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On Flamenco guitars, Mistresses, and the Spanish Inquisition

Pepita Godoy's mistress

It’s pretty sad that most Westerners know nothing about Western civilization. Schools nowadays are so much more into indoctrination than actually teaching kids anything useful.

Culture is everything. Well, not quite everything. You gotta know some math and science and other shit.

But as an artist, when people talk about culture, I’m happy.

So, let me tell you a personal story and a dangerous historical story and I’m going to combine the two where we meet.

First, the mistress and the danger

Back in the old days, artists often relied on patrons. Goya had several. One of whom doubled as a close personal friend of his – Manual Godoy, who later became Secretary of State, then the Prime Minister of the Spanish Empire.

Funny background – Godoy was a regular guy. But he was a damn good guitarist, fighter, and bullshitter. Those abilities got him far in life, and he eventually impressed the Royal Family. They liked him so much that he eventually rose to Secretary of State.

But, he had a problem. He was madly in love with Pepita Tudó. Which was fine, but for political reasons, he had to marry another woman.

He ended up having Pepita as his mistress and the affair lasted until his wife died, whereupon he married Pepita.

So decades before he finally married Pepita, he hired his dear friend, Francisco Goya (who I argue is Spain’s greatest ever artist) to paint Pepita nude.

The public saw the clothed version of that painting, seen above. The Spanish Inquisition however also came across the nude version of the painting and threw a fit.

Both Goya and Godoy were called before the Spanish Inquisition for some explaining to do. This could have been the end of Goya’s career.

Luckily, Goya was super smart. He pointed out the painting’s similarities to other works of art by other artists that weren’t so controversial. And he made the Spanish Inquisition look like a bunch of philistines.

To save face, the Spanish Inquisition called it off. Thankfully, that painting remains to this day and is now side by side with its sister painting in El Prado in Madrid. So yes, I’ve seen them both in real life. Pictures don’t do them justice. At all. You need to see them in real life.

Inspirations

After visiting El Prado in 2015, my wife and I went to the Gothic District in Barcelona. We saw a Flamenco group perform. 8 musicians. 3 dancers. A performance I’ll vividly remember until the day I die.

I stumbled across a luthier in the Gothic District in Barcelona and just happened to have a lot of money on me at the time. I got lucky. He had a bunch of violins, some cellos, and two Flamenco guitars in stock. I walked away with a Flamenco guitar and brought it back to the States.

Opium Tales flamenco guitar Pepita
Pepita – my Spanish guitar

What did I name her? Pepita. Of course.

The story didn’t end there

You probably already know the story of Goya. If not, here’s the summary. Goya went on to be the greatest artist of his day and lived so long that he got to see a lot of his paintings make it into the Prado. Imagine that!

As for Godoy and Pepita, happily ever after?

Not quite.

Pepita was more his fuck buddy. Yes, he was in love with her in the beginning.

But, he really fell in love with Queen Maria Luisa, the Queen of Spain, the wife of Charles IV, and the granddaughter of Louis XV. You may know Louis XV as the father of Louis XVI, the King who got his head chopped off with his wife Marie Antoinette.

Godoy and the Queen had a secret affair. Godoy died almost two decades before Pepita did and before she died, she painfully told a reporter that the Queen was the only woman he truly loved.

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See more bands and other life advice

I’m taking my wife in a few weeks to see Billy Idol in Vegas. He’s her second favorite singer after Frank Sinatra. Of course, Sinatra died a long time ago so we never got to see him.

But no way we’re going to miss Billy Idol. My wife has been a fan of his forever.

I’m more into Metal and Classical music. Classical music is not going anywhere. For Metal, we finally saw Iron Maiden last month. Yeah, I missed them in their heyday. But better late than never, right?

Who are you your favorite bands? And more importantly, have you seen them perform live?

I’ll go to my grave regretting never seeing Prince or Dio. I got the opportunities to see them both (not together of course) multiple times and didn’t go for whatever stupid reason. Now, I can’t. They’ve both passed on.

I got a chance to see Dio in a small club, a club one of my former bands actually played at. It was cheap too. I really had no excuse whatsoever. I just didn’t go.

Prince – even worse. He played a small club four nights in a row and the show we should have gone to, Carlos Santana jumped on stage and jammed with the band for a few songs. Imagine seeing two Guitar Gods on one stage.

Prince died later on that year.

So if you get a chance to see your favorites, definitely go. It’s something you must do while they’re still around.

And it’s not just death. Bands break up all the time.

