S_V_H Losing My Edge image 4

losing My Edge _4This is the, for now, the completed Losing my Edge background. I wanted this part done by three PM, and it is now after three-thirty, so that is not too bad.  I had to rush somewhat to close out this part of the artwork, but it is worth a little stress.  Having a schedule for this painting, for completing parts,  keeps me focused on the limited amount of working hours I have left.   Next up adding the music.

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H Losing My Edge image 3

losing My Edge  3Losing My Edge, I am working on adding depth to the base image.  My first discovery of LCD Soundsystem occur strangely as I was looking for music documentaries on Netflix. I came upon Shut Up and Play the Hits.  This artwork is coming out of this version of Losing My Edge from that documentary:

Scott Von Holzen

 

 

S_V_H Losing My Edge Image2

losing MyEdge _2Losing My Edge from the Music by LCD Soundsystem.  This artwork composed of three canvases is about forty-six inches long by about thirty-four inches in height.  All I am doing here is to putting down some paint down, to cover the white canvas,  and that fits the music theme. To keep it simple, which is important when time constraints are an issue,  I picked purple for all three canvases.  Nothing special with the technique mostly just having fun.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Losing My Edge image 1

losingMyEdge_1

Losing My Edge is this years 2015 Birthday Painting.  I will be starting this work today and finishing it tomorrow on my Birthday.  I have done this tradition for a several years.  In the past I have started and finished my Birthday work all in one day, on my Birthday.  This year, I am going to be kinder to me.  I have proved I can paint a work all in one day, but for the most part that time has been extremely demanding and stressful. One years I finished the work just before midnight.  So enough is enough.  Now, it is time to have fun for my Birthday.  And anyway in the past I have taken days  before preparing and lately construction the work, and  yes I did paint the entire work all in one day, but I spent much of the next day cleaning up the work, so that it has that finished look.  This year I will be starting this work today and finishing it probably on Saturday with the clean up.

Here is the video for Losing My edge.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Sweet Little Angel Image 2

Sweet Little Angel image 2This is a small update about Sweet Little Angel.  What makes this update important is that I have moved this art into a new direction.  I now have the tools and the resources to let the music flow stand out from the background.  I do this by using quarter-inch  aspen wood.  At first I was only going to do the two notes on the center panel, but quickly I could see that I have something special starting, and so the entire music flow is now made up of painted wood.  This changes this art,  and helps me carry out my goal to portray music more fluidly like the way music is actually played.  I am on to something here, and I am going to push this technique forward with this years Birthday Painting.

Up next for today,  and tomorrow is the story of my 2015 Birthday Painting which will be LCD SoundSystem’s Losing My Edge.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Sweet Little Angel image 1

sweetLittleAngel_1This video of Sweet Little Angel shows B.B. King’s totally immersed in the music.  The sounds from Lucille, his guitar, flow through his fingers up and out through his voice and facial expressions.

Sweet Little Angel is a music in art two canvas composition, forty inches by about twenty-eight inches in height. This is the third in this current series of small works. This artwork is a part of a larger experimental trend of putting a lot more effort in the taping and applying of the paint, to increase the drama  and aggressiveness,of the backgrounds. I no longer want backgrounds whose main purpose is to provide a decorate look to hang the music on. I am seeing in the early stages of these artworks compositions that on their own could be seen as abstract art. Still, my true goal of these advanced super charged backgrounds remains consistent with the past, to set the mood, and anchor the music in its rhythmic movement across the canvas.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Ghost of Tom Joad Final Image

The Ghost of Tom Joad final image

I have completed The Ghost of Tom Joad. This artwork proves to me that it is easier to test new ideas when working on a smaller size canvas. I used two new techniques in this work that I plan on developing, and experimenting with in future paintings.  The first one is drip painting.  Dripping paint is not a great artistic breakthrough. It is a technique that I have ignored, until I stumbled on a dripping method that was convenient to use, consistent, and with fairly precise control. The second new technique, if you look closely at the enlargement,  you will see a number of small square wooden pieces that I have attach to this artwork.  I am fascinated by the unlimited opportunities that attaching painted pieces of wood to canvas can offer.

These two methods each can add interest, and more important depth, in edition to using multiple layers of canvases to make that three dimensional, sculptural look possible.  But not every artwork works well with layered canvases.  Now,  with the option of dripping, and adding small wooded pieces to the canvas surface,  I can give even a traditional flat rectangle artwork a little of that three dimension look.  I am always after this to better reflect the depth of the music I am portraying.

My original idea for The Ghost of Tom Joad  was to use earth tones to keep the coloring muted and the contrast lower.  I found out once again, that it was hard for me to limit my pallet.  I may have an opportunity to actually limit my pallet with this years Birthday painting, at the end of July.  My Birthday painting I start and complete in one day.  A simpler color scheme, with smart use of tints and shades, could save painting time,  and be an opportunity to experiment with a cleaner appearing,  less cluttered looked.

