S_V_H One final everything

One ≈L40″xH60″xD9.5″
Right side view showing the raised canvases
Here I talked about using ChatGPT and lyrics that make little sense.

I started this project on May 9th. It feels a lot longer than that. Maybe it’s a summer thing, but I was not in the mood to do a major work. That is why the stereo system for this work is only the simple 2 watt system. I also choose to portray a small, simple part of the music for this artwork. I mentioned in the video that the music is covered based on the original version of this music. Although, what I choose to portray is my version of the notation from their 2023 album Songs of Surrender. The line I chose for the artwork is: “One life with each other sisters brothers.” The artwork depicts my notation rules that make for a condensed version of music, unlike the strict rules of sheet music.

The background canvas is five feet by three feet in wide. I have a few more of these left. I want to get rid of them is why I chose this canvas. The canvas, as mentioned, is not that sturdy or of high quality, but I have made it work. It is the four smaller ten by twenty canvases that are all the weight of this work.

When I first created the cover, I was not aware of U2’s newest version of this music. I had thoughts about simplifying my cover, or even updating its sound to better match the feel of the newest version. But I was too deep in the process to reverse my direction. Besides the stereo system used is only 2 watts with three-inch speakers. This system has none of the punch of my larger 20watt stereo. That means I have a sound quality limit for the cover. Therefore, any subtle changes to the cover would probably add little to what was already a decent sound, and a lot of waste of valuable time.

I may or not use ChatGPT in the future to take the lyrics from my the music and create poems and words I can use freely on my next work. I am sure I could create better poetry from a song lyrics. Would that needed time spent be worth the effort when ChatGPT can create poetry in seconds? That is what I am not sure of.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H One, final look

Image of the artwork progress on May 21st.

The background canvas which is 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide and has been in the storage area for years. Actually, I have three more of these. These were not overly expensive canvases when purchased. The wood is also lightweight and soft. Attaching the four smaller, higher-quality canvases to the weaker large canvas was a worry.

That concern became even worse with the finished work on the easels. I tried to level the work, and I made too much of a change, forgetting the artwork was still on the easels. Next was a loud boom with the artwork falling off the easels landing face down on the floor. After picking up the artwork I discovered what appears to be a mild crack in the frame of the large canvas. I placed a six-inch heavy metal bracket over it and screwed it in for support. This fixed any future issues that may develop. Otherwise, I was shown kindness. Besides the four attached canvases being a little looser, the speakers and the stereo were fine. The side image below shows the brackets normally used in wood frame constructions were here used to mount the four smaller canvases. Those four canvases are about 3 and 3/4 of an inch away from the base canvases. These angled brackets are sturdy pieces of metal. All I had to do after the crash was to add a third screw where needed and tighten the rest. Of course, this is not the first time these large heavier artworks have toppled off my easels.

An image of the back of the large canvas from May 22nd.
The finished look of the music artwork One.
Side image showing the heavy angled brackets used to support the four smaller canvases

I will have another final post for the music box One, with video comments and the completed cover music.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H One first image

This is the first image of the Music Box project titled One shows the primary 3 by 5-foot canvas. Next to it are the 4 10 x 20 inches smaller canvases to be attached horizontally across the main canvas. As for the words on the big canvas, they are not from the lyrics of the music. They are from ChatGPT.

What I did was ask ChatGPT to write me a poem using the lyrics from the song One by U2. I started with two versions and then added a third. Originally, I was going to pick random phrases and sentences from ChatGPT. I changed that idea after reading the beginning lines of one of Chat’s poems. I decided I write those words on the 5-foot canvas. Of course, ChatGPT is using words from the song to create the poem. But thankfully, the only words that stand out from the lyrics are found at the beginning of the poem. All three of ChatGPT’s poems begin with those first four words from the lyrics. After that, each of Chat’s poems separate, picking random meanings and words to fit their rhymes.

Over the years, cautiously and sparingly, words from the lyrics are used in these artworks. Their purpose is to add interest between the music and the artwork. I also pay for the right to cover copyrighted music. I am guessing and presuming copyright may also apply to the lyrics. I wish to respect lyrical rights. So when I use words from the lyrics of a song, they are a few and are pulled from edited phrases or sentences. I then make sure that the words on the artwork can have a commonplace meaning.

