S_V_H the shape of my heart final image

What you, the visitor, need to know:

Photo 1: This is the actual (not the one in the video) end image of the music box, Shape of my heart L85.25″x H34.5″x D5.5″
This is a sample of the cover music for this music box.
Photo 2: A more detailed image showing the TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Lithium ion Battery Pack
Photo 3: This is the backside of the artwork, with the speaker now facing the wall when hung.
Photo 3a: New two-way speaker with front cover.
Photo 4: This is a close of image of my now reversed scratch off technique.
Photo 5: The QR code location to play the artwork’s cover music
Photo 6: First attempted image of the added middle canvas

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Going deeper:

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My YouTube video discussing this finished music box artwork.

Photo 1 & 6: When I shot this video of this artwork, I thought I was finished. After posting it later that day I could no longer avoid my dislike for the empty center of the artwork. I had a growing feeling that I was looking at a throwback idea of the music being able to cast its shadows onto the wall. There was also an issue with the color relationship between the blue center canvas and the outer green speaker canvases. I concluded I needed to fill the empty center with another canvas.

I found a slightly used 24 x 30inch canvas that would fit the current artwork frame and prepared it for my scratch-off technique. For the base color I went with different shades of lighter browns. The top scratch-off layer was in green. I wanted to only leave a small amount of the green top layer but what was revealed on the base brown layer that not only was too light, but the browns chosen did not complement the wooden musical notes. I tried to rescue this canvas by painting it a darker green color and adding contrast with the dark Payne’s Gray, seen in photo 6. It was all too much.

Eventually, I remembered what I have always thought of my backgrounds, which is keep them simple and in the background where they belong. I ended up once again over painting the center canvas, but this time using the color Light Burnt Umber. This worked, for its tone was different, but close enough to the look of the music to pull together all the other canvases.

This project was exceptionable in pushing this art forward with four surprising changes.

Photo 4: The first change was to take my scratch-off technique and reverse its steps. Originally, I would paint on my top finished coat, add words, and then scratch that coat off to review the decorative base underneath. I reversed that process with this artwork. The major advantage is better control in that I now will scrap off the decorative layer instead of the main layer.

Photo 2: I will now offer, starting with this latest music box, the option to battery power my music boxes instead of using my standard plugin 12V 5A switching power supply. In the photo above the battery is connected to power the stereo system. Next to that connection is the 12V supply connection, that the user can switch out.

Photo 3 & 3a: The third change is the speakers. I have resolved many of my sound quality issues. With the switch to two-way 4 inch speakers that are open to the back. I now have a more open range of sound with cleaner highs, mid-tones and even a modest improvement of base, without the mud.

Photo 5: I have the concern not knowing the life expectancy of my stereo systems installed in these artworks. I now feel better with the addition of an attached QR code. When scanned, the user will be directly connected to my YouTube channel and the music of that music box. This option will last as long as the YouTube service is available. As a final backup all the masters of my music boxes are stored on Microsoft and Google’s servers.

QR code sample of the On-line version cover of the music box, The Shape of my heart.

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What is Art?

This is a small updated definition that is built on other statements I have read, all attempting to define what is art. The key is “perception.” There is no way I can get around that word. Its simplistic honesty is shared in this familiar statement “Beauty (as is Art) is in the eye of the beholder”

All art is craft.
Not all craft is art.
The difference,
art was and always will be
an ever opening revolving door
of perception.
Craft is a product
-svh

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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 1-8)

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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. 

sections 1-8 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H The Shape of my Heart image 4

What you, the visitor, need to know:

Photo 1: All the major pieces of this music box, including the sound system, are together, along with a quick arrangement of the sample music to check spacing.
Photo 2: I chose Target cotton balls for the speaker box fill because of their firm shape.
Photo 3: Audio Test of the newly constructed audio system for this music box.
Photo 4: This is a close-up of the finished audio system.

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Going deeper:

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Photo 1: This is an open artwork with a large amount of empty middle that will fill with the shadows from the music that are not as noticeable in the bright North light and studio lighting. Although a little unusual, none of the cover artwork music is attached with magnets to the canvas. All the music is firmly held to either of the 6 inch by 18 inch steel sheets or to the two 1inch galvanized steel rods I purchased from Menard’s, described as 60″ S Cleat Duct Fittings. The surprise was when moving from the tables to the easels, how heavy this music box felt with none of the music attached.

Photo 2: I started speaker building with no fill except for strips of corrugated cardboard that I thought was a great idea. Obviously, I should have asked for a second opinion. Finally, I came to a better understanding of speaker technology. The suggestion was to use polyfill. I looked around the house and found a bag of cotton balls on a bathroom shelf. Using the cotton balls for fill proved to be an outstanding improvement in the sound coming from my undersized speaker boxes.

The inside dimension of the speaker boxes is about 10 inches by 13 inches with a shallow depth of only 2 inches. Because they come with screen covers, these new 2-way speakers no longer need to be encased inside a box for protection. That changed allowed me to reduce the speaker box depth by 1.5 inches. This change improved the balance of the artwork, making for a better fit with the canvases that are only 1.5 inches wide.

My speaker boxes, no matter the artwork, have fallen well short of the recommended sizing for a 4 inch speaker. That has not been a factor. The sound, for multiple reasons, including speaker box design, has been steadily improving. This tells me the size of the boxes is not critical.

Photo 3: What is being heard are the built-in test sounds that bounce from the right to the left speaker to confirm that all the fifty plus connections, mostly by soldering, all work. The sound comes from a 16 MB little Adafruit mini sound board.

Photo 4: This image is an interesting accomplishment. Pictured is the first 20Watt stereo system setup that can be played either with a DC 12V power adapter, or a 12V lithium battery simply by switching the power connection. The extra female connector seen hanging inside the 8 inch canvas is not used.

Final Thoughts:

I am not really crazy with the look of this artwork. Maybe it is the large open spacing in the middle of the artwork. I am not sure. The music notes and stems are done, but not finished. I will add to them the necessary beams and flags, and other notation touches that will give the artwork an added decorative and interest look. Those additions offer the opportunity to punch up the look of this music box.

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Roger’s poem:
My younger Brother Roger passed away a year ago this 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 and with each new blog post there will be added one additional part)

_________________________________________________

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.  

sections 1-7 of fifteen.....to be continued.

Scott Von Holzen

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.

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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_, 
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. 

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: