S_V_H Bach Minuet in G Major image 1

•07/02/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Bach Minuet in G Major image 1

First image of a Bach Minuet

Second image of a Bach Minuet

This image one shows an art that has shifted direction because my current studio is being shut down for a move to a different home, this time in the country.   This change includes the construction of a new and larger studio.  The start time for the studio construction is uncertain.  That means from now until completion I will make artworks in temporary locations, in compact spaces.   Adding to the lack of a real studio, I have become increasingly board with this art current direction and it physical and time demands which have exhausted me.   This has resulted in my sudden and required abandonment of my much favorite three-dimensional path.   For now, I will return to the world of two-dimensional primed canvas. The ability to play the music the artwork is portraying will remain. How I will add all the hardware to play and hear the music on canvas will be an interesting challenge: I will not stretch the finished artwork.  Over the past 14 plus years, I have been painting music and finding solutions for every obstacle to keep pushing this artwork style stubbornly forward.  That is the quick story.

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The effects of Covid-19 have eliminated in-person art exhibitions or turned them into virtual exhibitions (I waste of my time), for nobody knows how long.  That does not work for this art.  My paintings/sculptures need to be seen, touched, and heard by tens-of-thousands of people before they will have a minuscule chance of being taken seriously. That means, for now, until this virus is under control, I am punched out.

Scott Von Holzen

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Here is part of the longer story.

The first image shows a similarity to the artwork Where Have All the Flowers Gone.   The second image shows how I have covered up this by applying my scratch technique.  This results in me randomly scrapping away parts of the top paint layer to review the background colors (An example of this method is the artwork I Will)

Where Have All The Flowers Gone

I Will

What makes this project different is that I have never tested this scratch-off technique on unstretched canvas. I originally thought this technique would only remain stable and not peel away on wood or stretched canvas. Because of that reasoning, I was not planning to use my scratch-off technique on an upstretched canvas. I changed my mind when I realized I had no other option.  My old techniques for applying paint to my backgrounds now seemed dated.   With the coming studio move, I found out that the supplies I need were already packed away.  I bought replacements for it excited me to learn how my scratch-off technique would stand up on the loose canvas.  To my surprised, it worked.  Each time I have used this technique, I am unsure how it will turn out.   It is not until I take my finger nail or a pallet knife and scrap the top layer of paint off do I believe.  To my delight on this rougher finished and heavy prime canvas the top paint layer had the right amount of adhesion that it allows me to easily scraped off the paint.  I created pencil wide back-and-forth scraps that created a look of dramatic movement across the canvas. The second image shows my results. Now, I have noticed days later I can still remove the top layer of paint, but its adherence is greater.  That is good.

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This is another even earlier part of this lengthy story.

These first images of this Bach Minuet will be a part of a two artwork project. Earlier this Spring  The Interculture Art Inc. in Japan, which I have sent other Bach works to in the past, requested two more Bach artworks.  Issues began when there was a delay in information, probably because of  Covid-19.  Here is the original Etsy Store conversation sent on May 12th:

はるか
Message:
Hi,Scott
How are you?
I’d like to ask you to make new works.
I would like to request the production of two pieces to decorate a hotel.
I would like these works to arrive in Japan by mid-June, so I would like you to ship them by the end of May.
The size of both works is w78.74 inches and H19.685 inches.
Since it will be attached to a panel with a thickness of 1.18 inches, please allow enough space for the attachment. (It would be nice if there is a margin of 2.36 inches for each side. So, please make the size of the whole paper with W83.46 inches H24.405 inches.) They will not be attached frames at this time, so please draw the continuation of the picture for the side of the panel.
Can you make a picture like the attached images? There are two works, a whitish one and a colorful one.
The theme of the hotel is Bach, a classical composer. Please draw a picture of the score of Bach’s music. The hotel owner may be familiar with Bach and we have to tell him “This is Bach’s music and work’s title”.I look forward to hearing from you.best wishes
Yamakawa
I sent him this reply:
Yamakawa,
I have a heavy prime canvas piece that has a width of W86 inches (218cm) and with no issues with the height and needed extra canvas you requested. Shipping by June 8th will make the difference. The end of May would be difficult for I have other obligations to meet.
I believe I have two wonderful Bach music pieces for the hotel. Interestingly, I am working on one of them a Bach Minuet BWV 1067 mv 6 which is a dance, but in my current style. I will use this music but revert to my much older method according to the two artwork examples you sent. My second selection is another dance Minuet in G-Major-BWV-Anh-114. This Bach music is easily the most recognizable by the public.

