Friday, August 1, 2008

Music While Painting

I’m curious what you like to listen to when you’re painting and drawing. Is there a certain kind of music that gets you into the zone? Can your left brain listen to books-on-tape while your right brain is doing art? Are there times you just prefer silence?

In the column at left is a blog-reader poll. I invite you to vote for the kinds of music that you listen to the most when you’re working.

In the comments, please recommend your favorite links for free podcasts, or share some funny stories about people listening to music in studios or sketch groups. I’m curious to know how music or talk radio interacts with your visual tasks. Do different parts of your creative process (preliminary sketching, blocking in, or finished painting) seem to call out for different kinds of music?


SCIBOTIC said...

While I don't listen to it when I'm working, is all kinds of awesome.

Unknown said...

I was a percussionist for quite some time so I can't listen to music while I work, it's just reflex to tap the beat now and that's a problem when you've got a loaded paintbrush or handful of clay. So I listen to audio books and radio shows (not talk radio, stuff like Sherlock Holmes), currently I'm in a non-fiction mood and working through A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Anonymous said...

A comedy morning radio show from philadelphia. In my opinion the best comedy podcast on itunes. They put the entire show up without the music.

K_tigress said...

Oh I love just about every thing, except for uncreative music, country/western, rap and any thing else annoying. Depending on my mood, I love imaginative/creative music especially when it’s combined with other categories. My favorite types would be dramatic sounding classical, world music, experimental electronic/techno and beyond.

Erik Bongers said...

I don't listen to music while drawing as I need much more concentration for that. Once drawing is done, inking and/or painting is done with the following background noise (+/-order of pref.):

* A CD with various cello suites by Kodaly, Isaye and others, performed by Tatjana Vassilieva in a very aggresive performance.
This music get's me through difficult drawings.

* Bach's Cello Suites by Paolo Pandolofi on a Viola da Gamba(my favorite instrument)

* Film music for "Tous les matins du monde" ("All mornings of the world", a story on viola da Gamba writers and performers Monsieur de Sainte Colombe and Marin Marais, performed by Jordi Savall, my favorite Viola da Gamba player.

* "Sergio et Odair Assad play Rameau, Scarlatti, Couperin, Bach" (on guitar).

* "Alfons V el Magnànim: El Cancionero de Montecassino", 14th century religious music from Catalonia, Spain directed by Jordi Savall

* Bach Tocatta's by Angela Hewitt on piano (rather than harpsichord for which they were written)

* Mattheus Passion, directed by Philippe Herreweghe

* Faure's Requim, by Herreweghe

* Various pop/rock by dEUS, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Metallica and Tool. Yes, I do like (some) heavy metal !

But more often than listening to music, while drawing I take breaks to play some Organ music on my keyboard. (BWV 565, 913, 578)
But I'm not too good at it, I know none of the pieces to the end, and I also have no pedalboard (foot-keyboard), so I play a 'handicaped' version, except for BWV 913, which is one of the harpsichord toccata's of the Angela Hewitt CD mentioned above, and thus 'hands only'.
My ultimate goal in life is to be able to play these pieces to the end, with not too many mistakes, and this before arthrosis kicks in!

RAM said...

1. Music playlist for myspace
Hey, so I just made a piczo site and it looks so awesome but it seemed that something was missing. Than I realized I should add some music so my friend recommended a really cool It's so quick and easy,anyone could do it! In a matter of minuets I had made a account and uploaded the music onto my music player,not only that but You can also edit your music player to match your site colours! and if you don't want to upload your own music,you can search on other users playlists and take any songs you want! It works for piczo,myspace,facebook,bebo etc. check it out!

Myspace Playlist

poggy said...

Oh, I forgot to hit "soundtrack" too!

Anyway, I like to listen to pop/rock music when I'm drawing aimlessly and/aren't on a tight deadline. When I need to focus, oddly, I prefer putting up a dvd and listen to a film or tv series. Sometimes I'll take a five minutes break to see what's going on on screen and then get back to work. I found it helps me not to doze off over the sheet :-)

The "extreme" option is instrumental music. I like soundtracks, but also trip hop and ambient. It's the music I resort to when I have to get into that "trance" - never lift the pencil/wacom pen until I'm finished. I remember finishing a comic panel at five in the morning, and wondering what was that feeble sound in the background (I was starting to think I was hallucinating or something) - that was the radio set on "ambient", lol! I was so focused I forgot about it.

