S_V_H Chopin Polonaise Op.53 image 2

•11/03/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H Chopin Polonaise Op.53 image 2

This is Frederic Chopin’s surprising  Polonaise Op. 53 image two. The surprise is to see so much music already in place.  I have not painted in this style since the Japan artwork in early 2016.  I do remember the difficulties with that similar commissioned  Kyoto artwork, and because this time of the year is busy, I knew I needed to find time-saving measures to meet my client’s timeline.  My first idea was to draw in lines that I could than use to guide the orderly placement of the music.  I changed the size , color and brightness, of each group to blend in with the background while still being able to connect to the music.

I than improved on an idea I used with the Kyoto painting.   Using a thin piece of plywood I cut out the music to size. I than attached a square post and guide markers.  It did not take long to than learned that I could use it as a musical stamp. This saves me from the tedious task of free hand drawing in each note.


This artwork has a background of Burnt Sienna that I covered with Burnt Umber light.  I than added Burnt Umber light to the bronze paint to get the shades I wanted with the main music lines.  The smaller accent lines I painted bone black.  For the music I am using the same Winsor & Newton Silver I used for the Japan work.  When I show the Japan work, as an example,  my customer like it for the silver made the music stand out from the background.

Scott Von Holzen


Both the silver and the bronze are reflective acrylic paint colors, that change shades when viewed at different angles and in different lights. This effect creates a visual delight to the eyes.  It is as if you can see the vibrations of the music of Chopin move across the canvas.  Looking at this painting I feel the joy that is on display.  This unfinished Classical artwork is already making an impact. Chopin’s Polonaise defines this arts philosophy of making visual music that grabs at you emotions as if my notes where the sound.




S_V_H Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53

•10/27/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53

I have painted Chopin in the past and certainly in the future, but,  in the now I am also painting Chopin.  This time it is one of his 23 Polonaises, and one of Chopin’s most admired compositions, published in 1843, according to Wikipedia. The casual listener to Classical Music will know this melody if not the composer.

Here is Vladmir Horowitz cruising through the hard parts of this Chopin Polonaise.  It is at 1:18 minutes and over the next second you hear the music of this artwork. Also, using Wikipedia I found the meaning of polonaise which is a dance of polish origins. Okay!

The smaller detail image and the full first image look a lot a like, and are not much to look it. That is because this artwork is a flash back in style to the 2016 Bach painting for the Grand Bach Hotel in Kyoto Japan.  This Chopin artwork is obviously different from my last post featuring the music of Tom Petty, and that is because it is a commissioned requested artwork to be done in the Grand Bach painting style.

Here is  the Bach BWV 988 – Aria painting, which is 64 inches in length, while the Chopin work is 24 inches by 36 inches.

Next up I need to add a foundation to place the music on. It will be something like what you see in those darker brown rectangular strips in the Bach painting.  This is important to do for by adding an intermediary structure on top of the background that will than connect it to the music.  Otherwise, if it is left out the music would seem to be floating in an empty space. My challenge is to accomplish this in way so that this Chopin painting updates this style.  I am not doing this project to repeat the Bach painting with a name and music change only.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Runnin’ Down a Dream image 1

•10/26/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H Runnin’ Down a Dream image 1

Tom Petty is gone and over the years although I play a lot of his music, for some unknown reason I have never painted one of his songs.  I am doing that now.  I pick his song Runnin’ Down a Dream for many reasons, but mostly because I thought of it as a car driving song.

Here is his video, and this is the first and last time that I will ever watched it.  I believe the theme of the video is a dream. But I don’t see this music in that way. For me this music over all these years, is a car song.  You play this song loud while driving and enjoying the freedom of the road.  Although, in today’s driving world, I have no memory of what freedom means.   A guess than,  I am reliving my past life in this song.  It is Tom Petty telling me that this is a car driving song, and  that this is the meaning of the freedom of the road and this is what it once felt like:

“It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
I was flyin’   ”

I grew up in rock music with Del Shannon and his classic song Runaway.  Hearing Del’s name and loving car songs,  and being raised in my youth on and in Mustangs, Runnin’ Down a Dream became an instant classic.

Let’s forget that awful video and turn to this classic live performance:


The main background colors of this artwork comes from Tom Petty’s 1984 Album Full Moon Fever.  Runnin’ Down a Dream was a hit single from that album.


Now, for the words used in this artwork I picked “Woo hoo, Woo hoo, Woo hoo.” My,  you don’t ask, why did I pick those words? I know they are not really part of the lyrics, but for me they say it all, covering all the emotions for this music.

I don’t think this will be the last Tom Petty song. I am too much into rock.  Of all the long list of great songs by Tom Petty I am leaning to also paint Learning to Fly. That song title is a good fit with Runnin’ Down a Dream.  My take on both of the titles is that they both summarize this moment of my artist career:  I am running down a dream, and I am also learning to fly.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H In The Mood final image

•10/04/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H In The Mood final image

Acrylic on three canvases, 40.5 inches in length x 17.5 inches in height.

In The Mood  is  finished. This is an upbeat jazz music, so I used different shades  of yellow, red, and multiple blues to add to the feeling of   movement. For the flow of the music the first coat I painted a light magenta. I than lightly painted the music with a gold color pick from the brass instruments.  I also used a light gray for the Mondrian squares, and to represent the suit color of the band  on the vertical shafts.

