S_V_H I Call Your Name finalImage

I Call Your Name is finished.  This work surprised the artist, as much as the 2010 Birthday painting: it stopped what was, and lead this artist onto a different path.  Near the completion of this work there was the added feeling rising  that Call did not care about any finishing touch ups, or any particular fine tunning.  It was saying it was fine with a little roughness left intact.  Of course, this artist still worked the canvas, with dabs of paint here and there, although it was completely unnecessary, sometimes it is hard to let go.

Some works speak more then others.  Some works are shy, while others are aggressive in their demands.  I call your name was neither of those descriptions.  Call simply knew long before it was obvious that it was something quite different.

The artist learns from his art. The artist thrives with his art.  The art risks it all for the art. The art saves the artist. The artist saves himself.  To the art the artist means nothing. The art is selfishly relentless, forever demanding of the artist, and fearless. The art is, the artist is.   That may not be the equalizer for surely there will never be enough strength or time for the artist. The art will win. The artist will lose everything, without regret.

For this artist It is all about the journey. Thank you

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Call Your Name image2

I call your Name two feet by 6 feet canvas.   Since there are no current orders this song was chosen: it brings back memories, especially the Mamas & Pappas version.  Actually, I saw her standing there, was first chosen.  This Beatles Rock & Roll classic, has forever been a favorite, and it was the cruising through all the Beatles music in the search for Standing that Call was re-discovered as a piece of music written by John and Paul.  This then lead to another classic ballad, Stand by Me the Ben E. King music, that John Lennon covered.

Finding all this music to paint is an exception. There is the intention to put together the music and canvas for the next work, but that never seems to work.  It is hard to change the thought focus.
What happens  then, is hours, and sometimes days of frustration and anger over wasted time, before just the right music is found. The process then begins for a new canvas: are there interesting notes, will they fit on the chosen canvas, how good are the words to work with?

So, for once, we have months of work ahead with I Call your Name, I saw her Standing there, and Stand by me, all with a Beatles twist.  Strange, listening to the Beatles music up pops the desire to listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen.  Somehow they relate, and from it all may come Thunder road.

We shall see.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Chopin Valse Op.64,No.2 image5

A Chopin Waltz 36 inches by 8 feet.  There was concerned that the flow of this notation would leave large areas of the canvas empty, which has not happen.  The most interesting part of this drawing is the upper lines of the musical tie although they are questionable today.  Also of concern is that the circles for the notes would have been a better balance if larger.

The musical tie took up much of the time last night because it is frustrating and demanding (expected ) to find ways to give a simple curve of a musical line personality.  The hope it is not been over done.  How the use of color is handled will decide if  this tie actually ties this work together.  There will be efforts focused on strengthening the notation heads with the use of color to compensate of their size.

There have been a number of personnel issues that have taken the attention away from the art.  Life has the option to interfere at will with the art, and lately it has.  This is part of the test of endurance and belief in oneself.  Still enduring and believing are not enough,  the talent and the vision must be there to have a chance.   More work needs to be done, and the chill of January and now February in Wisconsin is having its effect. Momentum lost will be found in the music.  Maybe not tonight, but it has been there in the past and there is no doubt that it is still there.  The art and the there…….. the quest … There is the Art.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Cry me a River image7

Cry me a river near finish, right side.  One thing learned from this canvas was that even though it was signed days ago, on the front, it was not finished.  The easy part would have been to say, this work is finished and move on.  That did not happen, and it bought to mind a thought that has popped up in the past:  after looking at thousands of art reproductions in books and in museums it has become obvious that the level of art quality produced varies considerably with many artists.

An example of this unevenness is available for view in the book Mark Rothko, The Works on Canvas, Catalogue Raisonne’.  In this art book, comparing two painting both from 1953,  a touching an emotional No. 14 Yellow Greens with the  Untitled (yellow, Red, Blue) which in the best terms appears to be unfinished and uninterested, leaves the viewer wondering.  The thought is did Rothko just not care to put in the effort needed that day to produce  a consistent high level of art, his own art?  Paging through the book, there are number of picture comparisons displaying works from the same year, that seem secondary.  There is the feeling that artist, some days, was in a production mode: green and blue today, yellow and red tomorrow.  The words from Dire Straits  Money for Nothing, “We got to move these refrigerators. We got to move these colour T.V.’s”  says it all.

