Spirituality

Chakrasana: Full Wheel

Full Wheel: Chakrasana

This acrylic piece is the last of my acrylic works in the “Asana Series”. I began the painting at a live painting session about 6 months ago at Black to Yoga. You may remember the small 16 x 20 watercolors I have already completed of Quamay from my March newsletter (depicted at bottom). 

I was able to get all of the basic tones into the background and the figure during the live painting session but was having some real problems figuring out how to accurately render the figure. The watercolor piece of this pose was completed from a side view. This worms-eye frontal view is much more dynamic. The body’s angles and lighting are dramatic and undulating, thus making the contours of the yogi’s figure more difficult to render accurately. Sorting through these technical difficulties kept me from completing the painting during the live session. With so many people watching it is sometimes difficult to find the confidence and sense of safety needed to forge ahead knowing that your efforts may lead to failure.

So, I brought the piece back to my studio, put it back up on the easel, and just kept periodically staring at it for two more months. It might not make sense to you, but any artist understands this behavior completely. Trust me, it’s one of the creepy, weirdo things we artists sometimes do! By then it was time for me to move to my new home with it’s own studio space so I just brought the incomplete painting along for the move. Once I set my studio up in the new place I placed the painting back on the easel and began the same staring match all over again! 

Then I got sick with COVID and spent several weeks just trying to live let alone painting. By the time I felt well enough to try and paint I was so far behind on the whole series (which is actually just the watercolors) I thought it best to complete it before going back to staring at this one again. Once the series was complete (last month) I was determined to finish this one. I am bit OCD about my work and have trouble accepting creatively loose ends – so it had to be completed.  

Chakrasana is a heart-opening pose so I placed the symbol for the heart chakra above the figure and repeated it in the headband for greater emphasis. Since the asana symbolizes a wheel, I purposely left the back edge of the mat open to give the pictorial plane a sense of infinity, or movement out beyond the figure’s feet. The majority of the colors used in this image’s palette (greens, blues, browns), are indicative of the earth and one’s connection to it through the asana.   
 

*To purchase prints click here

Full Wheel Watercolor Image from March 2020

Moga Yoga

All three of these images are the newest additions to my ongoing series on yoga, the “Asana Series”. Asana is Sanskrit for “pose” or “posture”. The model for these images was the yogini Maureen Mlller. Check her out on Instagram @mogayoga

Full Lotus – Padamasana
from the “Asana Series”

You may recall that I created a similar image of this pose in acrylic paints about four months ago. Although watercolor is a very different medium with its own character, I still wanted to create interest between the two depictions. In order to do so, I used a more dynamic point of perspective, a slightly different color palette, and simplified the background.   

Half Moon
Ardha Chandrasana

from the “Asana Series”

I find Half-Moon to be a very interesting and dynamic pose. I wanted to find a perspective point that would stress that dynamism while still giving one a good view of Maureen’s entire figure. The symbolic shape used in this image is a combination between a fractal pattern and a more biometric amoeba-like shape. 

Goddess Pose  
Utkata Konasana

from the “Asana Series” 

In this image, I wanted to give a sense of Maureen’s nobility and power. She truly embodies the energy and wisdom of the Goddes and I really wanted to imbue the image with similar quaities.  

OTHER NEWS
As some of you may have heard via social media, I am in the process of recovering from Covid-19. I am still not sure how I contracted the virus and don’t know of anyone else in my networks of association who has contracted it. 
As of this post, I am in my tenth week of recovery and am still not completely well. It has been a long and frightful journey. I was blessed to not be ill enough to need hospitalization, but there were times when I was convinced that I might die alone in my new home. Thanks be to God that I am alive and on the mend!! At present, I am undergoing testing to ascertain if there has been any permanent damage to my brain or other internal organs. Please keep my recovery in your prayers.

Please take this virus seriously and do all you can to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy!

