When I was at art school, I became interested in the abstract expressionists. I loved the freedom of the splash, the (controlled) anarchy of letting colour dribble and mix and evolve. I painted big – and a bit wild. Out of this period I painted a set of seated figures in 1990 which (I hope) evoked something both of the freedom of the abstract expressionists combined with the discipline of seated breathing practices. Here are a couple of examples:
Having not painted very much for some time, lockdown in 2020 stimulated me to get my art materials out again. I played with watercolours. I had always enjoyed life drawing – and in fact I see many similarities between life drawing and teaching yoga.
Both require observation, and a sort of neutrality of view, just seeing what is there, without presuming. They are both forms of meditation.
A photo of a figure practicing āsana usually portrays the flesh – we most readily see the annamāyā (material) level. The beauty of painting is that it has the possibility of going below the surface to evoke something of the energy, the prāṇamāyā (energetic) level. I used old photos of Krishnamacharya, from the 1930s and the 1980s to express something of how I saw the energetics of the form. I wanted the paintings to be light, filled with space and direction. Using watercolours enabled both a translucence and also a quickness – I let my brush dance as if it were a calligrapher’s tool. Sometimes the paint was wet, other times the dryness of the brush indicated a movement or a direction. You can see all of the paintings on our website www.sadhanamalayogatraining.com where there is also a link should you wish to purchase any of them as signed prints (A4, A3 or A2). Alternatively, email me for prices and the images.