S_V_H Just Another Day image 3

Just another Day L64″xH44″xD6″

This is the project Just Another Day, with the artwork music in place. I changed the original design by dropping the bottom canvas lower, which allows easier access for attaching the music.

The Dancing house images from the LACMA exhibition catalog.

I have found the inspiration for this artwork in the architecture of Frank Gehry. It is his freedom from standard architectural rules, made possible through computer software, that allows him to create the buildings that match his imagination. His accomplishments give me the encouragement to break completely from any of my own artificial limitations I made up for this art. Now what works for me, I will make work for these artworks. That sounds simple, but the getting to this understanding has taken years.

The definition of this art starts with sheet music and accordion lessons when I was seven. My appreciation of music has grown ever since, including the grasping of music theory and my interest in learning to play different musical instruments. It was knowing the fundamentals of reading sheet music that I discovered a unique painting technique.

Before I started painting music, I searched “art in music” and what I found were paintings of people playing musical instruments, or abstract images given a title of a song. I chose a different way to paint music by using the up and down flow of a song seen in its sheet music. I felt I could paint this approach if I kept this art to only representing this movement. I wanted the viewer to visualize the music in an artwork built around a song’s pitch changes, and not a painting of sheet music. Now, with Frank Gehry’s creative push over-the-ledge, I am letting go of those artistic restraints that have forever defined these music works. It just took me forever to get to this point of seeing the value of Gehry’s designs, along with a little help from Bach.

I see Gehry’s finish, especially his commercial projects, as high craft, especially in his use of speculator materials like titanium. I do not consider my artwork high craft and do not present them that way. I understand the beauty and high craftsmanship of great art that is favored. I just think it is a waste of time and has little to do with my message. I see my approach, for example, in the varied model pictures of Frank Gehry’s “the Dancing House.” I feel these models harmonize better with my artistic style. Add to that a little help from a rediscovered 2020 Bach project.

J S Bach Minuet 1067

This Bach artwork was experimental, for it allowed me to slide the music sections about using mounted arms. Those two white mounted arms in the lower middle of the artwork are examples of what I used to connect the music to with bolts and wing nuts. When loosen, this then allows the music to slide up and down those arms. This Bach work is the first attempt at what I now take for granted. The problem back then was how to secure the arms of the artwork, which turned out to be not reliable.

It was the CVA show the summer of 2021, that this Bach artwork got the worse of it, coming home with pieces of it in a tote. This artwork was a mess, and an irritation that I ignored for months. The worse issue was the mounting arms that pushed out the music a lot further from the canvas. This exposure and the weakness of the mounts resulted in more parts of the artwork being loosened or even falling off at the show and breaking loose on the U-Haul truck rental drive home. Eventually to store, I repaired the damaged from the CVA show. It surprised me I was only missing one small piece. Although still fragile to the touch, I took what I have learned since its build to strengthen the attachment of the artwork to the canvases.

After the repairs were done, I took another look at this work, and how the music stood out three inches from the canvas surface. This distance creates an amazing look of depth lost in a picture. Also, the beautiful curved white shapes give a superior strong look of motion across the artwork.

Taking my current mood, the depth and style of the Bach’s work, and Gehry’s let-it-all-hang-out style, the results are in. Just another Day’s looks results from the largest canvas being painted like the look of corrugated sheet metal, the curving of wood pieces, and an eighteen-inch steel plate, resulting in an artwork with a depth of six inches.

I believe in my early days of group exhibitions, I could only find one standard art genre name that fit somewhat, which was Mixed Media. When I added a push button to play the music, the artwork was portraying, I then went all-art-genre-in and came up with the description of Interactive constructive sculpture. I now have simplified this genre down to Sculptural Music box. We will see how long that lasts.

Up next, I will work on the installation of the stereo system, which will complete this music box project.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Just Another Day Image 1

This color theme comes from a building. I will explain.
The setup
This is an advanced version of the music box software created in the StudioOne DAW software.

Just Another Day is music by Jon Secada. Here is a better live video and sound presentation from a Stound Stage performance in 2017. This music was originally released in 1992.

This music is not a classic from my past. I do not remember if I ever listened to it when it was first released. It is a nice catchy pop tune that I thought I could work with. I have new drum software and this music has a simpler drum beat to start the learning process. Also, I wanted to do a smaller artwork and the song’s chorus length works for the artwork and the cover music.
I must admit that I have forgotten any other motivations I could have for painting this music. Many of my music choices just happen. I probably heard this song on a Spotify Daily Mix, and it fit the mood and the size of the music I wanted to paint.

