Month: April 2014

Where Is The Hip Hop?

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

-Nietzsche

This one is inspired by the hip-hop dancers, who I have aways greatly admired. So I LOVE ballet, and always have. I think hip-hop/street dancers combine that passion and a lot of the same moves but in a modern and free-spirited way, which is more my style. There is a perfection to ballet, and in it is beauty. But with hip-hop there’s so much freedom of movement and passion involved! I know both sides can be played as better, but for this sketch, I took the inspiration from the street-dancers. This girl is in baggy jeans and sneakers:

Hip Hop

A whirlwind of movement.

I do believe I am happy with this one.

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A New Beginning

Alright we’re back in business!

I’ve decided I’ve had enough with the skeletons – at least for a little while. As I’ve developed my yoga practice and have focused more on fitness, I’ve rediscovered my love for dancing. I spent a few nights gathering inspirational photos for my next series, which will be dance/workout inspired.

I’m sticking with my imperfect sketchy quality – the darker and messier the better, in my opinion. This one here is not the first one I did, but it’s one of my favorites from the couple that I’ve been working on over the past few days. It is untitled as of now:

BackbentAlmost ballet-like in poise, but with the strength of a yogi, I love the grace and grit of it all. 🙂 Oh and as an aside, I have a lot of trouble with hands (real ones, with skin) so these may have an odd look about them. Hopefully I will get better with practice!

The next few are very similar so if you like this one, get excited! If it’s not your thing, I’m sorry, bear with me until this phase passes.

I do believe I am very, very happy with this new venture!!

Selfie

Well as I mentioned, I think I’m done with my yoga series. That was brought to a close with my last post which depicted Crow. Not bad, if I do say so myself. 😉

I still haven’t really found my niche on the next subject – I have a few ideas that I’ve played around with, but they’re not finalized yet. More to come…

In the meantime, I dug around for some old material. This is actually a self portrait I did a while ago, working from an Instagram photo I took during the first snow of that year. Don’t remember which year…

My face, myselfI actually blew the photo up on my laptop and traced the outline of my face (cheating, I know!) since I wanted to work off of something I could count on as accurate. Hey, it worked! It took me days to finish this, but I really like how it turned out. I played with a few different styles and techniques – you can see it was almost comic-book-esque with the cheekbones and some of the hair; the face is over-exposed and intricately accurate; the coat is sketchy and almost pen-like; I used a messy child-like coloring method on the hair, but kept the rest of the shading crosshatched; erased for highlights, as I was taught in art class so many years ago. 🙂

I wanted to give the impression of snow and wind since that was what the picture dictated, but it’s really hard when you’re drawing it! The hair that’s in front of my face is the obvious choice, so I tried to make it almost transparent, wispy, disappearing.

It does look a lot like me, so that’s a plus. The overall style isn’t my favorite, but it was fun and I like to look back and see where I came from as my style transitions.

Overall I do believe I am very happy with my first real self-portrait. 🙂

 

A bird without wings

There are lots of animal-inspired poses in yoga (i.e. Camel and Cow, Down Dog) and quite a few of them are birds: there’s Bird of Paradise, there’s Pigeon, and then there’s Crow. It always seems to me to be perched there, wingless, or at least with that impression. Here’s what it looks like:

crow

Heart shining forward, head creating a tripod with your hands, complete balance. You can take this up to a handstand, scorpion, or a whole bunch of other poses! At any rate, it’s a fun one, a balance pose is always a challenge. It has taken me some time to master this one – when I was younger my light weight made it easy to pop right up onto my elbows. Now that I’m older (and heavier) it’s not so easy. I had a fear of falling on my head for the longest time until my yoga instructor encouraged me to give it a shot again and spotted me as I tried. With guidance and security I was able to achieve Crow this year and feel very comfortable with it now! I’m so happy, it’s a major accomplishment and I hope it turns into a stepping stone to other great poses. It has opened the door to a plethora of new challenges and experiences!

I do believe I am happy with this.

What your shoulders can bear

I felt like doing more than usual tonight. I wanted to show Plow pose, but also the next step from there – Shoulder Stand. I personally love both of these poses, it’s sort of my test to new yoga studios. If they do Plow at the end of class, it’s got my thumbs up! 😉

So the drawing on the left is what I started with, really small and simple, just trying to show what the idea is. The right shows full Shoulder Stand. Well, I think you’re actually supposed to support your back with your hands, so there isn’t so much pressure on your neck and shoulders. But I forgot that, so I drew it incorrectly – oh well!

As a side note, this type of pose is called an ‘inversion’ (for obvious reasons), and it’s really healthy! It’s good to reverse the blood flow, get things moving around, send some blood to the ol’ brain. It helps increase your circulation, too, so give it a shot.

Your Two Shoulders

As I’ve mentioned before, getting back to the sketchy-ness I once had, and so far I’m really happy with the way things are coming out! I love the darkness of it – there’s so much more to look at when your eye almost has to search for it. Adds character, too, I think. Question, if you care to answer: is it giving new character to the skeleton, or is it my own character being imputed to the page?

So that’s it, Plow and Shoulder Stand. As a warning I think I’m going to bring this yoga series to a close soon. It’s a vast collection that is ever growing, but I don’t think I’ll get to finish all of the poses, at least not right now. I want to let my mind take me on its own track as I am inspired by the events in my life, rather than sticking with the yoga idea for longer than my attention span can take it. At some point I’m bound to get sloppy or careless, and I want to keep these drawings fresh and new! We’ll see what’s next…

I do believe I am happy with this set.

The Unattainable

What do people most often want the most? The unattainable. Think about it – it’s a huge tangent that I won’t go into here and now, but if your eyes are open to it you’ll see it all the time in today’s culture and society.

