Here are the two finished Bach Minuets together along with the video explaining how these two artworks came about, why they look the way they do, and where I am going with this art
Even I am surprised that up next I have another Bach project, the Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 in g major BWV 1007. What caught my attention was this video that does a detailed explanation of this music. Every song I paint, I research. I want to know the music’s story and any other influences it has, including covers by other musicians. Even though I may like the music, I need to build a connection that goes beyond the song in order to spend many weeks of my time to complete a project. That does not mean the music I paint has to always be the best of the best. Many times I am attracted to the melody, the lyrics, or my past connection. As for my next project, the video of this Classical Prelude perked my interest after going through my list of to do artworks of over thirty songs and not connecting to any.
Here is the scrolling sheet music which includes Bachs own hand written version:
For interest, at less for me, here is my good-enough-to start for now,17th version of my 35 second condensed cover of this short 2 minute forty second Bach masterpiece.
Let me presume that anyone with a Classical music training will not be kind to my version. I am an unique portrait painter and the Prelude for J S Bach’s first Cello Suite is my subject, and the music gives the image character and a voice.
Length 77″ x 20″ Canvas Size L80″ x 35″ border size 3″ around.
This is the final image of my second Bach Minuet on canvas. Both Minuet artworks share attributes in size, colors, design, and the interesting scratch technique. This artwork improves on the what the earlier Menuet figured out through trial and errors. Now for an interesting challenge. I will not stretch either of these works. That means I will have issues to solve, including how I will hang these artworks. Since I have musical arrangements for each of these Minuets, how am I going to attach the speakers, amplifier and switches. Finally, since this art rarely sells, how will I safely store these artworks? Hum?
I dropped my interactive, constructive sculpture style because of the move to my current small office studio. I am not happy painting artworks on canvas, which I see as one-dimensional. Music is my subject and portraying it works best in three dimensions. I do not have the option to return to my preferred multi-dimensional art style. That means I have been using shading and contrast to create a fake looking two-dimensional musical artworks on canvas. To finish these two canvas works, I will add the music, which will take time. Hopefully, I will use the next few days to figure out how I will keep on keeping on, moving ahead.
My next project is another version of the Bach Menuet, BWV 1067 that I recently completed. This artwork on canvas is a followup companion piece to the Bach Menuet in G Major canvas project. The title of this 2nd Menuet version is Bach Minuet in B Minor. The image above shows my base image. It would not matter how I paint these types of backgrounds, because they disappear after I apply the top coat. Turning around as I am writing this blog and looking at this canvas, I like what I see. Seventy-five-years ago this would have been an interesting abstract work. Today, these backgrounds are enjoyable and interesting practice.
This Bach Minuet visually is complete. I still have to mount the music, square out the canvas, do something with the edges of the canvas, and create a mounting system so I can hang this artwork. When those steps are complete than I will sign the finish date on the back. For now, I am putting this project aside to start its companion piece, another Bach Minuet. When I finished installing the music on these two pieces that will be, for now, the last of my Bach projects. I am all Bached out. Any future Classical Music works I will turn first to my favorites, Vivaldi or Mozart.
Until then here is my current arrangement of my the unfinished music for this project, Bach Minuet in G Major:
As for this style of art, I feel it differs to such an extant from this year’s previous artworks, that in a way they seem more like vacation projects. Except although my vacation home may be on the lake, it is a fishing lake and I don’t fish, and there’s no air conditioning. So it goes. It always does. It always will.
This is a near image completion of J. S. Bach’s famous Minuet in G major. I learned later that this music was composed by Christian Petzoldand. This is a video of a fast pace version of the music:
If this music sounds familiar to you that means you are about my age. Here is a video of the 1965 hit, A Lover’s Concerto, by the Toys:
The image above is of my new temporary studio. It is about 150 square feet in space. An enormous help for space, not seen in the photo, is a wall of adjustable bookshelves where I store my painting supplies. The ceiling is a marvelous eleven feet in height. At less this time I have some natural light, compared with my 2016 temporary studio. My only other lighting comes from a five light fan of which I have ungraded two of the bulbs to floods aimed at the artwork. Still, the lighting is bad. This makes judging my efforts a learning process, not helped by the lack of room to step back to view this larger work. I confronted the reality of my temporary studio when I read this line from a book by David Byrne about his band, the Talking Heads: “Ive always liked creative restrictions, and here, happily, many were already in place.” I’ll check that off.
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.
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
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)
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.
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:
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?
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
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.
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.
This is my first Series of mini-artworks based on four well-known Classical music composers. Moving clockwise from the left I have Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Frederic Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major ,and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. These are all individual artworks, that I will be making multiples of each. The Chopin and Bach works are the largest being over 13 inches in length by 13 inches in height. I have documented the production each of these artwork, using templates and some standardized parts, to reduce time along with the price. I am looking at $89 for the Beethoven and $125 for the other three as a starting prices for this Series 1. These works will be available on my Etsy painting site before December 1st.
In the video I referred to my neighboring vendor’s display of his 39 dollar sea turtles. Here is that picture of these little critters that he sold all day long and what became an awakening at my first Art and Craft Fair in Appleton Wis:
Bach Partita No. 2 in D minor – Chaconne, BWV 1004 with a maximum height of 20 3/4 inches x 29 1/4 inches in length.
Bach’s Partita No. 2 Chaconne is finally done. The work sheet for this music I dated July 3rd. I mentioned that for it is hard to write this entry for this project has exhausted my love and appreciation for this great music. Like earlier works this deliberately small-sized artwork continues the trend of consuming huge amounts of time. I don’t expect to shorten production time until this art has fully exploited the current sculptural look. For me, a three-dimensional look better represents the full range of music.
Taking a look at Bach’s notation from his Chaconne manuscript, I used his hand writing style to personalize parts of the design of this artwork, and kept my color choices limited to mostly browns and grays. I added a splash of violet, to relieve color boredom, which I like doing when a few colors dominate an artwork. After photographing, I spend time cutting out this final image from its background only to discover that I had use Photoshop to paint two small parts, pale green. Finally, I spend more project time adding two other small pieces to the music that are missing from this final image. Here is a sample from the Bach manuscript:
I was curious about a recent New Your Times article that maps the musical taste of the fans of 50 current popular musical artists on YouTube. I wanted to know how out-of-touch I was with today’s popular music. Going through the list I found that I was at least aware of, or have actually listen to the music of 21 artists on the list. When I checked my iTunes for their music, that list changed. Putting both observations together, my a musical connection to today’s popular musical artists expanded to 28 out of fifty. I thought that was a decent number for only being a casual fan of current music.