The plan was to use canvases from my ample stock for this project. These blog images and the audio sums up what I have been doing, for 60 to 70 plus hours 7 days a-week, since the middle of February. The smaller image is the setup for this project. I should have done that on Your Song. One goal of Just Another Day was to reduce the over length of the artwork by placing the speakers inside the artwork and not attaching them to the outside. This would create a smaller size work easier to store when that time comes, and it will. This project will be under six feet by four feet in height. Because of the limits of these four canvases, I had to cut back my original music sample. When laid out, the artwork music stretched to ten feet.

As for the larger blog photo, the colors and the design come from these Images from the LACMA Museum exhibition catalog, Frank Gehry. Not only has this art style been influenced by dead artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse, and Jackson Pollock, it also has many other influencers, including the living architect, Frank Gehry. On the large canvas, the striping did not photograph well with the iPhone. The silver color looks awful, while the contrasting color is a lighter shade of black, meant to represent the Gehry image of corrugated metal.

As for the cover music, I am astounded by what I have accomplished with the software. Even though what I am doing is basic, simple, fairly straightforward, and nothing that anyone could not also do. I cannot help but being pleased with my growth and understanding of digital music, created using the (DAW) StudioOne. So it can be.

Scott Von Holzen

Play that Song, the Artwork, finished

These are the words with the music. I am not displaying lyrics, only words. In the early days artworks had a word or two. In time that changed as their number became more common and complicated. That was when a remembrance came to mind.

In my earlier summer job days I worked at my father’s car and truck dealership doing whatever I was told to do. While there I was in awe of the sign painter and his beautiful hand lettering who painted the customers’ truck doors. I thought of him when adding words became increasingly important. Seeing back to his slow motion painting and precision lines influenced my lettering style and personalize my the font style I used. It was as if I was assuming the position as a lettering painter. My artwork word standard became a challenging and time-consuming task. For example, I wanted to make sure all the letters looked similar and had the right width, height and spacing.

It was only recently when I was going to fill entire canvases with words that I came convinced that my precision letters and the time this type of lettering required no longer made sense. My alternative because a looser and more like my natural hand printing style. Besides, I thought after painting all the words, my next step would be to take a pallet knife and scrape parts of them away. I added another reason for my lettering change with this project.

When standing back from the artwork and seeing the words, the thought came to me: I was looking at graffiti. Now, I do not know if that is the right description for graffiti artists certainly are better word craftspeople, and better at using more elaborate fonts. Maybe my wording is more a reflection of the hand printing style used by Jean Michel Basquiat who was not a graffiti artist. All the words in this artwork are in my natural abstract graffiti style, which fits this music filmed in the city and works with the darker background and the scrapping.

The image above is the artwork in a near finished look. This is the first artwork using the technique where the music is held onto the canvas with magnets. When I hung the art pieces to the canvas, to take a photo for an exhibition, I knew the top coat of paint was still sensitive to scratching and could easily be damaged by the pressure of the magnets. Now days later, as the top coat is hardening, I am testing lighter strength magnets with different covers to prove that they are a viable hanging option that can be easily moved and removed.

I have not signed it yet, nor have I built the aluminum frame that enables it to by hung and supports the music. I was in a hurry. I wanted to meet the deadline for a major local show at the Pablo in Confluence Center in Eau Claire. My submission application made it in on the 24th meeting the deadline. My current stand is to not do group exhibitions, especially if there is an entrance fee, but this show is the exception. It is the most important art show in this area and more so I want a one-person show from the Pablo. This is an example of pay to play ($20 entrance fee) and playing to find a way.

Part of the Exhibition application

I will know by July 30th if this artwork makes it in the Jurored exhibition. I will then build the frame and add the music. The drop off is not till September. Otherwise, it will go to storage, and I will have another reason to hate group exhibitions.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Play that Song rough cut

I like to keep the cover music for this artwork around one minute or less. That does not always happen, but this is the goal. I have my reasoning. Go to any museum and stopwatch the viewers as they pause at your favorite Van Gogh, Turner, Matisse, Picasso, or Rembrandt, painting. You will notice their stare time is around 30 seconds. Looking at the timing for this art my guess is less than 30 seconds for the viewer would soon discover the music push button. That then adds a one minute, more or less, of extra viewing time. Finally, to bring the total view to near two minutes, I would probably get extra starring seconds once the music stops and before the confused viewer finally moves on to the Picasso. That added average viewing time would certainly help this art stand out in a person’s memory, and make the great ones envious.

Every cover song starts with the piano as my foundation for my notation. If the music has voice, then I include a better representative, either a string or woodwind instrument for their Legato (dictionary meaning is a smooth flowing manner, without breaks between notes.) For this rough cut version of the cover music I am using the software Notion for the Alto Flute, Viola, and Cello for voice parts, supported by the piano, banjo and drums.

