I’ve never been a big concert goer, but music has been a big part of my life, especially when I paint. As a child when I was stuck home on a sick day or something I often would head over to my dad’s record collection, and listen to his music, instead of watching TV. This is where my love of soundtracks started. Albums like the Molly Maguires, Zulu, and Maurice Jarre’s Grand Prix were always some of my favorites.
Some of the LP’s had a few pages and photos of the films they were scored for. It was just enough to spark the imagination, yet a far cry from how spoiled society is nowadays with just about everything online. I think it was a simpler more elegant time then, or I’d like to believe that at least.
I think I’ve tracked more hours listening to soundtracks than perhaps any other style of music. It’s all instrumental and it sort of carries me away to places, times and things I would day dream about. When I paint, the first thing that usually happens is getting some music playing after I prep everything to get started: beverage, fresh water, wet brushes and juicing up the palette. More often than not, Grand Prix gets played, and I drift away at times, imagining I’m one of the famous Formula 1 drivers of the 60′s, when racing was pure and UN-commercialized.
Actually I’m listening to Grand Prix right now.
Therein lies an immortal tie to my father; his music, embedded in me. He didn’t go out of his way to bestow his taste in music on me, most of the time he would put his old school headphones on and spend hours changing records and listening. His music was always there, and even though there was no Thriller or Pink Floyd album in his collection, there was an abundance of soundtrack LP’s and hundreds of 45′s from his era of music growing up. I wonder if he knows how much I listened to his records? He worked a lot of nights in the insurance business then so I didn’t see him as much when I was little.
When I look back at photos from then I really appreciate what family memories I still have of those moments captured in old images. Moreover I see myself in my dad, raising kids and doing the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. So now when Grand Prix plays, I get a mix of those youthful dreams of racing, and fond memories of my dad’s records, our times together and the gift of youth that has washed away from both of us as the years have gone by.
He doesn’t know any of this of course as I have only seen him once in the last decade and we have only spoken a few times in recent years.
So I will leave you with this, next time you see a new watercolor of mine, know that I was painting with my dad and our music.