When painting landscape on location, I am surrounded by the sounds of nature – wind rustling the trees, cockatoos squawking overhead, crickets chirping – a constant orchestra of natural sounds provide the audio stimulant to my painting efforts.

But what about when working in the studio?

For me, sometimes silence is all that is required but more often than not, I need music.

Nothing gets the brushes pounding the canvas with more enthusiasm than music that stimulates an emotional response.

I don’t listen to the same thing all the time. I need variety. However, when things are going well, I’m having a great time and I just want to stay locked into my own joyful little world – I turn to classical, and in particular – Opera. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing better than a soaring operatic Aria by one or more of the worlds most magnificent voices.

My favourites change from time to time but for now what has 5 stars in my iTunes library? Below, this is my current top 10 of the world’s most inspiring music tracks for oil painting.

In no particular order:

La Bohème, Act 1: “Che gelida manina”
Luciano Pavarotti
Essential Opera

La Bohème, Act 1: “O Soave Fanciulla”
Daniela Stigliano
Daniela Stigliano free MP3

La Traviata: “Parigi, O Cara, Noi Lasceremo”
Dame Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti
Great Opera Duets

L’elisir d’amore, Act 2: “Una Furtiva Lagrima”
Simone Alaimo
Classic Experience Vol 1

Les Contes d’Hoffman, Act 4 Barcarolle: “Belle Nuit, Ô Nuit d’amour”
Andre Charlet, Dame Joan Sutherland, Huguette Tourangeau
Great Opera Duets

Madama Butterfly, Act 2: “Un Bel Dì Vedremo”
Charles Mackerras, Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming: By Request (Int)

Norma, Act 1, Scene 1: Casta diva
Maria Callas
A Portrait

Rusalka, Act 1: Op. 114: “O Silver Moon”
Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming: By Request (Int)

Samson et Dalila, Act 2, Scene 3: Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voIX
Colin Davis
40 Most Beautiful Arias

Tosca, Act 2: “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore”
Kiri Te Kanawa
Essential Opera

Tristan und Isolde, Dritter Akt, Act 3: Mild und leise wie er lächelt
Daniel Barenboim
40 Most Beautiful Arias