S_V_H A Great Big Sled Christmas 2014 final image


A Great Big Sled Final Image. Here is another version of this wonderful Christmas song with a modern edge to it. When you hear those bells, you are listening to this artwork.

This finished  artwork uses six canvas panels with a finished length of sixty inches. Any picture of this artwork will never compare with seeing it in person. No image I can produce captures the look of the gold and silver paint that dominates this work. This resulted in a long struggle to produce a decent canvas image for this years Christmas cards.  Finally, under the press of mailing dates, and the conclusion that I could not produce a match of the work, I did my best to print something. This years Christmas card printing is largest ever with thirty copies.

Looking at the overall finished artwork I like the look of the candy cane stems. They were a lot of work,  not tedious, but time-consuming.  I especially like the look of those long blue objects that are my version of musical Rests. I painted over a dozen Rests, each different from the last, in the last Vivaldi. You can see that look being carried over in this artwork. What I am seeing in my Rests, is a good solution in design that has quickly become a mature style. The Rests will certainly evolve over time, but not out of need or necessity.

My symbols for the bell sounds, surrounded by extra circles, are nothing special, but they work, filling space while adding interest, and the opportunity to add extra canvases to make the look of this artwork, unique. My musical vine looking Slurs, you see all across the top of the canvases, and repeated in a red color in the music, give a Christmas look to the work, and fill space while pushing the music across the canvas. My red and green rectangles I like for their sharp edges counter the rounded forms of the slurs and the other rounded objects in the music. My choice of words where the best option, that balance well, and flow nicely across the painting. Still, If I would have had another choice I would have left out the word ‘me.’  I like words to connect personally to the viewer,  leaving me out of the picture, but this did not work.

As this art has taught me over the years, I have come to respect the limitations when producing each painting.  Each of these finished artworks are a display of an abstract idea that is music, and the price of admission that allows me to paint another. I always hope that my next artwork will somehow solve the disappointments with the last painting, but I know that Music is a vastly diverse language, so that challenge is great.  I have to constantly look at my art and question how I paint, and if I can find another, better way, to visualize sound that a viewer can relate to.  This makes everything complicated because for this art to evolve artistically, I have to keep an open mind, with all of its options, no matter the direction this may turn me.  It is that search to find new ways to apply the colors of acrylic paint to pieces of canvas, that will forever remain the goal. This years Christmas painting breaks no new ground, solves no problems, and answers nothing. That is what I expect from the last artwork of the year. Instead, in all of its non answer glory,  It is a summary of this art’s 2014 style that leaves open another opportunity for improvement. On to 2015 where the best artwork is yet to be built.

Scott Von Holzen





S_V_H Let it Go two images & Final Image


Let it go is a small five panel commissioned artwork.  What you are seeing in image one are the main background canvases. This is a change in my style that started first with the paintings, Chasing Cars, and Fly me to the Moon.  On small-sized artworks there is a lot less open spaces so it was a simple  practical decision to paint the entire background canvas first and then later attach the other canvases. Another idea I wanted to test on a small work,  was how extensive I could add stripping, not only horizontally, which was the norm in the past, but vertically. You can view my early effects of this style with image two.


This second image has some strong color contrasts, that I did before I watched the video for this music.  When I did I realized that I had drifted a considerable distance from the color scheme of the music video..  It is not that I wanted to duplicate the video, but like in the artwork for Northwestern Missouri  State University Wings of Victory,  also a commissioned work, where the School colors played an important part in the painting, the video from the movie Frozen, defines the mood and colors of the music.  I felt, looking at image two, that I had moved to far away from the music. I also felt I had drifted away from my original thinking about what color choices I would use  for this art piece.  Even without watching the video,  I knew, from the beginning,  that for this painting,  the colors white and blue would dominate. As you can see in the final image,  I pull it all back to my original plan.

When I think about a song and how I will paint it, my first decision for every artwork is to pick a couple of colors that I think would best represent the mood and the theme I wish to present.  For Let it go it was blue and white.  For the recent painting, Chasing Cars, brown and blue popped into my head.  For Fly Me to the Moon, it was obvious that many different shades of blue would dominate.  And next up, Vivaldi’s Spring Movement three, nickname the Storm, again what I see are many shades of blue, probably accented with violet.



Let it go Final image, consists of five panels with a height of 20 inches by a length of 41 inches. Looking at my information I started this work on September 2nd.  It is now November 2nd. That means I have spent two months on this one project, although,  the actually painting on the work began on October 10th, I am still surprised that this work only took three weeks, for it felt more like  that two months.  The reason is, as mentioned above, the deep tie this music has with the movie. There was some time wasted about how I thought I had to draw in some snowflakes.   Then I realized after two failed painting sessions, that I had to let this artwork define it self,  and I wisely let the movie go. When I did that everything slowly came together. What you see in this final image is a nice artwork with the emphasis on the blues and whites. What you also see is an artwork that defines itself.  and that has evolved not form a music video,  but from its own existence.  I like it that way, for it has always ended that way.

