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What do you listen to as you paint?

or do you prefer quiet? 

I prefer silence when am at a little challenging part of the painting. Otherwise, I'll have something on on my laptop, like interviews, news debates , sometimes music (coldplay, train :p , rabindrasangeet, etc), Sadhguru talks, documentaries, Mr. Nightmare (youtube) once in a while...  :p
It would be nice to know of more options  =)



  • Music, all the time.  Proper music, none of that stuff you young uns like.

    But it has to be something that isn't too upbeat or engaging, otherwise it takes over my thought process.
  • Classics. YouTube has a good selection. One in particular I like is all of Beethoven's Symphonies in a row. Shubert, Mozart and Chopin are heard often. When I'm prepping or varnishing I listen to the other classics; Aerosmith, ZZ Top or Big Band swing from the 1930s-40s, Those are classics as well. Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Dorseys, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller. Francis Albert Sinatra, Billy Holiday, Dinah Shore and Tony Bennett too. Like you, I want quiet but only when doing intricate details. I'll frequently have one of Mark's videos going just to hear his voice.
  • The news or business channel on Sirius radio.
    Maybe that's why I paint so poorly. ha!
  • Spotify Chillout music. A good mix of mainly modern music that doesn't detract but helps me to relax and enjoy the process.

    I've always wondered about this. As Betty Edwards states that we should not be listening to radio or music while drawing etc. as it detracts/competes from the right side of the brain doing its job (right is drawing, left is verbal, numerical etc.). If I remember this correctly...

    "You have two brains: a left and a right.  Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words…  Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words."

    From The Fabric of Mind, by the eminent scientist and neurosurgeon, Richard Bergland.  Viking Penguin, Inc., New York 1985. 

  • edited September 2017
    I prefer quiet, quiet music, healing music; as in yoga and meditation, classical Bach is my favorite, discourses from my favorite spiritual teachers, Rumi by Coleman Barks, and therapeutic aids (white noise and such), anything that keeps me close to home on my inside and present to the moment. Also have much music from 60's and 70's mainly listen to live concerts from most favorite and respected performers who I missed out on when young (while my friends were fooling around, I was busy studying and practicing art while alone). I most often work under headphones 'cause my environment too busy and distracting, chaotic and deafening. And I don't like listening to today's most modern everyday things, I listen to only little bit of news.
  • edited September 2017
    Sometimes Sam Harris podcasts. Mostly classical music on FM radio. The other day I listened to Mahler's second symphony for the first time and was shattered. Just incredible. I almost had to stop painting.  I'll download it so I can listen again.  I love Beethoven.  I try to play his late piano sonatas when I'm not painting.  I'll never be a concert pianist but trying to play them helps me appreciate them more and listening to them while painting transports me to another realm where nothing exists but the music and the painting I'm doing.
  • edited November 2017
    When painting abstract I play mostly modern music that do not have lyrics or less lyrics. This helps a great deal. Silence doesn't work for me while painting abstracts, after some time I start to make mistakes; I do too much. I listen to 20th c classical music, Enigma (particularly helpful); Pink Floyd's early recordings (Meddle in particular).

    During painting realism, I don't need anything particular. Most of the time its TV that is on. I can talk to my wife while I paint. Sometimes, when I paint early in the morning I play Mark's or Baumann's lecture that do not need viewing. 
  • edited September 2017
    BTW...I can listen to Scorpions or any other heavy metal (period 1970-1990) and Classical music anytime. Classical music most of the time do not have lyrics. So, it is particularly helpful. Music is just construction driven by an inspirational theme. Bach is amazingly abstract.
  • Kaustav said:
    Pink Floyd's early recordings (Meddle in particular).
    There it is!  During Echoes, when the rhythm all comes together, that's the best feeling.  I paint to this also.
  • @PaulB There is one sound collage by Beatles in their White Album. I used to listen to these modern stuff quite a lot and a lot of bands. Now the only things that I listen to are Beatles, Scorpions, Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Mahler. Just like a limited palette. =)
  • Prefer silence. Whenever I put music on when I paint, it will finish, and I won't even notice that its stopped - my right brain takes over completely and everything else just disappears.

    But thumbs up for Meddle and Echoes from me too!
  • edited September 2017
    What I do miss the very most in life is quietly listening to and observing nature, as I grew up in part in the country side, with open fields and wooded areas with creek or river or the sea, electronically recorded doesn't cut it for me at all. I like to stop and listen to rain falling and thunderstorms and the sometimes quiet periods/ moments in the city when this appears. I like listening to live rock concerts for creativity, spontaneity, improvisation and the sense of enthusiasm generated. And like the others here, I like Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zep, Deep Purple, Van Morrison, Jefferson Airplane, J. Hendrix, and many of these folks in rock including some Jazz and Jazz Fusion as in John McCaughlin, Steely Dan, early recordings.
  • I have a twelve minute version of Sing, Sing, Sing (1938 Carnegie Hall recording of Benny Goodman. Gene Krupa, Harry James and a dozen other geniuses) I put that on and I can first prime coat dozens of pieces. Then Led Zepplin's Cashmere or Ravel's Bolero for second coat. Heavy Metal and talk shows give me indigestion.
  • Just chart music for me.. (sorry!)
  • Lately, just my inner voice telling me what to do next, and occasionally the sounds of the wildlife in my area--rare birds, coyotes, bears, mountain lions.  :)
  • I love it when the birds and mountain lions harmonize. They remind me of the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"
  • Audio books (Thomas Mann at the moment) or occassionally music.
  • I am currently stuck on several extraordinary soundtracks.  Atonement, which won a Grammy.  Pride and Prejudice which was nominated for a Grammy.  Game of Thrones, which I think has an Emmy.  The Lord of the Rings, which has a Grammy.  All of these have you tube entries with all the bombast excluded.  There are bits of numerous others but this is the main group.
  • the sound of silence,...........
  • Old school classic heavy metal from the 80's :) Sometimes dark wave, post punk & goth, again from the 80's...  
  • I listen to Japan a Radio. 
  • I listen to MPB/Brazilian, bossa nova jazz, classic rock, rap/Hop-Hop, classical, 70s pop and R&B. It depends on how I'm feeling at the moment while painting or not painting  :)
  • edited November 2017
    Silence...everyone else is usually sleeping and finally the house is quiet lol.
  • Often nothing.  Sometimes a book on tape.  Rarely music.  I would like to listen to music more, I just haven't figured out what type for me will be most inspirational.
  • Silence - accept a few voices in my head,.
  • I listen to music classical but also books just not the audio kind.
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