Tuesday, December 9, 2014
"Just Breathe" Another of my "Random Thoughts on Art" is that simple little bit of advice. Maybe it sounds obvious, but when I look back at my years as an architectural illustrator, I am surprised to recall - while trying to paint in as controlled and tight a manner as possible - when I would literally hold my breath for very long periods. My neck, my back, my shoulders were so tight, my head ached all the time. I was concentrating so hard as I painted, and I was not happy. How could I even hope to produce anything that was not also tight, joyless, over-controlled, inexpressive, and constricted? In our yoga practice, we study the incredible value of the breath - matching a relaxed , present, flow of in and out breaths with an equally alert but relaxed set of fluid movements of the body. I cannot stress enough how this practice has improved my life and my painting. Now I don't worry myself so much with final results, but I am just aware of loving the process of painting itself as it unfolds. This has allowed me to express myself in paint in a far more fluid, honest, and emotive way. This view of the dramatic skies over Northern Ireland - done earlier this year - was an exercise in loose and joyful painting.