Here is my Video Comments on this artwork.  It has been a while since I have done a video, which is a disappointment.  As you can tell, very early, this is a one take presentation.   I do not see any reason to not just let the words flow, and hope the viewer will get some idea of what I am doing. Hopefully, they will enjoy the ups and downs of an unscripted presentation.

You can purchase prints of Let it go from my ETSY Print store.

Scott Von Holzen



S_V_H Improv Fly me to the Moon final image



Fly me is compose of four canvases with a length of 40 inches by at most of nineteen inches.This little blue gem, stands out as a special work.  The strong dark verticals of the background represent the strong and solid beat of this music song elegantly by Frank Sinatra. Of course all the blues are a statement about the darkness of night and the wonders of dark skies.  In this work you seen nebula’s and galaxies and in the upper right top you have a view of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. You see in the flow of the music the drifting across of  little planets that float untouched far above the drama of the background. The words ,”the moon, the stars,” say it all and then say so much more.  What an amazing treasure a potential buyer will have. We will see if she has the courage to tackle owning this most wonderful work of art, known only to me and now to you.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Improvisation Chasing Cars final image


I have finished Improvisation Chasing Cars.  One thing that surprised me was how fast this thirty-six inch painting came to a finished look.  Once I had painted all the major components  it took three or so hours of focused concentration to do the clean up.  And then that was it.  Easy to photograph, and easy to wire up.  Tomorrow out of the door, and then in a few days off to the client that commission this musical piece.

My impressions. My,  this is a small work. I can easily carry it around without concern of banging the edges. That is one advantage with the other being the physical painting of this work progresses quite fast. Let me counter that, for I have checked the date on my work sheet, and that surprisingly read August 23rd. Wow, that is over a month, spent on this small work. Of course,  some of that time I used on a sister work that I was painting concurrently, but still?  To my surprise I have learned that I put a lot of heart into all my efforts, no matter the size.  I guess I was trying to see if I could paint small canvases.  Well, I guess I can paint small works. The problem is they take about as much time as larger works, and that is the issue for larger works pay more. Although I do not paint for the money, the money pays for the paint. Interesting dilemma. For commission works the demand is certainly for small to smaller size works, a lot less than four feet. I can say this though,  I have reached my limit on the size of the music at thirty-six inches.  No smaller, no way.

In the future, I will have to charge more for the one mentioned reason,  it takes about the same amount of time to complete a small work or a six-foot artwork. I suppose if this art involves to be spontaneous, like Bebop, or Cosmos forbid, in the style of past music artists, that could speed up things.  But I do not expect that. I guess my original approach to doing small works, was to paint them using similar methods as I do with Birthday paintings.  But these small works are not Birthday paintings. They are regular artworks. The more I learn the language of music, the more complicated and interesting it has become. I like to portray as much interest as possible in each musical work, no matter the size, and no matter the time needed.

Time now to give my feedback on this work.  It is cute. of course, and fits most walls. I would have liked to have used some shades of brown on the thirty-six in canvas.  I decided not to going along with the work, which told me it was fine with the blues.  I work the blue background, considerably, in the clean-up process, which helped.  The most interesting new technique, used on this work,  is the deep depth of stripping on the small panel.  I have in the past been very horizontal in my stripping, and that little nine by twelve-inch panel now challenges that idea.  I can see this style being pushed forward on larger works. I love the words, and  I uniquely painted them using iridescent paints, which solve an issue on how to softly pop them.


Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Vivaldi’s Spring Allegro Final Image

SpringMvt1_FinalImageThis is the Final image of Vivaldi’s Spring Allegro, first movement of his Four Seasons Concertos.  This 36 inch by fourteen foot painting that I started the end of June, I finished the end of August.  That is too long to paint one artwork.  My emotion toward this work varied over the months.  Of course I started with a lot of enthusiasm.  As the time flew by I change to more  of a technical approach to this work. I wanting  this artwork to display the colors of peak spring,  and that is what you see in the background. That is also what caused me the most second guessing of this artwork.

Since this is one of those rare works where I am depicting the up and down steps of the music from three different instruments, I knew I would have lots of open spaces, because of the balancing act of the music.  In the past I would add some extra banding of colors in open areas, but this work, my heart was not into doing that.  I decided to let the background breath through the music and hopefully it has all turned out for the good.   We shall see.  I do not see this work as a favorite from the Vivaldi Series, because of my issue of constantly balancing the background with the foreground.  But, because of its uniqueness in this series I think others may see that I have depicted in this artwork a greater depth of the music, not seen in any of the others in the Vivaldi Four Seasons series.

