S_V_H Mozart Serenade No. 13

•07/07/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Mozart Serenade No. 13

This first image of this popular Mozart musical piece does not show how complicated this project has become.  The original idea for this serenade was to create another mini type artwork. That would mean a simpler time-saving project to produce an easy to reproduce artwork. That did not happen. This work started on June 25th, and from that day on I this project has challenged my decision-making process. Every step forward has led to a step back to fix issues. The worse example of my obvious poor planning came over two weeks  into this project.

The original design of the artwork was to have a 4 by 6 canvas on the left side and the larger 6 by 8 inch canvas on the right side. After several attempts to glue down the first few notes, I realized that I had forgotten about the music box that was too big to hide behind the 4 by 6 canvas.  Although,  I had created and painted all the needed pieces of the music, I also forgot to make a note to hold the push button.  My concerned about my timeline with this artwork,  probably caused me to push ahead to quickly.  Reality hit when I realized I had no option to put the music box near the music note I needed to change for a push button.  That lead to the my only time-saving option, which was to remove my music progress, so I could then flip the artwork around to use the 6 by 8 canvas to hide the music box.

This artwork represents the first four bars of this famous Mozart music:

With this mini artwork I can see that I am under the influence of the earlier artwork, also a Mozart piece, Rondo Alla Turca.  In past mini artworks my notes would be all one color and the stems all a gray, but with this project it is all about color diversity.  With all my other mini artworks I  restricted my pallet to save time knowing that even small original artworks can take a week and more to complete.  With this Mozart,  my quickly involving style, and its influence, made it difficult to save decision-making and construction time. I should have realized that would happen once I lengthen this artwork.  To accommodate more of the music I pushed this artwork beyond the two foot limit that works best for a mini artwork.  That resulted in a  serenade that has evolved into a major mini artwork that is no longer a cost and time-saving mini artwork.  Time, that may be an underlying issue.  This art style is evolving quickly, which requires me to solve new issues with each artwork.  Maybe, this would not be an issue if I was in my twenties, but it certainly is as I near seventy.  So much music to paint. So much Time to live.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Mozart Alla Turca image 4

•06/18/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Mozart Alla Turca image 4

This is a work-in-progress image that I sent along with pictures of Vogue and Like a Rock, for consideration, by the Pablo Inaugural Art Exhibition. Today is the deadline.  To finish this project I still need to add a Trill, and repaint, once again, a couple of the beams located along the bottom. After that there remains some touch up and cleaning to do. Finally, I will have to find a place for the signature.

Here is that short video that was part of the submission that features the round red push button used to play the music.

The video makes this artwork look smaller than its actual size which is almost seven feet in length, and requires two people to move it safely around.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Mozart ‘Rondo Alla Turca’ image 3

•06/17/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Mozart ‘Rondo Alla Turca’ image 3

Where did I get the idea that 230 year old Classical Music needed to be painted black and brown. Maybe it is from looking at 200-year-old Mozart manuscripts. This music by Mozart is also known as the Turkish March, the English translation of Alla Turca.   Actually,  I decided to use brighter colors once I listened to the astonishing speed of this music.  I should have known that Rondo refers to music that is to be played fast, maybe really fast.  For example here is a video from the Summer Night Concert 2014 with The Vienna Philharmonic with Lang Lang on the piano:

I made the choice of colors quickly because of the tight production schedule with this artwork.   I picked blue to start this music.  I than move up in intensity to the color red, and then back down to end with a light green.  This artwork has a random look and placement to the colors, and again, that is because I needed to move along. Where needed I will adjust on the fly.  So far I am also not feeling or seeing a personality in this artwork, which is disconcerting, considering how major this painting is.  What that means is that I have no straight path to complete this work.  That also means everything is up in the art and that I will be making some bad choices that I either live with or change. Change is always my first priority.  So it goes, and so will I.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Mozart’s Rondo Alla Truca image 2

•06/14/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Mozart’s Rondo Alla Truca image 2

This is an artwork in progress, and not sections of a ladder with marshmallows attached to one side.  This  Mozart piece needs to be finished by June 18th, to be entered in the Inaugural art exhibition at the Pablo Center of the Confluence.  If selected this artwork will hang in exhibition on a wall, as a combination three-dimensional painting, sculpture, an assemblage artwork.  Until then,  this artwork is currently laying on a table in pieces waiting to be glued to a six-foot aluminum frame.

This image’s construction demonstrates the amount of craftsmanship that is now needed to portray Music. This art started as paintings of music.  Even today when asked what I paint, my response still is, “I paint Music.” Because of the physical work now needed to assemble these artworks I have lately wondered if I am becoming too crafty. This came to mind recently when a customer picked up a commissioned work.

On seeing their artwork for the first time, he quickly mention how the aluminum frame could be given a high gloss finish using wet high grit sandpaper.  I felt guilty when he said that. Than I thought his suggestion deserved some merit because the aluminum, even when carefully picked,  always has small scratches and abrasions that need to be removed.  I thanked him for his suggestion.  Latter, that discussion reminded me that most local art is exactly that,  ‘high gloss.’  The public sees a high quality finish as quality Art, and Artists comply.  I am sure many see such a finish as a way to improve sales and to charge more for their artwork.  What I see is a lot of local artwork that lacks originality and creativity, but sure is pretty.

Are you becoming to crafty?   For now the answer is probably, yes, but I see this art constantly evolving. My guess is that in time I will loosen up on accuracy in portraying music. This will allow me to move away from craftsmanship to more true assemblage. I think the true meaning of this art form will then begin to come into focus.  I also believe the fundamentals of the flow will continue, but everything thing else that depicts that movement is up for grabs. That openness to change is the product of me needing to innovate to avoid the fear of boredom.  I am also kinda-of-a geek: I am always looking for the next best thing.

