S_V_H Post no. 700 – Bach Prelude 2020 Updated

What the visitor needs to know:

700:This is my 700 blog post. I started documenting this story in early 2010.

Photo 7: The finished update to the music box, Bach Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude, now attached to a framed canvas back support, along with new speaker boxes.

This is the story of a loose canvas 2020 music box project that as it was could not be displayed or played.

Photo 1: This is a still from the video of the original finished artwork attached to another artworks aluminum frame taken in my temporary office studio in Owatonna, Minnesota, the fall of 2020

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Photo 2: The artwork, in early 2021, was then sandwiched between heavy cardboard for transportation from Minnesota back to Wisconsin arriving March 1sth 2021, where it was stored until now.
Photo 3: loose wooden pieces that came unattached from the artwork in transit and storage.
Photo 4: Close up showing the aluminum strip that now holds the loose canvas to the framed canvas support.
Photo 5: The finished backside framed canvases bolted together and used as the support for the already attached loose Bach canvas, secured at the top and elsewhere with magnets. (I forgot to take a front image before connecting the canvas to the frame.)
Photo 6: The front image of the finished Bach canvas attached to its canvas frame.

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Bach Prelude music box dated September 2020 updated on 9-22. (updated to final version on 9-23)

Going Deeper:

Photo 7: The original canvas, painted with no support and covered with music glued to its surface, was vulnerable to movement. Any twisting would meet resistance from the stiffer wooden pieces glued to its surface. The resulting strain would cause the separating of the top layer of paint from the canvas that also held the wooded pieces. This occurred for the top painted layer was applied using my experimental scratch off technique. This technique allows me to scrap off a layer of paint to reveal the base colors underneath. Anything attached to such a layer, which was the wooden music, could also as easily lose its support with even minor twisting. To save and allow this music box to be displayable, I had to come up with a way to support the loose canvas from movement when being handled.

Photo 1: When I was painting in this small temporary studio, I did not have the workshop, nor the space in this small studio to put together the aluminum frames and speaker setups I would need for every project. What I did at the time was to build a couple of slightly different sized and adjustable length aluminum frames with small attached music boxes that match with the width of my raw canvas. My three main canvas from that period are this Bach work, Woodstock, and After the Gold Rush. The image below shows an example of that frame from that time. The artwork is Woodstock.

Adjustable aluminum frame used for projects in 2020.

700: The purpose of this blog, from early 2010 to today, is to document this art journey. It was never attended to accomplish anything more than that. I appreciate those who have signed up to follow. To make it easier for the few of you that actually view this site, because I realize everyone is short of time, I am trying to say in as few words as possible what I am doing. I have then offered a deeper read, but that is for me. I am the one interested in what I was thinking and how I have developed as an artist over the years. With luck, and strength of determination, I will continue on to a new goal, 1000 blog entries, now that I past Vincent Van Gogh’s letter total to Theo. I know, and I mean this: The best is yet to come!

Photo 5: The top of the front of the artwork is secured to the framed canvas with 15 no. 8 screws drill through a metal bar what I found at the local Menards hardware store, which is called a S Cleat Duct Fitting. The S part of the bar allows me to slide the artwork canvas up inside and then secure with the screws. On the sides and the bottom I am using, right now, only 4 fairly powerful magnet combinations that are not too noticeable on the front, but secure the artwork to the supporting framed canvas.

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Roger's poem:
My younger Brother Roger passed away a year ago this last August. In a tribute to him I wrote a story poem that took months to complete. At his celebration of life, this last June 4th, I read it aloud, with encouragement and support from my family. I believe this poem contains universal relatable moments and meanings about the difficulties of losing someone close to you. It offers an understanding that loss is not about accepting and moving on. Instead, it is a story poem about the choice of moving ahead in Life with them.
(This poem is in fifteen parts or sections and with each new blog post there will be added one additional part. I am currently posting sections 1-9)

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Roger’s poem

The sun in winter
is all too short.
Who knew as you move through our lives,
that yours would follow the winter sun.

Winter arrests time
for thought and reflection
that February afternoon.
Dressed for warmth
we venture out,
Into the soft light,
surrounded by stillness,
not an oak leaf stirring. 

The cold of that yesterday
 is heard in the crackling crunch
 of fresh fallen snow, 
 as I straddled previous steps
 along a well-worn path,
 deep into the woods.

Although I think
we are alone,
Zelda knows better,
her actions are telling. 
Life and the deer are about. 
Stopping with her tail up,
head sharply flipping, 
to-and-fro sensing something_, 
curious,
I also pause,
feeling a stirring in the air.
With her nose to the snow, 
Zelda looks to turn off the known path, 
to explore another trail, 
far less traveled. 
Her interest, I cannot foresee,
or know where it leads. 

Before I can call her back
to the safe way forward,
Winter freezes my momentum,
with a stinging breeze
across my cheeks,
breaking the silence,
awakening concerns.
Had I dressed warm enough?
I feel and pat
my coat,
all was there.
Then it came to me,
that it was not the cold,
but the wind, returning to me
moments once set
quietly away.
I wondered why on a
cold Winter’s Day
on this made-up path,
at this crossroad
in these common woods, 
this walk halted,
by an unforeseen breeze
sending a shiver
tumbling inside, 
then out into the light.
Why over all my many memories,
did I find this one exposed
from beneath Winter’s blanket_,
a consciousness,
an awareness,
that once_, 
was you? 

But time was fleeting.
I had let pass 
the diminishing forest light
and our late start.
Fearing the coming darkness
will hide this path,
I call Zelda back
to the safe way home. 
For Home is where we want to be. 
What choice have I,
but to be on our way. 
We had to turn back,
for time does not. 
I could only turn away. 

Those moments have passed
this another Winter’s Day,
although the cold
is harder to ignore,
our routine beckons. 
Although she cares less,
I dressed Zelda in a purple coat
and I in my heaviest hooded jacket,
thankful that each new walk
the sun grows nearer,
and longer,
and the return less concerning.  

Along the way
Zelda repeats her many stops,
on our well-walked path. 
And for a distance
all seems as it should,
until the quiet is interrupted
by a strong gust
pressing against my coat,
pausing our step. 
I feel this air’s warmth, 
as I look to see Zelda stopped ahead, 
her ears pushed back 
by the wind, standing at that 
barely a crossroad 
from yesterday. 
Her brown nose twitching 
in this comforting air. 
Although surprised 
to see her at this divide, 
I have a smile of déjà vu, 
brought-to-mind 
by a long-ago line, 
from a well-used book of poetry 
now gathering dust, 
from the poet Robert Frost__, 
“Two roads diverged in a wood…” 
Two roads, 
diverged, 
in a wood. 
However, 
that is all I recalled. 
With a sigh and interest 
I pursue 
this other trail upwards, 
to see it following 
the rush of rolling clouds, 
knowing soon these winter paths 
will turn to mud, 
preventing our return, 
until the frozen has left. 
Thus beginning the awakening, 
ending Winter’s parsing of time, 
with days merging all too quickly. 
We will lose ourselves 
to work to be done, 
and unforeseen tasks, 
demands and bills to pay, 
that surely will come. 

Though today 
Winter still decides, 
in the fast blanketing 
approach of low clouds 
bursting with snow 
and ice pellets, 
pirouetting down to us, 
if in an effort 
to hide our way, 
on this favored path. 



sections 1-9 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Cello Suite No.1in G Major, the Prélude, BWV 1007 Final Image

Here is the not-yet-ready for prime-time arrangement of Bach’s Prelude from his first cello suite:

(Audio updated 9-23)

This music sounds better in the software I used to arrange it, which is StudioOne version 5.  The section where the drums come in on the WAV file is dull compare to the original software file.  I am still in the early learning stages of this software.  I will make improvements, and updating this file, over the next few days before installing this stereo system in the artwork.

I am delaying the video for this artwork because I am having technical issues with a new 20 watt stereo system I will use for this artwork.  That is a large upgrade from my previous system which was also stereo but only 2 watt per channel.  By going to a 20 watt amplifier I can use speakers that produce a higher quality of audio reproduction to better match the value of these artworks.

The drums in this music comes from a song In The Air Tonight at the 3 minute 16 seconds mark.

My arrangement of this classic Bach music (even after I have perfected the WAV file) would not appeal to most J S Bach admirers.  I understand that, and they are right, but I am an artist, and if I am to be an artist, you gotta break down barriers, push through, upset, question, and challenge the viewer to see and hear differently, and not necessarily the way I do, just different enough to turn the knob, and step through the next unknown door as a shared experience.

I will have more about this artwork in a future video, including the playing of the final audio file.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Cello Suite No.1in G Major, the Prélude

Here are the first couple of images of absolutely my last J S Bach artwork for this year.  I painted this work after watching the breakdown of this outstanding classical cello piece.  This is my third Bach work coming out of my temporary studio that is a free canvas based.  Again, as in the other two, I have kept the background mostly white. With this third work, I have limited the range of background colors to three blues to simplify the look of the color.

This is the image of this Prélude with the topcoat and the scratching completed.  I have developed a system to cleanly scratch-off the top acrylic layer of paint to reveal the base layer that is the above first image. The scratching is a lot more extensive than my previous works.  I have done that to push this method forward and to better adhere to wood attachments.  With this third work, I am abandoning my past, and going back to the future, which is working with wood to create a three-dimension look.

Here is a nice video version by Yo Yo Ma of J S Bach’s Cello suite Prélude:

I am not sure how this loose piece of the canvas will hold up to being moved with all the attached wooden pieces.  No matter, for now, this is my direction.

 

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The 2 Bach Minuets Together

Bach Minuet in G major

Bach Minuet in B minor

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.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Minuet in B Minor BWV 1067 Final image

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.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Bach Minuet in B Minor on canvas

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.

 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H J S Bach Minuet in G Major BWV Anh. 114 Final visual image

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.

 

Scott Von Holzen

 

 

 

S_V_H J S Bach Minuet in G Major

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.

Scott Von Holzen

 

 

 

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

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