S_V_H Shape of my Heart

Shape of my heart

My next project is Shape of my Heart, written and sung by Sting. The above image shows an artwork plan that will accommodate over forty pieces of this music. My note size is 2 3/4″ (64mm). In this image I have lined up 22 of these notes along the bottom area to make sure there was enough length for them. As mentioned before, to fit in our Toyota for traveling, I need to keep the individual length of these artworks under 72 inches, and even less if the artwork is wider than 24 inches. Although the two side 16×16 speaker boxes will be elevated above the supporting frame, right now the look of this artwork is reminiscent of the previous project. To give the artwork more depth, I am looking at adding curved 6 inch wide steel sheets, like in Crazy, this time attached to the speaker boxes.

Here is a YouTube video of a live performance of Shape of My Heart by String.

Shape of my heart – Sting

The plan for each new music box project starts with the creation of the cover music. That audio is below and although it is not finished, this cover music has all the structure that I want.

That means the music starts with an introduction that is followed by a combination of melodies that captures the sound and the emotions of the original music while staying close to a minute. The escape ends the music, hopefully leaving a listener happy and surprised, while keeping the music box music under one minute thirty seconds. Already from this cover music, I have selected the measures that the artwork will be sampling.

These are the lyrics from the cover that I will sample:

“I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that’s not the shape of my heart”
– Sting

Draft Music box audio for shape of my heart project.

This rough cut of the cover music is all I need now to plan the artwork.

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This is the first four sections of the fifteen section poem I wrote on the passing of my brother. A new section will be added in each new blog entry. 

  
Roger’s poem

The sun in winter
is all too short.
Who knew as you move through our lives,
that yours would follow the winter sun.

Winter arrests time
for thought and reflection
that February afternoon.
Dressed for warmth
we venture out,
Into the soft light,
surrounded by stillness,
not an oak leaf stirring. 

The cold of that yesterday
 is heard in the crackling crunch
 of fresh fallen snow, 
 as I straddled previous steps
 along a well-worn path,
 deep into the woods.

Although I think
we are alone,
Zelda knows better,
her actions are telling. 
Life and the deer are about. 
Stopping with her tail up,
head sharply flipping, 
to-and-fro sensing something_, 
curious,
I also pause,
feeling a stirring in the air.
With her nose to the snow, 
Zelda looks to turn off the known path, 
to explore another trail, 
far less traveled. 
Her interest, I cannot foresee,
or know where it leads. 
....to be continued.


Sadly, for most of our lives, Roger and I lived many hours' distance away from each other. Reading a small part of his story and editing it for this blog site, I recalled that when together I cherished those moments, although I now realize that I never fully appreciated all of his wonderful achievements. I have those regrets, and like all brothers that are separated, I wished I would have found more ways to have been a part of his life.

Here is background information detailing my brother's education and employment.

Roger Von Holzen graduated in 1971 from High School where he was
was a high achiever, including Track and Field, where his running record stands to this today.
Roger attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, with an education degree. He then returned to his graduating High school to teach history and computer science for 10 years. 
Roger then received a horticulture degree from Gateway Tech in Kenosha, WI.
Furthering his education, Roger obtained his Master’s degree in Computer Studies from
North Western Missouri State University in 1987.
He then taught Computer Science at Northwest Missouri State.
In 1993, Roger received his Doctorate in Instructional Technology
from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, in 1993.
Roger enhanced his career by being extensively involved in various technology initiatives undertaken by the University. These efforts of his lead to his appointment to the Director of the campus Faculty Technology Center, in the spring of 1999.
He retired on June 30, 2020 from Northwest as an associate professor of
computer science. 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H One Thousand years Final

This is the final image of the commission work, One thousand Years. Although this is not a favorite choice of music for me to paint, it is understandable that the lyrics and the music together have created a very popular wedding song.

I started to create the cover music for the artwork on July 18th and finished today which is August 11th. That adds up to three weeks and three days. My days in the studio have always been morning to evening.

For this summer I have a basic routine of in the Studio by 10am, a half hour lunch, a studio break at 5-5:30pm then maybe back in the studio until dinner. After which I return for another hour or so with my evening deadline in the studio being 9pm. I only do one artwork at a time, but not all my time is spent on current project. Some of my studio time is needed to write these blog entries, practice my instruments (should do more), educating myself on the different software, updating my prints sites (now in jeopardy) updating and maintaining my .com website (don’t do it enough), and a new alternative artist’s website, EmptyWallsArt.

One Thousand Years final thoughts.

Next up I plan to return to the larger format. These small works are cute. But, I like big. I like music that fills the room, I like art that makes an in-your-face statement.

Scott Von Holzen

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This is the added third section of fifteen sections that is my poem dedicated to my brother who left all those who loved him one year ago this last August 9th.

Roger’s poem

The sun in winter
is all too short.
Who knew as you move through our lives,
that yours would follow the winter sun.

Winter arrests time
for thought and reflection
that February afternoon.
Dressed for warmth
we venture out,
Into the soft light,
surrounded by stillness,
not an oak leaf stirring.

