I think of Gordon – we practiced yoga together for a few years. Gordon was in his early 60’s at the time. He could hang out in handstand and make it seem effortless. Professionally he was a psychologist. He observed people go up into handstand and was always good to offer support – for the body and mind. He often broke it down step by step for me: separate your arms more, press down, use your fingers, take the hips over the shoulder … he’d pause … now kick up with a strong leg and bring your other leg to meet it, don’t take it to the wall (don’t take it to the wall – is key), take the rib cage in, and finally … press up, activate your feet. There were times he’d discuss how fear plays with the mind and affects the body. See yourself in handstand, he’d say. If you succeeded he gave you all the credit. Now, all these years later, when I can – focus and can go up slow and mindful – I feel how the body and joints allign. I can only hold a handstand for a few seconds, long enough to feel hips above shoulders, knees above hips and feet above knees – energy pressing down to rise up. Sometimes I sill think of Gordon.
Back to the painting … Today I detail the legs and think about the joints, muscles and feet. In the original photograph my legs are not symmetrical. That’s my husband offering the support of one hand and that leg – because it is pressing up into it – is muscular. The other is still organic and finding its way. I could have corrected things in the painting, but I want to be true to the moment. I learn from it. In general, we are not symmetrical creatures. But with a little help we can find center. I am going to take a pause now. I’ve worked steady on this painting for a good while. I want to look at the composition for a few days to decide how I’ll continue.
Back to Gordon …
Years ago, when I was learning Photoshop, I designed a Yoga magazine cover for Gordon because he was so helpful to all of us. Hey Gordon wherever you are …. thanks. Not only can I handstand but I can also draw myself in one. One of those activities is harder than the other and I won’t say which.