S_V_H Mr. Brightside Final Image

mrbright_finalMr Brightside is finished and is the final painting from this temporary studio.  Over the last three months, from my Daughters children’s toy storage room I have also finished Burgundy Shoes,  and Ave Maria.  As I am writing this blog entry I am working on the setup of my new permanent studio, in a new home, in this new city.  So begins this new adventure with many new stories to come.   To quote Semisonic “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

 

Once again, here is the video that inspired this artwork:

County Kerry Bar Sings ”Mr Brightside’ to Remember Lost Friend Ger Foley

Mr. Brightside is a simple song made up of mostly quarter and eighth notes in a fairly even pitch.  This than shows in the  musical flow, and in the solid blocks of color used in the background of the artwork. Besides using the colors from the video in the painting I wanted to represent the people and the spirit of the bar.  To do this I took my two eighth notes and added to them some left over wood pieces in different shapes and colors. I know that is not much, but that was all I had left after three months of working in a toy room.

Throughout the later part of my stay,  all through the day, no matter what I was working on, I would ask my Amazon assistant, Alexa, to play Mr. Brightside.  And she would respond “Playing Mr. Brightside.”  Then would come the guitar intro, and for some unknown reason I would feel instantly uplifted by this “feel-good” rock music, “I Never,..I Never…I Never,……..I Never………………………. This helped me through the last few weeks in the delightfully alien world of small children. “Bless their Hearts.”

 

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H Ave Maria Final Image

avemariafinalThe 2016 Christmas painting, Ave Maria,  is finished.  Here is this years Christmas Cards sent out to those who have purchased a painting,  and to recognize those who have supported this art in the past year.

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What I have learned from Ave Maria is that I could paint a smaller artwork, and still keep the “look” of a larger painting.

Here is another version of Ave Maria by Vladimir Vivilov\ Giulio Caccini

Starting with this years Christmas painting, and soon adding the rest of the Christmas paintings that I have painted over the years, I will be donating any sales of these works to Charity.  You will soon find these paintings listed at my Etsy Store. I will be posting details on Etsy in the coming months.

 

Scott

S_V_H Burgundy Shoes Final Image

burgundy_finalBurgundy Shoes, from the Music of Patty Griffin, is finished,  and I believe this artwork represents in a charming way a beautiful musical story.  You can listen to the music from the painting which starts at the 1:16 second and continues to 1:33 seconds.

Here is Burgundy Shoes in its temporarily holding spot, in my Daughters home, for now I have no better safe place to store it. My new Studio is still weeks away from being completed.

burgundy_1I really do not have much more to say about this work. It is strange my transformation with a finished artwork. It is like all my emotions that where the reason I chose the music, and why I put my best effort into creating a new musical artwork, suddenly vanish.  While the painting is a work in progress my relationship is in the first person. Than when I declare it finish, the connection between me and the artwork changes to the third person.  I view all my finished artworks is as if some other artist had created the work. I have said this several times before, each of these artworks take on a life of their own.  They will become a long-lasting narrative about one piece of Music.  While for me each of these experiences, while barely a footnote in their lives, gives value to my days. I than have the wonderful opportunity to look back at a long forgotten artwork and say, wow, I did that. I like that feeling. Yea,  I do.

Music First

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H We Belong final image

weBelong_finalWe Belong is finished. This is a commissioned work in which I learned about the women of 80’s rock.  To my surprise I knew, and remembered, more music from that time than I would have ever thought.  Creating this artwork was fun, enlightening, and a nostalgic look back to decade when I bought my first CD player, and  CDs starting with Steve Winwood’s Back in the High Life.

We Belong is sung by Pat Benatar, one of the best solo female rockers , who in the late 70’s early 80’s presented herself as an independent,  feisty, tough, defiant, aggressive, woman with a commanding sexuality, and flawless femininity.   I thought, oh my god, how do I paint that. Thankfully, the music is the foundation of this artwork and not a single artist or a performance.  We Belong certainly does accommodate Pat Benatar’s  musical style,  but like each artwork they evolve,  and finish presenting their own performance.