That only leaves one more to do. It will probably be big in size, and I see a lot of blues to come.

Scott Von Holzen




S_V_H All About Soul image 15 & 16


All About Soul 11:06pm. I would say have finished this work  Tomorrow, I will clean up the edges, and fill in color. For a small painting. Yes, this four-foot painting is small, considering right next to it is the mighty Spring Vivaldi that is 36 inches by 14 feet. Again, considering how small this work is,  it certainly took way more time then I thought would be necessary. The reason is that I painted All About Soul using my current style. In the past years, especially with the Van Gogh Birthday paintings, I found shortcuts to save time, which created a more spontaneous, that I needed to finish the artwork on time.  Today’s Birthday paintings I feel it is better to challenge my current style and see what new ideas I can come up with to cut corners and save a little time. Not sure that worked today. What I am sure of is that the way I paint got a good workout.


More thoughts on All About Soul tomorrow. The Ebay auction for All About Soul will continue for two more days. Just so it is in print, I never thought that an Ebay auction of my work was going to accomplish anything. It is too early for this art to make it way out there on Ebay.  Right now Etsy seems the better choice.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Love is All Around Final Image


This artistic style brings this found 60s peace symbol,


and the faint memory of  this 60s Pop Art sculpture by Robert Indiana,


and these new pair of walking shoes, that have improve my time,




all together to create this image,

that is the word ‘Love’ on a small added canvas that is part of my latest composition, Love is All Around.




I started this artwork on the first week of May according to my worksheet.  I finished yesterday. My free time is still limited, and summer brings on lots of must do demands, but I am still surprised that this work took so long. I do not see any big style changes or break through moves, but I do see the continuing evolution in how I depict musical slurs and ties.  As far as the three 8th notes, in this work, they again, like in the past, where a struggle.  I am not seeing much difference or movement in them. In truth the first Kyoto Bach is still hanging on the wall I looked to its lone 8th note for direction. Since each new artwork builds on earlier works all this is not surprising. I bigger problem, that probably took a week to resolve, was finding the right color combinations for the banding of the shafts. I ended up with four different color choices, which is something unique to this work.

What still is a mystery, that I shall never resolve, is why this smaller work took so long to complete. I must say the music never was a favorite of mine. I listened to my four different versions of Love is All Around, over-and-over to help me get a better respect for the music.  I also watch a few YouTube videos about the story of the Troggs, which was interesting. I guess the challenge was creating a painting that represents a love song that I was not in love with. That is exactly would I did. This artwork surprisingly is full of interest that is well done and creative by my standards.

All Around reminds me of Up On The Roof, because both of these artworks last panels have a dramatic impact. An interesting difference is that second panel and how it drops well below the others. There is a pause in this music represented by those three rest symbols on the upper part of the canvas.  I could have treated those rests like I have done in most of my other works, but I wanted to add more interest to the physical look and the flow of the music. That is why you see the lower music which represents the background notes heard between the voice. We will see how this change will affect future works.

I like the look of this work.  I believe it can stand alone or with the music. This is a commission work so it is not for sale, but prints will be available.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Vivaldi’s Winter Allegro Non Molto Final image



Vivaldi’s Winter Allegro Non Molto.  This was a forever painting. Forever to finish that is.  Soon after I took this photograph, with Barbara’s help, we placed it in front of a large stack of canvases.  Because it is over seventeen feet in length I could not hang this artwork.  I am not sure if I will ever see this work on any wall. That is the way it is. This large artwork is a part of the lengthy Vivaldi Four Seasons art series.  Now, there are only two more paintings that I need to create.

I am looking forward to Spring’s first movement. I am seeing bright flashy colors of shades and tints of violet,  rose, and purple, bouncing around in my head. When completed you will know it. There will be no questions which season this painting is about.  I have looked at a lot of lilac bushes and flowering crabs, that are now all faded away, and that is about it. This means I am behind schedule.  Once I start and then finish  Spring what is left is the third movement of Summer. it will probably be late, late summer, before that work is near completion.

The walk-through for the 11 painting in the Four Seasons series.



Scott Von Holzen



S_V_H Take Five 2014 final image



The great Dave Brubeck’s signature piece Take Five.  I started this work in December of 2013, and just finished it last week.  It was held up mostly because of two commission works that took priority.

