S_V_H Shape of my heart image 3

What you, the visitor, need to know:

Photo 1: The final setup of the canvases for the music box frame, along with a few notes from the cover music, the two 16×20 inch music boxes on the sides and the central tall canvases now painted a bluish Paynes Gray.
Photo 2: The original painted central tall canvases that were then quickly over painted.
Photo 3_1: My original scratch-off technique, used to remove parts of the top layer of paint, failed on the right side canvas. That top layer was removed and replaced.
Photo 3_2: The current replaced image of the right canvas alongside the left canvas that was over painted to match.
Photo 4: Backside of a canvas framed speaker box, still in construction, showing the new two-way speaker. This placement with the speaker facing out hopefully will improve the overall sound.


Going deeper:

Photo 1: The top left and bottom right 16×20 speaker box canvases, which I have written the graffiti lyrics, share the same green color used in the musical notes. Those two canvases and the two smaller 8×8 canvases will be mounted on top of the two central tall canvases. This will then also elevate the placement of the music, creating more depth and stronger shadows. The sheet metal plates laying on both the speaker boxes will be attached and bend in half circles like in previous works.

Photo 2: I chose the brown color, Van Dyke, for the music, thinking it went well with Sting’s look (broad term). I then compared several colors that I thought would go with that brown. The central two tall canvases are Maroon. My guess judging from the image was that I was trying to replicate a Mark Rothko background style like I used a dozen years ago. The results looked bad. I then made the Maroon blocks larger and added blocks of Van Dyke, thinking that the music color would pull everything together. It did not. It all looked worse.

The Van Dyke brown on the smaller wooden music pieces looked good. Blending it on the larger surfaces of the canvases made the glossy look of the color stand out from the matte Maroon. This shine would make the background a distraction to the music. I do not want that. The backgrounds I create are there to help the music stand out, add a little interest, and to support the music, enabling the artwork to hang on a wall without making a statement. I painted over the two central canvases, returning them to my style of broadly applying solid colors that lack depth and detail, but with a touch of added interest. Those canvases are now painted a solid gray blue color seen in the Photo Image one above.

Photo 3-1: I have been experimenting and using a scratch of paint technique for years. Although the results have always varied, only now did I have my first failure. The top layer on the right 16×20 canvas easily pealed away and slid about when I attempted to scratch it off.

Photo 3-2: In the image you see the same arrangements of the canvases in Photo 3-1. The right image I removed the top layer down to the base and repainted it. On the left image in 3-1 is the same in 3-2. This canvas was difficult to scrap off. For that reason, unlike the right canvas, I did not remove it. What I did was to treat that layer as the bottom layer.

What this means instead of applying the top layer and then hoping to scratch of the right amount of that layer exposing the background, I have now reversed that process by putting the final layer of paint as the base coat, an scratching off what once was the bottom layer, now move to the top. As you can see in the new images of these canvases, so far I have been reluctant to scratch of the additional top layer. That is why the look between the two images appears different.

There may also be one other benefit of reversing this scratch-off technique, in that the first and underlying layer of top paint to be scratched off will be titanium white. Once that has dried, then I can apply the colors I want the top scratch off to look like. By always using white as the first layer of the scratch off top I am hoping this may improve the consistency of the technique.

Photo 4: I have had an issue with my past 4″ speakers in that the higher sound levels were lacking. I have learned to fix some of that using my DAW software, Studio One. It was when looking for a better hardware solution I stumbled across a set of 4″ speakers that are two-way. The tweeter in the middle of the speaker may improve the music’s high end quality. They also came with a surprising benefit of covers. I can finally face the speakers towards the wall, eliminating the canvas obstruction.

With few exceptions over the years, my speakers have been mounted inside their boxes, on the backside of a framed canvas. I compensated for their needed depth by placing the speaker canvases on top of the background canvases that are hung on the wall (see Photo Image 1). These new two-way speakers that protrude outside their boxes, with protective covers, allow for the sliming down of the speaker boxes. The hope is they will also improve the overall sound quality.

Final thoughts?

I realized the mistakes in the recent wedding artwork that I am not a fine art painter in touch with detailed nuances. Why, with this project, did I repeat this struggle with my paint application, I do not know, but I have concluded that although the artist Mark Rothko was a major influence at the beginning of this art, he no longer is. I have move closer in style to the other Color Field painters like Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland.


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_, 
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. 

sections 1-6 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Shape of my Heart first image

This is the current image of the next high end music box with the cover music, The Shape of My Heart.