René PleinAir said...

I started to listen to music while painting in larger cities or urban areas, mostly to scare off some people to get a chat. After a while it becomes a habit to get out with your mp3 player. The Netherlands is a small over crowded country so there is lots to paint and visit even with a bike biking and music is a great combi, you manege to get way further with the good sound under it. After a friend passed away a year ago I noticed that music can also comfort you while painting in some difficult moments, I tend to get more sensitive when I am at work.

My favor's are for a great part Scandinavian music, such as:

Ünder byen, Eivør Pálsdóttir, Mari Boine and lately, Sigur Rós.

They have somekind of lonely feel to them, I like that. I guess that's something every artist has to cope with, ... a little abandonment.

Michael Kingery said...

i would like to second the vote for sigur ros... they have some phenomenal stuff. but honestly, my setup involves my cintiq tablet on my bed, my computer on my desk to the right, and i use my ipod touch as a remote, so now a days i usually turn on a smart playlist in itunes that includes all my songs with a 3/5 star rating and above. than i can just hit one button on my ipod to skip that song in itunes... its a bit convoluted but it works beautifully!

i don't really find drawing while listening to spoken word difficult, but often i don't find it driving enough. also, personally i don't really remember lyrics anyway, and a lot of my music is instrumental, post rock or soundtracks.

a few songs off the top of my head that get me going...

"Storm" by Godspeed you! Black Emperor

"The Call of the Ktulu" by Apocalyptica

"Folkloric Feel" by Apostle of Hustle

in terms of sigur ros, im in love with their new album, and takk... is a good starter as well...

anyway, rabble rabble rabble! its hard talking about music without preaching your own tune to the world :D

dragonladych said...

I absolutely need music when I paint. It's my main source of inspiration.
It depends on what I am drawing it can range from celtic folk music to movie soundtracks (the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is great for drawing). And rock music when I want to just let go...
My favourite music ever for drawing : Queen and Alice Cooper

Erik Bongers said...

Hey, lots of scandinavian music being referenced here.
Classical music as a favorite for artists is no surprise to me, but scandinavian...although in retrospect, artist are dreamy lonely types so...

If you like the young scandinavians, check out their (probably) biggest influence : Arvo Part.

Some clips:

* a wellknown tune and probably covered by some of them Scandinavian young ones.
Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror)

* Fur Alina

* Fur Alina, by composer with comments (try to count the no. of times he says 'njeutrall')

and finally:
* Prelude for a Fuge (1)

Anonymous said...

Huh. No options for electronic and heavy metal. That kinda excludes two out of my three main listen-while-you-draw elements. And you can't vote "other" twice. :P

The third one would be listening to stand-up comedy or Top Gear videos on Youtube. That should count as "TV", guess.

Super Villain said...

ahhh, making art while listening to music, what a great combination. i would say i listen to music 98% of the time i'm painting. somthing about the combination that produces wonderful results.

i was in the classic rock and hip hop voting categories. but my top three bands are sublime, guns n roses, and the clash.

what is james gurney listening to when he paints? haha!

Anonymous said...

Usually I don't listen to anything, not because I don't like music but it takes too much time to find the perfect fit to my mood. I have been listening to the Webcomics Weekly podcast It's entertaining and informative about the business side of webcomics. I can only listen once I'm in the rendering stage though; I can't do any planning while listening to people talk.

Tracy Flynn Art said...

I tend to listen to a wide variety of things while I draw or paint. I tend to gravitate mainly towards blues and jazz, but to be honest I will put in anything from Dean Martin or Sinatra to Robert Johnson to Santana, Neil Young, Elvis to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I will also put a movie in and listen to it like it was an old radio show, and then there are the days when I want nothing but quiet.....or at least what ever is going on in my head.

As far as the pod stuff, I leave those in the basement. I haven't caught up with the world yet and still have a vast album ( 3,000 +)and cd (1,500+) collection so I still go old school and grab a bunch of stuff and keep changing them out as I go. I find that if I have to get up and change a disc, it keeps me from getting tunnel vision and forces me to step back form the work and look at it more.

Any hints as to what Jim Gurney listens too?

Glendon Mellow said...

For me, it is all about the speed of the music.

I paint in oil with teeny soft synthetic brushes, and I like the punctuated beats to help me along.

So, I prefer music like Jakalope, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, Crystal Castles and Put The Rifle Down.

Anonymous said...

