S_V_H Up On the Roof Final image


Up On The Roof is signed and ready to go on sale.  You can buy this artwork HERE, or a print HERE. This artwork uses a technique where I have lighten my musical notes as they flow across the canvases from left to right. The whole idea of this work was for the viewer to see a change in mood in the work, from gloomy to hopeful.  From the first canvas I then pushed the next three out from each other to bring the final canvas work closer to the viewer and to the brighter mood of this last panel. This work has been a challenge, that has taken to long to complete.  I wanted to finish this work in two to three weeks.  Instead it has taken eight weeks. Of course there was the big interruption with the Christmas artwork, but this only confirms my difficultly in working on two works at once and finishing each of them in a reasonable amount of time.

The struggle continues:

I have looking for a new home for Blue Rondo, so I stopped by the Jefferson Street Inn, and strange, Tim the head maintenance man and a friend,  mentioned two other options. One was over the main entrance door and the other space was over the elevator door. Just the sight of those two suggested locations sent dread through me, as memories of walking with the Professor into the orchestra room caved in on me.

The dream lives:

This art will find it’s way, which includes Blue Rondo, with or without me. Of course I would like to be a participant in bringing these artworks to the surface, before I drown in neglect, but there are no guarantees, only choices.  And those choices I have no other option but to choose: the art leads, if I want to be an artist.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H You Raise Me Up final image


You Raise me up 99 inches of all Christmas.  What is not to like about Christmas and Christmas Artwork. You see those two candy canes in the above image?  In the world of music they would be 16th notes, like these:


In pointing this out I hope you can see that the real music is only a starting point, and that the artwork opens up into many different directions. I could not have it any other way, for copying sheet music to canvases would be boring, and meaningless.  It is how I see that music and how I depict that flow of the sound that is important, and what my objects, can and do not represent, has not substance, except in my mind. This has all to do in understanding the difference between art and wall decoration.  A Jackson Pollack painted by Jackson Pollack is art, but a Jackson Pollack painted by your local zoo animal is not. And a simple answer to the why of this is, because when a zoo animal paints an abstraction there is no subconscious attention to detail.  What separates art from imitation, is the artist grasping what cannot be held and knowing exactly how to use it to free the artwork from being absorbed by the wall.

This artwork is the largest Christmas work that I have done. Starting this series in 2006 with a single two feet by four canvases, we have now arrived at six panels and almost 100 inches in length. This painting grew so large because I needed to use two sentences from the music, “I am strong when I am on your shoulders.  You raise me up to more than I can be.”  It was obvious that the strongest words are “I am strong.” and “I can be,” and worked in perfectly to start and end the work. They also best describe my favorite Uncle who ill. Still this work could have easily been over ten feet if my flow notes would have been my normal 70 to 80 millimeters wide. In order to shrink this music, to a size that would fit my timeline, I dropped their size to 55 millimeters with 5 mil between. It is still big, but done.  My art is all big. I believe that is an issue, for most collectors do not have large empty walls, or they would not want one art piece dominating, like all these artworks would certainly do.  It is a concern for me.

Remember back to that uncomfortable situation I walked into at the U W of Madison Marathon campus, while walking with my music Professor down the hallways of the music department. He told me several times the different possibilities for hanging Blue Rondo that would not worked because the artwork did not fit. Then he walked me into the orchestra room and I thought here was a big space. That quickly turned to disappointment when he again began eliminating walls, until the only place left was ten feet up, above the windows. Well, after of months of waiting for him to call and tell me that the wall hangers for the painting are ready, I have changed my mind.  I am taking Blue Rondo back, and I will have a new construction for them.


What I plan on doing is to paint another Dave Brubeck masterpiece, Take five.  Take Five is one of my penny paintings I did when first starting out.  This new version will consist of five panels and with a length of 60 inches, by no more than 24 inches in height. I will let the professor know, of my change of thought, when finished. Blue Rondo hopefully can be sold for $1600.00. The other option, for now, would be to hang Blue Rondo behind the front desk at the Jefferson Street Inn, downtown.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H UP On the Roof image1


UP on the Roof is a new small work, 72 inches in length.  I decided to start this work while I wait the arrival of canvases needed for the next artwork in the Vivaldi Four Seasons series, Autumn Allegro 3rd movement.

