Today, I have arrived, my sitting bones are connected to the earth, I am waving length through my spine, lifting up through the crown of my head to the sky. Paintbrush in hand, palette teaming with blues, purples and pinks. This is my time, time for me, time for yoga and time for my creativity. Inhale just, exhale be, inhale just, exhale be…the corners of mouth turn up into a gentle smile…savouring this moment of contentment…a far cry from my thoughts just 5 years earlier…
Back ache, disgruntled, a hot summers day in 2014 and I am painting Christmas Trees, I am using the ‘C’ word in Summer! A festive palette of red, green and gold, should be joyful. But my reindeers look more like confused cows and my twinkling lights have lost their twinkle. Hunched over sketch books, inner critic in full flow ‘you will never hit the deadline, Christmas 2016 is already ruined’ Impostor syndrome wades in to join the thought party ‘they are going to realise you are not a professional artist, they’ve obviously made a mistake in trusting you’.
I’ve not taken a break for hours, what is mindfulness? More like a mind full of mess! A half eaten sandwich cast aside curling awkwardly like my spine, drying out in the stale air, rough to the touch like the back of my throat. Ending the day tired and uninspired, and already dreading the trip to the studio the next day. I’ve worked so hard for my dream job but it doesn’t feel so dreamy.
I’d been practicing Yoga for while, but it was something that stayed on my mat, that sacred me time, reserved for that space. Yoga was a reset button, I hadn’t started to translate its teachings into my daily life. One blustery, English Summer’s evening, I’d made it to class in the rain (an achievement in its self, the temptation to stay home had been strong!), sat on my mat it occurred to me, whilst here I was happy. It didn’t matter what else was going on, I wanted to bottle this feeling up and let it spill out into my studio, connecting my passions Art and Yoga.
The experiment began and very importantly, I invited play into my work. I had a sudden curiosity to colour outside the lines! Paint bigger, bolder and not worry about perfect pictures. Just as I had stopped striving for perfect postures on the mat, my art was now taking on a new shape. I still had my deadlines but taking mindful breaks during the day to stretch and to notice my breath, had a huge impact on my wellbeing and therefore on my work. As my Pranayama (breath exersizes), Meditation started to click, I was more accepting of making mistakes. Mistakes lead to those ‘beautiful oops’ moments that can only be found when things don’t go as planned.
My concept for Watercolour Wellbeing was emerging, it had become an authentic part of my daily practice, warming up my mind and my body was helping me access my creativity in a new way. It wasn’t another thing to add to my ‘to do’ list it was a natural evolution to me as an artist. It felt right and I felt compelled to trust my gut.
5 years on I start each artwork with a movement mediation to warm up my body, flowing arms, wrists mean flowing brushstrokes. A breath exercise follows to calm my mind and centre myself, tapping into my creative intuition. I allow myself to explore and create the time for fun in my work. It’s easy to get caught up in the glorification of busy but believe me taking short mindful breaks to go off on an artistic tangent has accelerated my art and my wellbeing.
My art and yoga practice run parallel to each other, taking the decision to train to be a Yoga Teacher in 2018 was the confidence tipping point that unified my profession.
My own authentic practice has evolved and I love to share this creative union.
So please, don’t give up on your day dream, my day dream lead me to Watercolour Wellbeing and here I am getting ready to celebrate my first official year. What am I doing to celebrate? I am so pleased you asked, I am going to Goa! Yes Goa!! And to add even more magic and sparkle to the occasion, I will be teaching a very special Watercolour Wellbeing session with a wonderful group of Yogi’s this November… in Goa (did I mention that already?!)
Curious courageous & creative wishes
Lisa (aka Iris Hill, I work under my Nan’s name as a tribute to her)