In the past, before sound, I would use a phrase from the music in order to create the artwork. When I first added music, its purpose was to help the viewer follow the musical notation the artwork was displaying, which then enhanced their experience. That worked for a while. Eventually, as my musical skills increased, the cover music grew not only longer but included more instruments. This resulted in the increasing difficulty in following the artwork along with the music. I made this even worse because the artworks were also getting bigger to accommodate the increased length of the cover music. My temporary solution was to make my notation smaller. When I discovered even I was having trouble following the music along with the artwork, I knew that the causal viewer would simply stop trying. The solution became to have the artwork cover only parts of the cover music for the artwork. At that moment, the artwork no longer controlled the music. No longer am I creating artworks. They are now presentations with the visual and the sound being equal partners. 

Creating a presentation with this music makes added sense considering that this is not a major piece of music, and after counting the lead vocal notes for the cover music. They added up to over one-hundred. If I would then go with my average notation size, which is 50 millimeters, the artwork would have a length of over sixteen feet. That would be the size of a major Vivaldi artwork, and a silly waste of time for this small, but adorable song by the band Train.

This is my 81st day back Home and the first posting of the start of a new project. I am still working in a temporary studio. Yesterday, they installed the commercial carpet squares in the soon to be new permanent Studio.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Walking In Memphis Final

88″ Length by 33.5″ Height by 4″ depth

My start date was July 17th for Walking in Memphis.  I finished on the 20th of August. Most of my final thoughts on this artwork are in the YouTube video, but I will add a few more comments.

The piano and strings in this arrangement are the interactive parts of this artwork created using the software MuseScore.  In my video, I mentioned that the strings are the voice of the music.  I’ll add that the piano part of the arrangement connects Marc Cohn’s video to the artwork.  I now see sound as a transformational tool.  I once viewed adding music to my artworks as a selling gimmick for art fairs.  Nothing sold.  At less the non-paying public enjoyed it, although saying “Push the button to hear the music,”  grew tiresome.  What changed where the enthusiastic comments at ArtsWest’s Africa, and Mozart’s Turkish March at the Trout Museum.  A staff person at the ArtsWest library, at pickup,  asked to play Africa on our way out of the library.

My first serious music notation software, Noteflight. For years I used it only to create the arrangements of the music I painted.  My first added sound came with my little Beethoven 5th first four notes artworks.  I had found a recordable small plastic battery-operated soundbox with a half-watt speaker within an extension wired push button.  In 2018 using the software, Musescore, and soundbox enhancements, the music from this 1inch flat speaker sounds good on The Turkish March, and 2019’s ArtsWest artwork Africa.

My first Sound Box

After Africa, in early 2019 I created the jazz artwork Giant Steps whose style came from  2017’s Miles Davis artwork,  So What (Which I agree).  Giant Steps I believe I never considered adding music because of the limits of the soundbox and MuseScore’s synthesizer to replicate this Jazz masterpiece.  After Giant, I painted Over the Rainbow another experimental work based on the So What style.   From the blog entries adding music was a low priority.  That changed with Schindler’s List.

The largest in a long while, and a statement piece, I knew this music needed a higher quality sound to match its size.  Through research, I found a two-watt stereo amp that I could store and play a music file.  Instead of a flat one-inch speaker I now can power two, three-inch speaker placed inside their own custom made speaker boxes.  It required soldering.  I am getting better.

Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board + 2x2W Amp 2″ in length

Next up came Mercy Me, a self-inflicted obligation project that I saw as a long shot for a local environmental exhibition.  The song Mercy, Mercy Me was my first choice for this show.  My choice of music and time restraints made adding sound only a consideration.   Mercy, Mercy Me,  did not show.  I never created a sound file.

With The Blue Danube, I returned to doing artworks for me.  From the start of Schindler’s List, I knew I wanted to add a music file.  In fact, this artwork is a turning point.  From Blue Danube and Walking In Memphis onward finding the right music for a sound file is as important as finding what music to portray.

One final thought on Walking in Memphis: this music by Marc Cohn is the first song on Spotify’s playlist, One-hit Wonders.

Maybe this artwork will someday be a wonder on its own playlist of Greatest Hits.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 2

Artwork over 80 inches in length.

