S_V_H Happy Christmas 2nd Image

•11/27/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Happy Christmas 2nd Image

Happy Christmas is swiftly moving along.  Right now this is a white artwork with too much metallic gold. I will fix that.  Following the lead of my last artwork, The Circle (Will the Circle Be Unbroken) I have added and connected two canvases.  I painted them white and placed store snowflakes on top of a wet white glaze.  I then applied several more coats of clear glaze over the canvases to hold the flakes in place. I did tried to follow the instructions to fold a sheet of paper and cut out my own snowflakes, but all I accomplished was to create a lot of misshapen, jagged edges and paper waste.  So off to the store I went.

I am planning on adding other colors to add some depth and interest to this project.  Right now I am not thinking of sticking to the traditional Christmas colors, such as a bright red and green.  I would rather use softer pastel versions of these and other colors. I want white to remain the dominate color.  I will see what I can come up with.  It is kind of hard to picture Santa Claus dressed in a light hot pink, red suit, but for this project it could work.

Scott Von Holzen



S_V_H Happy Christmas first image

•11/27/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Happy Christmas first image


This first image shows how much construction I have completed before I can put together the basic image of the artwork. To this point, it is the designing of the artwork, along with tedious repetition, that includes cutting, building, a lot of sanding, priming, more sanding, and evaluation to confirm all the pieces work with each other.  Only then can I paint.

Happy Christmas, by John Lennon, is my project for Christmas 2019.

This is the fourteenth year that I will have created a Christmas painting and a small canvas image that is a part of the Christmas card I send to those who have supported this art.  I know that my Christmas project will be the last work for the year.  Because of this, I look at the Christmas work as an opportunity to summarize how this art has evolved in the past twelvemonth period.   That is about it. None of these artworks have ever been on public display, nor has anyone ever ordered a print or requested a price.  That is fine.  They are works meant to add interest to a generic Christmas card, and a fancy way for me to thank those who have influenced this artist’s life.  Although after so many years you would think enough with the praise.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken Final image

•11/23/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken Final image

Will the Circle Be Unbroken 56.5L x 54H x 4D inches


Here is my YouTube Channel review of Will the Circle Be Unbroken:

What I did not mention in the YouTube video was that The Carter Family’s lyrics still sung today, tell the story of the loss of their Mother.

“I was standing by the window
On one cold and cloudy day
And I saw the hearse come rolling
For to carry my mother away

Lord, I told the undertaker
Undertaker please drive slow
For this lady you are carrying
Lord, I hate to see her go

Oh, I followed close behind her
Tried to hold up and be brave
But I could not hide my sorrow
When they laid her in the grave

Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye
There’s a better home awaiting
In the sky Lord, in the sky”

-The Carter Family

Reading those words I cannot help but remember my own Mother that passed away many years ago.  We three boys knew her as Namie, a name she chose because she did not want to be called Grandma.  Her mother Ann’s nickname was Namie.  We shorted the name to Nam.  She was a strong woman that did not “mince” her words.  Still, many times I saw that strength dissipate into frustration saying that nobody listened to her.  I think we three boys did, but my Mother grew up in a time when Men were in charge.  My Dad made the money and the rules.  Two little memories of my Mom that I will always remember (there are plenty more) is that she told me numerous times that I would “lose my head if it wasn’t attached.”   That is true to this day.  Even more important, was this advice from her “don’t cut yourself short.”  I live those words in this art, also, to this day.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken image 3

•11/10/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken image 3

The current size of this artwork is 57 inches by 53 inches in width.  To travel with this artwork, the bottom section needed to be removable to fit inside the usable 42-inch width of the Toyota Rav.   That meant I also needed to remove the two connected canvases which cross all three sections of the artwork.  I first attached to the top and bottom front of the canvases  L-shaped aluminum strips.  The distance between them was enough for the artwork to fit in between.  I then drilled through the upright aluminum and artwork’s wooden frame to connect the artwork together with screws and wing nuts.

I was concern although 2019 with balancing the space between the art.  Early on I realized that the shadows created by the artwork features were not enough to fill the space.  That is when I started to add small pieces of canvas images between the gaps in the artworks.  The larger size and placement of the two canvases may be the better direction to explore.

The canvases purpose was to balance the negative space (that which is not part of the subject. I first called it empty space), and to add depth, and not to add contrast or interest.   The canvases are not original in style or design.  They are more like Walmart art.  I prepared them by layering multiple satin glazes using the same colors in the artwork.  The final gazes are of Iridescent Pearl.   My preference was that the canvases blend with the artwork and the off-white background support.   Although, there is separation.  The artwork has a matte finish while the canvases have a shiny satin look.

Finally,  it would be good to reduce my large stock of canvases.  I have probably thirty different sizes of canvases that have remained squirreled away since I finished the Vivaldi The Four Seasons series in early 2015.

Left to do is adding the words.

Will the Circle Be Unbroken with Johnny Cash, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many others:

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken image 2

•11/08/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Will the Circle be Unbroken image 2

I liked this song the first time I heard it on the Ken Burns miniseries.   The Carter family, with Mother Maybelle Carter in 1935, release their version with the titled Can The Circle Be Unbroken:

Maybelle Carter later returned on the 1972 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken:

An early question I had about this music was the meaning of the title?  It is obvious now.  This music is about keeping the memory and the story of those who have passed from our lives in our hearts.  It is the hope that we pass on those connections to those that will carry on after us, and that when we pass on, our reward will be Heaven.   Here is an interpretation of the music by Herb Bowie:

“This is not a song of religious dogma, it is a song that speaks to a wellspring of religious feeling, to a tragic knowledge of time and what it brings to all of us, and yet an inescapable human desire to transcend death in some way, to feel a part of something larger that will live on after death. This feeling is part of what it means to be human, to know that our parents meant so much to us, to know how much they passed on to us in terms of their knowledge and beliefs and feelings and love, and with that bequest also passed on an obligation for us to keep these gifts alive.”

