Last night, I worked into the wee hours of the morning. I do this frequently, and sometimes I have to actually set an alarm on my smartphone to remind me to go to bed if the next day is a workday. Fortunately, on weekends, I'm a free agent, able to stay up until 5 a.m. and sleep until 11.
I've been asked about my "process" and had to think about what that meant exactly. What I found common to nearly every multi-hour painting session was that I always have music playing. I've tried TV, but I get too distracted by what's happening on the screen and can't focus on what I'm painting. Sometimes it really messes up what I'm doing. Music, however, keeps me focused as if I'm in a trance. Now, the different genres of music can make a big difference in what I'm painting, and vice versa. When I'm working on a fantasy piece, such as my mermaids, I want soft, ethereal music for the smooth lines and the surreal world I travel to in my mind. I have a few Pandora stations for different work. Celtic Woman, Enya, and Libera are all fantasy painting music, whereas for a very abstract or playful piece with a lot of quick brushstrokes, I want to hear something upbeat like '80s music, Chopin, or even dubstep. It just depends on the mood I'm in and what kind of work I want to produce. I have painted in silence, which I prefer to any other distraction, except music.
It's kind of amazing how my mood can shift with music. Using two art forms together to communicate my "message" or just express the pictures going on in my brain, to me that's the highest form of meditation. I'm thankful for my ability to do this art form and for the music other artists create. Sometimes music actually inspires new ideas that I can't shake until they are at least sketched. It's a wonderful phenomenon.