Sometimes making oil paintings is quick, exciting, and requires a ton of attention to specific actions. Then there are times I am painting blades of grass, or needles on spruce trees for hours. Planning and making compositional sketches for paintings, or researching reference material and historical documents requires my complete attention, and I actually prefer silence, like at a library. When I am applying hundreds of brush strokes to a large area on a painting, I need something to help make the job more interesting. Sometimes I listen to music, which I think is a pretty common thing for an artist to do while painting. I think people imagine artists sitting back, working late into the evening, listening to music and sipping on wine while we work. I actually listen to Learn in Your Car Russian language lessons for an hour, and then normally switch to audiobooks that I check out from the Alaska Digital Library. Also, most of the time I drink water at work.
If you have a library card from UAA, or the Anchorage Public Library, you just have to download the Overdrive app for your phone, or computer. I spend hours a day painting, and I tear through books series. My genre of choice is science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes I discover a book series that I love, and I listen to the books over and over, up to as many as five times before I am through. Since I am painting while I listen to the books, I tend to miss important parts while concentrating on the painting more than the book.
I have compiled a list of books series I consider worth listening to more than once:
JK Rowling – Harry Potter series
Lois McMaster Bujold – Vorkosigan series
Lois McMaster Bujold – World of the 5 Gods series
Lois McMaster Bujold – Penric and Desdemona series
Patricia C Wrede – The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Jim C. Hines – Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series
Christopher Paolini – Inheritance Cycle
Marissa Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles
Becky Chambers – Wayfarer’s series
Alex White – The Salvager’s series
James S. A. Corey – The Expanse series
I started listening to Harry Potter, and although I have read the books many times, having them read to you is special. If you haven’t done that, you should really get on the waiting list and listen to them–it’s really great.
If you have kids, and you want to entertain them in the car on a long drive, Patricia C Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles is amazing. Although, this series is designed for children, it is really entertaining and super fun to listen to. I like the full cast audio production.
An author I really love is Lois McCaster Bujold. Nobody I know has read her books, but there are over 30 of these highly enjoyable tales. I absolutely love the 17.5 books that make up the Vorkosigan Space Opera. I have been wanting to discuss the stories with someone, but nobody else has read, er…listened to them. Please spend the next six months reading these books, so you and I can have a conversation about them!!!
Most recently I have been reading James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series. There is also a TV series that is based on the books on Amazon Prime. I like both the books and the TV series. The TV series is like watching a really long movie that just keeps going from one cliffhanger to another.
Cheers to books on “tape”! They have been keeping me sane and at work for about seven years now!