Over the Rainbow 2019 is finished. Rainbow painted in the style of Giant Steps has that improvisational look that originally I thought would only work with Jazz artworks such as Giant Steps and So What. Rainbow shows that this jazzy more relaxed style of the music does adapt to the ballad, and will probably work with other music genres, including Classical. Another benefit of the music styled more casually, is that this than solves a longtime issue, of how to portray motion in a static artwork.
Over the years I have tried different ways to simulate motion in the artworks. I even researched motion that was important to the art and social movement Futurism. Good examples of my best earlier attempt at motion can be seen in a number of the Vivaldi Four Season’s artworks.
For the Vivaldi Artwork Autumn to try to simulate motion I added a smaller circle inside the larger musical circle. The illusion I wanted was that of a spinning ball inside the larger circle moving clockwise across the artwork. The results were always mixed. Other examples of this technique can be found in artworks from 2012 until 2015 when I finally abandon the idea with the switch to raised wood for the music.
As mentioned before the idea to allow the music to go off vertical comes from the artwork Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock. An interesting critique of this artwork comes from the site jackson-pollock.com. “According to art historian Dennis Phillips,……… Because we look for the poles and miss much of the rest, the name is simply too distracting.” Phillips is right for I saw the poles as musical notes and the background as just that. That is probably why there are no other mentioned Pollock’s with similar poles.
In summary, there are two big changes that occurred in Rainbow and earlier in Giant Steps. The first is that I have moved away from longer than wider artworks, that were standard since the beginnings of this art, to a more squared look with the music now stacked in sections. A practical reason for this move is the difficulty in storing these long delicate, with multiple parts, artworks. Actually, no matter their length, my artworks these last few years, I have found, can only be stored safely when laid down. The other even bigger change, that also goes back to the beginnings of this art, was to drop the consistent upright stance of the music which, of course, resulted in making these new artworks look less static.
One troubling issue that lingers still, and affected Rainbow, was how to paint or not paint the canvases. There was even a moment that I thought about leaving them all white (my Robert Ryman moment). Rainbow is just the latest artwork where I have questioned what purpose the canvases served, besides support for the music. I escaped back to reality by deciding to paint only the two center canvases in an outer space type Rothko look. I then added a variety of canvas-covered round wood pieces (I like circles having nothing to do with the music for their disruptive effect) for interest, and to connect the painted canvases to the other four covered by canvas prints.
Finally, I should mention the blue piece of wood with a relaxed handwritten word, why, repeated five times. For this version of Over the Rainbow, instead of choosing Judy Garland’s version of the music, I chose Keith Jarrett’s jazzier performance and stunning ending. This artwork’s music is “If happy little blue-birds fly beyond the rain-bow why oh why can’t I?” These words are all sung by Judy Garland without any slow down until she sings the last word I. All those extra whys is because of Keith Jarrett performance of those same last few notes, where he slows down dramatically, drawn each note out. On the first why he almost seems to pause. At that first why is where I decided to add the extra whys, for fun, and to channel a tribute to Jean Michael Basquiat, and his painting that includes five Moses.
I am still planning on adding the red music button for the music to Over the Rainbow. When I am finished I will post a video.
Scott Von Holzen