 

 

Scott Von Holzen

purpleRain_FPurple Rain (late April)

Before We Belong I had the feeling that my style was becoming rather redundant.  Painting Purple Rain did help.  Because of my musical appreciation for Prince,  I felt some comfort doing  different twists of old ideas that where fun and that worked.  Then We Belong followed,  and I walked into the disruption I needed to get me out of this boring style rut.  Unlike in past when other artists paintings had given me new direction, this time I stumbled on a new path when I viewed my first Pat Benatar ‘s music videos.

It was my client who specifically mention Pat Benatar and who suggested We Belong.  I agreed to do the artwork knowing that at best I had heard Pat Benatar on the radio. My history of music in the 80s is that MTV was a premium cable channel, and my CD collection leaned hard towards Prince and Madonna. In short, I knew her name not the music.  To prepare for the artwork, for the first time I watched Pat Benatar’s 80’s performances.  By watching videos, researching her story, and listening to her radio station on Pandora,  I developed a fuller picture of this 80’s rock star.   A part of that discovery, that captured  my fascination,  was how much the color black dominated, in her dress, and in the darkness of her stage performances.  It became obvious to me that to create We Belong I would have to paint with a color I never use before, black.

Black,  from the beginnings of this art, never appears on my pallet. It was because of the influenced of the Impressionistic painters, who like Monet,  that never used black, that I shunned it, using  a dark blue when needed. Only recently have I experimented with black decoratively in the Waylon Jennings artwork.   In We Belong, because of the influence of Pat Benatar,  I realized that black would have to step out of the shadows.  To meet my client’s expectations, and mine I saw the color  black dominating this entire artwork.  To accomplish that I covered the entire canvases with multiple layers of  Carbon Black to form a solid shade, that becomes my look of a horizontal monolith. Next, I had to consider how to apply the stripping.

In Purple Rain there the two areas of especially interesting  stripping, that because of their size and placement,  followed the flow of the music.  I realized  that covering the entire We Belong with stripping, which happens in Purple Rain would not work. I did realize that only doing the stripping to follow the music, as in Purple Rain, would be enough to be  a foundation for the music to hang on.  Doing no more stripping the color black in We Belong still dominates and keeps it inline with the style of Pat Benatar.

 

We Belongs influence shows in this years Birthday painting, Cherish.  The Birthday painting is always under pressure from a short timeline to complete.  Continuing the trend started in We Belong save time and planning.  Cherish turn out to be a basic artwork that like We Belong gets its message across using simple elegance.  That is the difference between it and the more decorative Purple Rain. I never thought that a singer would affect the style of this art, but a feisty 80s rock singer did just that.

cherish_finishedCherish (July 31st)

Scott

S_V_H Waymore’s Blues Final image

waymoreblues_FinalWaylon Jennings Waymore’s  Blues is finished. It took a crazy long three months to complete.  I started it in early May, but after working on the background I  halted work on it to switch my efforts to the commissioned Japan Bach painting, followed by another commissioned, We Belong, and then Cherish this years Birthday painting.  Waymore’s Blues is even a longer overdue painting considering that it has been over nine years since I last painted a Country Music artwork,  Crazy by Patsy Cline.

The biggest unique look,  that is also the obvious hook for this artwork,  comes from the design of Waylon’s leather embossed guitar.  I stylized the look of his guitar into a cool design that is the music in this painting.  Since the music  has such a dramatic look that than allowed me to go with a straight forward  background with clean straight lines, and  pure colors applied right out of their jars.  This kept the desigin of the background deceptively simple,  in contrast to the music,  and visually offers another side of Waylon Jennings.  As for my choice of the colors, white, black, blue and brown, they all became obvious after watching a few Waylon Jennings videos.   Black and white show in his guitar and strap, the blues come from his blue jeans look, and the browns comes from his abundance of head and facial hair.

Waylon sings, “I ain’t no ordinary dude. I don’t have to work.”  Every time words appear in these artworks  I pick them so that they offer alternate meanings from the music. In Waymore’s Blues ” I don’t have to,” challenge the viewer, especially if the music is familiar to them.

Here is Waymore’s Blues from a live performance of Waymore’s Blues at the Grand Ol Opry in 1978, with his guitar that is where the black and white designs you see in the artwork come from.