Lately, I have expanded the use of words by experimenting with a graffiti style. I now mix up sentences or short phrases from the lyrics. On the artwork I either leave them partially covered up or better scratch them away in order to create an age graffiti wall look. This accomplishes my word use goal, which also includes making sure the words are difficult to impossible to read or connect to the music. The words I used basically end up being a decoration of lettering. If there was ever a complaint, I would update the painting to eliminate any controversy. Everything is about money. So until these works are sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I think I am okay with my wordy style for now, and into the future.

As 2022 moved along into 2023, I rethought larger works. I ended the year and early 2023 with two small works, Everglow and Shenandoah. Each used one large canvas sized 16 by 40 inches. These size works are a lot easier to handle, and a little less time to build. They also use a less expensive stereo system and somewhat less in material costs. But their size, Everglow 58 inches and Shenandoah 64 inches, as far as wall art size choices go, these two works would be extra large. I see them differently.

I define them as small works, but that does not mean they are bargain-priced. It takes about a month from start to finish for a new music box, even smaller works. I live in a semi-rural Midwest Wisconsin city, so the pricing where I live, right now I feel comfortable with, is from 1000 to 1500 dollars a week’s time spent per artwork. That then means even the small works are going to be pricey. I would certainly like to sell to my market. My problem is I don’t think it exists. Therefore, I have the privilege of charging what I wish. I also have the honor of not selling as well. As I have said several times: this art is about the art and not about selling a product. Besides, Although I have tried that idea in the past by creating very tiny music works. Of all of them, I sold two small Beethoven works, one for 150 and another for 300 dollars years ago. The last on display of these tiny, now classic works, was recently at a winery down along the Mississippi River. I priced them to sell at 600 to 700 dollars each. That pricing was on the high side for what sells in this gallery. Of course, nothing sold, nor was there a word of interest heard. Thankfully, I have all three little works back and safe in storage.

Image at a Winery show this Spring. I hung them to support my art group. They failed to sell.

I guess I am free to return to working on larger-sized projects. For 2023 that is what I am now doing. Of course, I am lucky to have a new larger vehicle with more space. That will help my new projects to be bigger, but not too big to travel.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Your Song Final image & music

Your Song L102″xH31″xD3.5″
The background artwork L100.5xH24″

Your Song, which I started with composing the cover music on December 26th, is now finished.

The piano is the foundation that carries the cover music for Your Song. While the violin, viola, flute and the added clarinet are the voices of this music. I have decent four inch speakers, but with so many instruments competing to be heard, the music sounded a little muddy. It needed clarity. I found the issue probably was with a narrow band of the lower mid range. I improved what I could after first removing all my questionable equalizer settings. I then adjusted the master volume headroom, and finished with small volume tweaks here-and-there. That all helped enough to get to this final music version posted below.

This video is full of wandering opinions and my thoughts on this music box project and the cover music.
Slightly different from the video music here is the current final of the final music cover for the music box, Your Song.

I am a little amazed by how much the audio for this music boxes has continuously improved with each new project. As my understanding of music and this art has deepened over the years, I have also noticed a change in me. I am today hard wired to music and art that would have been beyond my dreams as a youngling when I started painting music in early 2006.

I feel blessed that my Guardian Angel saved me, which made possible the growth of my determination that sprang from a heritage starting with my Grandpa Casper first coming to America and his hard work to build a life in the cheese business, my father’s determination to create his own version of the great American business executive, and my Mothers sparkling, and enlightening personality. They laid out the foundation. They showed the way. I found the path.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Will final image

I Will L41″ x H27″ x D3″

I have finished the second version of the music I Will.  The video below talks about the two versions of this project and the differences in the music.

What makes this artwork unique is the experimental technique of scraping off the top layer of paint, reviewing the painted layer below.  The creation of this procedure gives to me my own abstract style.  Dealing with backgrounds has been a big pain since the beginning of this art.  The music needs to be on something and that dilemma has been the struggle and the driving force behind this arts innovation.  Although there is still some testing and trial and certain errors to come, I believe after fourteen years of changing background styles I now have a straight path forward.

I like to follow up on what I have said concerning what the viewer is to do when standing in front of the artwork and then playing the music.  Originally,  I wanted the viewer to listen to the music and visually follow the flow of the music that is the artwork.  That made sense. The viewer could then see how the music and the artwork related to each other, which was a founding reason I wanted to paint music.  That reasoning worked great as long as it was up to the viewer to find the music on their own.  They then needed to figure out by listening to the music exactly when and what the artwork flow was displaying.   That all changed when I added the music.  My first push of a button was the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th symphony.  With that change, I made it a lot easier for the viewer to follow along with the flow of the artwork.  That relief did not last long.

