I’m sitting here rather sore from a daily 90 minute yoga practice that I’ve been doing for 5 days straight, with more to go this week. Kind of a yoga boot camp of sorts. It’s called Ashtanga Yoga, mysore style, for those who may be wondering. This is one of the ‘original’ forms brought to the west about 50 years ago. Not very popular with westerners, but it seems to be growing. It’s a rigid form requiring a great deal of stamina, strength and flexibility. I am finding it’s just what the doctor ordered for my sanity, and for my art.
Yes, the art. All these elements are inextricably connected for me. (I know, I know..I keep saying that)
Now mind you, I have been a physical fitness geek of sorts since I was 19 years old. NOT an athlete by any means, but a so- so runner for a while, a gym-goer- exercise- class- type- person. I tried all the fads, so why not yoga when it hit the scene. Little did I know what would happen. It changed my body, my brain, right alongside my art.
I won’t list all the ways. It’s truly a mystery how it happened, why it happened, and why it still is after all this time (10 years). All I can say is, it worked for me in profound ways. Try it for yourself, but stick with it. Perseverance counts.
What’s my point? This blog is basically a catch-all of all the insights I’ve gained in the effort to improve my work. It’s not just about acquiring all the right tools of the trade, the skill set of a painter. You can find all kinds of art blogs about process. Sure that’s important, but something more has to go on in there; ‘there’ being that piece that comes through your work establishing a connection to your viewers.
What is it? What do you bring to your art that triggers a response in people? Is it all calculated and planned? Is it conceived way before you make contact with your canvas? I ask this because I am interested in how other artists approach their process. How you come to the creative mark. Feel free to share. Not a whole lot of that goes on out there.
To explain in a nutshell, what yoga has done for me is given me courage. I have to tell you bluntly I never had it. I was the shy, quiet kid afraid of everything. So here I am in middle age taking on a physical practice (geared toward younger bendier people) that is often bringing me to tears in fear. This cracking open in a physical sense is lending a hand to the ‘other sense’, the one that is hard to describe, but instrumental in my work. I am willing to try things now. I don’t worry about the outcome so much. I am learning to surrender, because I simply cannot muscle my way through every pose, every brushstroke, every worry, every conflict in life. It makes for a harder yoga practice. It definitely makes for a contrived piece of art.
The ‘What’ will be different for everyone, I know this. Not everyone has the gift of a healthy body. Not everyone has the desire to bring their life INTO their work. There are those that observe and document, and perhaps step away from the process in some way. This too, of course, can be very powerful, and relevant to these times we live in, if it is approached in a sincere way.
How do you access your core, your reasons for creating in the first place?
What is the change you want to bring into the world, through your work?
This curious mind wants to know.