S_V_H You Raise Me Up final image


You Raise me up 99 inches of all Christmas.  What is not to like about Christmas and Christmas Artwork. You see those two candy canes in the above image?  In the world of music they would be 16th notes, like these:


In pointing this out I hope you can see that the real music is only a starting point, and that the artwork opens up into many different directions. I could not have it any other way, for copying sheet music to canvases would be boring, and meaningless.  It is how I see that music and how I depict that flow of the sound that is important, and what my objects, can and do not represent, has not substance, except in my mind. This has all to do in understanding the difference between art and wall decoration.  A Jackson Pollack painted by Jackson Pollack is art, but a Jackson Pollack painted by your local zoo animal is not. And a simple answer to the why of this is, because when a zoo animal paints an abstraction there is no subconscious attention to detail.  What separates art from imitation, is the artist grasping what cannot be held and knowing exactly how to use it to free the artwork from being absorbed by the wall.

This artwork is the largest Christmas work that I have done. Starting this series in 2006 with a single two feet by four canvases, we have now arrived at six panels and almost 100 inches in length. This painting grew so large because I needed to use two sentences from the music, “I am strong when I am on your shoulders.  You raise me up to more than I can be.”  It was obvious that the strongest words are “I am strong.” and “I can be,” and worked in perfectly to start and end the work. They also best describe my favorite Uncle who ill. Still this work could have easily been over ten feet if my flow notes would have been my normal 70 to 80 millimeters wide. In order to shrink this music, to a size that would fit my timeline, I dropped their size to 55 millimeters with 5 mil between. It is still big, but done.  My art is all big. I believe that is an issue, for most collectors do not have large empty walls, or they would not want one art piece dominating, like all these artworks would certainly do.  It is a concern for me.

Remember back to that uncomfortable situation I walked into at the U W of Madison Marathon campus, while walking with my music Professor down the hallways of the music department. He told me several times the different possibilities for hanging Blue Rondo that would not worked because the artwork did not fit. Then he walked me into the orchestra room and I thought here was a big space. That quickly turned to disappointment when he again began eliminating walls, until the only place left was ten feet up, above the windows. Well, after of months of waiting for him to call and tell me that the wall hangers for the painting are ready, I have changed my mind.  I am taking Blue Rondo back, and I will have a new construction for them.


What I plan on doing is to paint another Dave Brubeck masterpiece, Take five.  Take Five is one of my penny paintings I did when first starting out.  This new version will consist of five panels and with a length of 60 inches, by no more than 24 inches in height. I will let the professor know, of my change of thought, when finished. Blue Rondo hopefully can be sold for $1600.00. The other option, for now, would be to hang Blue Rondo behind the front desk at the Jefferson Street Inn, downtown.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H You Raise Me Up image3


You Raise me up this is the third image of this largest Christmas painting I have created.  Usually, I do not try to do anything fancy with Christmas painting.  The reason is that I am under a lot of time constraints, that I ignore because time is my less concern when creating a new artwork.  Of course, when it is two weeks before Christmas time does become important.  There is a lot of work to do besides completing the artwork, with Barb helping to make sure they get mailed out in time.

My first job is to complete the artwork, then I have to spend much time cleaning up the artwork.  That means touching up, cleaning up, fixing, and cleaning the artwork.  Next is the photograph.  I try to take the finish artworks portrait outside, but the light is short this time of the year, so that means I  can only do it on weekends, and this weekend, such as the temperature that I walk three miles in was nine degrees above.  Once I have the photograph, next up comes the work in Photoshop to create a credible image of the artwork, which take time.  Next up, is to design this years Christmas Card, which I do in Illustrator. This starts with last years Christmas card, and tweaks  to the design, with this years music’s words placed on the cover. Designating and printing the card and takes several days. I print just the needed number of cards plus three extra which I keep. The printing of the artwork then is next, which can go good or bad.  Once I have the master sheets, usually three pictures per, with Barbs help, I carefully cut out the images to fit the cards, sign and number them, which is a stressful exercise.  I attach the image to the card using a safe glue that I spread lightly along one edge, align,  and finish by placing a weight on the cards. We address the envelopes, based on a list of people who I have put together earlier. The next day we start with numbered image four, and always using some thought about who should get what numbers, Barb and I put the cards and the envelopes together, and the next day Barb mails them out.  Anyone who has bought, and still owns an original artwork will receive a Christmas card.  Then there are close relatives and occasionally a few special cards go out to those that have touched by life this last year in a positive way.

You raise me up, is a powerful song with a message that can stretch beyond the Christmas Season.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H You Raise Me Up image2


You Raise Me up consists of six panels almost 100 inches in length. In this image you see that I have added the musical flow using different shades of gold paint, a common practice with the Christmas art, along with Cobalt blue.  Next up  I will be filling in more details of the music adding to each of these panels objects for added interest.

This artwork represents three major techniques that each in their own way is somewhat unique. Those three characteristics are first, the use of connected multiple panels, many arranged in multiple layers.  The second unique technique of this art is that each panel has their own appearance that is different from its connected neighbor. If separated, each panel could stand on its own, of course, greatly diminished from the connected whole. The third special characteristic of this art is the applying of the music. It is this unique depiction of a song’s musical flow, that connects all these diverse panels together, to represent a single musical artwork theme.

Also, when their has been a break with the Christmas painting I have worked on Up On The Roof. I have added an interesting look to the last panel, of this artwork, that I will post in a couple of days.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H You Raise Me Up image1


You raise me up, laying all over the floor. This is the part where I fit the music to the canvas.


You Raise Me is six panels, and 99 inches in length, by a max height of 30 inches.  This is a requested Christmas song that I received from a prominent, and important person, that has been apart of my life for many, many years.

I think it is a great choice and brings me back to my roots of this art, with my first Christmas painting which was Joy to the World, by Three Dog Night.  You see, back then, the original idea was to produce of Christmas artwork, that celebrated the joys of this time of the year.  At that time I thought Joy to the World fit that idea, perfect.  Things changed after that first year, and I started to products artworks of real Christmas music, like Sleigh Ride, and Winter Wonderland. This years suggestion caught my totally be surprise, and as I said brought me back to my real goal, which is to produce an uplifting artwork to fit the season.  I think this choice does that well.

Here are three versions of this music. In iTunes these artists have the most popular versions, along with a group called Selah. Their best performance video, I felt was an over the top sentimental cover, that belong in a save the species  info-commercial. So, it has been left out.  I can see where this music can go in many emotional directions, and I can understand its appeal to God being the one the artist is singing to.  I see this music, and artwork not as a Jesus thing, but as song that speaks to real people making real differences in other lives. To me this music is about the meaning of friendship. 

Scott Von Holzen