I listen to radio dramas such as the twilight zone or LOTR. i have done that since i was a kid and it just gets my creative brain going for some reason. im hooked on it.

John P. Baumlin said...

I usually listen to classical or jazz music while working, but it can be almost anything that helps to maintain a pace and a working mood. Long, hypnotic scores work best here. In classical, I especially love Debussy and Vaughan Williams, in jazz, Pat Metheny.

I've tried listening to radio talk shows, like Jean Shepherd's old WOR shows, but my pea brain can't handle listening to spoken language and the concentration required for painting at the same time. I've heard other artists say the same thing, although one painter friend listens to nothing but audio books while she works. So I guess everyone has their own way to keep the current going.

roryroryrory said...

I mostly listen to Bollywood soundtracks, whooshy Electronica, Breakcore and Speedcore Techno, and weirdy worldy music. Luckily I work on my own as there's nothing worse than having to endure someone else's music or radio choice. Naturally that works both ways and much as I enjoy my somewhat idiosyncratic selection, I wouldn't wish to subject anyone else to it.

Pete said...

Since I usually paint on weekend mornings, NPR is on in the background. I always paint to "Car Talk". Though guys are always laughing which eases any frustration I might have if things are going as planned (a common occurance). I also like "The Village" on xm...mellow folksy stuff. Sometimes I just open the windows and french doors and just listen to whatever is outside.

Tony Shasteen said...

When I'm illustrating, the History Channel or a commentary on a dvd works for me. If I'm designing, I can't even listen to music with lyrics, so classical works best. It's just different parts of my brain working.

Anonymous said...

It all depends on where I'm working. At home, its usually classic rock or blues. At school, late at night, I tend to put on old episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on my computer. Lately, I've been babysitting my baby cousins a lot... so I've been listening to Sesame Road.

Andrew said...

I'll sometimes throw on a playlist that's mostly classical rock, musicals, and other sorts of things, but that's usually if I'm coloring or just doodling. When I'm drawing or inking, I like to throw on one of the best comic/concept artist podcasts around:

Sidebar nation! I'll listen to about an hour or two of interviews from that alone. I actually was listening to Paolo Rivera's interview just a couple of days ago.

ZD said...

Sometimes I listen to Metallica when I'm sketching. Loud music makes it makes it easier for me to ignore my surroundings and get into the zone, but it also makes my drawings more disorganized. Most of the time, I don't listen to anything. I can't listen to anything if I am working on something important. I can't listen to music while running either, I don't understand that phenomenon.

Sometimes I get images in my head when I listen to music, especially if it's classical, but even then it's easier for me to pause the music before I try to draw. If I draw while I'm listening to music it's the drawing that is helping me listen to music, not the music that is helping me draw.

I draw while listening to Pimsleur, but that's just to keep me from getting bored with Pimsleur. Dividing my attention like that doesn't produce good drawings.

Mark Vander Vinne said...

James, it's funny you should be talking about this when a group of artists and I were just discussing it the other night.

My favorite kind of music is heavy rock, but I find it difficult to paint to, so I listen to mellower pop music (Sting, etc) or instrumental pieces (Ottmar Liebert, etc) while painting. Lately I've been listening to stations at in the studio.

I recently painted a piece listening to heavy rock (Breaking Benjamin mostly) that reflected my perception of a difficult time that a friend was going through. The mood came out different but strong, and I was very proud of the piece. Also, I have been known at times to pop up the van's hatch and have music playing when painting en plein air. Though I make sure it's not annoying anyone else when I do.

James Gurney said...

What a lot of great comments. Orlando, sorry I missed electronic and metal. Also BBC. Thanks for the links to Sigur Ros and Arvo Part, who are new to me. Everyone is different in what they like, but we're all aware of the strange ways our brains work.

OK, you asked. I'm old school, so I listen to CDs, cassettes, and FM radio. I'm a ravenous eclectic. On the counter next to the drawing table are:

--Huun-Huut-Tu, Mongolian Tuva

--Patrick Allitt's lectures on Victorian Britain, from Great Courses

--Gone Bush, Les Gilbert's wildlife recordings from the Australian rainforest

--The Carl Stalling Project, Music from the Warner Brothers Cartoons

--Hans Zimmer's soundtrack to Gladiator

But actually 75% of what I listen to is classical. I keep coming back to Mozart's late piano concertos, Bach choral, and all four Brahms symphonies, all of which have infinite emotional depth and range for me that helps me greatly when I'm painting.