What convinced me to take on this project is that I had in storage a roll of a heavy-duty primed canvas that was large enough to create two Bach artworks to the measurements required. I told Yamakawa that my price would be $1000.00 for each artwork plus shipping. He agreed, but needed to confirm the order with the client.  It was not until early June before my next contact where the plan appeared to be changing. Their ultimate decision was to go with two prints from artworks of any Bach music.  My problem was I had no Bach artworks that came close to the style and colors that they wanted. They also needed them delivered by earlier July.  By the time I received their last request, my studio move was already in progress and set for mid-July.  I thanked him and declined their offer.   We both hoped that there will come another opportunity to work together.

That left me with the possibility to use up the canvas that had been lying around my storage for years.  That idea and the soon lost of my studio meant that I could change the way I made my artworks.  What convinced me I needed a change came from my growing frustration over the sizeable time and effort that each of my latest projects has required. It takes easily over a month and from 40 to 60 or more hours a week’s worth of effort to finish one artwork, and for what result?  This year the results for all my efforts to finish new artworks has been I get to take a nice photograph of my finished artwork.  I then put it on side easels in the studio until it gets in the way, or its ideas are no longer needed.  It then goes in storage with the other hundred plus other artworks that I have rarely seen over the years. I then start the next project and everything repeats.  So, why not go back to doing easel work using canvas instead of custom wood pieces?  This could be a fresh opportunity to try ideas on a simpler two-dimensional platform that will include music.  Japan would not have wanted the music. They only needed something artsy to fill a space on a wall.   At this moment lets us begin the lost chapter of this still unfolding story of one guy with one purpose, and one goal to find out. Did he make it?

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Minuet BWV 1067 Final image

•06/23/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Bach Minuet BWV 1067 Final image

Variable size L74”xH29.5”xD3”

This is the last blog image of J.S. Bach’s minuet In B minor (From Orchestral Suite No. 2) This has been a very long and drawn out project that started on April 21st.  I am still working on a 5 volt DC adapted update for this artwork so that the music need not rely on batteries.  This artwork is the first that will allow the user to shut off not only battery power but also the DC adaptor,  if used instead.   After finishing that upgrade, I will then date and sign the work.

I have entered this artwork in the upcoming art exhibition that is one of the best local shows.  This is part of the application:

“Confluence of Art Annual

Juried Art Exhibition Featuring Recent Works

September 18-November 15, 2020

Application deadline: 10am on June 22, 2020

CALL TO ARTISTS

CONFLUENCE OF ART ANNUAL is a juried art exhibit that seeks recent, original works by artists of all visual mediums. The following awards are selected by the juror:

Best of Show:  $500

First Place:  $250

Second Place: $150

Third Place: $100

A VIRTUAL EXHIBIT OF THE CONFLUENCE OF ART ANNUAL WILL BE CREATED ON OUR WEBSITE. A SOLELY VIRTUAL EXHIBIT OPTION IS POSSIBLE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. In the case that Pablo Center cannot safely open to the public, determined by the CDC, Badger Bounce Back Timeline, our Board of Directors, and Pablo Center staff, we will move the Confluence of Art Annual to be solely a virtual gallery on our website, pablocenter.org. In this case, we will use the images that have been submitted through the application process.”