The cold of that yesterday
is heard in the crackling crunch
of fresh fallen snow,
as I straddled previous steps
along a well-worn path,
deep into the woods.

S_V_H Crazy first image

Final preliminary design

In my first layout below the speaker canvases, similar to past works are extensions on the sides. The width of this setup was around 45 inches in width, and six feet in length. I wanted to work to have a wider look away from the long rectangles in past 2020 music boxes. This first preparation image turned out to be too wide for our Toyota RAV to carry without dismantling. That is what I must do with all my previous 2022 works. I did not want that to continue with Crazy.

For Crazy I choose to keep the music for this artwork simple, and in four parts, so that I could have a more vertical work. The final design that was a good-enough-to-get-going arrangement is pictured above. This artwork will fit in the car being less than 42 inches wide and around sixty-four inches in length.

First layout.

As for my choice of the music, I remember I liked what I heard watching a guy dressed strangely, like an airline pilot captain, singing Crazy at the 2007 Grammy’s. I was able to find that performance on YouTube:

His outfit gave me the idea to go with a black theme accented with gold.

Early audio for this music box

My first step always is to create a basic soundtrack. Form that sound track I then choose the music the artwork is to sample. This current audio is lacking a lot, including drums. All that will be improved later when the physical artwork is near completion, and I am starting to build its sound system.

Scott Von Holzen

SVH Play that Song 1st image

This is the first image of the artwork Play that Song from the music by the band Train. This is what I call the back image. I picked two shades of blue that represent the sky in the video. Since this blog is taking forever to write below is another image of the final top layer of paint, which consists of two coats of Bone Black and a third which is a more here-and-there coat of Payne’s Gray.

Image from the new Studio under construction.

The image above with the two examples of the attached music is a proof-of-concept test. I wanted to confirm that I can use magnets to attach the music to the canvas. This would then make it considerably easier to store and move the artwork about. Using magnets to attach the loose canvas to a frame, and magnets to attach the music to the canvas creates a constructed and assemblage artwork.

My past artworks using the scratch of technique involved attaching the wooden music to the soft and vulnerable top layer with glue. Making things worse, the canvas is attached with magnets to the support frame and not stretched. The attaching anything permanently to what is a loose piece of canvas to a layer of fresh paint that can be scrapped off, can be a challenge. Even with careful handling, the attached music can tear away from the top layer of paint and canvas. A solution was that by scrapping down to the original background canvas the glue in those contact areas would hold to the canvas. I am also seeing some evidence that over time the top paint layer may harden enough to diminish the attachment issue. Using magnets attached to the wooden underside of the music and then attached to other magnets placed on the backside of the canvas, eliminates the need for glue, and creates a secure, and a safer to move temporary hold of the music to the canvas.

This is the top background image. Once I paint on the words for the artwork I will then scrap this layer of paint, to reveal the blue and white original background.

This top image differs from my past efforts in that some areas of the background still show through. That happened because I only applied three layers of paint to cover the back layer. In the past I would apply many more layers until the background image was completely covered. I have given up on that idea. I don’t know why I was thinking I needed a solid cover background, other than that would be a traditional art technique that others would approve of. But I was never trained in traditional art techniques. I have only seen them in museums, books, and videos. At this point in this art’s development, my time is too precious to accommodate.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Rhapsody in Blue final image

Rhapsody in Blue 87 3/4″ in length by 21 1/2″ maximum height.

I built Rhapsody in Blue from the previous artworks, Vogue, and Ronda All Turk.  These three works are the major artworks for 2018, not only because of their size, but because they may have given me the opportunity to shake the artistic tree.  This final image of Rhapsody’s contributes to that shake up.

Rhapsody in Blues obviously quivers the tree visually, because of its unusual handling of the subject matter.  Portraits, and landscapes, and abstract paintings are all positioned  on their backgrounds. This is not true with Rhapsody where the subject matter is physically independent from the background.

What is that rustling of the leaves I am hearing?   Well that is Rhapsody presenting a  look that drops the stylistic use of the splish-splash use of color seen in much of today’s art.  Rhapsody also combines two different forms of abstraction seen in the expressionist coloring of the music  while the rest of the painting uses the solid colors of colored color field painting. The limbs and leaves of the artistic tree are now swaying about.

And finally, to shake the fruit from the tree,  I replaced much of the background with space and air leaving the stretched canvas, decorated in Art Deco, to symbolize a background that serves little purpose.

Each of these paintings could help to define music to the viewer as something that is not to be heard but felt.  If that is so than I am heading in the right direction. If the viewer see these three paintings as original fine art pieces than I am certainly staying this course.  And yet I am far from seeing any of that happening.  None of these artworks have sold,  or received any attention including appearing in public.  Until that day arrives I will keep doing what I have always done: move on to the next project, while keeping my focus on shaking that damn tree.  To step up the pace I might have to bring out the saw.

The Giving Tree, a favorite book of mine by Shel Silverstein

 

Scott Von Holzen