Because this art is living and growing, new changes came along.  I found better computer software to create notation, and that included higher quality computer versions of instruments.   It did not take long for me to create a notation that used multiple instruments representing the flow you see in the artwork.  A good example of this is the wonderful 2019 artwork, Will The Circle Be Broken.


Then came the awakening that shocked me: this art and the music in it had grown to where I could not follow consistently along with the music and the artwork.  If I could not what hope would there be for the causal viewer?  Not being able to follow the flow of the music of the artwork left me with the question of how the viewer was to interact with the artwork?  I had made a great advance with this art, but unintentionally I created a conflict between enjoying looking at the artwork and listening to music.  With the presence of a button to push to play the music, I had created artwork that interconnected sight and sound.  For now, unless I figure out something else, I recommend the viewer keep the two senses separate.  Look at the artwork as a representation of a song in color and form.  Then press the button and enjoy the music for what it represents,  the sound of art.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Blood Brothers (My Brothers) final image

My Brothers, wood metal, canvas, acrylic paint L43.5″ x H41″ x D4.25

This is the final image of the project Blood Brothers, now titled as My Brothers.  This artwork has run its course.  My worksheet has a beginning date of 12-29-2019.  I finished this work on the twentieth of February.   Thankfully, my time was not all spent on finishing this project.

I finally step it up and built a new website, updated the links to https:// and had it installed with the help of Brett Widmann a friend from my old workdays. This new main site will be easier to maintain.  It also gives me the opportunity to present a greater range of personal artist insight and videos that explain the art.  On line and in these blog entries hopefully, I can build a stronger connection with the viewer.

My style with My Brothers now completes a phase of this evolution that started early last year.  I have seen good progress but would like even more changes in how I represent visually music.  One option I am looking at is to build my artworks in smaller sections and then mount them on some kind of background. If nothing else, I am looking at breaking away from the regimented look of my flow that still resembles sheet music. The music it is displaying will still define the art, but for 99.9 percent of all viewers, the fewer notation rules I follow the more interesting art.  And finally, I have to figure out how to better integrate the visual with the audio.   Like I mentioned, my audio is no longer that easy to follow along with the flow of the artwork.  So, that means most viewers don’t know what to do.   Either they can look randomly at the artwork while listening to the music or pay no attention to the artwork while listening.   Or finally, stick with how it used to be by trying to follow the flow of the artwork when listening to the music.  My challenge is to make the viewing of the artwork and the listening to the audio a seamless experience.  Once I figure out how to do that.  I think I am on my way.

My final thought on this artwork is that I like the scratched and dent look.  This artwork presents a real-life image with plenty of meaning, without preaching or lecturing the viewer. This look comes from the lyrics from the song Blood Brothers:

“On through the houses of the dead past those fallen in their tracks
Always movin’ ahead and never lookin’ back
Now I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know how I feel tonight
If I’ve fallen ‘neath the wheel, if I’ve lost or I’ve gained sight
I don’t even know why, I don’t know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all
But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother”  – Bruce Springsteen

Finally, moving along.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Blood Brothers image 4

I already mention the influence of Will the Circle Be Unbroken on this project.  My explanation for the scratching and scuffing of The Circle was that I thought a less finished look better represented the edginess, the struggles, the roughness, and difficulties of the growth of early Country Music. The lyrics from the music represented the fear of lost and had nothing to do with the look of the artwork.  Although Blood Brothers also features a lot of scratches and scuffs, unlike The Circle, this time it is the lyrics from the music that shape, and define the physical flaws in the artwork. These are the lyrics from the song Blood Brothers that I built this artwork around:

“I don’t even know why, I don’t know why I made this call
Or if any of this matters anymore after all
But the stars are burnin’ bright like some mystery uncovered
I’ll keep movin’ through the dark with you in my heart
My blood brother” – Bruce Springsteen