If I am reading this right, the Art exhibition may be open to visitors.   If not, I dread a “virtual showing.”  This artwork needs to be seen to be believed.  Here is one of the videos I sent in along with my twenty dollar application fee (pay to play).  This video tries to explain my artistic style.

Scott von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Menuet image 3

•06/17/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Bach Menuet image 3

This is the third image of J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No.2 in B Minor, BWV 1067.  All the music is in place.  Every section of the music can move up or down with a loosening of a wingnut. The two middle pieces in the lower section have the added ability to move left or right besides up and down.   This art has become interactive with a push of a button that plays the theme music for the artwork.  Now, I have expanded the interactiveness of these artworks.  Instead of a viewer being only allowed to touch the artwork’s push button and then stand back to listen to the music, they can now loosen a wingnut and change the look of the artwork.  How interesting is that?  Now sure.  But,  I am sure that having this option to move the music about, connects this artwork to the malleability that is music.  Now that is interesting.

Here is another YouTube video from XiomMusic of this very catchy (minus the repeating) Bach Minuet:

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Menuet image2

•05/25/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H Bach Menuet image2

Bach Menuet in open position, L76″ x H31″:

Bach Menuet in closed position, L76″ x H24″:

My lovely wife asked me why I was doing this?  I saw that question as why spend a considerable amount of time adding this moveable feature?  Besides, losing time, solving the many problems adding motion causes and not knowing for what purpose, I had no answers.  The ability to move the music around the artwork adds nothing to its meaning. That we both could agree with.  My response was ” ’cause I can?”  Not an answer I could defend.  She did not ask me to.  Now I can.

If I may borrow a title given too many of Kandinsky’s artworks, “improvisation”, that is what I should add to the title of this artwork.  For me, improvisation means experimental. This is what this artwork is all about, beyond the music it represents.   I am in the mood for change.  I have grown tired of creating more 2019 art and want a fresh look for 2020. Although,  for many,  I am wondering if this will be the year they wish to forget and end.  For me, not so much.  Time is what I need a lot of, for this artwork needs explanation.  The time I have left in 2020 will not be used to search out group venues and to create works that match some made-up theme.  For this year, none of that.  I have lost my motivation to show.   For the rest of 2020 I am tired of the same-oh-same-oh and want another way to represent music. This artwork, for all of it still stuck in 2019 aspects, is going somewhere else.  Hi, ho silver! The masked artist is making a move.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H J S Bach Menuet image 1

•05/15/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H J S Bach Menuet image 1

This is the first image of a Bach Menuet on a two foot by four foot canvas, the largest that I have used in years.  This music will be in two sections, top and bottom, which will spill over the side edges.

I have a stockpile of stretched canvas in many sizes I collected years ago.   Many of them are large.  That came about because of the momentum created by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons series.  This group of thirteen giant paintings took almost three years to complete, from 2012 to early 2015.  All of them required multiple canvases bolted and screwed together.  That allowed me to create artworks for this series from 10 to 20-feet.   That was years ago.  What I paint today looks nothing like the Vivaldi group.   I know this art is early it in evolution, but will I ever use up the vast majority of my larger stock canvases.  I don’t think so.  The advantage of using a larger canvas for this project has little to do with the music or my canvas inventory. All my previous works from early 2019 to my latest I Will, are similar in style.  I felt enough of that.  That is when, for this project almost randomly, I  pick a 2 by 4 canvas for a change.  My other reason to use a bigger canvas was to give me more space to test out my new scratch-off technique still in development.

After painting my big canvas in the tradition of 1950s Abstraction, I glued on a canvas copy of Bach’s two page original manuscript of this Menuet.  I followed this by covering the entire canvas, using a process,  that when done and dry, allowed me to scrap off areas of the top layer of paint.  This then reveals my abstract1950s background.  I am still experimenting with this scrapping technique, finding that some areas scrapped off as expected and other parts did not.

