Art and Yoga – perfect together.

Posted On December 21, 2011

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This post is a little different from my usual Multi-Media Material posts since I have been thinking a lot about the connection between making art and practing yoga, especially since I recently did a kid’s yoga teacher training  that really opened up my thinking about both subjects.

So, with that on my mind,  I sat down and made the connection between a half Sun Salutation (a flowing series of yoga poses) and Creativity. Below is the result.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season – may it be filled with lots of love & art!


Making Art – Inspired by the Sun Salutation

Stand firmly with your feet facing forward – parallel, weight distributed evenly on all four corners of your feet.

Stand firm in your creativity. Do not be afraid to express yourself. Keep your feet firmly planted and allow your head to reach for the sky. When your foundation is stable, you are free to move.

Reach your arms out to the sides, take up all the space you can grow taller, dive forward, and down.

Do not hesitate, but do not rush. Take up all your desk space, floor space then clean it all up. Be free like a child, dive in head first, then swim up to the surface.

Rise  up halfway, back flat, crown of your head reaching straight out in front of you, fingertips touching the ground.

Let your mind be focused and clear, never lose sight of your foundation.

Your ideas will flow right out in front of you.

Melt forward, feel your heart melting as you bow in gratitiude.

Be thankful for your gifts as an artist. Share them with everyone you can. Thank yourself everyday for being you. Notice how your heart gets bigger and happier when you do this.

Rise up, lift your arms up toward the sky. Bring hands to your heart center. Close your eyes and feel your breath as it breathes you.

Notice the beauty in yourself, your heart and your creative mind. You bring beauty into the world by things you make, the words you speak and the thoughts you think.


Photo by MaryJo

MaryJo Rosania is an artist and yoga teacher living in New Hope, PA.

Seeking Inspiration…

As some of  you may know, I had a new addition to my family this spring. We welcomed a baby boy in to our lives, Henry James was born April 22nd. Although this was a planned event, I could have never prepared for the way having a baby can turn your life upside down. My philosophy as an artist and a teacher has always been that your art and your life should remain seamless. In the case of art and craft, the best work is spawned from life’s events – marriages, babies, new jobs, new homes, friends, groups, pets, gender, family, home, who we are – our identity. I have seen and admired so many artists – both men and women – who use their lives as inspiration for the creative work they do.

As I searched my brain for a topic for my post-postpartum-returning blog post I stumbled upon this …

also a great article about this film:

The film discusses this very topic – how women artists are viewed in the eyes of the art community when it comes to marriage and family…and boy did it speak to me…in fact, just watching the trailer, my eyes teared up and I was so grateful for the women who share this struggle, to know I am not the only one…

Motherhood and art, the act of creation, are so synonymous. If you are interested in checking out more about this topic, look for contemporary artists such as Mary Kelly and Heather Gray, and books such as Mother Reader ; or search for blogs such as this one: regarding art and motherhood.

Since my time is short and valuable, I found some quick and easy tools to use to gather inspiration and hopefully get the creative juices flowing. Generally, I choose projects I can carry in my diaper bag or purse and can work on at nap time or after Henry goes to bed. When I return to work I am hoping to spend my lunch break, well, eating of course, and perhaps putting a couple of stitches into some fabric here and there or developing some prints in the darkroom – or maybe even doing a bit of drawing. I know it will not be easy, it already isn’t – but I hope these tools will help me gather inspiration.

I picked up this book: The Crafter’s Devotional – 365 Days of Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit.

by Barbara R. Call

I am not usually into these types of books, but Borders was going out of business and I was digging through the shelves when I found this; and at this moment of my life, it spoke to me. For instance, on Days 111 & 112 she discusses the color of auras and days 146 & 147 she goes over embroidery techniques. It couldn’t be more diverse a selection. It is a total of 308 pages including everything from Birthstones and Birth flowers to Collage Portraits….

The Devotional is filled with daily inspiration for breaking what the author calls “crafter’s block”, although the author claims not to include any “fine art” in the book – I think the line is so blurred at this point in history that it doesn’t matter…. it works for everyone.

The book is set up like this:

Monday – Journaling

Tuesday –  Recycle, Reuses, Revive

Wednesday – Collection Stash and materials

Thursday – Personal history

Friday – Non craft inspiration

Saturday and Sunday – collaborate, gather and experiment

Seems simple enough – not begging for hours in the studio…we will see how it goes and I will keep you posted.