   

Asana Series: Heart Opening Poses

Full Wheel Pose
Chakrasana

from the “Asana Series”

All three of these images are the newest additions to my ongoing series on yoga, the “Asana Series”. Asana is Sanskrit for “pose” or “posture”. The model for these images was the yogi Quamay Sams. Check him out on Instagram @eye.three

The colors I chose for this series are based upon the asana’s connection to the heart chakra: All three of the poses are heart-opening poses that relate directly to the heart chakra (green).

Camel Pose – Ustrasana
from the “Asana Series” 

Quamay is extremely athletic and flexible. He makes these very difficult poses look almost effortless. I really wanted to capture that connection between strength, effort, and stillness. 

Standing Backbend – Anuvittasana
from the “Asana Series”

I really did a lot of sketching to try and figure out how I could make this pose fit within a composition. The shape created by the figure makes it difficult to place the figure in way which doesn’t create blockages in the overall pictorial flow. I used the energy and from Quamay’s pose to create a loop that brings the eye down to the ground and back around to the figure.

OTHER NEWS
As of March 15th, I have officially left Blank Page Studio. The parting is bittersweet but it was a necessary move. I have now moved into a new home that has enough room for me to maintain a studio space and my living quarters under the same roof. 

I am now officially moved in and ready to begin the next stage of my creative journey in this new location. I am not necessarily worried but do need to be careful that I maintain the same level of discipline that I have over the past 6 years maintaining a studio outside of my home.

These new images are indicative of a solid, strong new start. I am now past the halfway mark with the completion of 9 images out of 15. 

Garland Pose

Garland Pose – Malasana
from the “Asana Series” 

Garland pose is another addition to my ongoing series on yoga. The model for this image was the yogi Rondy of Rondyoga.com

The colors I chose for this image are based upon the asana’s connection to the lower chakras: the root chakra (red), the sacral chakra (orange), and the solar plexus chakra (yellow). Garland is a rooting pose which more deeply connects one to mother earth and her life-giving energies. 

The unalome to the right of the figure is a Buddhist symbol which symbolizes the journey to enlightenment as symbolized in the geometric shape at the top of the symbol.

For those of you who don’t know, I began the series in July of last year in conjunction with the yogini’s and yogi who teach at the Black to Yoga here in Oakland. 


Other News

My new website launches next month!
I will have a new website platform that will be launching in the first week of February. There will be a completely new look and a variety of enhanced features that will make it easier to navigate the site and to place orders.  

My new site will allow you to order paper and giclee prints, metal prints..choose your own frames, and have the whole order shipped and ready to hang!

*All of these features will necessitate a raise in my prices so if you want something at the lower price point place your order before February 1st!!

Upcoming Shows

Art of the African Diaspora Show
This show has a main location and several satellite Open Studios so you will be able to see my work at several venues 

Main Show: Richmond Art Center
2540 Barrett Ave, Richmond, CA 94804


Opening Saturday, January 25, 2020
-Awardees Discussion 12:30 – 2
-Opening Reception 2 – 5

Open Studios: Oakstop 17
1721 Broadway #201, Oakland, CA 94612

March 6 & 7, 2020
-First Friday, March 6th  5pm – 10pm
-Open Viewing Saturday, March 7th  11 – 5
-Artist Talks: Saturday, March 14, 2020  2 – 4*
*doors open at 11 and close at 5


Unbound Roots: SOMArts
This show runs March 9 – April 19, 2020


Be on the lookout for more Updates!

Forearm Stand

Forearm Stand: Pincha Mayurasana

This acrylic piece is the last of my works depicting the yogini Zen. I began the painting at a live painting session last month with the hosts of Black to Yoga. I had already completed the smaller watercolors depicted in my last newsletter and had them on display at the event. 

I was able to get all of the basic tones into the background and the figure during the live painting session. The work flowed and I felt a sense of ease with the energy of the day which always makes everything easier. As an artist, these are the moments we live for.

It took another week and a half before I could complete the entire painting, and another week to get it properly scanned and ready for presentation. 