Like many of you, I can't listen to words when I'm in the early development phase, and I can't follow complex plots at all.

I admire an audio multitasker like Howard Pyle, who had his daughter read the text from his NEXT illustration assignment while he worked on the last one, so he might be imagining pirates while actually painting the Civil War.

Veronica Guzzardi said...

When I was in high school I used to listen to techno/electronica while I was working because the repetitiveness and fast tempo helped keep me productive.

allie said...

James Brown :)

Katy Hargrove said...

This American Life

Animation Podcast

I listen to podcasts and music when I need to set a tone or get my energy levels up while doing concept work and computer modeling. Once that is set I usually turn it off, but leave my headphones on because it requires patience and quiet to really focus on what you are doing. This is even more true when you are doing complex arts like animation. Brains can only do so much at once before you start watering down your focus. This seems to be more true as I get older. I wonder if anyone else has noticed that in themselves too?

Jason Caffoe said...

I've started listening to a lot of podcasts while I work. It's basically talk radio, but I've found a good variety of subjects and it can serve as background noise, though I still pick up most of the information.

I've found music tends to be distracting, probably because it activates the same right-brain areas as painting.

broker12 said...

A psychologist in whom I put great store says that music and art are the language of the soul. Studies show that students who listen to Mozart before taking a test increase their scores by up to a full 10%. So, since I like classical music in general, and Mozart in parrticular,I'm hoping that connecting in a two-pronged way to the language of my soul will help my pursuit of art.

broker12 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Bongers said...

Spamming a tune again, but I can't help myself.
Just found out that my favorite Viola da Gamba piece is on youtube.

You can see Mr. De Sainte Colombe playing his own composition while remembering his dead wife.
The piece is called Les Pleurs (The Tears)

Now you understand why the Viola da Gamba is my favorite instrument.

Anonymous said...

While I love to listen to music while sketching or painting, what I like best is to listen to people talking (or to talk with them), which is something I probably learned from formal art classes... where you become accustomed to people wandering from easel to easel, commenting on one another's work. The background noise of other artist's talking, or the familiarity of talking with another artist while working, has always felt the most comfortable for me.

Unfortunately, after leaving such art classes behind I discovered that having other artists to talk to while working is a rare luxury. I often feel very isolated!

Anonymous said...

I listen to whatever makes it onto my iPod, or I turn on the TV (which can be annoying since nothing good ever seems to be on). I usually go for music that invokes my imagination, like the soundtrack for Spirited Away, Cirque du Soleil, or music in different languages so that I don't get too distracted by someone talking. I'm pretty good at multi-tasking and concentrating on stuff to the exclusion of most other things. I think this is why I have sleep-onset insomnia, because I just can't stop thinking about stuff...

- Tidah

Chelsea said...

I get so distracted when music or the tv is on while painting. But I do here the street below me, muffled snipits of conversation, cars and trucks. that's fine.
I like the idea that music may increase my creativity. Perhaps some classical or non verbal stuff.

Super Villain said...

did anyone else notice that the voting percentages total is at 316% right now, haha!?!???

Rich Pellegrino said...

Great topic! Music is a large part of my process. I tend to listen to old electric blues (muddy, Albert King lately)and early classic rock (mainly Hendrix and Lennon's Plastic Ono Band recently). What I listen to depends solely on my mood though. Fast, slow, instrumentals whatever...If my mood does not match up with what I'm working on it throws me off course. I've found a great website that has soundboard quality music of rare concert recordings. I've been placing a few embedded files of my current favorites on my blog. I think it's a cool feature. Check it out.

Unknown said...

Classic oldies seems to fit the tone of what I do now. I also sometimes listen to the tv news as I work. When I was doing more "serious" work, I preferred Baroque.

Here's another way music relates to my work. Every time I post an entry on my blog, I pick a classic rock song that "matches" it. On my blog, I have a playlist that begins playing whatever song I choose. I call it Andar Radio.

For my University comic, I chose "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis ("I'm caught in a trap, I can't walk out")

For my Sandstorm comic, I chose "Another One Bites the dust".

This may not amuse anyone else, but it cracks me up to no end. Sometimes, they are just okay, other times, the song fits perfect!

Dianne Mize said...

Sometimes when I'm working, I need to be quiet, other times I listen to Chopin, Bach (especially a la Yo Yo Ma), Mozart, Beethovan, Vivaldi or Haydn. Nothing funny about that except the dog sometimes howls when a high pitched violin solo comes on.

