Thursday, March 17, 2011
Doin' It To The Oldies
I love music. I do everything to the soundtrack of song. When I read, I quite often have the stereo on. When I watch sports, I usually turn on music instead of listening to the blather of the sport announcers. After all, I don't need them to tell me I just saw a touchdown, or a strikeout. I can see it as plain as they without the forced histrionics. And of course, I paint to the sound of music. Quite often when I look at a passage of one of my paintings, I remember the song I was listening to when I painted it. When I take a break from painting, I like to sit down and noodle on the piano, or strum E, A, and D on the guitar. Just don't ask me to play F-- I hate that chord.
What kind of music painters listen to as they work is just as individual as their painting style. Some like to rock out, others go for country and western. A rare few like to listen to brain numbing Irish folk singers as they sing ballads in ancient Gaelic about garden gnomes. Hey, whatever floats your boat. I got to thinking about what kind of music some of the Old Masters would have listened to as they painted. I can envision DaVinci listening to a baroque quintet as he painted. There Leo would be in his perfectly clean painting smock wearing a T-Shirt that says "If it ain't baroque, don't fix it!" Then he'd show them how to play it better.
What would Michelangelo be listening to if he was still alive? Well for starters he'd be something like four hundred years old, so he probably would be a little hard of hearing. But if he were young and kicking in today's world I can see him cranking up Heavy Thrash Death Metal. Or Barbara Streisand's Greatest Hits. He had issues.
As a noted accomplished classical pianist, of course John Singer Sargent would listen to Classical Music. I mean, c'mon--the guy painted in a three piece suit with spats. But I bet that if he could he'd paint Lady Whatever while listening to European Techno Pop. If only he knew what he was missing...
Me? I confess, I listen to the oldies. Anything from the 1940's Big Band to Classic Rock and Roll. The calendar ended in my studio somewhere around 1979. As an ex-Disc Jockey (or is that "recovering"?), I've been exposed to all kinds of genre's, but the paint flows better when I've got iTunes Radio set on That 70's Channel. I love that station. Every once in awhile they'll play something that I haven't heard since the song left the airwaves back in 1973. Having a soundtrack that makes you feel good in a subconscious way can only make your work come out better. After all, you can't really paint when you're pissed off, can you?
So crank up the tunes and get going. I know I will-- Oh hey, is that Meri Wilson singing "Telephone Man"? I haven't heard that song in so long...