The swirling shape to the right of the figure is called a unalome. Unalomes represent the spiritual path toward enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition. The spiraling shapes symbolize the inevitable twists and turns of life – while the straight lines remind us of the harmony one experiences during moments of enlightenment. 

**To purchase prints click here

ASANA IMAGE 2: Full Lotus

The second acrylic of my new “Asana” series has officially begun!

This is the second image in the acrylic images of the Asana series. It is a 30 x 30 – inch acrylic image that was begun live during my second attempt at live painting! The image was initiated at “Yoga After Dark” a monthly event conducted by Black to Yoga. I will be the resident “live painter” at these events so come check me out sometime soon. 

This image depicts Maureen from Moga Yoga as she prepares for deep meditation in the Lotus pose. Maureen is depicted in the more challenging “full lotus” position as opposed to the less challenging “half- lotus” asana. The seri yantra depicted behind her is a symbolic meditation symbol. The triangles in the center portion represent the power of the divine to manifest creation,. The graphic shapes just outside the triangles are graphic interpretations of lotus flowers which symbolize birth, life, renewal, hope…while the four points at each end of out square-like shape are indicative of the four elements.    

I have just begun the initial images for the watercolor portion of the series. Be on the lookout for a beautifully printed calendar you can purchase next year! 

Presenting my Research

I had the pleasure of presenting my research on aesthetics and discussing “The Beautiful” and its relation to creativity theory with the members of the PInole Artisans group last week. It was a real pleasure to present my research to a group of artists rather than a theological conference. I did some expounding upon a powerpoint deck and read an excerpt from my book, “When We Pray: 8 Meditations on the Aesthetics of Prayer & the Spiritual Life” (Balboa Press Books 2019). My presentation was well-received and I was invited back next year.



*To purchase the original, click on the image above.

**To purchase a giclee limited edition print click here



#fulllotus #yogaposes #blackyoga #yogaart

My new series has begun!

My new “Asana” series has officially begun!

The image depicted above is the first piece to be completed in my new Asana series. The last time I reached out, I spoke about my intention to begin collaborating with the Yoginis who have formed the entity Black to Yoga – Maureen Miller, Kirsten Rogers, and Zenovia Forbes. 

This initial reaching out led to the completion of three sessions of photos shoots. I shot loads of reference photos for the coming series and completed some sketches for layouts. The images are HOT, and I have been so inspired that I could hardly wait to begin painting! 

The inspiration for the series hit me about 10 years ago. I had only recently been introduced to yoga by a former partner and I was amazed at how much my limited knowledge and intermittent practice had already begun to have a profound effect on me. At my partner’s suggestion, I borrowed her copy of “Light on Yoga” by B.K.S. Iyengar and then began sketching images of various poses I found in some photographic journals on yoga. Some weeks later, in the midst of a sketch it suddenly struck me, “Why aren’t you producing your own images and interpretations of these poses?” and from that moment on,  the fire began to burn. 

As any creative will testify, inspiration is more often than not- a fickle, fleeting, elusive thing. Just like a cat, it rarely comes just because you call it. The lightning of inspiration does strike but you never really know where or when. Hence the reason most of us rush to strike while the iron is hot. But this fire has been burning for almost 10 years!

Every time I wanted to begin working on the images, circumstances always appeared to block my way. I often spoke about it to yoga students and instructors who entered my studio – and some even offered to model for me. But for some reason, the timing and the offers just didn’t feel right. Something in my spirit would not find ease with those opportunities. but I still kept feeling inspired to work on the series. 

However, there is something to be said for waiting.  The deep inner knowing within us always makes its desires known at the perfect time if we are willing to patiently wait, watch, and listen. I now understand the reason(s) for the delay. My heart was in the right place, my intentions were noble and sound, but I lacked the knowledge, sufficient development in my own yoga practice, and internal maturity needed to pursue this project in a manner that would do it justice. Some things can only be learned and developed through trial and experience and I was simply not yet ready. We often don’t know what we don’t yet know.  Thanks be to Spirit for growth, maturity, and waiting!   