You are looking at a work that evolved from its original ideas. What the original concept, creative plan, or art mission was I am sure of one goal of this artwork: I wanted to take the background from the obscure, supportive function, to where it dominated the artwork, with multiple layers of colors across stripping that covered the entire work.  Than I wanted to see if I could use the music to push back against the colors and visual impact that it was covering. Surprisingly,  I had to return to the background and repaint parts of it, to finally give the music the visual appearance I decided it needed. When I applied that yellow-green stripping,  on the second panel, this work finally began to come into focus.  On my sixteenth notes, I used a bright red to add the punch that comes at those points in the music’s flow.  That helped considerably to pull the viewer’s attention to the music, and away from the background. In the end the battle between background and music comes down to finding a balance.  I only know when it is there,  and it is obvious when it is not.

Just as a reminder below is my first Take Five from 2006.  You can see the freer style of painting.Take5_06

The Take Five from 2014 is a lot more structured, and I am beginning to wonder if maybe I should once again return to a more free hand style. My customer for the Japan work, liked this earlier style.  My vision for portraying music is to display its flow in an orderly form so that with a little effort, a viewer could see in the artwork the flow of the music that it represented. Although, few viewers will ever know where the music appears in these artworks. Even with the added help of words the way I choose them would not necessary clear up the mystery.

I will be presenting this artwork to a Professor of Music at the local University.  I plan on showing him exactly where the artwork appears in the music.  If I would not, I am sure he could find it if he took the time, but I am also sure he will still appreciated the artwork without knowing its exact location in the music. And that leads to this question: If few people know where any of these artworks show in the music, what is the need on my part to have such a precise depiction?

The first answer that comes to my mind, is that I portray the flow of the music fairly accurately, to separate my style from other methods of portraying music. Most of the artwork I have seen display music in an abstract way. I am guessing these artists see music as fluid subject. But I do not see music that way.

I have known sheet music since I was seven years old and learning how to play the accordion  I have also know its structure while playing an electric organ in a garage band, and later in college playing folk guitar and blues harp.  I knew that if I wanted to play music I needed to understand and follow the rules of notation that sheet music represented. That seems logical to me, so when it came to painting music I brought those inclinations about music with me.  Looking at music as an abstraction did not make sense. I decided If I am gong to spend weeks of my time painting a song, I wanted the artwork to represent that song, and only that song. Equally as important I wanted that artwork to appeal to the feelings of the viewer. Music has sound that appeals to emotions, and a performance can connect the viewer even more. Musical art is also visual that can be viewed, but it is taking that visual and creating an emotional impact that only the best of this art can do. That is why my music looks very little like sheet music. In order to try to create that ” viewer hook”  I had to abandon the rigid rules of notation, and its standard look. The flow of the music remains, but everything else is my choreography.  This allows me to create art in the abstract, but differently. That brings me to this conclusion.

Like, a singer, group or a band,music can be changed to better represent the performer’s style. The the same goes with me. My artworks are never an exact show of any of the music, but more so my personnel interpretation of the music.That is what separates  my artworks from the mundane representation of notation you see in any sheet music.But because I keep that flow of the music my abstraction makes each work unique to the music it represents. That cannot be said about most musical art. Still the question remains should I loosen up my structure.  Maybe, not so much in the Style of Take Five 2006 or Take Five 2014, but somewhere else, between this and that, and yes and no. I wonder?

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Wings of Victory final image

wingsOfVictory_finalWings of Victory final image. All through this art project I was uneasy about the direction I knew I had to go. I needed to stay the course to satisfy my own expectations, and hopefully those of Northwestern Missouri State University.  I even struggle with the signature.  This is a green painting, and my signature is a special red. I could not place it to the far right bottom, always my first choice.  Putting it here or there, up or down, left and right, just did not seem to work. Eventually, I put it on the far right of the first far right canvas where it would fit.  I tried to finished the night before with the signature, but each time I drew it in, I erred and had to wash it off.  I was not sure this was the right place, or that the signature was the right size, so I gave up that night.  On Monday late afternoon, I took my brush and signed the work in the same spot as the night before.  The signature was the right size and the right shape.  I filled in the color and that was it.  I stood back and looked at the work and at that moment I realized that adding that signature was all this work needed.  Those three red letters brought the entire work into perspective and finally I have a satisfying feeling with this effort, and this artwork.

Wings of Victory was an interesting challenge, with me working almost exclusively with a color that I use everywhere on everything, but still not one of my favorites. I live in the blues. With all the problems  and repetitive frustrations over not being totally convinced that I had found just the right shade of green, this artwork still became a finished piece. The world is full of unfilled promises, goals, aspirations, dreams, that in the end would not fill a 3 and 1/2 inch floppy disk.  This work cost be a terabyte, but it was worth it.


Scott Von Holzen