Joni Mitchell wrote the song: Woodstock, which will be the subject of the next musical portrait.
By the time I finish an artwork that can take a month or more, I have lost much of my earlier interest and am ready to move on. Thankful for a break it can take days to find and select the next piece of music to portray. Then it takes added time to convince myself that the chosen music is worth the effort. How I work is from project to project: I focused until I finish an artwork, and only then do I consider what to do next.
Once I have chosen my next subject, I arrange the music. That was a lot easier before I added sound. Without sound or words, what I did was pick a phrase or a sentence from the music as a start point and follow that to an obvious end point. If the music included words I then had to choose carefully not only the words (Copywrite concerns on my part), but I had to make sure I still had a good start and end point. Now days with added sound, I create arrangements. What that means is I pick short sections from different parts of the music’s notation, change them to connect, and then together I create a pleasant flow of the music I am portraying. This takes days with many revisions. Eventually, I find an arrangement that sounds good to my ear. I then move on to the artwork, using my arrangement as my guide to building the artwork.
That is where I am at with this first blog entry about the Woodstock project. There is no first image of the artwork (The start date of his project is September 26th). Instead, I am offering a late revision of the music that I arranged for this artwork and that I will use as my guide to cut out, sand, prime, and paint what will be the notation parts for this project.
This is my current arrangement of the project Woodstock that comes from the music of Joni Mitchell:
In 1970 while in college in Madison the version of Woodstock I knew was by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. This song was on their album Déjà vu, a favorite album of mine. Their music confirmed my taste preference for the melodic style of Rock music
I discovered my rock n’ roll style when the Beatles came to America, as a sophomore in a rural high school farming town. I was a Beatles rock ‘n roll guy: great melodies and lyrics, at moderate volume, without any distortion. I had little to no interest in the groundbreaking hard rock style of Led Zeppelin. Obviously, my musical tastes expanded in college. I grew to like The Who, buying their album Live at Leedes, and Cream buying their two disc album Wheels of Fire. Still, The Beatles’ influenced continued into the eighties as I favored Madonna and the Funky sound of Prince, instead of Van Halen, whose music hits resurface with the passing of Eddie Van Halen.
Why then did I not arrange the version of Woodstock from my past? It was because recently when I listened to Joni Mitchell’s Folk rockin’ version of Woodstock; it caught my interest. I knew it would be a better fit for my current limited arrangement abilities, and it would be an acknowledgement of my early years appreciation for Folk music. Folk music later paralleled my preference for rock ‘n roll and grew from the likes of Peter, Paul and Mary, to Joni Mitchell, who I often mixed up with another favorite of mine, Judy Collins. I believe the album Déjà vu contains several other songs that are artwork worthy of future projects for the Sixties time in my life. This one is a thank you to Joni Mitchell, and her lyrics about my lasting memory of the Woodstock Rock Festival.
Finally, unrelated to the music, I have a comment about this blog site. Starting early in its existence, I made up a goal to post the same number of letters Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo Van Gogh. That total is a challenging 658. After ten years of blogging, this post will bring me to 637. I am only twenty-one away.
Scott Von Holzen