For this image of Walking in Memphis I have used a spacer boards so I can display the two sections together.  Right now the length of the artwork is eighty-four inches.  My music for Walking in Memphis is all in place and portrays the ending of the song, where it repeats the beginning.  Here are those words:

“Put on my blue suede shoes And I boarded the plane.  Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues In the middle of the pouring rain
Touched down in the land of the Delta Blues In the middle of the pouring rain.”
-Walking in Memphis Marc Cohen
The video for Walking in Memphis is in black and white.  I painted many of the shafts black and white with shades of gray in between.  I also picked a color to represent the Blues and painted the remaining shafts blue.  I arranged all the shafts into the two sections of the artwork.  To show my appreciation for Jackson Pollock, I clamped all the shafts from each section together.  Then I chose four different colors of fluid acrylics and pour each color into syringe like small plastic bottles.  I then squeezed out the fluid paint across all the wood pieces.  I chose the colors red, blue, yellow, and green for they appear in many of the Beale street neon signs.  Here is an example:
My version of Pollock’s style of drip painting when first applied mimics his style: swirls of paint.  My twist is that I then separate all the shafts.  This spreads the flow creating more movement and drama.
Finally,  I chose for the notes a mixed blue to resemble the color of the only pair of Elvis’s blue suede shoes:

In the four corners I have eight by ten canvases that I have covered with digital canvas night images of today’s Beale Street.  Later on I will add some much older black and white images of Beale Street, and other interesting items Marc Cohen sings about.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Africa Final Image

Africa: acrylic paint, with six canvases, with wood and aluminum features. About 50 3/4 inches in length by 32 inches high, by about 3 1/4 inches in-depth.

After one month of work Africa is finished.  I created this artwork to be the submission to this years Artwest Exhibition. Although, if accepted, this work would be installed in a library,  I did shake-the-tree, by adding sound, although tone down:

This artwork’s look, comes from more than the usual amount of internet research, that included the Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, African music, and African fashion.  Like Toto, at the time of the music’s release, I have never been to Africa.  In fact “I’ve never been to Spain,” but I kinda like the popular African instrument, the Marimba, which work well with this artwork’s soundtrack.   Africa’s experimental rectangular format, cut the length of this artwork from over eight feet, to just over four feet, in length.  For this musical theme I think the two connected backgrounds canvases, each 10 x 20 inches, gave this  artwork a solid foundation, plus added a lot of sculptural depth to the entire work.  The dimensions of this Artwork make me wonder what I could call this art style.  I have tried and rejected, painting,  mixed media, outsider art, the Russian art style Constructivism, the Combine art style of Robert Rauschenberg,  Conceptual Art, and finally every current art style that deals with Interaction.  I have nothing. Therefore I default to Mixed Media on the entrance forms, because this Art hangs on a wall, unlike traditional Sculpture, and Other just songs icky.

I used many different colors in this artwork, which lead me to stop and write what colors went where. That became an issue because the theme of this artwork has an unusual story telling look.  Starting from top left to bottom right, this artwork begins with the night and the stars. That leads to a sunny day with rain. Than from the bottom left you have the Serengeti, with rain again,  and finally on the bottom right there is Mount Kilimanjaro.

After a long month of working on this project, I want to now move on.  As I said before, I expect this Artwork to be rejected for submission. That means it will probably sit out-of-the-way, on the left easels, until I finish my next big project.  Than there will no longer be any room for it, and that is when it will be off to Storage. But while it is in the studio, it will be an example for change for the next artwork. The look of Africa does present new opportunities.  What, and how, and where I will take this art, I have no idea, but I believe it is time to take a fresh look at the relationship between music and painting.  That leaves Three Dog Night to help motivate me to keep on keeping on. And if you have forgotten, and you should never forget (no matter your age), “Jeremiah was a bullfrog
Was a good friend of mine:”


Scott Von Holzen




S_V_H Africa image 3

Previous early new year paintings have anticipated directional changes in style to come in the new year.  Africa continues that trend with the added incentive that it will be my submission for the local library juried show, this April.  For 2019 the library is celebrating its 40th Art West exhibition.  Last year I entered the wonderful In The Mood, which until today was the header picture for this blog.  That artwork was not accepted.  That surprised me. What was and am I missing?  I suspect that same result with this years Africa submission, because this is a “celebration” year for the Library.  That means, and this is only my sense, that the entry competition will be strong with a prejudice tilted to the popular and known local artists.  My hope lies with the two experienced artists doing this years judging.  One of them may will have a momentary Art insight with the independence to invite me.  They may see Africa as I do as a leading contemporary artwork, not just locally, but everywhere.  If nothing happens, maybe they will have the respect to email my rejection, without my requesting.  Otherwise no regrets,  I still will have a great Artwork to start to a new year.