For this project, I changed my style by using  stretched canvases.   Instead, all the section ends are solid one-inch poplar wood.   That was the original plan shown in this second image.  That plan changed when I looked at the artwork Africa.  I looked back to that work, for it is on display as part of an exhibition of the Vallery Art Association, of which I am an at large board member.  Reading my blog entries for Africa, I wanted to refresh my memories of this artwork for the reception.  At the VAA reception,  each artist is to give a short talk about their artwork so that the other members can learn about each other’s subjects and varied techniques.

It was this remark from an Africa blog post that changed my direction for Circle.  The post read ” 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.”  It is the italicized part of this post about placing the middle canvas behind the artwork that caused me to change direction and to consider adding a canvas to the back of The Circle.  Throughout this year I have been dealing with a lot of space between the art features (the art term is the negative space, I am told).   I added small canvas and photo images to the back of my artworks to fill what I came to think of as too much empty parts of the artwork.   I did this throughout the year until my last project Twinkle Little Star.  For Twinkle I lacked any fresh ideas for filling its space and eventually added nothing else.  Taking the canvas idea from Africa, instead of one horizontal middle canvas, I am looking at adding two large canvases running and running them vertically, to act against this project horizontal look.   I will see if that works.

Scott Von Holzen



S_V_H Will the Circle by Unbroken image 1

•11/03/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Will the Circle by Unbroken image 1

My next major project is the Country song, Will the Circle Be Unbroken.   For me, this song stood out in the Ken Burns eight-part miniseries about Country Music.  A version of this music became an early Country Standard of The Carter Family.  Then later in the miniseries the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released the song with the collaboration of early Bluegrass, and Country-Western legends, including Maybelle Carter.   Although, I recall The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band while in college,  because of their 1970 recording of Mr Bojangles;  they are not my earliest connection to country style music.

My earliest remembrance of songs of any kind where the 1958 release of Tom Dooley, by the Kingston Trio,  and Michael, Row the Boat a Shore, released in 1960, by the Highway Men.  Amazingly I have this faint memory of hearing these songs in a large brightly lit restaurant, with chrome chairs, and a high ceiling, on a jukebox in Ashland Wisconsin.  Even earlier my attraction for Folk music began with the radio and the music of Hank Williams. That all changed in 1964 with the Beatles in American and watching them on the Ed Sullivan show.  To this day I still have a lot of interest in Folk, and earlier Country music, that all started in the sixties.

Here is the video of a live performance of the Nitty Gritty Band, Will the Circle Be Unbroken:

One of my second life wishes, in which I defy the odds and not come back as a Chinese laborer but as a young weekend banjo player, would boost my skill as a musician,  and give my Saturday nights out memories a sharper edge along with a better foot tap.

Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Twinkle Little Star Final Image

•10/24/2019 • Comments Off on S_V_H Twinkle Little Star Final Image

Twinkle Little Star 44 1/4″W x L65 1/2″ L x 4 1/4″D

I finished Twinkle Little Star, on October 11th.  I delayed this blog entry because my attention quickly pivoted to my next major project, Unbroken, based on the music Will the Circle Be Unbroken.  When I first put together and then started this project, my enthusiasm was high.  That feeling came from my arrangement and from Twinkle Little Star being highly recognizable music.  I felt this artwork would increase awareness and appeal for this art.   Later, after over a month of work, I lost that excitement, except for my arrangement of the music.  You can see those feelings in my final video of Twinkle little star.

What I forgot to mention in the video is my concerned with the dominates of these sculptural artworks by the musical flow while smaller and smaller backgrounds are adding less interest and support to the music.  My direction in 2019 has been to minimize the backgrounds while emphasising the flow of that music.    In Twinkle I have pushed this idea even further with such small backgrounds that add little interest.  Part of why this happened was because of Twinkle’s theme,  Mozart’s piano version number 5, and not today’s version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  I may need to change this direction made obvious by this artwork.  This all became part of my concerned when I found it hard to follow the musical flow while listening to my arrangement of Twinkle Little Star.  Then the question became, why should anyone follow the flow today, if It never mattered before?

From this art’s beginnings I have portrayed a small flow of a particular piece of music, that only a trained musician had any chance of understanding.  I thought nothing of it.  I was creating artworks that contain much more canvas so I could add lots of visual interest and colors to enhance the flow of the music.  That began to change when I took the flow of the music of the canvas and made it three dimensional.  That resulted in a reduction in the background’s value.  I then discovered sound when I added it to a small artwork of the first four notes from Beethoven’s fifth symphony.  Pressing the play button brought smiles.  That caused me to add sound to my artworks thinking this helped the viewer better connect to the artwork.  I then made improvements to the sound and the quality of my arrangements to where I have found it hard to follow the flow and the sound of the music.  It looks like I am back where I started in 2006.

That tells me to succeed, I need to go “Back to the Future.”  I look at it in this way using my mentor Vincent Van Gogh and two of his images, courtesy of Wikipedia  The first is Van Gogh’s masterpiece The Potato Eaters done early in his career:



On my art path, The Potato Eaters may be where I am today with this art.

This other image is of Van Gogh’s popular Sun Flower artworks.   The big change is his lightening of his palette.   That is where this art needs to end up.  I thought my “big change” was adding sound.  That may be only part of this story.  There remains some extra volumes to write if I want to reach the “lightening” of this art.


Scott Von Holzen