I did get to see Pink Floyd in 1994 and Judas Priest twice, once with each singer. Yeah, a lot of Judas Priest fans don’t acknowledge the Ripper years but I thought Ripper was fantastic. Of course, nobody could ever replace Rob Halford. I’m just giving credit where it’s due.

Judas Priest is my all-time favorite band. I do regret not seeing them in the 80s. But I was broke back then.

Work with live models

If you’re an artist, and you’re serious about it, then you absolutely need to work with live models. Some things, you just can’t pick up without them.

In this painting in progress, you can already see some personality seep through. Jin is on the left and Allie is on the right.

Opium Tales work in progress
Jin and Allie as speaker girls, work in progress

It’s funny because Jin’s actually an introvert. Allie’s more an extrovert. Both fascinating girls. Totally different personalities though.

Like I said, personality will seep through into your paintings. That makes the paintings that much better. We are all human after all. And when we paint humans, they want to see humans.

My favorite paintings with people all involve models that you’re wondering what’s going on in their heads. Like Ophelia with Lizzie Siddal. I even wrote a neo-Classical tune called Lizzie’s Opium Waltz after Lizzie Siddal. Inspired by a painting.

She died on opium at the young age of 32.

Don’t worry. Jin and Allie are both doing quite well.

Love

Love is underrated. It seems like so many people nowadays are scared of it. But without love, can you really truly be an artist?

OK, even worse. I think you should get your heart broken. Let’s be real. So many great songs were written after the songwriter got his or her heart shattered. Right?

So yeah, don’t be afraid to love and lose. You only get one life. And your biggest loss may turn into your best pieces of art.

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Does your artwork have a common theme?

Does your artwork have a common theme? If so, great. If not, does it need a common theme?

Honestly, I like artists who are somewhat consistent. And I notice that when you could recognize someone’s work, it sells better.

So a partial answer to the second question – yes, if you want to sell it.

You should be able to recognize my artwork right away. It has a common theme to it. Sure, I do mostly fantasy pinups. But even when I’m not doing fantasy pinups, it still looks like something I did.

Speaker Girls pinup art
Allie modeled for both speaker girls

I’ve done the same theme twice in a row and will probably do it four or five more times in a row. I’m on a speaker girl kick. Why? Does it matter why? That’s what’s been motivating me recently, so I just go with it.

Also lately, I haven’t been doing that many full nudes. They’ve only been topless. I don’t know why that is. It just is.

I got a friend from Los Angeles coming over tonight. I see her once or maybe even twice a year.

She’s a professional model who’s getting more into business than modeling. Which is great. Let her go over all the bumps in the road so I could pick her brain and figure out where the bumps are. I actually am looking forward to her becoming successful. I take picking people’s brains very seriously. The more successful they are, the more I want to pick their brains.

How to develop a common theme

Who are you? No, not just your name. Who are you really?

If you can answer like this, then you need to do some serious soul searching. I highly advise you to take this seriously because potential buyers will want answers.

My name is Roman. I’m a Neo-Romantic composer and a fantasy pinup artist. Oh, you want to hear more about my art than my music? You’re interested in my art? Well, thank you.

Yeah, I call myself a fantasy pinup artist but I’ll go into more depth. You remember those planes in World War II? Remember they used to paint pinup girls on the planes?

I absolutely loved that style of art! But, I grew up in the 80s and got heavily into fantasy.

So, I thought recently why not combine my love for pinups with fantasy? Just imagine if rather than the usual pinup girls on those planes, they let me paint witches, mermaids, sirens, naiads, faeries, or succubi.

Know yourself

So that’s why I mean by knowing yourself. If you have to, make it conversational like I did.

My themes are very consistent. My artwork is very recognizable. That’s why I have no problems selling it. You either like it or you don’t. But you know I did it.

Good luck. And keep painting.

And, have something prepared when someone asks you “what’s your art all about?”

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If you’ve done it once, you can do it again

Humans are complicated beings. But there are pretty much two different mindsets.

No, most people aren’t either or. They’re a percentage of each one.

You got a scarcity mindset. These people believe that if I win at something, that severely lessens your chance of being successful at it. Needless to say, these people aren’t exactly fun to be around. They won’t be happy for you when you start achieving awesome things. Rather, they’re way more prone to jealousy and bitterness.

When it comes to art, they’re the type of people who think that greatness can only happen once. Like if a musician nails a song, that’s it. He could never do it again that good. It’s perfect as it is and could never be replicated. Ever.