So that ties into this post because I always consider a split to be unattainable, which is why I so admire those who are able to do it. A standing split is also very difficult, but I was recently challenged in my yoga practice to do FIFTEEN standing splits! It was intense, but it pushed my limits, and helped me to grow. To me, a standing split is the stepping stone to a split. It’s easier for me, it’s a whole different muscle group, a practice in and of itself.

I find that during the growing experience – those moments when you kind of hate whoever is telling you to keep going – it’s terrible: I keep having doubts, keep hearing myself muttering mild expletives as I try harder and harder. It’s not fun, it’s definitely not easy, but yet we do it anyway. And in the end, you feel great! Because you’ve either gone farther than you ever have before, or you’ve achieved a new goal, or you just feel like you’ve reached the full capacity of your abilities, and that’s an amazing feeling! At least it is to me, and if you’ve never felt that, I encourage you to push through, because the reward is great!

Alright, enough of that. After the rigorous and continuous standing split extravaganza of Tuesday night’s class I was inspired to draw the pose itself in its full expression (at least I think so). I am by no means here yet, but one day I hope to get there and possibly that will take me into trying a full split, grounded, like a pro. 🙂

Standing Splits:

Standing Splits

The sketch itself isn’t perfect, it’s a little off with the angles, but you get the idea. I am really liking the rib cage on this one since I decided to black out the in-between lines. I think it adds depth.

I felt that I should name this guy, so I’m calling him Hobbles – as a nickname. His face certainly doesn’t imply a ‘Hobbles’.

I do believe I am very happy with this guy!

Back to basics

You’ll please recall in the post “Moo” I didn’t know what sound a camel made. I still don’t, actually, but I read somewhere that they can make quite the range of noises and can sound like a bunch of different animals, so there isn’t a classic onomatopoeia associated with camels, I guess.

Anyway, in that post I mentioned that I had decided to draw Cow pose “next”…well next has arrived. I drew Cow last night and here it is:

Cow

Cow is a very open position. It is most commonly found in the short series “Cat-Cow” which takes you from one spinal extreme to the other. This help to warm you up and maintain flexibility in the spine (remember, you’re only as young as your spine!). Tailbone and shoulders are spread, opening the chest and hips. The face, head, and neck are all extended forward, if not a very little bit upward. I’m careful about the neck at this point since I’ve always been taught as a singer never to drop your head backward, as it strains the vocal chords.

So that’s Cow for ya. It’s very plain and simple, but it’s the basics that ground us – a tree cannot grow without its roots, so plant your roots deep and strong.

I do believe I am happy with this one.

Opening up

I actually have another sketch that I did between the last one and this one, but it’s not yoga-related so I’m going to wait to post it until I feel I’ve finished my yoga series. Sorry! Be patient, it’s a virtue.

This pose is called Side Angle, or in sanskrit: utthita parsvakonasana. 🙂 A mouthful I know. That’s why we call it side angle.

You can optionally extend the arm – how I depicted it here – which allows the side body to really open up. It’s a lovely pose that really helps stretch you out. I’m usually sitting at my desk for the majority of the day, and after a long day of sinking deeper into your chair and yourself, a good opener like this is perfect.

Side Angle

A note on my style: I’ve noticed the intricacy of my last few drawings, and realized that they are lacking the sketchy quality that I love. So I’m really loosening up again and reminding myself that sometimes it’s okay to color outside the lines!

This is exciting, folks – we are current! I drew this side angle sketch THIS WEEK! So what you’re seeing now are the real deal, here and now, as they come to me. Enjoy!

I do believe I am happy with this guy.

Calm in Chaos

My journey in yoga has been a long one, a one in which I’ve learned countless lessons. It has taken me through the lowest of emotional drags, and the greatest happy highs.

Not too long ago I heard a phrase during class that has allowed me to find space in my life no matter what is going on. Yoga is calm in chaos – that means that through good and bad, your mat is your escape, and it’ll always be that calm in the storm, your getaway to check yourself and emerge refreshed and refocused.

When my yoga instructor said, “…that’s what yoga is, it’s calm in chaos…” I was inspired to draw what it meant to me. I started simply by sketching out the basic lotus pose, seated, with hand in hand. It’s a settled, grounded, relaxed position that starts nearly every class:

Lotus

 

That’s the calm. Then I started on the chaos – and this is not technically finished – I had hopes of doing a lot more but time escaped me and I signed and titled it before it got left behind in the back of my sketchbook for good.

Calm in Chaos

I’m very happy with it – I think it conveys what I felt, and still feel about the peace and serenity that I can depend on amidst anything and everything that’s going on around me. You can’t control any of that, but you can control yourself and your thoughts and feelings. Taking time to look inside, check yourself and your mental state can help you to find inner calm and strength in times when you really need it.

Stay focused, stay strong, and find the calm in the chaos.

I do believe I am quite happy with this 1st attempt! 🙂

TGIF!

Thank God it’s Friday! I’m so ready for the weekend!

This is called an inversion – there are a plethora of different inversions you can take, but I almost always choose Full Wheel. My yoga instructor always has us take it three times for ten seconds each, and at the end of the third one when you think you’ve done the very best you can, when you’re about to collapse, you hear the words, “…your fullest expression of the pose.” and all of the sudden you’re inspired to take it higher, and wider, and to open up just another inch or two – to me that phrase triggers “just a little more” in my mind.

This is wheel:
Bridge

Take this idea into your own life – when you feel like you’re there, when you’re really ready to let go and relax, when you’re at the end, THEN push it “just a little further”. Let this be an encouragement. It’s when you force yourself to keep going that you grow the most! So, give this week your fullest expression and really give Friday your best shot.

I do believe I am very, very happy with this sketch!