Unknown said...

The only thing I can't listen to is Beethoven. There are to many distracting notes. He constantly demands your attention. I love Beethoven though. Mozart's music is much more polite, it settles into pleasant background noise but not in a muzak way. I LOVE Part Erik! Folk music too, I've really been enjoying has hosts and radio without hosts creeps me out. It's like robot radio. Brrr.

The New Gray Mare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Zweifel said...

all kinds of funny and all round good listening.

The New Gray Mare said...

Wow. I am amazed at the vast responses on this particular topic!

Music is very much a part of the creative process for me. I have to have some sort of music playing while thinking about a project and actually working on it. Music helps me relax into the creative mood and stay there far longer than I normally would. I tend to not listen to the radio at all but put in some CD's or my MP3 player. As for what I like, it's mostly soundtracks, folk, or medieval rock. I do like some techno and trance too, depending on what I'm working on.

Some good music: The Riddle, by Gigi D'agostino
Shadow of the Moon, by Blackmore's Night
Rhiannon, by Faun
Nocturne, by Secret Garden
A&E by Goldfrapp (by the way, this one has an awesome video that you may want to watch the whole way through).
And, on occasion, something totally silly like Combine Harvester by the Wurzels.

I also love Enya, Moya Brennan, Nicholas Gunn, Apoptygma Berzerk, Epica, Within Temptation, and Nightwish. Sometimes, I'll just throw all of these artists on my MP3 playlist and hit random.

Many thanks to Erik Bongers for suggesting the Viola da Gamba music! It is an extremely beautiful instrument. I used to play the cello because I love that deep, vibrating, mournful sound.

Dave H said...

I am sometimes distracted by music that I really like. If I listen to early Joe Jackson or the Boomtown Rats(personal favorites from my formative years)I find myself "air-drumming" when I should be drawing. On the other hand, I try to avoid songs that affect me emotionally (Rachel Delevoryas by Randy Stonehill comes to mind) because I lose my concentration.
I have tried using music that reflects the mood of the piece I'm working on. Primus and David Bowie for crazy scifi action. More mellow stuff for calmer pictures. I'm not sure how much it actually affects the work.

Christy Morgan B said...

My professors are really against music b/c they say its distracting. But few students follow through on that rule.

Ive come to learn that in the beginning stages of a project like planning perspective and structure i have to concentrate the most and can only listen to music with no words- i prefer movie soundtracks that fit the theme of my current project (adventure, horror, majesty, ect ect)

Once i get to a painting or the tonal stage, adding in details, all the fun stuff, i can listen to whatever i want and audio books arent much of a distraction, but i often have to relisten to chapters b/c im so into my art.

But i need music, it keeps me in my chair, otherwise i constantly get up and walk away as if more distracted by the silence.

craigstephens said...

This is a great topic. I came to it a bit late though. When I'm painting outside I don't use headphones. I like to hear whatever is going on in the environment. When I'm in my studio I like the "This American Life" podcast or the "Radio Lab" podcast.

For music lately I've been listening to the National and Tom Waits. I find listening doesn't hurt my concentration but talking sure does. Sometimes if I'm not listening to anything and my wife or son starts to talk to me the first few words sound like absolute gibberish until my left brain kicks in and starts translating for me. I end up saying what? even though I could hear perfectly well. I just didn't understand. It understandably drives my family nuts.

For some reason if I start out listening to a podcast I have no trouble understanding it and still painting.

tlchang said...

So many interesting responses!

I work better with *something* coming into my ears (I think it keeps my left brain busy so that my right brain can do its thing).

I listen to music (lots of soundtracks, musicals and folk/Celtic/classic rock) in the early drawing/designing stage. After that, especially when there are many hours of painting to follow, I do best with audiobooks or TV series from Netflicks (it's British murder mysteries right now) so that I can be tricked into very lengthy studio stints.

Anonymous said...

I like to listen to the podcast Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler.

It's a great weekly 15-minute podcast about all things involved in creating stories and other writerly things. It's brilliant for when I'm up late at night doing some monotonous colouring and I want to keep my mind active and inspired.

Anonymous said...

I like folk and classical because they don't distract me too much, but Inspector Rex on the tv in the background works too, but not British comedy because I have to keep getting up to go out and see what's happening. I know some people who listen to the commentary tracks & other extras on DVDs when they're painting - if I owned more I might do that.

Anonymous said...