The dictionary spelling of minuet differs from Bach’s spelling  which is menuet. I have read on Wikipedia that a minuet is a social dance with a 17th century French origin.  Bach’s best known minuet (written by Christian Petzold)  became a pop hit titled “A Lover’s Concerto,”  This is  BWV  Anh114:

I did not go that direction.  Maybe next time (which may come sooner than I first thought).  Instead, here is the YouTube video titled, J.S. Bach- Suite No.2 in B minor, BWV 1067: Menuet mvt. 6.  I have a draft of my music for this artwork.   Since this song repeats all parts, I like the Tempo of this version for it moves this music along.  I  also like my forty-five second version of this music.

I picked this minuet for its simplicity and the entire song is has a lot of nice  “hooks.” that kept my interest.

Scott

S_V_H I Will final image

•04/25/2020 • Comments Off on 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 I Will, The Artist version image 1

•04/07/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H I Will, The Artist version image 1

To save time and planning, I designed this artwork, I Will, from what I learned from Where Have All The Flowers Gone.  The plan with the Artist version of I Will was to use the first I will as the template to speed everything along.  Even though I still have finishing work to do on the first I Will, for now, I am setting it aside.  It is difficult for me to work on two artworks at once, although I created all the wooden stems and the music for both works together.  That was as far as my joint effort lasted.   I have now moved on to the Artist version of I Will.

This second, I Will, be larger.  The first used two 6 inch by 12 inch canvases.  For this second work I am using two 12 by 24 inch canvases and have increased the length six inches.  My main take-away from the first I Will was to use it as a guide especially for the colors and overall design.  The difference between the two artworks is the painting of the background canvases.   On the first, I Will,  I used layers of glazes to paint the canvases.  While, on the Artist version of I Will, I am using a new and unproven technique on the two canvases, and along with the music.  This new method allows me to scratch away the top painted white layer to reveal, unexpectantly the color rich layer below.   I can remove the top paint layer, for example, with the edge of a pallet knife without damaging the abstract layer below.  In this first image, the top layer is white.  All the colors showing are from the bottom layer.  I like this look and technique, but I have concerns.  The top white layer is soft, too soft.  Rubbing that layer off could become an accidental issue.  I have applied two layers of glossy clear glaze in hope to strengthen the adherence of the paint.   In time, this canvas surface will probably harden, but for now handling with extra care is important.

Once I finely tune this scratching technique, then I think I can say that I have finally found my personal Abstraction style.  Before this, my best abstract technique was a version of Gerhard Ritcher’s squeegee technique.  Having an artwork, that is not a major project,  was the incentive to set aside the first I Will and to try out some ideas with Artist version of I Will (the wrath of Kahn).   Removing paint after I have applied it is not the only idea I am trying out new with this artwork.

This is the first artwork since I started painting music,  that I have abandoned the standard horizontal flow you see in the lines of sheet music. Every artwork before in varying degrees shares some semblance with the style of artist Mark Rothko, whose floating images, that resembled sheet music, that gave me my starting point in early 2006.

Sheet music staff lines

In my early days when I showed my musical artworks to others, the main take away I received was that this art would only appeal to musicians.  That was what I heard over and over, and I may have agreed with that.  My thinking was that there were a lot of musicians and songwriters, along with a large group of people who understood and love music.  It was later that I began promoting the idea that this art could appeal to anyone who loves music. The ability to read sheet music no longer became a requirement to appreciate this art.  That change of thinking then allowed me to chip away at my connection with sheet music.  Over the early years and even to this day, it is my early artworks, such as Canon in D, that the public finds the most interesting.  The reasoning is that such works look more like sheet music.   When over the years I moved away from the look of sheet music, and all of its restrictions, the public and musicians all lost interest.  That market left the building.  It had to, because I wanted it to.  I could have stopped evolving and created clones of Canon in D (2009) or Imagine (2010), for example, which would have given me a nice lucrative niche in the art market.  But that was never my goal. Even after these many 10s of thousands of hours, that was never my plan.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Will image 3

