S_V_H After The Gold Rush Final Art image

36 inches in height by 72 inches.

This is the finished artwork for After the Gold Rush art project.  Before starting the artwork, I first created an arrangement of the music.  I then sampled it as seen in this artwork.  To complete this project, I will work with my arrangement to create the soundtrack.  I have already purchased the mechanical license for this music, which of course is still under copyright.  I have the metal frame from Woodstock, so I will only need to put the stereo amplifier together, and then install the soundtrack.  Once all that is complete I will post a video of my arrangement

For this artwork, I wanted to make the music as large as possible.  I did that but ended up with both the top and bottom lengths being 32 notes.  That left little spacing between the notes.  That raised a long time concern about fitting my music in a restricted amount of space. 

This has been an issue from the beginning of this art.  That is why I would first set the music out on the canvas on a table before attaching it.  Since I am still in a small temporary studio, the only table large enough for this artwork is the ping-pong table on the lower floor.  Because of the softness of the top layer caused by the scratch technique, and not wanting the distress of moving the canvas with the music attached, I decided against using a table.  I felt I could better align and assemble the music with the canvas safely attached to a  six-foot by four-foot stretched canvas on the easel.  I had tested these same steps on the previous and smaller Christmas painting. 

I taped a string along the top of the easel so I knew exactly where to place the top of the note’s stems.  In this way, my arrangement had the correct up and down.   Then excited to make sure all the notes fitted before the glue dried, I quickly attached the music, which comprised four sample sections.  This well-documented concern caused me to forget to place the middle sections on different planes from the end pieces.  I simply forgot to run another string.  When I had finished, the top section I soon realized this error.  I was beyond the time where I could safely remove any of the music without tearing away the top layer of paint.  At first, I thought I would have to do the bottom layer also in one straight line, as I have done with most of my artworks over the years.  This time I choose not to continue down that well-worn path.  I move the bottom to two middle sections, one up and one down, and added some words along the artwork bottom to fill in as interest.  

This video tells the rest of the story:

As I am writing this, I have sandwiched up this artwork and others between cardboard for safe travel.  I have begun the slow removal of my temporary artist studio from a room that makes a better home office.

This is my 649th blog post.  As I have mentioned one goal of the blog was to match the number of letters Vincent Van Gogh sent to his brother Theo Van Gogh, 651. 

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Runnin’ Down a Dream final image

The Tom Petty tribute painting, Running Down a Dream,  is finished with a big Woo Hoo!   Woo and hoo do not show up in any of the lyrics, but they repeat a remarkable THIRTY times throughout the song.  Okay, they are not the best lyrics of the song. My favorite line is ” me and Del were singin’ little Runaway.” But, woo hoo, sets the mood of the song, and reminds me of my Mustang days when driving could be just that,  driving. I do not do that anymore.  Now, when I am in my car it is to go get stuff, and that is about it. That reminds me of a favorite lyric quote from the famous, and missed, Leon Cohen:
“Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way”

This is an interesting looking, non commercial, non living room, artwork. This is also the first time I have altered the stems of my music in a way that is totally non sheet music like,  and surprise it still works.  In the past  the vertical look of the stems as the move up and down following  along with the music, was the obvious choice. What changed with this painting began with using extra small solid color canvases and then filling space with the metal frame. That got me to thinking that inflating the size and even going horizontal with the stems would add some bulk, improve interest, and fit the look and the mood of this artwork.  Because of their size I than could decorative the stems to add contrast with the canvases.  For their colors I found them on the album and single covers.

A lot of the other colors used for the painting come from Tom Petty’s other albums and his performances. For example,  the red used for those little circles inside the large bronze circle openings comes from the color red used in a number of Tom Petty’s albums, including Damn the Torpedoes.

Woo hoo, this completes this project in time to move on to this years Christmas Painting, which will be Silver Bells.


Scott Von Holzen


S_V_H Runnin’ Down a Dream image 1

Tom Petty is gone and over the years although I play a lot of his music, for some unknown reason I have never painted one of his songs.  I am doing that now.  I pick his song Runnin’ Down a Dream for many reasons, but mostly because I thought of it as a car driving song.

Here is his video, and this is the first and last time that I will ever watched it.  I believe the theme of the video is a dream. But I don’t see this music in that way. For me this music over all these years, is a car song.  You play this song loud while driving and enjoying the freedom of the road.  Although, in today’s driving world, I have no memory of what freedom means.   A guess than,  I am reliving my past life in this song.  It is Tom Petty telling me that this is a car driving song, and  that this is the meaning of the freedom of the road and this is what it once felt like:

“It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway
I was flyin’   ”

I grew up in rock music with Del Shannon and his classic song Runaway.  Hearing Del’s name and loving car songs,  and being raised in my youth on and in Mustangs, Runnin’ Down a Dream became an instant classic.

Let’s forget that awful video and turn to this classic live performance:


The main background colors of this artwork comes from Tom Petty’s 1984 Album Full Moon Fever.  Runnin’ Down a Dream was a hit single from that album.


Now, for the words used in this artwork I picked “Woo hoo, Woo hoo, Woo hoo.” My,  you don’t ask, why did I pick those words? I know they are not really part of the lyrics, but for me they say it all, covering all the emotions for this music.

I don’t think this will be the last Tom Petty song. I am too much into rock.  Of all the long list of great songs by Tom Petty I am leaning to also paint Learning to Fly. That song title is a good fit with Runnin’ Down a Dream.  My take on both of the titles is that they both summarize this moment of my artist career:  I am running down a dream, and I am also learning to fly.

Scott Von Holzen

S_V_H Waymore’s Blues Image 1

waymore1aThis is my first artwork based on a Country song by Waylon Jennings’s  entitled Waymore’s Blues. This is another of many examples that the root of America’s music originates from the Blues, including Country.

First up is the studio version of Waymore Blues:

Now, this is a lot more interesting live version.  I like the back-en-forth conversation Waylon has with himself and the woman next to him.  She certainly  has the country look,  that leaves me wondering what is going on here. Waylon seems a little unsettled, and out-of-place compared to her.

This artwork is 20 inches by 60 inches in length.  For the background I wanted to use colors that depict a Waylon Jennings style.   Shades of blues became the obvious choice to portray his rough blue jean look.  Looking for another color that choice became obvious: brown, for it is hard to ignore Waylon’s full head of hair. As a nice contrast I added a strip of Silver which I see around the rim of his hats. I also added to the background my own stylized version of Waylon’s logo, which you see it in many of his videos.

I know the color Black is also a dominate color for Waylon,  but I am saving black and white for the music.  Those colors come from his guitar.

Embed from Getty Images