S_V_H Happy Christmas Final Image

37″L x 23″H x 2.75″ D

Happy Christmas surprised me by taking only two weeks from start to finish.  I like the melody in which I could stop at a good point in the lyrics.  This enabled me to leave out the ending of the first stanza, including these lyrics “let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear.” This music is not only a Christmas song but an anti-war song.  Lennon recorded this music during the Vietnam War, in 1971.  Although those lyrics are still relevant,  I wanted this artwork to be a celebration of Christmas.

If I had not included the word “Christmas,” along with those giant snowflakes in the background,  visually this artwork is more in the style of the Blue Danube project, and nothing like my previous Christmas works.  Over the 14 years that I have created Christmas paintings, I never attempted to create anything new.  The take on all my Christmas artworks was to take the easy Christmas style route and create a summary work of the year.  My main challenge was to get it done.  Then I could take a picture, and print out a pile of eight-inch wide canvas prints, to put inside the year’s Christmas cards.  Once the cards were out the door, like past Christmases, I will quickly store the artwork away to remain an unknown unknown.

Left to do is the music.  I have some understanding of music theory but not so musical composition.  That means I am early in my understanding of how to create and arrange a decent sound.  That is why the music it not yet done.  This year has seen the improved sound quality of increasingly sophisticated arrangements that are now a part of each project.  I believe that adding sound to the artwork is becoming vitally important to the success of the artwork.  That makes sense. This art, from the start, has been about portraying music.

From the beginnings of this art back in 2006, it was all about displaying, in a semi-abstract way, the up and down flow of a piece of music.   What it never was about was to replicate sheet music which would stifle the creative effort.  That style defined this art until recently when I added the play button to my artworks.  I guess I thought my musical arrangements would allow me to follow the art.  I soon found that difficult. Although the arrangement and the artwork share the same music, their artistic presentations are widely different.  Like everyone else that enjoys this art, for now when I play the music I will listen.  When I look at the artwork, I will then enjoy the artwork as I have always done, as a portrait of the music.  So what we have is one sculpture with two features,  with this one caveat: the artwork is the value of the project that represents the project goal which is to present itself as Art.  The music is there only to support the Artwork.  That is the difference.  The Art can exist without the music.  My music is meaningless without the Art.

The Art is the portrait; the sound is the hook.


Scott Von Holzen

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


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