It’s a shitty mentality to have. I can assure you that great musicians can have epic performances of the same piece as many times as they want. Do you know why? Because for one, they’re great musicians. And for another, they never ever have scarcity mindsets.

The other type of mindset to have is the abundance mindset. They know you have unlimited opportunities for growth. If you’re awesome at something, rather than being jealous of you, I’m picking your brain. Or if I can’t get a hold of you, I might copy some of your tricks.

Applying the abundance mindset to art

I never fret that if I did something cute one time, I couldn’t replicate it. I think that’s the dumbest thing in the world to believe.

In my last article on cleaning watercolor brushes, I showed a painting I killed because I accidentally got gouache in the watercolors and Roxy ended up looking like a zombie.

Bad Roman. But you know what? Do it again!

prepping a pinup watercolor
redoing a painting I killed

Here’s the same painting redone. I just got done inking Roxy. Now, I have to draw the speakers and another kitten. Then of course erase the pencil lines before I begin to paint.

And just like this, I have the same painting.

When you have an abundance mindset, you don’t fret so much about mistakes. Imagine for instance if Tom Brady after losing a Super Bowl for his first time said “screw it! I never want to do this again.” And just quit.

He’s used to winning Super Bowls. Suddenly, he’s on the losing end of it.

He could have quit. And he’d have three less rings. (As of 2019 – they’re the favored team for this upcoming season so he might have yet another).

But love or hate the guy, either way, you have to admit he has an abundance mindset. He doesn’t have that negative scarcity mindset.

Too many artists I know, especially musicians, have scarcity mindsets. They think that if their sister band got big, then they’d have no chance. Like for some reason, their competitor succeeds so they can’t? That’s the dumbest thing in the world to think. If that’s how you think, you’re never gonna get ahead in the brutal world of art.

If you do something awesome, you need to know that since you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Change your mindset to an abundance mindset and your chances of succeeding in this industry will skyrocket.

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3 totally random artistic musings

The more I write, the more articles I will have just like these. They’re musings – things that inspire me. I’m quite sure they’d be useful to you as well, because it’s a good thing to share thoughts. You and I are human after all. And we’re both artists. It’s always a good thing to know how other artists think.

It’s OK to become obsessed with a color

Yellow. More specifically, yellow medium gouache. I’ve done three out of the last four paintings using this color as the primary color.

I’m about to have several paintings for sale at the local bar. And three of those paintings are using yellow medium gouache.

Why? Because I took a chance doing these gouache silhouette paintings and you know what? They work. They work big time. I love this color because it makes the black really stand out. Plus, it’s kind of a vague color. What’s in the background? The sun? Fire?

I had these gouache paints laying around collecting dust and I thought to myself “why not?” Sometimes, you just have to do things like that as an artist.

Well, now I’m going to use this color until I run out of it.

You need models who are good dancers

Well, not everyone paints humans. But I do. Specifically, beautiful women for my fantasy pinup art. If you’re new to this site, I use primarily two models – Allie (the blonde) and Roxy (the brunette). They’re both very close friends of mine and both excellent dancers.

You see, a girl who can dance can also model. Even better, a girl who can dance can do pretty much anything. Dancing is grace. Dancing shows character. Dancing shows that a woman likes living life.

I don’t like devoid personalities. I’ve worked with models in the past who may have well been good looking zombies. Because that’s as much personality as they had.

I got lucky. Neither of my current models are models. Of all the models I’ve worked with in the past before I started working with Allie and Roxy, I’m only friends with one of them.

Several of them I enjoyed their company. One of them I really wish I got to know better because she had a lot of brains and was a downright fascinating person. Another one made damn good soaps and lotions and I’m still a customer of hers.

But now that I’m a painter and not a photographer, dancing adds a whole different layer for modeling.

You want models who can dance
You want models who can dance

That image above covers the first two random artistic musings. That was the specific medium yellow gouache I was talking about. Both are of Allie, from live model sketches we’ve done recently.

Running is underrated

“What? What does that have to do with art?”

Last night, I drank way too much. We killed a bottle of Japanese whiskey (quickly becoming one of my favorite drinks) and on top of that, I split a small bottle of absinthe with two other friends.

Drinking too much though is no excuse not to get out of bed. The alarm still went off at 7AM and rather than not doing anything, I got up and ran. Yeah, I should have stretched. My calves didn’t feel too good afterwards.

However, running helped get the remaining alcohol out of my system so I could paint.

