S_V_H I Won’t Dance Final Image


I Won’t Dance is finished, and I am liking what I see. This artwork looks to challenge, looks interesting, and looks like nothing else. Now, none of those adjectives guarantee that this art form, including this artwork, will have any lasting value, but for now, if you want to own, I Won’t Dance, you will have to check out the listing on Etsy.

Once again here is the video this artwork is based on. I cannot tell you exactly what elements from this black and white film clip this artwork uses.  What does matter is what I felt watching Fred and Ginger interact, their style and the atmosphere around them. That is all I needed to create the theme for I Won’t Dance.

What do  I think of this artwork? Well, I will  tell you, it is crazy cool, and out of sight. Not only is this a great Jerome Kern song, it is catchy tune that, over the years, has been persistently a favorite song of mine,  popping up, and putting a smile on my face. Maybe I like this music because I am such a reluctant dancer. When I was in college I had to push myself  to ask the girl to dance. I was okay once I did, but up to that point, I was a one man debating team.  Well, I have grown since those days (although I am beginning to race back to the future), and the thought of dancing feels good to me.  I see this artwork as something special, and very approachable dance piece.  My  impression looking at I Won’t Dance  is that it makes you want to dance, dance, dance!  Enough said.  I should shut up, for this artwork had me at the first dance.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Won’t Dance image 3 & 4


I Won’t Dance is a painting that is going in its own direction, and not necessarily in keeping with my original idea of trying to keep the coloring and style simple. This became an obvious concern after painting in the music. I  like the background to play a strong role in the artwork, but with the second and fourth panel I am seeing a mess of shapes and colors that do nothing for the look or the music.


After writing that comment, I turned around to take a hard look at this artwork, and decided that I have not reached that artistic level to know how to keep a busy background from interfering with the music. That decision required a paint over, and what you see above is Image four of I Won’t Dance.  The original idea was worth a try, and less riskier with smaller works. This was an easy fix: small work, smaller mistakes.

A couple of interesting features with this last image is the font that I used for the words, and the doting used in the two inside sections of this artwork. The font I got  from an Art Deco book, and although it has been a lot of work, I thought it was a wonderful choice. For this artwork the art deco look works marvelously. Still, in that art deco thinking I needed something to break up those big blue circles, (the dark blue represents the masculine aspect of this work).  A simple effective choice was a large number of small circles painted in gold, the feminine contrast.

I have never painted anything like this, and maybe that is why I have, so far,  invested over a months worth of effort in I Won’t Dance. Originally, I wanted to be done with these small works in two to a max of three weeks.  Thinking this over, I now see that three-weeks  per small artwork makes more sense. This reasoning is because I am now spending more time teaching myself Music Theory, practicing piano, and learning the violin.  Soon, I will have an alto saxophone, which will need time and attention. My thinking is if I am painting music,  playing music, learning the language of music, or reading books about art or music, any of these options makes for a better artist.

Next up, is the final image of, I Won’t Dance.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Won’t Dance Image2


I Won’t Dance is turning into an artwork for free flow of ideas.  Because this is a small work, I am letting my imagination move a lot quicker to the canvas.  There is a simple reason, after more than two years of Vivaldi I need to shake my brushes and see what flows from the brush hair. With small works the risk is minimal. If I do not like what I see I can quickly over paint these small canvases, if needed.  And I think it is time to explore a different direction in the use of my limited acrylic pallet. Obviously, I can tint or shade my favorite twenty or so colors, but I find by doing that most of the blues, greens, and whatever, look very similar even though the pure starting colors are different. What I want to do is change things up, move in a different direction, away from my default color style.  I think I Won’t Dance is a little step in that direction.  It is me not trying to use all my pallet of  pure colors with every artwork.  You see many different colors in the Vivaldi Series.  With I Won’t Dance I want to cut back on that pallet and see what results I can get with the same color used in many ways.

What makes music so memorable is its repetition.  You hear a piece of a song that you like, and then you hear it again, and again and probably again, again. It is those repeated phrases that hook you.  In this art I also repeat and that is the experiment you are seeing in this artwork. In past most of my works pretty much sample all of my favorite colors. That works, but at times when I needed a little emphasis, it was hard to find an unused color.  Shades and tints for the most part do not work for me at this stage.

Now, with I Won’t Dance you are seeing a lot of Light magenta, pink, and a few shades of blues all being repeated on all the canvases.  It simplifies this work and leaves a number of other options open for the music to flow across the canvases. That is the thinking today.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H I Won’t Dance


This is the first image of I Won’t Dance.

What appealed to me with this music, besides the up beat tempo,  is the back-en-forth dueling story telling between more than friends.  The music says this couple has a history playing out for our ears to enjoy.  Here is I Won’t Dance from the 1935 movie Roberta with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers:

This is new version of I Won’t Dance by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga:

In this cover the Woman Won’t Dance featuring  Jane Monheith with Michael Buble:

This jazz standard by Jerome Kern,  comes alive, even without the girl, in this outstanding live Frank Sinatra cover featuring the Buddy Rich orchestra.

I could not leave out this soft and easy to listen to, I Won’t Dance,  song by Fred Astaire:

I than became curious so I came up with a few other dueling duets: from 2011,  Gotye, Somebody I use to know:

Although, less combative, here is Elton John with Kiki Dea singing Don’t Go Breaking My Heart from 1993.

A little farther back, to 1981, is this sharp conflict song from Human League,  Don’t you Want me:

I might have even watched this wonderful performance from Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand at the 1980 Grammy Awards, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers:

It is hard to leave out Johnny Cash’s  Jackson.  Here he is with June Carter from Folsom Prison, 1969.

Lastly, I had to dig this one up, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better,  from the 1950’s movie Annie Get Your Gun,  by Irving Berlin:

Composed of four canvases, I Won’t Dance has a total height of twenty-six inches by fifty-three inches in length.  Because of the overall date of the movie, and style of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, I am going with an Art Deco look.  Already, In this first image you can see the that direction with the mix of sharp lines and circles.  To enhance the Art Deco look I am going to create a font in that style for the words of this artwork, which will be, dance, dance, dance. I usually try to use an entire phrase of the music in the artwork, but that made this artwork go way belong my goal. My wishful length for small artworks is forty-eight inches in length.  In this work, not so, but since I have pretty much reach my smallest downsize of the musical flow, cutting the phrase turned out to be the next easiest option, to get it close. I am thinking, for now, smaller is better,  for these reasons: artworks at four feet or less are easier to sell, easier to paint, and quicker to complete. One thing that never changes is the decision-making process for any work no matter the size. The time-savings is that those decisions have less canvas to fill on smaller works.  For the next few months, I would like to produce a new artwork a month.  I guess the Vivaldi series with pieces taking two to three or months to complete has exhausted my drive. Turning around these smaller artwork, will be refreshing, and will give me an easier excuse to try new ideas.


Scott Von Holzen