This is the first image in the acrylic images of the Asana series (there will be a much larger watercolor series as well). It is a 30 x 30 – inch acrylic image that was begun live during my first attempt at live painting! The image was initiated at “Yoga After Dark” a monthly event conducted by Black to Yoga. I will be the resident “live painter” at these events for the next 3-4 months so come check me out sometime soon. 

The initiated live painting with model Kirsten Rogers

The completed live painting with model Kirsten Rogers

There’s a lot going on!

This year opened with a bang and continues to keep me busy. I am joyous and grateful for the doors that Spirit has begun to open for me! In January I was able to move into my new studio space and begin getting myself settled in there.

February opened with my participation in The Art of Living Black 2019″ show and open studios, along with the completion of my first book When We Pray. I want to thank all who offered your support by placing a pre-order for When We Pray. Your patience during the order fulfillment process was greatly appreciated. I am a freshman author and I learned a great deal during the course of my publishing process. The insights have been a real blessing.

March began with a wonderful Grand opening celebration that was both a debut of my new studio space and my first book reading. Both portions of the event were well attended. The music was and refreshments were also outstanding.

April opened with the start of my 6-week workshop on a mind-body technique called Visual Journaling. The group is small but very committed. The participants are gaining clarity and wisdom from the technique and having a great time in the process! I also participated in the opening reception for my Solo show at the East Bay Church of Religious Science. The show will be up until April 30th – so feel free to stop by EBCR if you have time.

On April 28, I’ll be doing some live painting at the Oakhella Street Festival Season Opener! I have never done any live painting before so I am both nervous and excited to take advantage of this new opportunity. However, I am up for the challenge and grateful for another chance to expand my comfort zone. I plan to raffle off the painting I complete for the Oakhella Festival so make sure you come by painting space and pick up a few tickets ($5 each). You could be a winner! 

This May I would love to engage with you at my May 9th Workshop!
SEARCHING for BEAUTY: INSIGHTS on ART, AESTHETICS & PRACTICE
Thursday, May 9, 2019
6 pm to 8 pm

Abrams Claghorn Gallery
125 Solano Ave. Albany, CA

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MY NEW COLLABORATIVE PROJECT!

After 10 years of waiting, I will soon begin working on a new series of images on yoga. I have been talking about this project for 10 years and it has just not materialized. I applied for grant funding last year but my proposal was denied. However, Spirit has recently given me the go ahead and presented me with the perfect opportunity to work birth this series.

I will be creating a 12-piece series of watercolor images on yoga. The series will be in collaboration with the founders of Black to Yoga. Black to Yoga is a monthly yoga extravaganza created by people of color, for E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y! Their mission is to bring health and wellness to our community through the transformative power of yoga.

The founders of Black to yoga have graciously offered to pose as models for the series, and collaborate with me as sponsors of the series once it is completed. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to get started! 

Coming Events

SOLO SHOW OPENING 

East Bay Church of Religious Science
4130 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA
*The reception is free and open to the public 

Friday, April 5, 2019
7pm to 9pm

I will do some readings from my book When We Pray AND showing the images from the
When We Pray Series (along with some other works).

 

YOU CAN STILL REGISTER FOR MY APRIL 2ND WORKSHOP
If you are local, purchase your spot in my upcoming Visual Journaling Workshop.

VISUAL JOURNALING
The soul speaks in many forms. Visual Journaling helps us identify and name these messages so we can more easily identify which part of our soul is speaking. The manifestation of an image can often allow us to access and process experiences by deeply engaging both the body and mind in the effort. Visual journaling helps us hone our inner vision by expressing thoughts, feelings or emotional reactions as colors, shapes or images.