Why paint Up on the Roof? That is a question that is as hard to explain, as it is easy to answer:  I like this music. I think it will hold well over time. The words say something that a lot of people can relate to, and the melody is catchy. Finally, the timing was right. This song happened to play in iTunes, and I became curious about it. I learned that Carole King, another old favorite of mine, co-wrote it. Searching for recordings I found a live performance of Up on the Roof with James Taylor and Carole King, and at that point the choice became clear.  UP on the Roof not only is a good song, it has history and depth with me, which all helps aid the decision-making process.  It comes down to this, I only have some much time to paint a limited number of musical pieces, so I have to pick wisely, or pick a song when it is hot, before I change my mind. Hopefully, I have chosen wisely, for unlike the just completed, Keep on Loving you, which has a buyer, this one is on its own to prove it worth.

I cannot remember which version of this song that I first heard, but I am thinking it may have been the version by the Crying Shames, a garage band, that dates to 1967.  The sound and the date sounds about right. Also, there is a slight possibility that it could have been James Taylor, because I have always been a fan of his music, ever since his Sweet Baby James album. Taylor’s version of UP on the Roof dates to 1979, which seems late for me. The last possibility may have been the original release, and major hit by the Drifters in 1963, but I doubt it.  I do not think music meant much to me until the Beatles, which was  when I was a sophomore in high school in 1964. I am going with the Crying Shames, for now.

One more personnel discovery about this song, is a rare cover by Laura Nyro, my musical first love when I arrived on campus in Madison in 1968.  Her record ,Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, was a heavy play in the dorm at that time.

The base colors are dark and gritty, to keep with the mood of the music. This changes as the work moves from left to right. The third canvas elevates about the first two, while the fourth canvas is another step up from the third  This artwork is another three-layered work, similar to The Four Seasons Work, Spring Danza, where you have to go to the firth canvas which is the first to touch the wall in my living room.

I am also posting this first image of Up On The Roof,  on Etsy, where you can pre-order a digital print for much less money, then when finished.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Keep on Loving You final image


Keep on Loving You this five foot 4 inch artwork look is more interesting, to me,  than the original music.  I think I could have reduced the physical size of this work, but the canvas I used gave me the extra room, (that is rare in most of my musical portraits), to let my slurs, those huge almost circles you see above the musical flow, a chance to really express themselves.  I had the space so I used it to their advantage.  Those slurs come straight out of my last Vivaldi painting.  I have realized that if done right my slurs do not need any squiggly lines. That is how it works: I am learning as I go.

Originally, I was going to go with the words “I’m Lovin’ you,”  but strange the word ‘i’m’ I could not find any space for on the first canvas, so I dropped it.  Lovin’ you, says it all, covering a lot of territory.  I see it is important to paint more than just one Vivaldi after another.  These little works offer ways to try to maybe explore painting techniques I am trying to do on the large work.  When I see that a new idea works on a 15 foot canvas, I then know I can move that idea to a much smaller work, and see a greater effect of that idea on a small surface, which carries with it a bigger impact on the artwork.

I like this artwork, it has that look.  Now on to another Vivaldi.  This time it is the late fall movement.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Summer Allegro Final image


This 15 foot 4 inch monster that began on July 3rd is now finished.   I am glad to move on. That only leaves four more Vivaldi’s to do and the set of thirteen is complete.   A good guess, for the finish of this project,  would be something in June of 2014, or probably July of 2014,  just in time for a needed vacation.

I do not have many thoughts lift about this work, because I have worked on this one work almost three months.  Here is what I can say:  it is big, it is diverse looking, and it represents the best effort  of this artist.  That is so far.  You could remove the bolts from this work,  separate them, and it would look like each canvas belongs to another artwork.  That I find fascinating and a direction I plan to keep developing to see how far it goes. Because as you know the real quest of this artist is to find out how it will all end.  Although the canvases are each unique you cannot but see that when they are all put together, it works.  I am sure those of appreciate this music will wonder why I pick the phrase that I did from this music considering how powerful most of the music is, and this is not.  This phrase of music, about 10 seconds,  is the sound of a little finch chirping.  I use it because this part of the movement is unique in the concerto.  There that is it, which you will be able to see, and hear,  when I post the walk through tomorrow evening.