My other quick fix was to join Pinterest – a virtual bulletin board for all things you love. There is so much inspiration here you will be astounded. There is also a Pinterest iPhone App – convenient for moms, and all people on the go!

In addition to all of this, I am grateful for the Handmade Philly community. It has kept me thinking about creativity with the Photo Discourse Project.  I am sure there are more of us out there — new, and seasoned mothers seeking inspiration, or people who have been pulled away from their creative pursuits for other reasons. It would be great  to discuss the ways we can use our new roles in life to be creative and express all that life has in store for us. All comments are welcomed, I hope this will start a discussion!

MaryJo Rosania-Harvie is an artist, teacher and future master of the one minute diaper change. She lives in New Hope, PA.

Multi Media Materials – This Month: Mod Podge

As an artist you are probably interested in finding out about new (or new to you) materials. Regardless of the ideas and concepts in your work, you may want to explore them using a variety of materials to keep your art practice exciting!

Each month I will focus on a new material. As an art teacher I am constantly trying new techniques, using materials in new ways and encouraging my students to experiment.  I also encourage you to post pics of your own work created with the highlighted material or technique, ask questions, suggest future materials and add your own knowledge and experiences with materials.

The Handmade Philly Book Exchange has reignited my love of materials, and given me the chance to revisit some of my favorite art making tools. (check out the link to learn more about the book exchange!)

This month, for my first post, I’ll focus on Mod Podge. Many of you may already know about this collaging, gluing, sealing water-based finish; but if you don’t now is the time to start something new!

Material of the Month: Mod Podge

Where can I get it?: usually found at Michael’s or an equivalent craft store

The Basic How To:

Matte Surface Mod Podge

Mod Podge is a non-toxic thick white liquid resembling Elmer’s Glue; it comes in Matte and Gloss and should be applied with a brush. One word on brushes and Mod Podge — if you don’t wash the brush REALLY WELL after use, consider them history. Some people prefer to use one of those cheapy foam brushes just for this reason, I on the other hand, like a medium sized flat brush. But really, both work well.

1. make sure the area you are collaging is clean – although Mod Podge goes on opaque and white, it dries clear – dust, dirt, cat hairs in the mix will show. (I know this from experience!)

2. Brush the Mod Podge onto the surface you are collaging, use a thin, even layer – a little goes a long way

3. place the item on top of the thin layer of MP.

Mod Podge works best with paper or other porous materials (you can collage thicker paper too – just use the MP to glue the item in place first)

4. brush another thin layer on top of the item, paying careful attention to the edges. If you want the piece to be sealed (perhaps you are saving a puzzle or want a sold smooth surface) push a little extra Mod Podge under the edges – since the material dries clear you can build up a little extra around the raised edges.

a medium sized flat brush works perfectly

With each additional piece brush a little more Mod Podge onto the surface – then the collage material, then a thin layer on top.

push a little extra MP under the raised edges of your pieces

5. If bubbles form smooth them out with your brush or your fingers, be sure to do this while the Mod Podge is still wet. Another method of smoothing is to use a piece of mat board or smooth cardboard (not corrugated) to smooth out any bubbles. Run the edge of the cardboard over the collaged paper forcing any extra glue out from the edges. As the MP dries, bubbles tend to reduce and flatten out.

6. Allow the surface to dry. This can take anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes. You can apply a second coat over the whole thing to be sure it is well sealed.

*Helpful Hints*

– Glossy Mod Podge can be applied over Matte to create a shiny surface even if you used Matte to create the collage – and vice versa.

– Don’t have any Mod Podge?  Acrylic Gel or Matte Medium (that you would add to your acrylic paint to thin it) are very similar and will do basically the same thing. These materials have more water in them so they tend to wrinkle a little more than MP – but absolutely work in a pinch.

– Mod Podge is for use on indoor projects – water, like rain and humidity – will make the surface sticky.

– When Mod Podging the pages of a book, allow them to dry for a few days before closing the book

– When collaging thick pieces, remember to push a little extra MP under the edges and around the edges, it’ll dry clear.

a thicker piece of paper with the edges sealed

– Again, a little goes a long way – too much Mod Podge will peel – if this happens, just apply more MP over the surface!

– Get creative! Try Mod Podging natural objects, photographs, receipts, movie tickets, etc!

Next Month: The Truth About Pencils and Erasers.

By MaryJo Rosania-Harvie, who loves the smell of new art supplies and lives and works on her art in New Hope, PA.