•03/26/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H I Will image 3

This image shows the color changes I made after learning where the artwork would be hanging.  My original color scheme was to create a softer look.  Besides using a lot of white, I also used a variety of pastel colors, giving each of the notes types a different color.  That became a problem.  Standing back and looking at the artwork, I saw all those pastel colors working only in a baby’s room.  That was absolutely not what I wanted from this music.  My client solved my concern when she mentioned that the artwork would hang in their bedroom.  Oh!  I changed out the blue color and adjusted the tints.  With those changes I kept the soft look idea, while giving the artwork more of an intimate touch.  Most notable with the addition of the words.  I will explain them in the next blog entry.

The only image of I Will showing the baby color theme.  I photographed it upside down but flipped it when enlarged.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Will 2nd Image

•03/15/2020 • Comments Off on S_V_H I Will 2nd Image

I Will the second image of the artwork shows good progress,  considering the times we are in.  I suppose that is not such a bad thing.  Except that the threat from COVID-19, being over seventy in age, has hampered my concentration.  Yesterday was a good day, as my focus shifted back to this art.  Still, my concerns, along with those who except the truth, is the coming danger in the next weeks.  It will remind us all how fragile is life.  That means, for me, my life is in the studio where this art, my piano, music, and books will be my busy support, along with walks with my doggy, Zelda.  That also means my wife and other family members will interact more so with others, to keep this home feeling as normal as possible.  Although all families will soon confront the unknown, for now we want our lives to remain as normal as possible. The Family is the first line of defense, no matter the crisis.

This wonderful small sized artwork is resulting in a busy-looking artwork, with smaller open areas.   Since Over the Rainbow in early 2019, I have focused on reducing the spacing in my artworks. This artwork may be the height of that trend.  The companion artwork for I Will, that I have been slow to work on, will not follow the direction of this first example.

Next up I want to repaint the music.  For some stupid reason, I spent my valuable time in a wasted effort to paint detail.  I displayed this issue in the close-up images of the music in the last blog post. Enough of that silliness.  I am not a detail artist. That runs up against one of my basic philosophies.  Although I am amazed by those who can realistically draw, personally I can accomplish the same results with a good photograph.  That thinking has defined this art throughout its development. My detail is in the artwork’s structure, where color is a tool not an end all. That is it.  I measure my artistic skill in millimeters.

For this artwork, I going to take this boring image two, and introduce a little color, to cover up all that silly detail.  Color to accent, or complement the structure and the voice of the music,  ain’t that special.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Will first Image

•03/12/2020 • 1 Comment

This is I Will the first image.  I put all the pieces for this music on the floor in a rough arrangement.  This will be a rare, tiny artwork. I am guessing over 32 inches by 22 inches in height.  It needed to be small, for it is an artwork already promised, and it will need to travel to its home to be.

Here is a closeup of the decoration I attempted with the music.  I am not really a detail style of artist, so I am not sure this look works for me, and this may change.

 

Back on my tables, I will glue down the music to the background.  The starting date on my worksheet is March 4th.  The progress of this artwork is especially good because I am creating two similar works of this music.  The first one you are now seeing.  The second artwork of I Will, will be more experimental, and its progress has not kept pace with this first example. That is what I expected.  I already know the difficulties I have working on two projects at once.

Here is a nice acoustic version of the song, I Will,  sung by Paul McCartney:

Here all the lyrics from I Will.  I am building this artwork around the enlarged lyrics.

“Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will
For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same
Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart
And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will”  – Paul McCartney
Interestingly, as I was writing this post, I played the video of Paul McCartney singing,  I will.   Forgetting to close the YouTube page, unexpectantly on YouTube, Paul McCartney sang another acoustic version of his music.  This time the song was Blackbird.  I painted the music Blackbird in early 2012.  Here is that artwork:
I like this artwork a lot.  It hung in my last studio over my computer desk.  “I was so much more painterly back then, I younger than that now.”
Scott Von Holzen