Scott Von Holzen

 

I have always like Waylon Jennings, but I am not sure why.  My guess may have something to do with my earliest child recollection of music which would the songs of Hank Williams. To this day I still like many of Hank’s hits such as, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Cold Cold Heart, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Jambalaya, Hey Good Lookin’ and Kaw-Liga.  I cannot recall where or how I heard him sing, but probably it was my Mother’s love of music that I probably listened to Hank on the radio.  Another possibility is that  I may have heard Hank Williams being played on a jukebox. There is a good chance that my parents, in their twenties,  brought me along with them to one of the local taverns.  I would have heard the sounds of music like never before, and would have been apart of many memorable times my parents had in the early 50s with friends and family. Sadly, neither of them are around to confirm any of my short frames of memories of so long ago.

I know it is still a long stretch from Hank Williams to Waylon Jennings, especially after Hank Williams I have no other memories of Country music. In fact,  the next song I recall from my youth,  came about when I was taking accordion lenses.  I wanted to learn to play the music for Bye Bye Blackbird, but my teacher never found the sheet music ( Instead I painted Bye Bye Blackbird in 2012).  My next remembrance of music was the song High Hopes, probably song by Frank Sinatra (Painted and sold).  A few years later I do recall a pop hit, Speedy Gonzales  by Pat Boone. Then as a high school Sophomore in 1964, the music of the Beatles changed every teenager,  including starting me on this path to now.

I guess my appeal for Waylon Jennings, and his song Waymore’s Blue, could have come from it being more of a traditional Country song, without the twang, that was greatly influenced by the Blues.  Or maybe,  Waylon Jennings one of the original County Outlaws, involved from one of the most original, influential, and controversial singer, songwriters of his time,  which was also my time as a youth.   And now, much older, and in this time,  I have a moments opportunity,  to keep going down that musical path beyond just Hank to Waylon.

Here is Hank Williams singing his 1947 classic Move It on Over in this 1949 recording.  This early Rockabilly song greatly influenced  Bill Haley and the Comets classic hit, Rock Around the Clock, that became the anthem for the youth of the 50s, and brought Rock ‘en Roll into the musical mainstream (reference Wikipedia):

Scott

S_V_H Cherish Finished image

cherish_finished

Cherish, is finished with all the structure that makes up this music is in place.   Tomorrow, I will clean,  touch up, and add a number of small wood pieces to give the music at little more interest.

Cherish, is a wonderful song about unrequited love, that made it relevant in the 60’s and I believe it still holds today. That is one reason I painted it.  Many of my artworks I complete reflect the times I grow up.  Cherish is one of those 3 minute songs that have given hundreds of hours of remembrance,  and reflection to many of us. Sometimes it is good to look back, laugh at yourself, and realize how far you have come.  You envy your youth in those days, but know that the best is yet to come.

Scott Von Holzen

 

 

S_V_H Bach BWV 988 – Aria final image

AriaBWV988_ImageFinalThis is the final full size image of the Bach work that I will be shipping to Japan.  When it arrives in Japan it will be re-stretched losing about 60mm around each edge of the frame. The final image that will hang in the Grand Bach Hotel in Kyoto Japan will be 1600mm x 500mm or about 64 inches by 20 inches in height.

The video below pretty much sums up my thoughts,  and feelings about this artwork.  Actually, I did this video to do a short lighting check, except that I kept on going. It is kind of funny in spots,.  Still,   I should have worn a better shirt,  turned off the fan I was using to dry the painting, been organized,  and stood up  straight.  Otherwise, the message is good, and it certainly documents the progress of this art, so I went with it.  Next up I will be finishing my Waylon Jennings painting,  and  starting another commission work, the Pat Benatar song, We belong.

Check out this video of an artist that needs a staff of advisors if he is ever to make it in the Big Town.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Purple Rain final image

purpleRain_F

Purple Rain,  which I started from a suggestion on April 6th, I have now finished. The canvas is three feet by four feet in length. This artwork, following my current trend uses many add-on wooden features.  Besides using a lot of shades of purple and violet I search the internet to find as many images of Prince to get an understanding of his fashion look.  I then took as many of those colors,  and put them into this work. All of those circles, of various sizes, I custom-made and they, you guessed it, represent purple rain.

