This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
One evening, while giving my toddler a bath, I was belting out a rock ballad at the top of my lungs. I think it might have been something from Journey. A few minutes later my wife commented, “By the way, did you know Emily was here?” Apparently, while I was pouring my heart out to my soapy son, my wife’s friend showed up. I sing so often, my wife hadn’t even noticed until her friend said something like, “I didn’t know Keith sang like that.” I wonder what she meant by “like that”! Needless to say, I felt stupid.
What does this have to do with art? Patience, please. I’ll get there.
Another of my musical outlets does drive my wife nuts. I tap on everything. I play the “drums” on the table, the steering wheel, or the chair. Occasionally I will even play the air guitar, but that is mostly to drive my children nuts. Whenever I get out my real guitar or djembe, my kids want to play and my practice time becomes their performance time instead.
If I really want to get my kids riled, I pull out my old headphones that weigh more than my own head. They were once recording studio headphones (from ages ago), and I try to convince my kids of how great the music sounds with those headphones. But instead they just tease me. It’s great!
I only come clean on these things to illustrate a point. I love music. Music is so important to me, that I appreciate almost all kinds. I love rock (in all its variety – from hard to alternative to soft rock), country (especially the old country that my parents listened to), jazz, blues and classical. I even have a lot of world music and fusion music. I literally have all types of music from all over the world. Music is a part of me almost as much as my art. And it is a major part of my art. I must listen to music while creating my art in the studio. However, when painting en plein air, I listen only to the sounds of nature instead of music.
Part of my routine before painting in the studio is to select the music I want to listen to. It is almost ritualistic. From day to day my moods change – and so would my music. Recently I noticed something fascinating. Whenever I would select classical music, I was more likely to get into the zone quicker. I was intrigued by that. But I still loved my other music. So, like my stubborn children, I chose what I wanted at the moment instead of what would eventually give me something even better.
But now I find that I am selecting classical music more frequently. In fact, I would say that it has become the predominant choice. The past couple months, I have listened to nothing but classical while painting. I do have a wide assortment of classical music to choose from. I am able to select something for just about any mood.
I am certainly no expert on the influence of music. But I have made several interesting observations. I am sure it may even go much deeper than my observations.
When I gave little thought to what music I was selecting, I may have chosen something that didn’t match the mood I was attempting to express in my painting. For example, I may have been in the mood to listen to something that would get me worked up or excited, yet I would be trying to paint a scene of tranquility. I found it difficult to get into the zone when I was conflicted in the stimuli.
By selecting classical music, I am more likely to choose music that has a mood similar to that of the painting I am working on. This makes it much easier for me to connect on multiple levels with the artwork I am creating. I try to match the mood of the music to the mood of the painting.
So, I would suggest considering how your surroundings influence what you are creating. If music is a part of your artistic creation, are you using it to your benefit, or are you working against it? I am not suggesting that you must use classical, as I have begun to do. I am merely suggesting that you become aware of how outside influences (music for example, but there are also others), can help or hinder you in your creative modes. Once you become aware, then you can decide if it is enough of an influence to warrant a change. This is entirely personal. You must decide. For me, it was enough of an influence. I have witnessed wonderful things by more carefully selecting my music.
I am interested in your experiences. Are they similar, or not. Please share them.
Again, I realize that everyone works differently. This is merely food for thought – and perhaps an experiment. Remember, I didn’t even realize how music was influencing me until recently. Maybe try experimenting and see what happens. Good luck.
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