When people picture their idea of an artist working in their studio they likely see an avant-garde carefree person flinging paint and enjoying their favourite tunes. While this is certainly fun and something I like to do on occasion, it is not how I work. The type of work I do (you'll see examples throughout this blog post) is not "carefree". I create extremely detailed and perfectly proportioned portraits using very fine brushes. In order to achieve my balance of realism and bold crisp lines I need to focus on the task at hand. With a mind that is constantly racing with thoughts, I find focusing almost impossible with music alone. I either add the lyrics to my list of continuous thoughts making things even worse, or I'll start to sing which isn't good for my fiance talking with clients in his office next door. SO, I listen to TV shows! I absolutely love stories; books, TV, and movies are dear to me. Best of all, when I listen to a television show my mind is occupied in following the story, so it stops racing, and I can focus on my work. I have quite a few favourites that I go back to time and again but I thought I'd start with my TOP 10 TV Shows!
#1 Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena: Warrior Princess is my all-time FAVOURITE show! I have watched/listened to it over and over since I was a little girl. There will never be a time where I don't connect with this show! If you don't already know, it's about a young women with an evil past who spends her entire life doing good in hopes of redeeming herself. Her best friend and life partner starts off as very innocent but over time becomes a warrior herself and is continuously questioning life and our purpose. It's serious, it's kick ass, it's emotional, and I particularly like when it's SILLY! But most importantly it teaches women to be their own hero. To be fierce AND kind. Listening to this show is inspiring with almost any project!
#2 Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey is another incredible show which I could watch or listen to over and over again, no matter what project I'm working on. It follows an aristocratic family residing in Yorkshire in the early 1900's. You get to see the very eventful lives of all the family members and staff. You quickly realize that all people, rich or poor, have their problems to deal with. I love the drama and the heart warming moments. The characters are so lovable, even the nasty ones! Even though I only discovered it a few years ago it is a big time favourite of mine.
#3 Once Upon A Time
ABC's Once Upon A Time is so dear to my heart. I don't care if you think it's for a younger crowd. I can tell you with extreme certainty that it's meant for me. I LOVE fairy tales so much (especially the old grim ones) and this show really does a good job of transforming them and bringing them to life. It's like Disney movies but acted out and presented in a "realistic" way! Not only that, but the genius writers have found a way to interconnect ALL of the fairy stories! It's just absolutely amazing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I can be inspired with this show almost always but really like to pair it with an extra pretty or delicate project.
#4 Game Of Thrones
Game Of Thrones has got to be THE most epic and shocking television series of ALL TIME! I love fantasy. My social situation as a teen wasn't great so I would often escape my surroundings by reading fantasy novels. Game Of Thrones being a medieval-esque fantasy made it an easy favourite for me. But it isn't the fantasy side of this show that makes it special, not by a long shot. You are able to view the lives and struggles of SO many dynamic characters that it is almost overwhelming at times. Twists and turns you would never expect pop up out of nowhere! And to sweeten the pie it features MANY strong powerful female characters which is something I am very drawn to and absolutely love seeing in modern media. A life time favourite for sure and something I can listen to while working on any project.
I've always been deeply fascinated with the Arthurian legends, Avalon, and Pagan religions. When I first spotted BBC's Merlin on Netflix I thought, "Well there's a show for me"! And I wasn't wrong! I absolutely love this series and, while it does have some deep moments, for the most part it is light and whimsical. I love how they transformed the original legend to fit a younger Merlin who is played masterfully by Irish actor Colin Morgan. The story is magical, fun, and heart warming. On top of all that, it really teaches you never to judge because you can never truly know someone unless they allow you deep into their soul. I absolutely love listening to this series when I'm working on a particularly pretty piece or custom baby and pet portraits.
Knowing how much I've always loved ancient Greek and Roman history/myths my life-long friend Kayla suggested I give one of her favourite shows a try. I held off for a while because I had other things occupying my time but once I gave it a go, WOW was she ever right! I LOVE this show! It reminds me of one of my favourite movies, 300, because of the way it's filmed and the way the gore is captured on screen. Very cool! The fighting scenes are very well done and extremely intense! It's like watching UFC but during the "olden times". To make matters even better, Lucy Lawless (the actress who plays Xena) has a large role in the series! If you haven't heard of the story of Spartacus he was a gladiator and captured slave who begins an uprising throughout Rome. Right up my alley! It's perfect for getting me reved up for a detailed or challenging task!
I'm a history nerd! I generally focused my interests on ancient Greek and Roman history but have delved into Norse mythology from time to time. I have always found the old religion very interesting and the people extremely fierce. SO when it came time to try out this partially Canadian show I had high hopes. While I found the first season started off a tiny bit slow it has zoomed into excitement since! While the Vikings sack Britain and France looking for gold and jewels, I like to paint in beautiful shades of gold and adhere sparkling jewels to my paintings! I find the two go together perfectly.
#8 Mad Men
Mad Men is a great inspirational show for when I'm painting. Again, history! Based during the 1960's in a hip Manhattan ad agency, we get to see the lives of many of the employees and watch the company evolve over time. One of the aspects I love about this show is how it portrays women breaking free from the shackles which were placed on them at this time. Women began to divorce. Women began to have careers and slowly be seen as equal to men (though not always acknowledged). The feminist in me LOVES that one of the main characters, Peggy, starts off meek and submissive but quickly grows to be a powerful and talented person who demands respect. I also absolutely love the character Joan and the actress, Christina Hendricks, who plays her. She is one of the first women to break through the rigid ideals of female beauty and prove to the world that larger more curvaceous bodies can be extremely sexy too. While we can't all look like this beautiful hourglass I still think she took our media to a new and progressed state. I find this show calms me and while I would usually keep it for more feminine projects, it is something I could listen to during any task.
#9 Sex And The City
I have liked Sex And The City since I was a late teen. I know a lot of women used to say, "Which Sex And The City character are you?" and I never knew what to say. To be honest, I don't really see myself as any of these women. But that doesn't mean they aren't characters worth admiring. I love that Carrie is creative and generally very caring of her friends. I love that Charlotte is into art and has such a sweet soft character. I love that Miranda is tough, highly intelligent, and usually doesn't subscribe to what women "should" look like (i.e. comfier clothing, not high fashion, etc). And I LOVE that Samantha is SO true to herself. She does not care what anyone thinks! So I find this series to be light and sometimes you just need something light! I find it goes great when I'm working on female portraiture but any commissioned work would go nicely as well.
I used to see this show on TV all the time and I'd quickly fly past it. A show in the medical field seemed dull and depressing .... oh how wrong I was. It has its sad moments, granted, but for the most part this series is lighthearted, silly, and straight up funny! It starts off with the main characters as med students and follows them along their careers. It's a great show when I'm feeling bogged down and need a pick-me-up! I particularly like listening to it while I work on commission requests.
What do you listen to while you create?
What are your favourite TV Shows?
Please leave a comment below!