Athletes and even my yoga instructor talk about getting “a second wind.” It’s the point when they hit a wall in energy and think they can’t go on – and then suddenly endorphins or something kick in, and they do.
Although I practiced sumi-e formally only briefly decades ago, my mom was a sumi painter for many years. Watching her paint taught me the philosophy of sumi-e: Instead of replicating the appearance of something, try to capture its essence or spirit with minimal, spontaneous marks.
As I write this, it strikes me that sumi-e is the direct opposite of the drawings of trees that I have been doing lately in class, which are labor-intensive and based on sticking fairly closely to a photo image. The objective is not necessarily to replicate precisely, but there’s nothing minimal or spontaneous about the practice. That labor-intensive approach appeals to me too, and yet maybe these sumi-e-like hand sketches are the counter-pose (yes, another yoga principle; you can see how I have been spending my pandemic time).
In any case, I am grateful for the second wind.
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