Monday, April 27, 2009

heArt of yoga

There has been quite a bit of synchronicity in my life lately.  Shortly after Center Yoga of Redmond (whose first official class was last Saturday morning, very enjoyable) commissioned me to create paintings for their walls, Kat Seltzer of the Mandala Yoga Center (which shares the tbd loft with PoetHouse and hosted the firewalking clinic I attended a week ago- more on that later) announced that the theme for the First Friday Art Walk exhibit in May would be based on Yoga.  It is titled the HeArt of Yoga, and the paintings I created for Tricia Ashley at Center will be on display.  When Tricia and I talked about what kind of art she wanted, she gave me free rein.  I wanted to create paintings based on some of her favorite poses, as well as a couple of mine. 

The largest painting (dimensions 4x3 feet) is based on Vrksasana, or Tree Pose.  While it is a quiet and still pose, it is very energetic in that you are balancing on one leg.  This pose is to me, is about being both grounded, rooted, and also stretching upward with a sense of lightness.  Often, it is practiced with the hands in prayer at hearts center, a shape that I found repeated in the painting's patterns.  The greens were an obvious choice for the palette  (this photo doesn't quiet capture them as vibrantly as they are in person) with highlights of orange, sapphire, and russet alluding to sun, water, and earth. 

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow) is one of the most elegant of poses.  Another balancing pose, it is essentially a backbend on one leg.  The paisley leaves in this piece echo the directions the limbs are stretching in this pose.  The flowers in the design are abstracted from Center Yoga's logo, which came from a Indian Woodblock used for printing on fabric.  Again the palette echos the balance between determined energy and focused stillness.

Lotus Pose, or Padmasana, is perhaps the most recognizable pose there is.  Cross-legged on the floor, this is the pose one typically sees Buddha statues resting in.  I incorporated an abstracted version of the actual Lotus flower, with my signature compass in the lower left corner.  Need to know what direction to go? Sit in lotus for a few minutes in meditation.  You may not get an answer but your body will feel calm.  This painting is probably twenty by twenty inches.

It is uncanny that the poses I find both the most enjoyable and most challenging are named after birds: Crow, Peacock (which I can't even approach yet),  and Pigeon.  I especially love Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or One-Legged King Pigeon.  The body back bends into a compact almost triangular shape, which seemed perfectly matched to my often used  bird pattern.  This time, I filled the pattern with warm yellows, golds, and reds.  The canvas size on this one is about 3.5 by 2.5 feet. 

This final piece is one that I have been working on for several months.  It encompasses the idea of Ahimsa, or nonviolence.  The black, white, and grey interconnected shapes echo my belief that action and reaction are tangled and connected. 

  My painting process is incredibly different than my way of approaching collage: both are intuitive, but it seems like painting comes a little bit more from the ether for me, and less from a storybook that is being written.  It is slightly mysterious... but also completely natural.

All in all, completing this series was both meditative and joyful.  Like the aims of my yoga practice.


Anonymous said...

How did they come up with my logo as part of their title???? The paintings are wonderful--would dearly love to see them in person--maybe someday. Love you sasa

Anonymous said...

I can only agree and brag oon your work to everyone that will lisen.