Part 5: Written element

Exploring the human figure through yoga asanas (postures)

 

Part 4 of this course showed me how much I love drawing the human figure. Yoga has been part of my life for over a decade and here I want to explore the human form through the yoga practice.

I am used to a daily physical yoga practice, that I have had to pause for a moment. Here  I would like to explore the practice through drawing instead. So I will look at the physical aspect of the poses, and still have so much to learn about drawing anatomy. But more than that, I am interested in how the poses FEEL. Less than exploring yoga as a subject, I am searching for a personal drawing experience, just like a yoga experience on the mat.

I see the danger of falling into too illustrative or too anatomical drawings with this subject, so that is something I want to avoid.  Also , if I look at the representation of yoga in the media, it seems to always be linked to beautiful bodies, blissful smiles and lotus flower filled environments.  While this is true too, in my own experience yoga is also linked to the alarm going off before sunrise and a lot of sweat and pain and discomfort that most serious yoga practitioners I have met take on to deal with their own darkness and feelings and addictions.

In my research , I will focus on artists using real/unreal elements or finished/unfinished parts rather than any yoga related  art, and explore artists that have a more personal and emotional way of drawing, like for example Louise Bourgeois and Marlene Dumas. Inspired by Wangeshi Mutu, I will use collage to reinterpret some found yogarelated images combined with patterns, and drawn elements from imagination. “The fearbird” is a personal symbol that comes back to me often, a flutter of wings in the chest when going into deep backbends, and then the release when the pose is completed. A flock of birds, or wings or the stiff frozen bird of fear are images that will surely appear in the drawings.

The first step is however to better my general drawing skills of the human body . To give this some structure, I will follow the Ashtanga yoga primary and intermediate series of asanas (postures) , which I would normally do physically . I will draw through the asanas as an exercise to learn them, and to gather ideas in my sketchbook, but then let go of the precise form and allow more experimentation and flow.

As for most parts of this course, rather than one single final drawing, I see several different approaches of the subject with various experiments using mixed media, incorporating fototransfer and collage as well as experimenting further with ink drawings and bleach.

The yoga practice is a series of postures so it lends itself to a series of drawings. I plan to create a small series on A4, using watercolor and fototransfer. Then experimenting with  bigger support cutting brown wrapping paper to the size of my yoga mat. And finally to use a small concertina sketchbook to flow through the series.