Heck, I don’t even like running. I do it because I don’t want to die. I hate doing anything cardio. I love lifting weights. But cardio? Hate it.

Running is probably best of the worst for me. So that’s why I run. It’s my favorite exercise of the exercises I hate but still have to do. If that makes any sense.

After the run, I pretty much came back to life. Stretched. Then got a lot of painting done.

I don’t like wasting days. Running salvaged this one for me.

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Art is for the soul

Art is for the soul
Art is for the soul

Why buy art? Why should you own art?

Well, let me ask this – why do you own any music?

Same thing.

Think of it this way. Exercise is for the body. Reading is for the brain. Art is for the soul.

You work out so you don’t die. Your body needs exercise. The more you exercise, the more you increase your chances of living a long, full life.

Reading will give you those same results. Except for your noggin. I’m sure you’ve met that smart guy or gal who’s well read. And it shows.

What about for the soul?

That’s great and all. But what about your soul? What really makes us human?

Opposable thumbs? Breastfeeding?

Or is it something even more complicated?

We made tools. We learned to control fire. We invented the wheel. And we eventually sent rockets into space and walked on the moon.

That’s great. Our greatest accomplishment as a species so far. Until of course someone walks on Mars.

On the other side, as humans, we need our Beethoven and our Tchaikovsky. But we also need our Leonardo and our Michelangelo. And more recently, I happen to like Waterhouse and Frank Frazetta.

That’s where the soul comes in.

If you really want to nurture your soul, create art. And be sure to support your local artists as well.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I use Romanian a lot, it’s because I’m learning it. My goal is to be fluent in 2021.

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Jealousy is poison for your art career

I thought “one more time.” And I co-formed a band, two guitarists, a bassist/vocalist, and a drummer. I played lead and rhythm and the other guitarist played rhythm and lead guitars.

We struggled. Barely got by. I was delivering pizza to make ends meet.

The most we ever made in one night was $43. Four people. $43. On sub-standard equipment.

We argued a lot, and on our very last show, we got into an argument mid-song, fighting on stage. The four or five people watching the show probably left by then anyways.

Metal was already dead in the States. Even grunge was about to be on its way out. But we refused to budge. We were Metalheads, God dammit. Lack of audiences be damned.

It ended just like that. After breaking up, I sold my equipment and never touched a guitar again.

(Well, that never lasted 13 years but that’s another story for another day).

Wasn’t always that bad

Five years earlier, I was in a rising band. We were actually writing some pretty cool music and wanted to ride the wave of Bay Area Thrash.

I played guitar 100 mph. Super fast with amazing technicalities. Harmonic minor appegiations at lightning speed? No problem.

But there were also the haters. Bands that we surpassed. So of course, rather than making themselves better, they said bad things behind our backs.

I remember going up to one of the kids who I heard bad mouthed me. Introduced myself and held out my hand.

He made the mistake of putting his hand in mine. I crushed his hand and he almost started crying. I said “I’m sorry. I forgot how strong I am.”

He learned to be careful who to badmouth our band to behind our backs. Definitely not someone who would tell me about it.

But just like that, we never got a good singer. And without a good singer, you go nowhere.

Our manager tried to argue with us that we should be purely an instrumental band. I was proud of my lyrics and wanted them heard.

Looking back, they were cheesy as heck but when you’re 19, you think everything you do is super cool and anyone who says otherwise simply doesn’t get it.

Regardless, their jealousy just made them look like complete idiots. They were jealous of a band that got nowhere too. Just had a few more fans than they did. Yay. Neither of us made any money. Neither of us got famous. It was all for naught.

Happy ending?

Several years and several bands later, I knocked a woman up, initially splitting custody, and ended up getting along. We later got married and raised the kid together.

He turned out emotionally healthy. Served his country and is doing really well in life.

But when he was in high school, I got the itch one more time. This time, just a band that recorded.

The problem was, a million other bands were doing the same thing.

Music was a money pit. Just threw more money in and got pennies back. I probably got 2c for every dollar put in.

After awhile, I decided enough was enough. Plus, my dear friend Joe said “your Metal is run of the mill but your Classical is excellent. You should really pursue a Classical route.”

Honesty. Don’t get much of that around these parts these days.

So that’s exactly what I did. I still and always will love Metal. But enough’s enough. I’m too old for this.

So I switched to painting.

“What does this have to do with jealousy?”

We’re you reading between the lines? The jealous people were jealous for nothing. Jealous of a nobody that nobody’s ever heard of. If I rattled off all the bands I was in in the 80s and early 90s, you’ve never heard of a single one of them. Not one of them recorded anything and not one of them packed a single house.

