S_V_H Embraceable You Final Image

embraceableYou_FinalEmbraceable you is finished. This painting comes from a Jazz Standard piece written  by George Gershwin in 1928.   This artwork consists of four canvas panels over sixty-four inches in length, and is larger than I had originally planed. What changed this artworks dimensions was my decision to add extra words, and then increase their size.  To make room for the larger font I needed to use larger canvases, which then required me to enlarge the music.

In the original plan I wanted to keep this artwork on the smaller size because of this music’s absence of drama (no slurs or ties, no flags, or beams), but my focus  changed from the music to the words to at least add some interest. That changed in direction created  a problem, absent if I would have used smaller canvases, of what to do with all that space between the music.  After a couple of, what I would consider,  tired attempts at stripping I realized I had nothing. That is when I turned to the painting, I Won’t Dance, a Jerome Kern Jazz Standard from the same time period as Embraceable you.  I Won’t Dance uses Art Deco treatments to mirror the times, and I thought a similar look might work with Embraceable.


To start with I added narrow gold and blue striping across the entire work. That gave it the Art Deco look which did greatly improved the interest and the character of Embraceable.  I then repainted some of the original stripping to improve the contrast, and to blend better with the music.

I actually had to learn like this work. It fell out of favor early in its development, probably because of the changes I made to the original plan.  It got worse when I  questioned the colors used for the music.  I felt my color choices, chosen for their feminine look, where to close in tone which made the music appeared to have a plastic  look.  It was not until I added the Art Deco touches that I realized that the music worked fine with the new look of background.  In the final image you see how everything came together.

My feelings for this artwork have certainly changed a lot since I first chose this music.  I now think Embraceable You does achieved an interesting,  and unique look, that I like. This painting should feel very good about itself, getting out of me, what it needed.


Scott Von Holzen