Music as a Painting Aid

When you are stuck, change the music.

I gladly accepted a commission from an organization to paint several watercolors for people who were retiring. Some of these people are friends and it was honor to be asked. Then I was given the reference photos. Oh, my…The photos were over forty years old and faded from age. In a word, they were pitiful. I started looking for life in these sad photos. I scanned them into my computer to increase the contrast, then I decreased the light in the shadows to see more detail. This gave me the structure to paint and although the photos were in black and white I could imagine them in color. The painting below is from a black and white photo taken in early winter.

This piece went though what I fondly call the “adolescent stage”, when there is an abundance of potential but a lack of cooperation.  To be blunt, it looked gawky and tired.

This is when I go to Pandora, choose a bluegrass station and turn it up really loud. I find it so motivating and energizing. I stand up with a large brush and lots of paint on the palette and go. I’m sure it looks and sounds pretty crazy, but it helps me overcome the blah feeling of being stuck. What music do you listen to for motivation?

Below are some other paintings in that group of commissioned pieces.