Next up is the last of the Autumn  movements completing the first of the four concertos.  It is also called Autumn Allegro.  So the fall concerto starts with Allegro and ends with Allegro.  Maybe I will have to call it Autumn Allegro last movement.

S_V_H Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Summer Allegro image 6


Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons Summer Allegro this is a near finished work.  I need to worked on better defining the words which translated are, “The North-wind appears nearby and suddenly,”  Then after painting in the ‘threes‘ I will move to cleaning up this fifteen foot image.  An important part of this work, because of the words is to make sure to add a lot of movement in this work.  You see that effect, in the musical ties that look like tall grass swaying in the wind., along with the color contrast with the background, that creates a small visual simmering. Then I added more speed in those little circles inside the music, which all rotate clockwise, across the canvas.  I do not see much else to create more motion except maybe the  shafts if I make their look solid with greater color contrasting.  Not sure that would be worth the effort.  I may try some ideas to see if the results are worth the time.

The question I ask is can this art be displayed during a live performance by professional musicians?  Is this art good enough that gifted musicians are not offended?   I know that this art works when seen while the music is heard, but I have not made that public step, to prove that connection.  I have made an inquirer to a local Orchestra but have heard nothing back.   Maybe a greater understanding of musicians would help to move this art to the next level.  I am not sure, but it may help this art if I had more opportunities to speak and listen to more musicians. I guess what I am debating here is contacting, once again, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. They are performing Vivaldi’s four seasons several times in February and March of 2014.  Would it not be nice to take, at least one of the Winter Vivaldi’s or maybe all three, to one of their performances.  Would the art and I look silly even trying?  Should I even contact them?  Somehow I must.  I will compose a solid well reviewed email that hopefully works around these issues, just to see, what they might say or do.  I may even get a reasonable answer to my request. If nothing else it will add an adventure line to this story.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Keep on Loving You image3


Keep on Loving You consists of four panels with an overall length of five feet four inches. This artwork is one of my new series  I call my mini-works. This background is now ready for the music.  I have tried to use many 80’s color shades for this part of the work. The thought is to give each canvass its own feel.  I believe I achieved that in this artwork. Next up I will be drawing in the flow of the music.

As for the color scheme for the music, ah…….I have not a clue. Picking the note color usually happens in a moment. I look at the work, and look at the colors that I have not use for the background, and I then find one that either stands out, or blends in, depending on what I believe is the overall feel of the music I am portraying.  So, is the music is in your face, or instead does it shy away, that is how I decide the colors to use for the music.  I then focus on the flow of the music. The moment that this artwork portrays actually decides the mood and the color drama I want to create.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Keep on Loving You image2


Keep on Loving You consists  of four canvases about five feet four inches in length.  This is an early 80’s piece of music from REO Speedwagon.  Here is a live video of Keep on Loving you:

Since this is a 80’s music I thought I would start this work using a  pallet from that time.  When I think of the eighties colors like Mauve, Seaform green, Plum, Harvest gold, and Cerulean blue, pop up after doing a little research.  You are going to see similar those colors along with other tints and shades of that 80’s look as this work progresses.  Keep on Loving you will not end with a totally nostalgic look, for I am kind-of a color wanderer when needed, and I think I  will find ways to give this artwork a modern appearance.  These tweaks in color happen because I like to contrast colors and objects.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Summer Allegro image 5


This is a composite image of the ninth in the series The Four Seasons with music by Antonio Vivaldi.  You are looking at  a very small part of the flow of Summer Allegro.  In fact Landon describes this exact part of this music in his book Vivaldi Voice of the Baroque, . “The goldfinch has trills and very high alternating notes…..” That was a surprising find.

This is the point  that proves that all the measuring, and calculating was correct.  As always, to reach that conclusion, It took some nudging  and small compromises.  There are always these adjustments to the guessing and the planning.  In the end it all needs to fit: the music to the canvas, and my expectations.

