniment, that I would have a hard time capturing that music. Of course, as always, I have to remind myself. I know that every painting starts out as if it is all about the music, but they all end up in some way a tribute to the music, but more so, an artwork that stands on its own merits. Sometimes I wonder if the music is my excuse to paint another painting.
Looking at Fine and Mellow, it looks its best when the lights are lower which allows the background to stay dark. The brighter colors of the music are still there, but all those blues, in the background, take on more depth with the lights turned down. Surprisingly, What stands out with this work is the background. For a change I let the music flow float behind the background layers. What caused this change in thinking was that the artwork looked boring compared to the black and white video. The stripping across the music woke this painting up. At first I striped only the music flow, but that changed, and by letting the music blend more with a background, this painting found its own way to stand out from my other works.
This is a second final image, that I finished this morning. I added a lot more stripping across most of the major parts of the music, causing the background seep a lot more to the surface, and finally creating the look I wanted from the start.
The nice parts of this painting are my use of the color yellow and those shades of green. The words I consider to be well done, in how they blend into the background, an important part in helping to define the feelings of this painting. But the winning aspect of this artwork, and the biggest improvement is without doubt the strong emphasize given to the background stripping. All those different colors and shapes in the stripping greatly effected the mood of the entire artwork with the added feature of filling in empty spaces with interest.
In the video you see this back-en-forth between Billie and the musicians. One of the goals of this artwork was to recreate that movement with the contrast of the background with the music. Like in the video, everything has to come together to succeed, and hopefully that is also happens in this artwork.
To end this blog entry and this special Time with Billie’s Fine and Mellow, how about spending a few last minutes with the Blues and B. B. King, singing “When It All Comes Down (I’ll Still be Around)
Scott Von Holzen