Sunday, November 9, 2014

The physicality of painting

The article linked here asks the question, "Are you licking your art?". The answer is, "If so, your posture is flawless." And yes, it is often like that. I personally have trouble really getting into a painting if I'm not kneeling over it. My knees don't like this too much, so I have to compromise and shift my weight around constantly. But the natural tendency is to hover, almost as if being intimate with a lover. (It is for this reason that I stick to quick-drying media, such as acrylic, watercolor, and gouache. I would have difficulties painting in oil; I would most likely end up sticking my elbow or palm in paint that has yet to dry...)

What people don't tell you ahead of time is how physical it can be to make art - even a painting! But as an artist, you must become very aware of your body in space, as well as your movements while working, to ensure you don't stay locked in a position too long. It can be easy to get lost in a painting and lose track of the fact you haven't unbent your legs for the last hour, which can lead to stiffness when you do attempt to stand up and walk around.

In order to tackle this issue and treat your body right, it can be a good idea to incorporate some simple yoga poses into your time in the studio. Also, it is important to stay aware of how long you typically spend contorted in a certain fashion, and schedule breaks accordingly.

I sometimes wonder if using an adjustable drafting table to support my canvases would help allow me to proverbially lick my painting while not compromising my ligaments. At the very least, I probably need to do a little more cat rolling and upward facing dog in order to keep the artistic momentum going and not get "stuck"...

The photo you see here was taken as part of the prep for Te Gusto, ¿de Verdad?.

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