S_V_H Please Come Home for Christmas progress images

Background canvas layer image

Please Come Home for Christmas is this year’s Christmas painting and the last in the series.  This first image shows what I would call a generic abstraction.   All I am trying to do is paint the canvas with colors that when scratching off the top coat of paint would review a contrast in color interest between the two layers.  It is a style of painting that I can honestly call my own.   Concerning the painting of the background, I noticed after scratching down to the background that I should have painted over all the white areas of the background.   I believe that would have improved the color contrast with the top layer paint.

My brother Roger’s Christmas card gave me the basic color scheme for Please Come Home.

I was hesitating to paint another Christmas painting.   This conflict has been growing for years.   The feedback over the last 14 years has been almost nothing. The original reason I spent an enormous amount of time and effort to create an artwork and then design, produce and send out Christmas cards was a way to say thank you by staying connected to those who had purchased an artwork, or people and friends that have supported this art.   The issue became this plan never grew. Everything remained as it was from the first Christmas card to last year’s fourteen versions.  It became a yearly habit and nothing more.   The creating of fourteen Christmas paintings added up to a lot of time spent that resulted in a few responses, and not a single artwork or print sale.   The reason today that I am creating the fifteen Christmas painting came from a comment I got from one long time Christmas card receiver.   She had made a custom framed for all the canvas prints from the Christmas cards and had one last blank space left to fill.  I guess it came down to this, which was enough to continue this series one last year.

When I first introduce my choice for this year’s Christmas artwork, anyone who looked at the videos could see this was a distinctive agnostic style of a Christmas song that I was looking for.   How I found this music started with going through several video lists of the top Christmas songs of all time.   At first, all the music that appealed to me I had already painted.   That forced me to go back through the list that I thought contained the most diverse songs.  That is when I stopped to look at a video of a song I never heard of called Please Come Home for Christmas.  It was being sung by Bon Jovi and included the delightful Cindy Crawford.  This caught my interest, to watch other videos of Please Come Home.  The cover that closed the deal was by the country singer Martina McBride.

top paint layer covering up the background image shown above

The finished top layer of acrylic paint includes many of the words from the music.  The addition of words to an artwork helps connect the music to the artwork and provides the opportunity for the words to have other meanings beyond being the music’s lyrics.   I took the pieces and phrases of the lyrics and placed them where they would fit without concern for their order.  I kept everything fairly horizontal and used different colors for each group of words for separation and legibility. 

In the past, I have waited no longer than a day to begin the scraping process.  For this artwork, two days passed before I took a narrow pallet knife and scraped away the top layer of the artwork to review the background.  I noticed that the scraping was harder to do.  Probably because of the extra one day delay. 

I made sure my scratching away of the topcoat was extensive, even across the words, to bring out the contrasting background colors.  What surprised me when done was how easy it was to still read the words. Unlike the previous artwork, Woodstock, the scratching off of the top layer only then revealed the words. 

This is the finished canvas image part of this project.

This last image is a snapshot image of the signed canvas image of this year’s Christmas painting.   I used a stiff felt material for the pink and green-colored rectangles (my musical beams, ties, and slurs). The pink color is that of the felt, while the green color I painted using another piece that was white.   Knowing I would not be stretching this artwork, I went with the use of the flexible felt being attached to the mounted wood.  Felt bends, unlike wood.   This then would lessen the chances of pressure on the glued wood if there was any twisting of the canvas when being moved.

This finishes the first part of the project.  In the past, this step would be the end.   This artwork requires that I build a wall mounting aluminum frame to attach the canvas too.  I will next construct the speaker boxes and solder together the stereo system.  The installation of the music that I had arranged before even starting the work on the canvas is next.   I then attach everything to the frame to finish the project.  The result will be an artwork that will wall hang with a button that when pressed will play the musical arrangement that the artwork is portraying.

Scott Von Holzen