Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Five: Noticing Beauty

I haven't done a Friday 5 list in a couple of weeks, so I thought I would this lovely Friday! 
In the last few days, I've been thinking about the Root Chakra from yogic subtle body anatomy.
This is the energy center in our body that is involved with our sense of stability, security and groundedness.
According to The Book of Chakras, by Ambika Wauters, the spiritual activity for the root chakra is "noticing the beauty and perfection of the natural world".
So last night, after a steady evening rain shower in the place where I grew up,
I stepped outside to observe this beauty and perfection.
And I found it,

in the way that nasturtium leaves can capture rain droplets and hold them like little beads of hope,


in the way that ripening elderberries can hang heavily and yet the slender elderberry tree can still support their load,

in the way that a small, yet brave crimson leaf can be the first to fall,

in the way that Black-eyed Susans know how to live abundantly in August,

and in the way that rain showers always clear to sun, and that light always finds a way to cast itself into the darkness of sky.

In all these ways, I find beauty and perfection in the natural world
and perhaps in the looking, I also see a glimpse of it in those around me and in myself.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

September Happenings!

Here in the Art Asana studio, I am gearing up for a busy September! 
I am going to be teaching yoga (including a kids yoga class), gearing up for my second to last semester of graduate study by pulling out and dusting off the thesis proposal that I started last spring (yikes!), I'm working on a new project (which I will unveil a little more of when I have more than just scribbly notes on paper) and I am planning two different workshops that I am going to be teaching in the New England area! 
{picture of my studio in the midst of a creative explosion}

The first workshop begins September 20th and runs out of the Falmouth Night School. 
Here's the class blurb:

Eliza Tobin - B.A in Fine Arts, Art Educator, Artist and Yoga Teacher.
Access your creativity through movement, meditation in motion, and mixed media painting. Open up your creative flow using meditative movement and then use that flow to explore mixed media painting techniques using collage, drawing tools, paints, fabrics, ink pads, and more. No art experience is necessary!"
Sounds fun, right! 
If you are in the area and want to join in, 
the class runs for three sessions 6:30-8:30 (Monday September 20th, Mon. Sept.27th, and Mon. October 4st) and is $69 not including supplies. If you are interested in joining in, you can contact the Falmouth Night School at


The other workshop is a yoga/painting workshop that I am co-teaching with my dad, Eric Tobin! I'm so excited to teach with him! 
Want to join us?

Here's the workshop blurb:
Landscape painter Eric Tobin and Yoga Teacher Eliza Tobin are coming together for the first time to offer a unique workshop experience!
Join us for as many days as you can, or come to all five days!
Tap into your creative flow through a gentle yoga session
And learn the ins and outs of landscape painting with oil on canvas.
If you are looking to learn painting techniques from a world-class painter, and open up more to your creative self through loving yoga movements and your breath and experiment with your creativity,
Then come join us for a
retreat into the world of art and yoga for one day, three days or all five days!

The workshop will include an hour long yoga class each morning,
demonstration of painting techniques, time to work on your own paintings with Eric and Eliza available to assist you and answer questions. There will be a morning session and an afternoon session with a lunch break in between!
Cost: 125$ per day or 550$ for 5 days
Location: Eric Tobin’s  Studio Johnson, VT
When: September Wednesday 22nd through September 26th 2010 8am-5pm

If you are interested in this workshop, you can email me at for more information or to register!

{"Om Shanti" digitally colored illustration}

In some way, the learning from teaching these courses is going to find it's way into my  thesis work (which is on yoga and the creative process), although how that is going to happen,
 I do not know yet!
So yes, lots of things are in the works, 
but busy is good!
I'm going to have try to stay
 high in the energy 
 to complete everything that needs completing
without burning out.
Any advice?
I do keep hearing one little word,
a whisper, a firm and gentle nudging from within:
"nourishment" says.
I will do my best to fit that in too! 


Oh and one more thing! 
I'm sending the Monthly Art Asana Newsletter out tomorrow,
so if you haven't subscribed and would like to, 
Each month I include inspiring quotes, a yoga sequence, a book recommendation, creativity tip, news from the Art Asana shop and a monthly Art Asana shop special! 


Monday, August 23, 2010

Blue Notes and Brad Paisley

"Blue Notes Mandala" 6x6 Print 

It's a rainy day here on Cape Cod and I've spent my morning filling orders from the End of Summer Celebration Sale. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out the shop and to those of you who participated in the sale!

Sometimes rainy days make me feel super creative and energized. 
Sometimes they make me feel sleepy and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with my dog and a book. 
After a busy weekend which included attending Countryfest at Gillette stadium outside of Boston and seeing Brad Paisley in concert
 (along with a whole lot of other craziness that I wasn't as excited about), 
I am in the second category today.
It's an "I am in need of another weekend after my weekend" kind of Monday.

But it was fun to see Brad Paisley in concert.
He has so much energy in his music, lyrics and show
that it's hard not to smile, sing, dance and clap along.
And another reason I like him?

