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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Music Indoors, Music Outdoors

Many of us painters use music as a way to help get the brush moving.  We may not play an instrument—although I know several of my painting friends do—but just about all of us listen to music to help the creative process.  The tempo of the music drives the tempo of the brush.   Something fast and upbeat will encourage the intuitive, bravura stroke; something serene and atmospheric, the well-considered stroke; something jazzy, perhaps a stroke that is more improvisational. 

My tastes in music run to the eclectic.  Drop by my studio, and you're likely to hear anything:  the Black Keys, Bach, Heavy D, Mazzy Star, Led Zeppelin, Cowboy Junkies, Ella Fitzgerald, Peter Tosh, Satie, Sigur Rós—well, the list goes on.  I've found the online music service Pandora to be useful, as well as Amazon Music Unlimited.  I still have a stash of CDs from the past.  Sadly, the LPs were all sold some years ago, but much of that music I can now find on the Internet.

But as for painting outdoors?  I never listen to music.  I find it to be more a distraction than a help.  I'm too focused on observing.  Plus, I find Nature's own soundtrack never distracts.  The birds, the wind in the grasses, the water whispering over rocks—these sounds create a sonic space around me that I find conducive to observation (which is, for me, a form of communion.)  Plus, I never have to interrupt the moment in order to skip a track I don't like, as there never is one.

What do you listen to, and when?

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