These words and others from the lyrics reinforce in me the difficulties it is to keep near close and understanding relationships with those dear to us as the years pass by.  Unlike The Circle where the scratches and scuffs represent more the history of Country Music, in Blood Brothers all these deep cuts, scratches and scuffs although not stained with blood,  are stained with blue, red, and violet colors, which represents the flesh of three Brothers.  All those chips, and doubts, dents, and fears, cuts, and regrets, flaws, and disappointments, stand for decades of lives being lived day to day. That is what defines this artwork.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Blood Brothers image 3

When I turn away from the computer image of Blood Brothers and look at the artwork, the difference is startling.  Although that is predictable, I cannot underestimate the visual difference. To see these artworks in person pulls the viewer closer, at less out of curiosity.  Then they see the push button that draws them dangerously near to the artwork. They press the green button.  Surprised, they realized that they have touched the artwork, breaking one of Art’s greatest taboos.  The music plays. It pushes them a step back to notice the depth, the precision,  and the diverse texture of the painted wood and canvas.  The artworks overall presence pops into their view.  The song ends. They move on.  That could be an experience of a gallery visitor or not as they pass by without more than a glance. It all depends.  Seeing this art being experience by strangers is an award. The problem is finding enough public visibility. Up to now, my best efforts to show these artworks have been by absorbing expenses and fees to apply to group exhibitions or even worse art displayed in tents at Art Fairs.  Last year was my best showing in exhibitions. The results from all those public viewings were zero responses.   Add that zero to the many other zeros of creating artworks for shows and not being juror’d in.

An example is the finely finished little artwork, Where Have All the Flowers Gone.  This project I made especially for a local exhibition that also features paired floral arrangements that harmonize with each artwork.  This is the local Pablo’s Center’s largest attended show. This artwork titled, Where have all the Flowers gone, I thought would be a perfect match for any florist. Where have all the flowers gone? Look there they are in the vase next to the painting.   As for this current project,  Blood Brothers, I am in search for exhibitions options.  The look of Blood Brothers and more on the influence of the artwork, Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Walking in Memphis image 3

This Artwork, Walking in Memphis, has a constructed look similar to the previous project The Blue Danube (2001 Space Odyssey), and is a continuation of a style trend that first appeared in Giant Steps.  In this image I have added features to separate Walking in Memphis from previous music.  Examples are the obvious Elvis image (public domain).  It looks to me that this image is from the song Jailhouse rock.  In the video of Walking in Memphis it shows the gates of Graceland opening.  I was hoping to find a free-to-use image of Graceland music gates, but could not.  I found several interesting images like this one with Elvis in front of the gates.   Being also a photographer, I am uncomfortable using any images in my artworks that are not copyright free, or public domain.  For this artwork the high-resolution image of Elvis in action looks great and covers the mentioning of Elvis in the song.

26 April 1957: Elvis stands in front of the gates to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis, Tennessee
Picture: Everett Collection / Rex Features

Just below the Elvis image, on the bottom section is another public domain image, but this time it is of W. C. Handy.  Marc Cohen mentions him early in the song.  According to Wikipedia he is the Father of the Blues, and was too first to publish Blues music, and who wrote the song Beale Street Blues in 1917.

Another feature of this artwork, I mentioned in a previous post, has to do with my notes painted in a color similar to Elvis’s Blue Suede Shoes.  I added to the look of those shoes even further by placing five little drops of gold paint on each note to signify a row of the five golden grommets on his blue suede shoes.  One last obvious mention are my musical ties painted to look like a piano keyboard.  That design represents the dominant piano heard and that Marc Cohen plays at the Hollywood throughout the music video.

Next up, adding the last of the artwork features and words, which are always difficult to do.


Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H LoveSong Image 1

This is the first image of the artwork LoveSong.  This painting continues the trend to smaller size canvases to accommodate larger music. The Cure released the song LoveSong in 1989.  The 80’s where a time that  I was busy so my appreciation of to music was hit and miss.  The only music I want to remember from that time came from Prince and Madonna, with the album Back in the High Life, by Steve Winwood being one of my first CDs. That sums up the 80’s.  So,  I heard Adele’s 2011 release of  LoveSong,   it sounded familiar, but I did not know why.

Here is The Cure’s LoveSong,  dated video, and for me, almost dismissive video:

Adele’s version, for me, takes this song seriously,  with a voice that is reminiscent of the best of the singers of  torch music:


This is my 59th YouTube video recapping two artworks: The Water is Wide and While My Guitar Gently Weeps review. In this video, like all the rest, I am trying to keep my production controls flexible and well within my non-existent budget.