“What appeared to interest him more than anything else when I arrived was to know what music I had brought with me.”
— John Singer Sargent
It may surprise people to know my favorite thing in oil painting isn’t an art supply per se, but a work of art in itself. Truthfully, I rely on my favorite thing far more than any particular easel, paint, paintbrush or canvas type. It’s music! Music is an integral part of my path to relaxation and focus. Maybe because my main studio is just off the dinning room in a large old house with two stomping teenagers and a noisy firefighter who, for some reason, seems to be mowing the lawn whenever I’m starting a painting, but I need music. That is not to say that I cannot paint without it, but to say that music plays as much a roll as getting me ready to make a work of art as doing sketches and color studies.
My taste in music is so broad, true music aficionados will say I have none at all. My playlist splays out in all directions including Radio Head, Emily Pandofi, Eagles and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The music I choose is indicative of the way I start a piece, completely dependent on how I’m feeling that day.
My fallback music is by Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s Pride & Prejudice Music from the Motion Picture. There is nothing sweeter if you want to start the day with Dawn. And, though I may be revealing a bit of personal information which could be used to uncover an undiagnosed disorder of the obsessive type, I admit in many cases, I listen to the same song repeatedly for days upon days as I work on a piece, usually at a decibel that is truly uncomfortable for everyone else in my house and usually involving some sort of dancing between strokes.
For example, when creating “City Blues” (above right) I played Purple Rain by Prince & the Revolution album. Yes, I’m serious. Purple Rain played and played for days.To my husband’s chagrin, it was Carolina In My Mind by James Taylor that flooded the house for nearly a month as I toiled over the pearls in my work “String of Pearls” (left). Like I said, there is no accounting for taste, but there is also no denying, music, music I love, takes me to the state of mind in which I find my best work.
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