This is an early summer work and I am going to throw as many colors that I can blend, mix, or use straight from the tube, to brighten up this image, to present to the viewer a vibrant picture of this time of the year.  I did some of this also with the first finished Vivaldi painting, Summer Allegro non molto,  that is  the lead in part of Summer Allegro. Nothing too special about the circles that represent the musical flow.  For my stems I did  mix complementary colors to help pop the look of summer color.  Now I am on to my musical beams, and again I am looking to build the shifting look of complementary colors.  I am hoping to fit the words, from this part of the summer sonnet,  in the frame you see above.  That one canvas is four feet in length.    Altogether is artwork is another fifteen foot canvas.  My hope is that someday when a first time viewer see this artwork, that they will see it through my eyes, and heart:  some may most won’t.

Scott Von Holzen.

S_V_H Beautiful Day 2013 Birthday Final Image


Beautiful Day 3 panel artwork about 60 inches by 24 inches in size.   Since the goal is to produce a finish artwork in a day, that normally takes two weeks,  the push is to find style short cuts to save time and effort.  Below are the last three years of Birthday Paintings. The shortcuts I used for these paintings was to use a Vincent Van Gogh master artwork as the color scheme.  I then used quick, less structured brush strokes, to speed up putting down the paint.  Still, all three of these years it was a struggle to complete the work in a day’s time. Then with last year’s  painting I felt especially frustrated with this van gogh’es  look, knowing that it had nothing to do with my current style.

For the 2013 Birthday Painting, the Van Gogh look  was out.  I never even considered breaking with my current style.  What made that decision easy was the reduction in the total length of the painting from six feet to five foot.  That one foot difference, plus my advance construction of all the needed canvas, allowed me the extra time to paint in the same style that I was using for the current Vivaldi work.

The day did go fast, and all the decision-making was swift, and there was a certain level of stress in the constant need  to move it along, but in the end I finished the rough final by early evening.  And the reason this plan worked was because all I had to do is look over at the fifteen foot, unfinished Vivaldi work, to know what moves were up next.

My conclusion,  after a several hours of clean up,  is I do not think I could have done any better even if I had painted this work over a two-week period.  This work not only strengthens and reinforces my current style it, in some ways, helps to mature my current look.


2010 Birthday Painting Long & Winding Road


2011 Birthday Painting Don’t Stop Believing


2012 Birthday Painting Forever Young

Now, we are moving on with another five foot, four panel artwork.  Of course this painting will take two to three weeks to complete.  What I am doing is to try to produce smaller paintings that I can charge a lot less for.  I am thinking from $300 to $600 for another five foot or less artwork.  The point is I have accumulated a wide stack of artwork that has not sold in the last two years and more.  I have reach a point where it has become necessary to try something different. I may find that these smaller size works are the answer to how I can improve my sales.

The light bulb came on when I meet Professor Buchholz  in the U W Music Department to discuss where they thought Blue Rondo a La Turk could be hung.  Although, by my standard this artwork , about 76 inches by 32 inches  was small, the Professor kept walking and pointing to walls and spaces, telling me it would not fit any of them. Finally, we ended up in the large orchestra room. He, again pointed to this and that wall, explaining for each why the artwork would not fit.  Finally he pointed  to the last wall, a long-span of large windows. That is where he thought it would have to go for at less two years, until the  finishing of the remodeling.  My beautiful Blue Rondo, for now, will hang above the windows,  ten off the ground where no one will know it is there unless they happen to look up, way up, yea way up there, yea that is an artwork, way up there. I said that would be OK, because the painting would be out of direct sun light, and because it would eventual be hung lower for viewing directly.  What else could I have said.  He said he had discussed Blue Rondo’s placement with the Art director, and that was the conclusion.  He asked about how many hooks, and I said two. He said he would let me know.  We shook hands and I left.

That is the reason I have started to paint  smaller, cheaper,  and probably compromising artworks.  That is if you think five feet is small enough, and that  it is OK if I chop the musical phrase when needed,  to make the music fit.  Oh, no, I am back to the beginnings, making the music fit the canvas.  At less, so far, I’m not vertically challenged.


This is a requested work based on that eighties great love song Keep on Loving you by Reo Speedwagon.  This constructed artwork consisting of four panels with the largest being 24 inches by 24 inches, and with a total length of five feet four inches.  Oh well, I find it hard to set limits to my artwork.  I will keep trying. You dreamer you.

Scott Von Holzen