Scott Von Holzen




S_V_H God Only Knows

•06/02/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H God Only Knows

God Only Knows, 29 3/4″ x 13 1/2″ Canvas, aluminum with wood features.

This little commission artwork is finished. It took a lot longer than I thought. The issue, and I already know this, is no matter the size of the artwork the prep, the decision-making and the problem solving ends up consuming the same amount of time no matter the size of the artwork.

I am not comfortable working with the color green. That really is silly for I have a great range and variety of greens in jars to work with, and for this music green had to dominate the look.
So it does, but don’t expect the next artwork to carry on this look.

The words you see in this work, “God knows you,” come from the music’s lyric, “God only knows what I’d be without you.” What you see in these two sentences, are some shared words with different meanings.  My need, for any words that I use, is that together they do not refer directly to the music.  I always Google down three pages to confirm that there is no connection.  I actually like working with the words in this way.  These artworks go beyond the music that they start with, in direction and meaning. They also have greater depth than any abstract image of the music. As mention in many blog entries before, these artworks are a portrait of an individual piece of music. They represent a musical piece uniqueness and character.

I have to comment on two aspects of this artwork.  The blue you see above the canvases represent the sky. The lighter blue rectangles represent clouds.  The brighter greens and browns you see below the canvasses represent different layers of the earth.

Finally, I do not think I have ever used the word “God,” in any of my artworks. For this music it made sense. My lovely wife, Barb, pointed out that the word ‘knows’ was harder to read than the other two words.  Like all my earlier artworks I have always used one color for all the lettering.  This became a contrast issue after coloring in of the word ‘God,’ on a darker blue-green background,  and then using the same light blue for the word ‘knows’ that is on a lighter green background.  But, when I than tried a darker color for the word ‘knows’,  that made that word too prominent for its use.   My solution was to use the same light blue for all the words. This than allowed the important words “God and You’ stand out while the lighter looking word ‘knows’ to still connect the phrase.   A result, in doing the words this way, is that people will first see the capitalized words ‘God’ and ‘You, and then be presented  with the choice to read, or not, the softer looking in between word ‘knows.’  All this adds complexity, and challenge for the viewer to define their own meaning of this artwork and the music it is portraying.


Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H God only Knows image 1

•05/26/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H God only Knows image 1

God only knows is a Series artwork  that for now is 27 1/2 inches in length and just over 6 inches in height.  This is also a commissioned project from the 1966 Beach Boys album Pet Sounds. This song reached number twenty-five, and the album number two, on The Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs and 500 greatest albums of all time.

Today, was the first time that I actually listened to the entire album. No surprise that I enjoyed listening to the hits Sloop John B, Wouldn’t Be Nice and God Only Knows. As for the rest of the album the music reminded me that my appreciation of the Beach Boys was just that, the hits. Of course the hits where the only Beach Boys songs I heard growing up with the transistor radio.

This basic color scheme for this artwork comes form the Pet Sounds album, and a later Pet Sound Sessions commemorative release:

The color green does not dominate a lot of my artworks.  It is a color that I feel needs the support of other colors, mainly blue, to make it work.  That is why I was glad to see a nice pale blue used on both album covers.  I will build the music from that color.

Here is a new version of God only Knows, sung by Brian Wilson,  who wrote the music:

Finally, here is the original studio version song by Brian’s younger brother Carl Wilson:

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Rondo Alla Turca First Image

•05/19/2018 • Comments Off on S_V_H Rondo Alla Turca First Image

This is a special project for an important event.  To start with this Artwork, of course, will build on the past, but already there are some big differences from recent works. This work is already six feet in length and the two end 6 inch by 8 inch canvases are all that I will be using.  Also, the distance between the canvases is incredible long and empty which will make for a lot of issues and needed problem solving.   Another first time feature is my use of printed decoration that I than attach to the canvases.

I realized while doing Vogue that many of the Art Deco designs I would like to reproduce on canvas would be extremely time-consuming and  difficult for me to hand paint.  Vogue took weeks to finish as it is. I chose than to go with simpler Art Deco designs,  for the reason that this art is about the music first and decoration is secondary.  Recently I found some nice Art Deco design files on-line,  and again they too have their limitations, but for now they will add a higher quality decorative look to this Mozart project.  The designs I print on Epson exhibition canvas using their archival inks.  I than coat the canvas with museum rated canvas varnish.  This makes me more comfortable with this option. That, and the expanding of my techniques, by continuing the art of modern collage created by Barque and Picasso, tells me I am good to go.

This first image of Rondo Alla Turca has the dimensions six feet in length by eight inches high.  I am creating this work specifically to be entered in the first juried exhibition at the new Confluence Art Center in Eau Claire.

Here is the interesting parts of the application:

My planed was to enter two artworks,  Vogue and this Mozart project until I read the application which stated a 60 inch artwork limit.  Vogue is 64 inches in length.  Than to my delight I read further about 3D artworks being accepted under 7 feet.  This Art is easily defined as sculptural, and since it is definitely three-dimensional, I think Vogue qualifies, and this Mozart project, will for sure, be just under 7 feet in length.

The Juror for this show is Dana Major who does “sculptural light installations and performative interactions……..,” so I find that interesting, and a small positive.  What I have figured out so far about guest art jurors is that this may limit the show promoters influence on who gets invited.  That also means that from year to year the quality and the making of the show can vary.  For this show  it is better that the Juror is from faraway Chicago, instead of locally.  The idea of a Big City Artist as the judge, may work to my benefit,  if she takes our local art seriously, and for me if she gets what this art is about.

The deadline for entry is June 18th and I will know by the end of July, if this local boy can nudge his way into limelight of this important first show at the Pablo Center at the Confluence.

Scott Von Holzen