When Yoga meets Art. Go clunky. Try. Simplify.

The process of looking at a landscape, sketching it and reducing it to minimal elements and straight lines is an interesting challenge. I would call this an advanced practice. It takes learning to look and learning to see.

Each time a task is set in art class, I watch in amazement the amount of problem solving, enquiries, creative choices that happen within me. The waves of different emotions until total absorbption, inner silence and full concentration appear.

I was challenged for sure by the outdoor sketching task set out to us this week. My beginners mind was finding it hard to do less and less and less. Being in a group and with a teacher setting clear tasks for me however, is the best way to begin. I enjoy learning with others and sharing experiences. I love the variety of expression within groups. I was even more surprised this week, by what happened when, once back in the studio, we had to choose some of the sketches and turn them into collages. I thought I would be lost. That part of the process instead felt surprisingly spacious and free. There were so many more choices that , to my surprise, showed, and such a simplicity to the process. Such clarity, such decisiveness.  What unnecessary was incredibly clear.  Sketching outside, everything looked necessary, hard to let go of. Back in the studio, simplicity became natural. Enjoyment was the other surprising feeling out of all of these discoveries. 

I started the task set for the day as an uphill climb. I thought ‘I know where we are going, I know the process well from teaching for a life time, but I am not ready for this in art yet. It’s too soon!’ I was telling myself.

Ah, the joys of resistance. Ah, the joys of seeing it and working with it and reminding myself :’ Remember Annamaria, be like a clean slate, here and now. Listen, do the task, stay open.’

The process of starting something new and unfamiliar often involves the arising of old imprints. Like the clouds in the sky we watch come and go,  we can watch with curiosity the shape our imprints make, til they transform- in our body, mind, or breath.

The sketching to collage process also reminded me of aparigraha. What is necessary here? Once all the noise and attachments are taken out, what shows? Once the fixed ideas are removed and there is space  listen and hear to look and see, what emerges? 

The last one I think I will call The Nuns 🙂