There have been those same moments with this canvas, after the name was added.  Immediately after signing the work was there than an effort to declare the work finished, a work that until that moment, had not been considered done?   Is good enough, enough?  The problem is Cry may have been just fine for the artist but the canvas was saying loud, that the state it was currently in was not the finished. The art always wins. More days have now gone by with small tweaks and moves to try and find that feeling of finish. Hopefully, tonight this work will speak, and let itself go.  In the end they all say when good is good enough.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Cry me a River image6

Interesting color choices for the music.   There is an email that has been a draft for nine months, because the wording of the response has never come together that was convincing.  This is being brought up because Cry the the artwork being mention in defense of this art.  Here is that excerpt:

“It can be look at in this way: take the Song Cry Me a River, the current painting in progress.   It was Joe Cocker’s version,  that I first heard in the 1970. Today, having learned over the years that this is a musical standard, I have recordings of Cry by Etta James, Julie London, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, and two by Joe Cocker.  Listening to each it is clear that they all sang that song similarly with each giving it their own unique style but still remaining faithful to the music that is uniquely Cry Me A River.
That is what this art is also doing: these canvases at first appear to be music and follow the flow of a particular musical piece, but the music is presented in a way that allows each artwork to stand alone as a stylization of, for example, Cry Me A River. What they are trying to accomplish is to stop the viewer who has the greatest probability  to have either seen, sung or played music sometime in their lives.  Stop them just out of curiosity.  Stop them like no abstract art turn wall decoration art at Perkins can do today.”
Not sure if this email will ever be sent.
Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Amazing Grace image4

This is a third of  the painting on the right end side, image appears to be slightly darker. Currently, there is some listening going  on, through the many versions of this music, to better grasp this song which may seem obvious and pointless to most listeners.

This music has been heard many times over many years, and  with all of the huge variety of emotions it generates touching many, how can any painting represent those feelings?  How does any painting speak to all of that?

It may be possible in the relationships of the color: color against color, mixed with, touching, bouncing off of, soft and hidden, loud and dominate, feisty and arrogant, loose and free.  Color that demands attention, or shyly blends away.   That and more put all in on this canvas, and hopefully displaying music that can be touched; music that can be felt.

Personal thoughts: During the day the hours are spent working for the man. Some days take fragments of the night away, shredding the art into  interrupted, disturbed, distracted, and lost pieces of creativity.  Some days are held together by fear, that drives the incentive to paint, paint, and paint, to find the other way.  Some days will always be forgotten, but the art builds, builds, and builds, with feeling, without the obvious, with all the emotions, but never pointless.

Scott Von Holzen

Eyes On The Prize

This canvas was stalled.  At times I felt I was going through the motions.  Painting is like any other job, it has it routines.  And I do not mind following certain proven steps with each canvas,  proven effective procedures, which opens up more time for me to try different ideas.

But what happens is although I enjoy having some standard steps to follow something inside catches that and stops me hard against the wall if I am just applying pretty paint and not understanding just what the canvas is trying to become.   Each of these works demands its own identity, and I am constantly reminded by that when my efforts fall short. Like each of us even a work of art must find its own way.


Eyes on the prize

I am posting two images of this artwork call Eyes for short.  The earlier session shows how much ideas involve as you begin the search to find the comfort in what is being depicted.

I love art and I love music…..if putting these two art forms together is silly and flawed, or just plain brilliant, I am far from confident that either way is correct.  I do know that knowing the answer, would not change the passion, and the driven need to continue this journey one canvas at a time.  You never known what the next song  put down in paint will be unless I do it.

Scott Von Holzen

At Last

This a terrible picture from my iPhone.  What can I say At Last is a 36″ by 10 foot painting and you loose a lot when you are displaying it using 400 pixels.  Had a trial of a time with the two 8th notes.  I kept walking over to, whatever is the name of my last painting that is currently being posted on my website picture, to see how it was done.   So I gave it a try to repeat myself and guess what the unexpected expected happened.  Each painting demands it’s own identity and refuses to cooperate when I just try to refine a technique I learn from a previous work.  It never happens, and eventual I find a way to make the canvas happy, and bring all the parts back into focus.

I love this battle.  I know I am still young and naive to the techniques and understandings of paint and the infinite possibilities that are there………….there  to figure out each night from hundreds of problems each of these canvases present.

Scott Von Holzen

At Last, 36 inches by 10 Feet, finished background

It is ten feet long……..much of the work done is hard to see in an image this small;  but understand there is plenty of ‘attention to detail.’   I have become driven in my efforts to create backgrounds that can stand on their own.  They all are abstractions.  And it has become increasingly challenging and  rewarding  to know that my efforts to allow this part of the project to have its own meaning has gain emphases.

OK, I just took a look at examples of all of the  Artists in the current Whitney Biennial 2010…………and a few of the abstract works I liked.   Most of what I looked at was ‘been there, seen that’ or just boring.  I am hoping they are all getting good money for the efforts; earned, no doubt.  I do believe there  will be a little room eventually  for me at a place like the Whitney, it just going to take and cost a lot of my precious time.

Scott Von Holzen