On the floor of my studio, again using my large supply of stretched canvas, I have put together a frame that will hold all the artwork cover music. This study of the artwork is thirty inches wide, making it an easy fit in the car. The length, although, is over seven feet. That means I will have to remove at less one of the square boxes that will hold the speakers in order to travel the work.

For this project, the artwork is going to sample this part of the cover music:

Go Deeper:

S_V_H One Thousands Years image 1

One Thousand Years,
with the notes turned incorrectly to the right

This is a commissioned work requested by my brother for his son’s wedding later this August. I will not say anymore about this beginning of this project, for there is an interesting technique I stumbled carelessness into.

The music for this project was written and sung by a Christina Perri that I have never heard of. It has over 2 billion views on YouTube. Watching and listening to it I number of times did not change my opinion of the song. For me it falls into the category of ordinary love song. I song I would never have painted.

Even though I could have had many artwork sales for wedding songs, I have chosen not to. Songs like this are the reason. I chose and paint songs I am, at the time, emotionally connected to. That is my choice. My art. My way.

This art has never been about money, no matter the cost of time and monies of the last sixteen years painting music. This art is big. How big I do not know, nor can I grasp its true meaning or value. I do know it is part of a personal challenge to accomplish something special that started early in my life. Through the creation of these music artworks I am seeing an opening to an eventual self awareness. Back to reality, and out of my comfort zone, this commission work from my brother is a worthy and appreciative challenge. To quote the poet and philosopher Coldplay ” Nobody said it was easy.”

Well, that is the background of the music. Once I had a decent start for my cover music, I switched over to producing the pieces for the artwork. Now, I am going to lose everyone not into music notation rules. I broke a big one. Strange, I thought I had already demolished all the rules of notation accept the up down movement. I will explain.

In music notation generally and individually, the notes from B down the musical staff face left with the stem to the right. Notes above B than are turned and face right with the stem to the left. As you can see in the image provided. All the notes from my cover music were turned to the right with the stems to the left. That is wrong. All the notes for this music are lower than the B position and therefore should have been turned to the left. I have always obeyed this notation rule in the past, thinking the left-to-right and back-en-forth of the notes added interest to the artwork.

At first I could not believe I made such an error, but this project is rare, in which every note of the cover music faces the same way. I got in a note putting together rhythm that ended up with every note pointing the wrong direction. I thought I could easily solve this issue by flipping top to bottom. That did not work, everything was off. I also noticed that when turning the notes correctly to the left, I did not like that look.

The music flow felt blocked by all those stems, one after another. My solution was an easy mix solution. I decided for multiple reasons to leave most of the cover music notes pointing in the wrong direction. The change I made was to take a few notes that are below the music staff, remove the notes from the stems, and replaced them turned to the left.

Example of notes turned the correct notation direction.
Final note setup with a mixed of upper right facing
and lower left facing notes.

Three attempts at the background canvas.
Final, in the middle

In the above image the 24×36 inch scratch off canvas on the right is my first attempt. The plan for that canvas was to use the colors from the YouTube video of the music. Then my wife, Barbara, informed me that was a no no. I had forgotten the bouquet image. Even though I tried to repaint that first scratch off canvas was beyond a simple recovery. My next attempt is the 24×36 canvas on the left.

This time after trials, the plan was to use the Golden Acrylic colors of Permanent Violet Dark, Alizarin Crimson Hue, Permanent Maroon, Titan Green Pale and shades of Neutral Grays, along with Titanium white to mix whatever that other color is.

Starting with the base color design based on the banquet image on a new 24×36 inch size canvas, I tried to figure out what would look the best with the color Maroon and its various tints and close relatives. After I did the scratch off, I decided my plan for the base did not turn out as I wished it would have. Out of desperation and thinking in terms of wedding pretty, I glazed the entire canvas with Iridescent Pearl Fine. That move ended up covering everything, which luckily included the scratch off that displayed my crappy base paint layer.

I liked to look, and so did Barb mentioning the gray color that she could see in the base coat. The problem was that the base coat was actually shades of Maroon and Violet Dark that I had partially covered with a coat of Pearl. Her comment got me thinking. In the banquet flower image, strangely, there are gray flowers, so I thought I would go with shades of gray and a little of the other colors for the base, once again on a new canvas. That solve another problem I finally noticed: the 24×36 canvases I started with were too large for the music notes I had created earlier. I chose a smaller 16×40 inch sized canvas which better balanced with the size of the music.

Scott Von Holzen

Roger’s poem, dedicated to the memory of my Brother Roger who passed away a year ago this coming August 9th. In each new blog post I will add another section of this poem. Here are sections 1 & 2 of 15.

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.

Scott Von Holzen