This topic just gave me a great idea: Next time I'm going to paint, I will spend just as much time preparing the palette as I do selecting the appropriate music. That's another way to say that I need to really think about my palette ...

When I was younger, I always heard music all the time, when I was doing something. Nowadays, I tend to prefer silence, if I really need to concentrate on something specific, but I like music, if I am doing something where my thoughts can wander a bit more. Currently, I am doing some Charles Bargue-exercises - I can't listen to music when I begin, but after a while, I sort of get into the "Bargue mood", and then I put something on.

I listen to a lot of folk music, in particular klezmer and Greek "dimotika" or "rembetika". Other favourites include The Doors, David Bowie, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

@Erik Bongers: Thank you for reminding me about "Tous les matins du monde"! I saw it many years ago. It is such a beautiful film, with wonderful, otherworldly music.

I'm on the Scandinavian bandwagon as well. Not surprising, as I am Danish myself. Favourites include Hedningarna, Garmarna and Gåte. Also a band called Mushi, little known even here.

@René Pleinair: Funny to see that Under Byen seem to be pretty well known outside Denmark - way more than many bands who sing in English and try to sound "international", hoping to make it worldwide. Sort of ironic, or maybe rather proof that one should be honest to oneself rather than try to predict what will be succesful. By the way, there is no "umlaut" (¨) in the name Under Byen - we don't have umlauts in Danish ;-)

Justin said...

I enjoy anything high-energy and powerful, even if it isn't typically considered "good" music, it really keeps me positive and on the right track. Sometimes it's techno, sometimes it's punk, sometimes it's hip-hop. There are the occasional times I love listening to just ambient music mixes, kind of like harmonious white noise.

zeladoniac said...

I'm an avid listener/painter and I'm wondering if anyone else experiences this as well:

you're listening to your favorite music or audio book while painting, then a day or two passes between painting sessions. When you return to the easel, the memory of whatever you were listening to in the first session comes into your mind as though it were playing again.

Is anyone else experiencing this?

And thanks for the great recommendations and links!

josembielza said...

I've ripped my CDs and prepared a selection of 80's pop & rock. Some soul and blues. Soundtracks. That's for cartooning. For some serious work, I have a selection of sacred music of the 16th century, mainly Tomas Luis de Victoria requiems.

groperofeuropa said...

I generally go for almost invisible music from soundtracks like

-The Fountain


by Clint Mansell and


by Klaus Badelt. No words, just mood setting stuff. You can listen to them on by navigating to their profiles for a sample. The

-Myst game Soundtracks

are fantastic too. The first two are a little too heavily electronic and primitive, but Myst III, IV, V and Uru are all great to escape into when you're trying to invent a scene or subject. Theyre explorative games so they're devoid of abrasive battle music and generally just sound intrigueing. I generally go for soundtracks rather than albums as theyre there to set a mood and not to get a message across. I steer clear of soundtracks for movies I watch all the time as well, or they end up influencing what I make :/

Philip Glass can be great. Post Minimalist music kind of cancels out the background noise without influencing your mood very much. Try

- Solo Piano (Philip Glass)

if you're interested. The tracks are incredibly similar, bar some key changes and little trills. It means you can listen to what is essentially a song with a coherent theme for a little under an hour without growing bored of it. Grows on you like moss.

-Elgar's Enigma Variations


-Holst's The Planets

are both stupidly beautiful as well, and apart from a couple of Holst's, work well in the background without too many sudden climaxes that shock you out of whatever you were doing.

I'm making up some compilation-type playlists at the moment so I can have soundtracks that match the emotion of what I'm making. Not sure whether thats the right way of going about it. I know Robin Hobb sits in complete silence when she writes. I imagine you could get some interference while working, thinking that what you're making is giving you the right response, rather than it really being the music.

I've listened to audiobooks most of the time while im painting in the past, but have decided to stop completely. It feels like I'm multitasking, but in fact I think I'm unknowingly relinquishing my ability to properly consider the painting as I work on it, as I'm too busy comprehending the book to think about whether the perspective makes the guy in the foreground look too big, or the shadow behind that small building is dragging all the focus away from where I want it. I end up with an almost finished render and realise that there are one or two fundamental flaws with the image that I have to go back and rework, which makes everything take twice as long. I look back at the painting when its done and each little section reminds me of a scene from the book and I think "well it took way longer than it should have but at least I got through half the bloody Foundation series"... Yes.

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