I have listened to a lot of Prince this last month. I have also felt a closeness to this work, and the thought of selling this artwork, will separate us, which I am having some doubts. I am seeing,  in the over one hundred music paintings that I have done, that certain artworks I should keep in my possession. Examples of those would be Thunder Road, Hallelujah, and I Won’t Dance.  Now, I am thinking about Purple Rain if it belongs with the few.  Hard decisions they all are, but selling some works is good for business, and even better than piling Purple Rain up with the rest of my unsold potential masterpieces.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present Purple Rain, my unsure of artistic creation to the memory of Prince.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix Final Image

monCoeursouvre_FinalI have completed this my first Aria. Unusual,  but true, I cannot pronounce the title of this artwork in French.   Softly Awakes My Heart is this music’s English name, but I prefer the original title that comes from the French Opera,  Samson and Delilah. One of my goals for this  painting was to let the music move off the canvas. As you can see above that is what I did accomplish, after solving a number of technical issues. The wire I finally ended up using, annealed aluminum,  is actually used for training of Bonsai trees.  It is a lot easier,  and lighter than copper, with the advantage of being thicker, but easier to mold into place. Of course even this fairly large wire is not enough to create a strong visual effect. That is why I grab a bunch of scrap pieces of wood, and had some fun. If you go back to late 2012 and this  Vivaldi painting from the Four Seasons Series, Autumn Allegro,  you can see the origin of that idea using  paint only.

4SeasonsAutumnAllegroFinalSimilar  what you see in the Vivaldi artwork, and in this French Aria painting,  those assortment of shapes around the flow are there to create the look of pieces of the music being toss about.  When sounded a note’s tone often continues, although diminished, until drowned out by the next note.  In these two artworks I express those reduced  pitches in the form of panted pieces, and scraps of wood, with the side effect of adding interest,  movement, and in this artwork, adding mass around the wire.

This artwork has an odd shape, and construction, but I think the look turns out to be fine because the painting looks balance. Again, as I mentioned before, the background is good, but it is not the fresh look I am looking for. This is a beautiful Aria, and I believe this artwork stands out as a great visual representation that honors the music.

 

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Sound of Silence Final Image

soundOfSilence_Finalj
This is the final, final image of The Sound Silence made up of two canvas sixty inches in length. My color theme is Urban Gritty with dominant shades of blue-gray, and dull colored greens for the music, which is an interesting choice.  When I was in New York City this last fall visiting my good friend Tom,  there was not a lot of green in the streets. That is probably why I took one of my snapshots that day.

The real final image is the second version of the first final image which you can view below.  This came about, when I realized while writing this entry, that I had forgotten one last piece of the music. That missing piece appears in the second final image as a small wooden ledger line across three of my pieces of music. With that add-on I applied more of the street colors that caught my eye as contrast to the drab tones of the buildings. That finishing touch then allowed me to consider another change.

Throughout the later stages of this artwork I developed this feeling that the coloring was not quite there.  All of my attempts had only small affects or I washed them away. My thinking settled on that the coloring was okay, so leave it.  What caught my attention, after painting the add-on ledger line,  where those light violet colored musical stems.  The good color choice well with the background, but after looking at my images of New York that day, light violet seemed out-of-place, a little too packaged for me.  I decided to repaint all the stems with a color that better fit my urban color style. That made all the difference, artwork done, for sure.

soundOfSilence_Final

soundOfSilence_Finalb

soundOfSilence_Finald

soundOfSilence_Finalf

soundOfSilence_FinalhMy take on this painting is that the basic theme of the colors works exceptionally well for my interruption of this music. The length of the artwork is a little long, but I wanted to use the same size notes as my earlier work, Under Pressure, so that is what worked.

I can see that I am now firmly locked into using cut-out wood pieces for the music. Now, just where I can take this is what has my curiosity. I do have a small change in an earlier opinion: the background does not have to disappear, or even be greatly diminished.  I can see in this artwork that the background is playing an important part in the mood of this work, and that effect cannot be underestimated.

What that means,  is that I will be looking for new, creative ways to bring to life the colors, and shapes applied to the canvases. The background for these artworks, as I see,  are going to make up a large part of my artworks for some time.

Scott Von Holzen