Yoga Feet

Six months ago, yoga teacher, artist, and friend, Amy O‘Connor, challenged me to alter my vantage point on my experience of yoga. She suggested that I focus more closely on some aspect of a posture/figure rather than the whole. It was a form of abstraction that I had explored and come to appreciate when taking a class with painter Gerri Rachins. I was immediately‘drawn’ to the idea.

I have noticed as my body has become stronger and more flexible, that I have developed a greater consciousness of the alignment of weight and force, the equipoise, that is the basis of the “effortless” practice, the movement without thought, that appears to be the (far off) goal. All of my yoga teachers have emphasized the importance of the correct placement and alignment of my feet as the essential foundation for safe and fruitful yoga practice. After only a few sketches, I decided to draw, print, and paint my feet, one at a time, in various poses. The question for me became - how much of a whole yoga pose, an asana, can be reflected in one or another of the feet?

In this body of work, color is a means to an end, it is a way to convey form and tension. I am not drawn to the chromatic flights of Matisse. On the other hand, I am deeply impressed by the expressiveness of Lucian Freud's portaits and his limited palatte. In watercolor, I use primarily mineral-based pigments. (from Daniel Smith). The rich, grainy, slightly variegated color possible produces a natural, even if not necessarily realistic, effect.

This first batch of paintings, etc, are based on photos of me doing crescent lunge, anjaneyāsana. There’s nothing significant in that. They just happen to be the photos I had available. As time goes by, I will get one of my daughters to take more pictures in different postures.

A friend asked if there was something about the particular pose - some message or insight - that I hoped to convey. I think I am more interested in the process of yoga, the slow development of strength, flexibility, and balance, the eventual formation of muscle-memory, and the emerging awareness of how things - muscles, bones, and breath - work together to make yoga. What I am painting/documenting is what happens over time, ‘on the mat’, to a relatively new, heretofore out-of-shape, aging yogi. I trust there are generalizable, maybe even universal, motifs here, but my focus and intention is very, very particular.

Let me know what you think.




      Thu, 21-Jun-2012 22:10->->->->->->->->