You know what’s even more pathetic? Being jealous of someone who nobody’s ever heard of.

Yet, those jealous losers did exist.

“What about jealous of bigger people?”

At least that would make a little bit of sense. But think about this for a second. What would that get you? You get absolutely no gain from it.

You’re jealous of someone who doesn’t even know you exist? Think about that. They don’t even know you exist. Why should they care? Why should you care? And why not use that mental energy instead on improving your own self?

Develop some skill sets. Get good at something.

Jealousy accomplishes absolutely nothing. Plus, if you tell someone else how jealous you are of someone, you just come across as a complete loser. Unless that other person is also jealous. Then they’re a loser and you need to pick your friends better.

Surround yourself with people who want to improve. Who want to get better.

The jealous mindset is a poison mindset, and if you’re an artist who is jealous, you’re being an idiot. Instead, spend that energy on improving your art.

Burning bridges

You’ll find that it’s a small world. Especially today with social media.

You can find everyone you went to high school with somewhere. And you know what? Some folks forgive. Most don’t.

You don’t want to burn too many bridges, especially when you need contacts.

If I’m running an art gallery and I really don’t like someone, their work isn’t going in the gallery unless they can make us a lot of money. But if it comes down to that person and someone I’m neutral with, you can guess who I’d pick.

Same thing with anything. Like I said, some folks are forgiving, some aren’t. Jealousy is especially poisonous in the art world because it’s a small world. I personally can’t stand jealous people. I know I’m not the only one.

Even failing is a good thing

Were you able to ride your bike successfully on the first try? Of course not.

But you didn’t quit, right? You can ride a bike today, right?

You get good at something by doing. And even if you fail doing it, no one can take it away from you.

So you didn’t come in first place in your Karate competition. But, you still know Karate. By not winning it all, it’s not like your knowledge of Karate evaporated.

Same thing with me and guitar. I learned to play guitar. I got really good at it. I even know how to read notes.

Guess what? I now use guitar to write the violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, and horn parts for the orchestral musicians.

Sure, I failed in Metal. But I got really good at composing because of all the past practice I had.

The same thing with painting. Sometimes, my painting doesn’t turn out that good and I end up giving it away rather than putting it up for sale. But if I like the concept, I’ll paint the same painting twice after I figure out where the first one went wrong.

You should be competing against your past self. Constantly. Constant improvement.

That’s yet another reason I enjoyed my four years of weightlifting. The first two were lame, but I finally hired a coach and started doing things the right way. With the coach, I made insane progress.

Which of course led to co-worker jealousy. I lost my dad bod and started looking good. And got compliments from female co-workers. Which pissed off a jealous beta male.

So tell me – don’t you think rather than getting jealous, he should have hired a weightlifting coach and did the same thing I did?

Now apply this article to your own art and you’ll see some pretty insane improvement, no matter what your art medium is.

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Ode to Belly Dancers

I’ve already written belly dancing music. No, never published it. Just written it.

It’s something I need to get around to.

But I’m sitting here thinking that here I am with two gorgeous models who both are damn good dancers. Both of them know a little bit about belly dancing. Yes, neither are belly dancers. But they can duplicate the poses.

YouTube is full of videos on it from all over the world. Some of them are good. Some of them are great.

I got money for outfits.

Then, why haven’t I painted a belly dancing model?

That, my friends, is the million dollar question. Why haven’t I yet?

I’m currently working on illustrating one of my Opium Tales. Roxy is modeling for the character Alicia. In the story, she does a dance for the villain.

Roxy modeled the character and the dance. I painted it here.

Roxy belly dancer
Roxy modeling as Alicia

So after finishing the painting, I immediately thought to myself “I need to do at least a dozen of these!”

Allie’s belly dancing coming up!

I texted Allie the other day and asked if she belly danced. I’ve seen her dance before and she’s excellent. Very loose, flowing, and free. Kind of like a girl version of me. Yes, I can dance quite well.

Not to toot my own horn. I’m bad at a lot of things (shooting baskets, learning foreign languages, etc). But another story for another day.

Dance is something I’ve always been fascinated about. My wife and I are supporters of the local ballet. I love the music and the dance, she loves the dance, the outfits, and the whole scene. I also love being surrounded by graceful people because graceful people are rare nowadays. We live in a society where grace is almost a thing of the past.