Not only can he play the guitar, 
the man's also a bit of a visual artist too!


Ahh, what can I say?
 I'm a fan!

Happy Monday!


Thursday, August 19, 2010


Yesterday, I stepped outside my door and took a deep breath in to realize that air smelled for the first time 
like a hint of fall was on the breeze. 
Do you know that smell?
It hit my nose and immediately thoughts of the season changing began to creep into my mind.
I've started seeing other subtle signs too,
the first few yellowing leaves falling on my neighbor's lawn,
a back-to-school kids fashion segment on the CBS Early Show,
the bright golden orbs of ripened tomatoes,
all seem to be pointing to the inevitable:
Fall is coming!

I always find myself moving through a mix of emotions when the seasons shift,
excited by new sensory experience that each season brings,
but also somewhat sad 
that yet another season has fleetingly slipped by.


I am sure I'm not alone in this mix of emotions, about the coming of fall especially.
All across the lands, teachers are getting their classrooms ready, attending meetings, making plans and preparations for the first week of school.
Kids are anxiously thinking about going into their new grade, wondering what adventures and friendships lie ahead, but at the same time balking about ending their summers.
Parents, I image too, have their share of excitements and sadness as they rush around finding backpacks and notebooks and lunchboxes.
I too am getting ready to go back to school,
revving up to work on my thesis proposal that will be the start of this final year of graduate study.

As all this shifting and changing happens, I am thinking that the only thing to do is embrace it and
celebrate transition


 So, I'm going to enjoy every last drop of the fading summer sun, of the leaves slowly starting to think about leaving their green behind, of the abundance of garden (and farmer's markets) harvest, of that crisp smell in the air, of the new school year anticipation.
Bring it on Fall!

As another way to celebrate this transitional time of the year, 
I have decided to host my very first

For two days only, today August 19th and tomorrow August 20th
all prints in my shop are on sale!
All 8x8 and 8x10 prints that were 25$ are now 18$
All 5x7 and 6x6 prints that were 15$ are now 10$
Head on over to my shop to check it out and
thank you all for you continued support and love!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inspired By...

Inspired by illustrator

(photo of Yoga Journal Issue 208, February 2008, Illustration by Annick Poirier)

I was looking through old issues of  Yoga Journal, when I came across the illustrations of Annick Poirier.
 I have been receiving Yoga Journal since the summer of 2004 (the first summer I started doing yoga). I love looking back though these older issues for inspiration for my yoga practice. They have also become a great resource to me as a new yoga teacher. As I was thumbing through some issues yesterday, I came across an article called
and was inspired not only by the article itself and it's "ten ideas for reconnecting to your source of happiness" but also by the illustrations that went along with the article. 

(photo of Yoga Journal Issue 208, February 2008, Illustration by Annick Poirier)

I remembered seeing them the first time and just being drawn in by Poirier's beautiful and serene illustrations. A quick google search helped me to find her website, 
where I looked through the rest of her portfolio.

(photo of Yoga Journal Issue 208, February 2008, Illustration by Annick Poirier)

I love how she combines soft, realistic drawings of people digitally with swirling colors and designs. 
I have been interested recently in work that combines digital and traditional mediums and have even been playing around with it a bit myself.
Perhaps we could add,
"get your creative play on"
to the Yoga Journal's list of 10 things to get in touch with your source of happiness.


On another note, I have an
exciting shop Announcement:

Tomorrow and Friday, I will be having an
all prints in my etsy shop!
August 19th and 20th,
I will be offering a sale on all prints in my shop!
For two days only,
$25 prints will be $18
$15 prints will be $10!

So be sure to stop on by tomorrow and Friday for more info and to get in on the sale!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Nourishment Yantra

Last week, as part of my daily art and asana experiment, I created my very first yantra.
I first encountered yantras when I was in India studying the art of Tantra. Similar to mandalas, yantras are cosmic designs and are intricatly related to mantra, the recitation of seed syllables which evoke shakti (energy) as vibrational sound. While mantras are an audible manifestation of a shakti, yantras are a visual manifestation of shakti.
For example, a seed syllable mantra you might be familiar with is
"OM", chanted at the beginning of many yoga classes.
When you chant "Om" what emotional/physical effects does it have on you?
For me, the shakti of chanting, "OM" feels grounding, centering, calming.
I feel as though I am coming back to myself.

Similarly, yantras are geometric diagrams designed to invoke particular
emotional/ physical responses in their viewer/creator.
Although, I had studied yantras, and even interviewed Madhu Khanna, author of a book called
Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity
for my research while I was in India,
I never did anything with them in an experiential (versus academic) way.
Until now, several years later!
Using directions from the book, Nine Designs for Inner Peace by Sarah Tomlinson,
I learned to create a yantra for nourishment.
At the beginning of this book, there is a page with all of the yantra designs that are in the book.
The author invites you to settle in a quiet place and then let the gaze fall on the page and identify the design you feel most drawn to at that time.
I tried this exercise and found myself drawn to the yantra for nourishment.
So I followed the direction and over the course of a few days (and the purchase of a new compass!),
I created my very first yantra:


The mantra associated with this design is "Om Cham Chandraya Namaha".
In sanskrit, the word Chandra means 'Moon' and the author says that it is the nurturing moon, (which is also related to the feminine principles of compassion, receptivity and sensitivity) that inspires this design.


