As an artist and a yoga practitioner I see connections between art and yoga ALL THE TIME. I am longing to develop some kind of art workshop that focuses on those connections, one that presents art-making as a kind of yoga practice, as a meditation. But when it comes time to verbally articulate that strong connection that I feel in my gut, I come up short. So I thought I'd throw it out there and see what you think of the idea. Here are a few (possibly disjointed) thoughts:
- Yoga, done properly, calms and focuses the mind. When I am in my art-making zone (which doesn't happen in every session; so be it) my mind is focused and in some non-linear place, transcending reason and logic. Calm? Maybe excited, maybe calm, it depends. Maybe this is the switch-over to the right brain, as described by Betty Edwards in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Or maybe it is a more spiritual thing. Or both.
- In this "zone" I let go of attachment to a particular outcome. In yoga, you don't strive to achieve a perfect posture, but rather let the posture be a vehicle for paying attention to your own body, your sensations, responses, and finding your own edge. You use the posture as a tool for awareness, not as a goal to achieve. Likewise, in art-making you can pay attention to what IS, and pay attention to your own responses. Let what is on the canvas/paper/cloth be what it is, and respond to that, rather than comparing it to some mental construct of what it ought to be. Of course, it is always a balancing act, both in yoga and in art-making: where do you direct things a little, when do you allow yourself to be directed?
- This connection may be a stretch (so to speak), but I see in art-making a distinct integration of process, material, and idea. You can give varying importance to these elements, but they are all in there, united. A distinguishing characteristic of yoga is that it unites mind, body, and spirit. Some aspects of yoga emphasize the spiritual, where other emphasize the physical or mental, but in all yoga practices these elements are all there, united.
Of course, I can't do a post without images, so here are a few of my recent encaustic pieces.
This is stage 2 of a work in progress, 8"x8". I used a torch to burn the paper-laminated wood panel, then coated it with encaustic medium and a little color (alizarin orange):
This is a work on paper, 9"x9", using encaustic, collage, and india ink:
In my relatively new encaustic endeavors I'm especially aware of the anxieties that can accompany exploration of new territory. This is where the non-judgement and steadiness of effort - two pillars of yogic thought - come into play. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks for visiting.