The Sound of Music in the Artist’s Studio

Do you use any regular rituals or practices before you begin or during your art process, such as meditation, listening to favorite music, or doing exercise? That was the question I posted on Facebook asking artists to help me with an article on the subject of artists and rituals. I received a wide range of interesting comments, some of which I include here. Read the series of articles here.

Whatever habits and rituals the following artists choose, it is obvious that the sound of music is an integral companion in their studio. And, as different as their styles of art, their music preferences are just as unique.

Actium by Keith Morant. Mixed media on canvas, 20” x 20”. Copyright © Keith Morant. Used by permission of the artist.

Actium by Keith Morant. Mixed media on canvas, 20” x 20”. Copyright © Keith Morant. Used by permission of the artist.

The colorful paintings that Nancy Christy-Moore creates are characterized by robust energy and continuous movement. She wrote: “I meditate daily each day around 4 a.m. When I get to the studio I turn the music on to either classical or Southwest CD with no lyrics. I look around to see which unfinished work takes my attention and start imagining what I’ll do with it, then jump in and paint.”

Helena Domenic combines realism with fantasy and symbolism to produce her “Myth and Wonder” watercolor paintings. She wrote: “I like to have a candle lit on my ancestors’ altar, sometimes with some incense. I have a special mix on my iTunes I call “Painting Mix,” which has music by people I find inspirational. It includes Joni Mitchell, Allison Krause, Brandi Carlisle, Cheryl Wheeler and Dar Williams. Their music is very evocative to me and helps get (and keep) me in the right state of mind.”

Didier Ventabren creates intriguing abstract, multi-layered, tactile art in mixed media. He wrote: “Music, music, but energizing music whose pace is suitable for the painting I want to do (often Latina for me), but also I repeat simulated gestures above the canvas to achieve a trance that allows a certain automaticity and uninhibited range.”

The nature-inspired Oriental Brush Paintings that Darlene Kaplan is known for evoke peace and harmony. She said: “I warm up my body with Tai Chi. Before I start to paint I grind my ink into an ink stone, which warms up my arm and my mind. This allows me time to think about what I am going to paint and how to proceed. During the time that I am painting I listen to either Chinese music or CDs of nature sounds.”

The unique abstract paintings that Keith Morant creates in oil and mixed media are rhythmic and bold. He said, “As a perpetual student of Zen Buddhism, I try to start the working day with at least 20 minutes Zazen (meditation.) I then view the work in progress or begin something new with clearer vision. I play music (usually classical or jazz) and in my painting I try to emulate the power of music and evoke the universal through the specific.”

Do you use any regular rituals or practices before you begin or during your art process? Do you prefer the sounds of music or a quiet atmosphere?

Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, helps artists attain their highest potential. She offers a free email newsletter on www.renee-phillips.com. As founder/director of Manhattan Arts International, www.manhattanarts.com, she rewards artistic excellence through curated art programs. She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS at www.healing-power-of-art.org.