Friday, 11 July 2014

Yoga and Art (Yoku): Here and Now

One of my housemates organizes an Yoku evening on Thursdays, Yoku is an abbreviation for Yoga and Kunst (Dutch word for Art). In the past year Thursdays had been the day that I took a yoga class myself, but since it has become Summer all schedules have been temporarily changed and I could join her Yoku class.
yoga mats for yoku class
The theme of the night was Here and Now. We started out with a 40-minute Kundalini yoga session (suitable for beginners) with lots of fast breathing to heat up the fire and to get our energies flowing.
painting area
After that we went to the painting area and we could choose three colours of acrylic paint. I chose orange, red and yellow.
The aim was not to make a beautiful painting, but to use the energies and feelings from the yoga and to pour it onto the white sheet without thinking, rationalizing nor using any figurative images. I started out with warm colours, later on I added blue. You can clearly see the movement and the fire of the yoga in my painting above.
my neighbour's painting
After about ten minutes we had to move one quarter to our left, so we ended up in front of our neighbour's painting and we had to add paint to that! Above is what his painting looked like when I looked at it for the first time. His sheet of paper was already covered in paint from top to bottom.
red added to my neighbor's painting
I found it quite difficult to work in someone else's painting, it felt like I was wrecking his work. I looked at it for a short while and to me his work was a bit depressing and it needed a bright colour. So I added red. Mind you, we weren't given a lot of time to do this, we were encouraged to paint rather quickly and to think as little as possible. This was to keep us in the moment.
painting from second neighbour
Then we had to turn again and again I stood in front of someone else's work. Above is what she had made and what my first neighbour changed in it.
my addition to the painting from second neighbour
I found her work rather cheerful and light, but I felt it needed some blue so I added the blue dots. 
back to my own work
When we changed again I was back at my own work and this is how I found it. Honestly, I was a rather shocked with the thick black stripe, it made the whole painting so heavy. I wasn't sure either how to finish the painting: my painting was not pretty (that wasn't the goal anyway) but that thought didn't make it easy for me.
my housemate and yoga teacher
When I let go of the thought that my painting should be pretty, the energy started flowing again and I could finish my painting without difficulties.
my finished painting
My finished painting: lots of movements and warm colours. That's what kundalini yoga did for me.
all three paintings
We discussed the process shortly. Our experiences were a bit the same as in that we all felt rather uncomfortable to work in each other's painting. Then again, we all dealt with what we saw in that painting and added something in stead of covering up something we didn't like.
all three paintings
It was fascinating to see how different the three paintings were. Just unbelievable. It shows that each individual is so different from the other. We are all unique!
I enjoyed this evening very much: the combination of yoga and making art felt very natural and logical. I am looking forward to the next time!

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