Watching girls around here walk in heels is pure sadness. Now ballet girls, they can walk in heels. They can walk with lead shoes and look graceful.

Ballet is the antidote to lack of grace.

And you know what’s just as good as ballet? Belly dancing. Same side of the coin from different parts of the world.

Now I need to work on publishing a belly dancing song or two.

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Absinthe and Watercolor

I drink. Unapologetically.

I’ll still live to be 100. Why? Because I want to live.

My Grandma is turning 102 next year. I recently made her a watercolor postcard. Speaking of watercolor postcards, I should make her another one. Maybe just an octopus in an aquamarine blue background.

Grandma lives life. That’s why she’s lived so long. I’m convinced that’s the secret to longevity. I’ve seen her eat a hundred times and whereas it’s definitely not too much, she eats just normal food like everyone else. If anything, her portion sizes aren’t too big.

And there you have it. No dietary change. Just decent portions. More importantly, the love of life.

So like Grandma, I like new things. She’s traveled and seen the world. She likes new things.

How I drank absinthe

Some folks light the sugar cube on fire. I didn’t do that. All I did was:

  • Pour absinthe into a glass
  • Put that absinthe spoon on top of the glass
  • Put a sugar cube on the absinthe spoon
  • Pour water over the sugar cube and let it partially dissolve
  • Dump the remaining sugar cube into the glass and stir with that absinthe spoon

Easy peasy, right? I had four different types of absinthe. All of them are legal in America. So that means they got all the alcohol but lesser amounts of wormword than what you can get in Europe.

So no, I didn’t see the green fairy. However, I did have a strong buzz all through painting.

the first absinthe
Watercolors go great with absinthe

That was the first of the four brands of absinthe. I only tried the first two as I still had to paint.

“What’s it like to paint under absinthe?”

Well like I said, I didn’t see the green fairy. When we go to Europe next, I’ll try to setup a watercolor with European absinthe day. We have different laws than they do.

That said, I had a strong buzz throughout the whole experience. I could barely walk.

However, I was absolutely kicking ass with the watercolor.

You’ll see a lot of those wine and paint shops pop up all over the place nowadays. You can pop inside and the clientele is 40+ female with money. They’re pretty loaded on wine and have a little bit of money to spare on enjoying life.

Usually, they’re chill enough that they can whip out a painting in a day.

That’s what it was like to paint under absinthe. I was chilled. Didn’t overthink. Was totally relaxed.

I liked it, and will definitely do it again.

However, this morning, I spent about four hours doing touch ups. I was probably a little bit too relaxed.

With watercolors, clean up isn’t exactly an exact science. I had to clean up to the best of my ability. That’s why it took four hours doing clean up and touch ups.

Was definitely too relaxed.

I used an old sketch of Roxy. I’ve already painted this one before. Long story short, she had a little bit of drama recently. I won’t get into details. Don’t worry though, it didn’t involve me. She and I are good.

But I didn’t see Allie until today and had to paint yesterday. Thus, an old sketch of Roxy instead.

And here it is. Roxy, painted on copious amounts of absinthe. I’ll mount it on wood later.

Mermaid Roxy painted under the influence of absinthe
Mermaid Roxy painted under the influence of absinthe
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Classical Music for Newbies

What are the absolute best Classical pieces?

Wrong question to ask. Rather, this article is Classical music for newbies. So, we expect the reader to not know Classical that well. And you don’t want to introduce them to hard-core Classical music that will just turn them off to Classical music.

For instance, I’m not going to say “dude! You need to listen to Wagner’s entire…”

That will guarantee the newbie won’t listen to Classical for another five years.

So instead, let’s start with something accessible.

I’m not a fan of Baroque. But a few Baroque pieces make sense for the Classical newbie. Start off with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and Air on G String and Pachelbel’s Canon. Then work in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Those pieces are great to get started with, simply because they’re accessible.

Then I’d dive into Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and 1812 Overture. Once again, we’re shooting for accessibility. They’re not his best works, but the easiest to get started with.

I also think some lovely piano pieces would be great to get you going. How about Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 9 No 2 and Beethoven’s Fur Elise? Both lovely pieces, and both accessible. If you like those two pieces, you could try Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, which is a little bit more involved.

Then I would recommend Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture. It’s a very accessible piece.

I’m not going to recommend symphonies, concertos, or operas just yet. These are after you got some short pieces under your belt.

So yes, this is a very short list. It’s just a splash. It’s a list to get you going into Classical music.

I’ll write a part II to this later. Stay tuned…