I also try to choose a soundtrack that suits the job at hand. The grandmother in the story of the last blog post was a jazz musician in a USO band, so I listened to a lot of era- and story-specific music while making that painting. I also spent some time with the Great Gatsby soundtrack (the Baz one) to bring in that little feeling, here and there, of faux glamour. That was one note the granddaughter had, she thought that her grandmother was authentically what her family saw and that the glamour captured in the photograph was cultivated. Hence, the faux glamour of the Gatsby era being relevant and helping me to stick with the right line of thought while completing the project.
Often when working with wedding photos, I’ll ask the commissioner for a playlist from the wedding or the first-dance song for the couple. For an anniversary, I’ll ask the couple if they have a song, what played at their wedding, and what they’re enjoying right now. For historic photos, I use the time and place of the photo to create a soundtrack.
Music is a really strong sense for me and my work, this also helps me to grow my record collection since I buy (at least) one record for each job. And when the Hadley Law Firm Mobile hired me to paint the whole practice for them to hang in their boardroom, I played Devo. I’m not sure why, but it definitely suited the piece!