Sarah Tomlinson says of the yantra, "The moon also governs water, the tides, and developing harmony  with the natural rhythms and cycles of one's life. Having compassion for others starts with nurturing and listening to oneself. This is the perfect Yantra to work with in situations involving self-destructive behaviors or emotionally reactive episodes. By calming down and getting in touch with emotions as they arise, great insight, compassion, wisdom, and right action results." (Sarah Tomlinson in Nine Designs for Inner Peace, page 91)


As I created the Yantra, I contemplated why I'd been drawn to this particular design and what in my life needed nourishing. As, I laid in the lines, I thought about how I needed to relax more into my own experience and allow things to be just as they are.
I thought about how I feel as though I've been forcing my creativity lately,
Focusing on the importance of product more than the importance of exploration and play.
And how that has sapped some of the fun out of it and sapped the energy out of me.
I reflected on all the
things that nourish me
(which then of course help me to better nourish others):
eating fruits and vegatables
drinking water
checking my email less
letting go of the impulse to compare myself to others
getting to bed earlier
getting up earlier to make more time for yoga, meditation
and morning pages
getting outside and into nature every day (no matter what).
letting my art-making be more exploratory and
letting go of the results more.

So this week, I will spend some time meditating on my newly created yantra and contemplate how to incorporate nourishment into my life.

What nourishes you?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inspired by...

I love her work!
The lines, the colors, 
the patterns,
I love all of it!
It would be so fascinating to see her working on these 
paintings and drawings,
to see where she starts and moves to 
over the page or canvas.

"Candy" by Yellena James

"Relish" by Yellena James

"Someday" by Yellena James

These are bright, cheery and whimsical organic shapes 
that I can't stop looking at!
I am thinking one of her prints would look very nice in my apartment!

Check out her etsy shopblog, and website!


Monday, August 9, 2010


I was quiet here last week. 
I spent a lot of time creating daily paintings and drawings, 
which I share with you below. 
While I worked, I listened to Shantaram on audiobook and found myself lost in the adventure and thickening plot that takes place in Bombay, India. 
So lost, in fact, 
that I had a hard time thinking about much of anything else.
Does that ever happen to you when you get caught up in a good story?
For me, there is almost a danger in being captured by a good story 
because I climb into it and
don't climb out until it's finished! 
Apparently they are making a movie out of this book that's supposed to come out in 2011 and starring Johnny Depp and Amitabh Bachchan (a famous Indian actor). 
I don't always like it when books become movies, 
but with this book, I can't wait to see it as a movie!
Speaking of books becoming movies...any one excited to see Eat, Pray, Love?
I imagine it's not going to be as a good as the book,
but I suppose I'm going to go see it anyway....


Here are some of the daily paintings/drawings I did last week:

(8x8 Mixed Media Painting)
Original and Print available in my etsy shop!

I created this painting as a tribute to Shri, the auspicious Goddess of beauty and goodness that exists within each of us. May it remind us to see the shri in ourselves and in others! 


(A sketchbook drawing in pitt pen and acrylic)


(a sketchbook drawing in pitt pen and watercolor)


(sketchbook mandala drawing created with pitt pen)


"Flower Power" 
(8x10 Mixed Media Painting)
Original and Print available in my etsy shop!

This painting was inspired by the beautiful reds, pinks and yellows of the zinnias that are blooming on Cape Cod right now and their bright bursts of cheerful bloom with the blues of summer sky. To me, the woman figure in the painting seems to be soaking in all that beauty...finding peace in the zest of summer.

Asana of the Week: Ardha Padmottasana
Yogic Insight:  When I look for the beauty and goodness, I see more of it.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Inspired by...

I have loved the artwork of Andy Goldsworthy for years. He is one of my very favorite artists. I think I was introduced to his work in high school by one of my art teachers and have been a fan ever since.


Andy Goldsworthy is a sculptor who works in nature with materials found in nature: 
rocks, sticks, snow, etc.
Many of his sculptures are impermanent, slowing or quickly disappearing with time, sun, wind, waves or the change of seasons. His work, to me, appears very meditative and reminds me of the process Tibetan monks go through to make their impermanent sand mandalas


He says that for him,"to go off into the woods and make a piece of work, roots me again. And if I don't work for a period of time, I feel rootless. I don't know myself."

Watching him work, it appears that the rooting he gains though the work, seems to be less about the product and more about the process of creating itself. 
A few years ago, I saw his video, Rivers and Tides, a documentary on how he works. Here is a clip from the movie:

 I love what he says at the end of this clip:
"I am so amazed at times, I am actually alive."

Creating and making artwork can root me back to this remembrance too, 
that I am actually alive,
when I let it. 
When I hang on to the outcome less
and believe in the process more.



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