 

Up next is another small artwork, and a Blues Classic, Sweet Little Angel. I cannot seem to get enough of B B King so I thought it was time to do one of his own classic songs.  Since this is a Blues piece I can see this as an opportunity to create a simpler artwork.

Scott Von Holzen

 

S_V_H The Ghost of Tom Joad image 4

theGhostOfTomJoad_5

This is the painting The Ghost of Tom Joad in a late stage. I have completed all the important parts of this artwork.  Next up I will be adding interest, and cleaning up the image. I do not have much to add about this work beyond you are seeing, in this painting,  pieces of styles from a number of earlier works. But, if you scroll down the blog page and look at the Billie Holiday painting,  I just completed, you will see an entirely different style. What that shows is that this art does not evolve from work to work, but instead it comes from the music that I am portraying.  Up to now you are seeing an overall style evolution partially driven by the chosen music, but probably also pushed on because I do not want this art to stand still. As I have said many times in the past, I am persevering in this fine art quest to find out how it will actually turn out. I want to know ‘does he really make it in the art world.’ To get to that end, duplicating myself is the last thing I want to do. Evolving from the past is good and necessary, repeating begins the end. This art can fail in multiple ways, but it must not me that is the cause.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Ghost of Tom Joad images 3

 

theGhostOfTomJoad_3The Ghost of Tom Joad before removing the tape I used to cover the flow of the music.

theGhostOfTomJoad_4Of course this is The Ghost of Tom Joad after removing tape. I have tried this experiment  before but not to this extent. I do not think I will do it this way in the future.  I am thinking differently about how this should be done. Next time I will just indicate the general areas where the music flow will land, and then pull the layers of paint across these areas with more care.  By doing this l am thinking that each layer will be thin and soft enough that masking the music will not be worth the time spent masking.

I can see the need for a lot of touch up after removing the tape. Also, I found, especially trying to mask out the circles, that the taping overlapped, which then made the layers that cover the tape thicker. That has created a lot more finishing issues.

The base painting is done, so now it is on to the music and smoothing out the transition between the music and the background. I save the blues and their relatives, for the music. What that means even though I am trying to stay with earth tones, * brighter colors are going to creep back into this work. I can not help.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Ghost of Tom Joad image 1 & 2

the Ghost Of Tom Joad image 1

 

 

The Ghost of Tom Joad image 1

The Ghost of Tom Joad image 2
The Ghost of Tom Joad Image 2.

I am painting this Bruce Springsteen song because I like the music and the words. The name in the title ‘Tom Joad,’ comes from the main character in the book Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck that is set during the Depression. Springsteen updates the struggles of Tom Joad through his ghost.  He expressed his feelings for this music at a Madison Square Garden Concert in 2009, “…..If Woody Guthrie were alive today, he would have a lot to write about,  high times on Wall Street, and hard times on Main Street.” This music is still relevant today, with the worker that punches in struggling to stay in middle class, still  believing  that hard work, with determination, and effort will result in success, and a prosperous life.  Bruce might have said it best about the American Dream in his music, “Is that you baby, or just a brilliant disguise.”

The Ghost of Tom Joad started out as a simple single canvas artwork 20 inches by 40 inches, which was chosen for it is a nice standard rectangle artwork they would be easy to frame. The first image shows that rectangle with blends of Burnt Sienna and some basic striping.  Soon after I realize that the way I had mapped the music left little room for the words.  All I could picture was a crowding of words, and music in small parts of this work,  while leaving large expanses of canvas with little interest.  I also could not avoid the inescapable conclusion which was that this canvas looked boring.  It looked like I was trying to cut corners. I am thinking I, at first, wanted to speed up the process of creating that was so drawn out with Fine & Mellow. I halted that thinking, and that is what you see in image two.

For these early images I wanted to use some base colors that I believe would be the foundation for the music similar to what I have seen on the cover of the album The Ghost of Tom Joad. albumCover

Here is another version of this great Bruce Springsteen song:

 

I have painted, in the past, a few other protest songs. Two early, earlier, works are For What its Worth, and Fortunate Son. These two artworks represent  the sixties, Madison Wisconsin, and Vietnam.

For What’s it Worth:

For What Its Worth

Fortunate Son:

Fortunate SonI received an Interesting comment about this work.  A long time ago I was using an image of Fortunate Son as my background on my computer, when another worker saw my screen and commented that it look like a picture of a watermelon with seeds. No no, I said,  but to this day I am still surprised that Fortunate Son has not sold considering that it appeals to not only the artsy elite but to the food crowd.Waist Deap in the Big MuddyWaist Deep in the Big Muddy, is a small early later work. This one was to protest our invasion of Iraq.

Since The Ghost of Tom Joad is also a small work, next up I am going to push my technique of spreading different layers of color to see what look I can create.  Also, if I can figure out, what I want to try is paint dripping. This is going to be an experimental work, that I am not in a rush to complete, for things are bound not to go right the first time.

Scott Von Holzen