In the middle, out-of-place, I placed three notes that represent the lower bass music.  To separate them from the rest of the music flow, I reduced their height  and used darker colors, to represent the lower tones.

This is also the first painting where the aluminum frame defines the size of the artwork. The  three canvases are than used to fill in the spaces inside the frame, and to more importantly offer support for the flow of the music. The metal frame makes it a lot easier to work with different heights of canvases. That flexibility is nice, and framing the artwork may be a direction to follow.  My problems with using more aluminum is finding lengths with few flaws,  the increased complexity, and issues in making sure everything ends up looking square.

I can judge my feelings for an artwork by a glance, and am happy with the results of this one.  This painting is more fluid in its movement,  and is less musical looking, when compared to the recent artwork,  I will always love You.  That artwork I feel has a structure that is too rigid like notation. This change in thinking means that I am looking to paint artworks  that are less notational, and far less sheet musical, looking.

With the death of Tom Petty, next up I am going to paint one of his great classics, Running Down a Dream.

Scott Von Holzen








S_V_H In The Mood image 2

•09/25/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H In The Mood image 2

Glen Miller made In The Mood a classic as an instrumental, but I also like this vocal version by the Andrews Sisters. The Andrews Sisters sound makes me think of the time when my parents where young, rock & roll was still a few years away, and  the middle class American was beginning to prosper like never before. Of course my generation helped to changed all that.

You can see in image two the influence of Mondrian that I talked about in the earlier blog entry.  I like directly using the style ideas of other artists to shake up my style, to connect to the past, and to learn from them.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H In The Mood

•09/21/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H In The Mood


In the Mood, is a big band classic from Glen Miller & his Orchestra. This song topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1940.  I remember playing my Mom’s 33 1/3 albums on the console record player when I was young. That is when I first heard big band music, of Glen Miller, and Tommy Dorsey.  We moved a lot back than so all those albums are now long gone, but I did not lose my appreciation for the sound of big brass.

In college, in the 1960’s,  I listened to one of my favorite albums by Blood Sweat & Tears, made all the more enjoyable by their use of brass instruments.  I remember In The Mood resurfacing as a single released by Bette Midler in 1974.  All through my musical life, probably from my Mom,  I have enjoyed the music of Frank Sinatra. What especially appealed to me where his songs that featured big band brass  His album Live at the Sands released 1966 and made into audio DVD in 2003, is still a favorite of mine today. However,  my decision to paint In The Mood came from a different direction.

My artworks have always provided me with entertainment, that is up to the point that I begin to tire of them.  When that happens, and it always does, I than push to complete the work. My last artwork, I Will Always Love You, took forever to finish. That extra time needed to complete that work exhausted my want to use that same style for my next project.  Finding a new direction started from a casual mention, in an art video series I was watching, of an old favorite artist of mine,  Mondrian.

Thinking about Mondrian,  I pulled from my bookshelf,  one of my earliest art books: 125 Paintings from the Museum of Modern Art.  With the copyright year of 1973,  that book was pivotal in the early development of my passion for art.

The Mondrian’s artwork,  titled Broadway Boggie Woogie,  appears on page 39,

That image than brought to mind my visit to the Museum of Modern Art,  with my good friend Tom, where we explored all six floors of the museum in record time.  I saw a lot of the paintings that day that I recalled from the book.  I than checked the photos from that trip. To my surprise I had not taken a lot of pictures of the artworks, but there was an image of Broadway Boogie Woogie. No portrait with me, but that I took the photo confirms that on that day I had searched for it knowing it was a favorite from the art book.

Here is that photograph of Broadway Boogie Woogie,  taken in the fall of 2015 at MoMa in New York City:

After the finishing of my last artwork, and knowing I needed a fresh approach, the Mondrian artwork offered possibilities.  The title, Broadway Boogie Woogie, caught my curiosity so I search boogie woogie to learn about this music genre that originated in the 1920’s. It was not long after listening to a few examples that I came across one of the big boogie woogie hits, In The Mood.  I now had my next art project of a long remembered song, with a fresh approach from a favorite painting from an old art book.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H I Will Always Love you Final Image

•09/14/2017 • Comments Off on S_V_H I Will Always Love you Final Image

Two canvases with aluminum and wood features. 47.75 in Length by about 18.75 in height

I Will always Love you is finally finished. Although I did not have to, I picked an interesting, and challenging part of the music to paint. The problem is that it took so long to complete that I developed a new idea I would like to try.  This painting, I Will Always…., shares the same basic style of connecting  two canvases together with aluminum strips that I started in April with When Doves Cry.  Since than it has worked well with the music, but I don’t want my artwork to be too repetitive, so I am taking a little style break.

For this painting I was never crazy about combing the colors of turquoise and brown. That was the request of the owner of this artwork.  If I had to do it all over again I would have went with even smaller canvas to diminish the turquoise.  To compensate for the larger canvas I did try to cover up, or break up,  as much of the turquoise as I could with different shades of brown. I do like that I used different shades of the turquoise. I have been using a lot of solid colors for backgrounds lately, which is less interesting. For the future I think I will go with different shades of a single color, but keep the shading a lot closer together. I think in that way I can have the clean look of a solid, without being boring.

I used the Rainbow Flag colors to give this painting its own special look, and by only using the one word, love, I  covered the meaning of this music to the owners.

There you go. Another painting, that lucky for me is not headed to storage, but to Missouri.

Next up, I plan on doing something different.

Scott Von Holzen