This third image shows the upper and lower music mounted to the background.  Drilling holes and screwing canvases together brought back memories of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons Artworks, and the care needed to support and align canvas parts correctly. I had the easier option to attach the top and bottom canvases to the top and bottom edges of the background, but that looked too two-dimensional.  The top section theme is the night sky and the day with rain falling. The lower music color theme  is the Serengeti, along with the eventual addition of mount Kilimanjaro.

During our local Art association Christmas party, Sandra an artist,  who had exhibited along side me in a fall art show, suggested that to increase the interest in my music paintings,  that I could take a song like Blue Moon, and paint that as a landscape with a blue moon. Although her thinking had merit I felt a little taken back.  I did not tell her that most of my artworks already include colors, and design aspects related to the music,  or that if I did paint the song Blue Moon,  a blue moon would be certainly be a visual point of interest, along with other shades of acrylic blues.  I did thank her politely, and turned away, stunned that I had nothing else to say.  Only now do I understand my silence: I have never had to defend my artwork to strangers.  Up to that Christmas party moment no one,  beyond close family and my first CVA meeting in Wausau, over the last thirteen years, have ever challenged the merits of my art.  Sandra, was a big surprise, and a come to Jesus moment.

For now here are two examples of this art connecting paint to flow.  This is a an image of Waylon’s guitar and the artwork Waymore’s Blues.

(Photo by Stephanie Chernikowski/Redferns)

Another example of Sandra, and her Blue Moon effect, take look at George Harrison’s guitar and the artwork My guitar gently weeps:


Scott Von Holzen

Post 578

S_V_H Africa second Image


This second staged image of Africa, shows the music laid out on the background.  In the past I would build these artworks one section or piece at a time, and then mount what I had to the background before moving on.  With this artwork, similar to the Christmas painting, I am constructing and painting all the parts of the music before attaching anything to the background.  This saves time,  but doing all the construction at once can be tiresome, repetitive, and show little progress.  Having all the pieces available, does cut the stress of making sure everything fits in predefined background.  What stays the same, and is consistent from the very first music artwork,  is that I add the music to the background from left to right.

I  mention in my last blog entry, the 29th Annual Midwest Seasons exhibition,  for which I submitted this years Christmas painting.   I waited all week of December 10th, their timeline, for a notification. Finally, on Friday afternoon I emailed the CVA in Wausau to ask for an update.  Surprisingly, I receive a quick response.


“Dear Scott,

We would like to thank you for submitting your artwork for the 29th Annual Midwest Seasons exhibit. We had an outstanding collection of entries this year with over 200 images for the juror to review. We were greatly impressed by the amount and quality of all of the submissions.

We regret to inform you that the juror did not select your entries for the exhibit. We hope you will continue to submit work for future competitive exhibits, as the juror changes every year. Each juror has a unique vision for the show and your artwork may be viewed differently by our next juror.

We hope you will join us for the Opening Gallery Gala & Awards Reception for the 29th Annual Midwest Seasons exhibit on January 18th, 2019 from 5 to 7pm.

Thank you for submitting your artwork and for supporting the Center for the Visual Arts.

Kindest regards,”

x xx x x x x x x  x


I take all these type of rejections as a sign that I am either ahead of my time, and not understood, or that what I am doing is not art in the Juror’s mind.  I have not yet received my first acceptance, so I don’t know which way to lean.  The fact that none of rejections ever come with an explanation, makes it impossible to learn how the Contemporary Art World works.  I may eventually make my way, which will require even more determination, time, and luck to stay, for according to the Eagles there will always be a new kid in town.

Scott Von Holzen


Africa first image

This artwork starts its build from the music of Toto.  For this first image you are seeing three separate pieces stacked up.  The top and the bottom aluminum sections, with the covered canvas for print protection, is for the music.  The only lyric, the word Africa,  will be in the middle section. Africa looked to be an artwork over eight feet in length.   Another long and narrow artwork caused me to think it was time to change the elongated structure common in my artworks.   I decided to break a apart the music, and stack it creating more of a rectangle artwork.  In order to connect, and separate both pieces of the music, I choose to add a wider middle size of canvas.  I bolted two 10 x 20 inches canvases together for the background, and to be the base for the two musical sections.  For this middle background canvas, to give this area value,  I choose the Serengeti to be the visual theme.  After a lot of taping and using a squeegee to spread a number of paint colors I got the look of a grassy plain,  with a few green trees in the shape of a musical staff, that worked.

The official, music video of Africa by Toto, is awful, dated, with a poor story line and token African references.  I prefer this later live version for the first 4 minuets or so, and then the rest is filler.



Better, is this video of  AFRICA, by the Angel City Chorale.  Africa has a Gospel sound, that for me, is the emotional appeal of this music.


Scott Von Holzen