S_V_H Your Song image 4

The project Your Song layout laid out on the floor.

I ran into a problem of my creation by not calculating the project’s length. Until recently, I would count the number of notes and the spacing between each, and that total would give me an accurate project length. I would then put together the size of the background needed to support the music. Lately, instead of lining up my music in straight rows across the canvas, I have been stacking my music in an up and down zip-zag pattern. By doing this, I use more of the artwork’s vertical space. The benefit is I can then overlap the music. This can then reduce the require length of canvases. The trade off is the zip-zag method has variables a straight line does not. That then makes it difficult to estimate the final length of the project, and only a guess if the music will fit the background. That happened with this project. The music did not fit. It then took considerable time to find the solution. I finally had to calculate what my actual length of the music would be laid end to end. That turned out to be twelve and a-half feet. My four original prepped canvases had a combine length of six feet four inches. No wonder the music would not fit. The solution ended up being increasing the length of the background.

The original Your song canvases now with added bolted on black canvases. The last artwork that used bolts is When Doves Cry, in 2017.

This project now comprises three additional canvases that are bolted to the original design. The last project that use bolts was the 2017 artwork When Doves Cry. What also complicates the size of these artworks is that I need to make sure that any signal piece does not exceed the maximum length of seventy-two inches by twenty-four. That is the space I have in my car.

I have to say I actually knew I would be length poor and in trouble once I had the music in a rough draft. Since I had already finished, the background canvases I first considered attaching angled aluminum between the two center canvases, for a max length of 72 inches, and the speaker canvases to reach the length needed. The problem was the short length of my music sections. They fell into the space the aluminum created. I found no practical method to float the music. Finally, to attach the music, I went the easy way by adding canvases. Since I had already finished my background, I took another shortcut by painting the added canvases a shade of black with a lighter black glaze. To my surprise, I liked the contrast of the background canvases. I see more of this idea being used in future projects, and wondered if this logic is unique in the five-hundred years of canvas painting.

After years of trying to follow the worn artist path to victory, I am now going with Robert Frost and these lyrics by Ricky Nelson from the Song, Gardan Party:

“And it’s all right now, yeah
Learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone
So you got to please yourself”

I simplified the thought behind these words to four piano notes: A4, F4, A4 D4. My first song with these lyrics: My art, my rules.

So it is.
Scott Von Holzen