The Course
This 6-week course will explore the technique of Visual Journaling and the ways in which it promotes our own spiritual growth. Each week the facilitator will discuss aspects of the technique and then present an exercise focused upon a particular theme (love, joy, grief, pain…). Participants will be expected to complete additional exercises at home during the week and contribute to group discussions during the weekly meetings. The final meeting will be dedicated to the creation of a larger final piece that will explore the results of the process.

Maximum number of participants: 12 
     
Registration deadline: April 1, 2019 (10am)

Dates: April 2, 2019 to May 2, 2019  Tuesday nights (4.2, 4.9, 4.16, 4.23, 4.30 & 5.7) 

Time: 6:45pm to 8:15pm   

Cost: *$225 
Payment includes 6 workshops sessions, supplies for 5 of the sessions, and healthy snacks.

*1x payment that must be completed prior to 10am. April 1, 2019)

2 Scholarships are available.
To apply for a scholarship, or ask a question please submit a confidential email to: info@damonpowell.com

OTHER EVENTS

Preaching
7 Last Words Service
Corinthian Baptist Church
(550 24th St. Oakland, CA)
April 19, 2019
7pm to 9:30pm

May Workshop
Workshop on artistic practice & aesthetics
Abrams Claghorn Gallery
(1251 Solano Ave. Albany, CA)
May 9, 2019

YOU CAN STILL PURCHASE

WHEN WE PRAY: 8 Meditations on the Aesthetics of Prayer & the Spiritual Life

Content

The overarching aim of When We Pray is to explore the connections between prayer, meditation, art, and aesthetic experience in ways that are both insightful and practical. Each of the eight essays takes the reader on an exploration of topics such as the role of imagination in prayer and manifestation, the aesthetic aspects of enlightenment, the role of signs and symbols in the spiritual life, and more. As you explore these topics you are also invited to feast your eyes upon professional illustrations created by the author himself. When We Pray is a total package experience that features insightful, thought-provoking essays that are accompanied by beautiful, well-crafted imagery that supports the topics covered in the prose.  

Features
-When We Pray is printed in an 8.5 x 11, soft-cover format. The prose and the accompanying illustrations are printed with black ink on opaque white paper. Your copy will be autographed!  

-The cover illustration is a 7×10 limited edition, full-color illustration printed using archival inks and paper. Each print will be numbered and signed by Dr. Powell.     

TOTAL COST $25

Price includes the price of the book, the limited edition print, applicable taxes, along with shipping and handling.
To place your order, click here:  WHEN WE PRAY

**Please send this link to others who might be interested in this offer**

 

When We Pray Is Ready!

PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW!

*The first 350 people to place their order will receive a signed copy of the book AND a limited edition 7 x 10 print of the cover illustration (pictured above).  

WHEN WE PRAY
Eight Meditations on the Aesthetics of Prayer and the Spiritual Life

When We Pray Cover Illustration

When We Pray Cover Illustration – limited edition print

CONTENT

The overarching aim of When We Pray is to explore the connections between prayer, meditation, art, and aesthetic experience in ways that are both insightful and practical. Each of the eight essays takes the reader on an exploration of topics such as the role of imagination in prayer and manifestation, the aesthetic aspects of enlightenment, the role of signs and symbols in the spiritual life, and more. As you explore these topics you are also invited to feast your eyes upon professional illustrations created by the author himself. When We Pray is a total package experience that features insightful, thought-provoking essays that are accompanied by beautiful, well-crafted imagery that supports the topics covered in the prose.

*The first 350 people to place their order will receive a signed copy of the book AND a limited edition 7 x 10 print of the cover illustration (pictured above).  

FEATURES
-When We Pray is printed in an 8.5 x 11, soft-cover format. The prose and the accompanying illustrations are printed with black ink on opaque white paper. Your copy will be autographed!  

-The cover illustration is a 7×10 limited edition, full-color illustration printed using archival inks and paper. Each print will be numbered and signed by Dr. Powell.     

The Total cost for your PRE- ORDER will be $20
This includes the price of the book, applicable taxes, along with shipping and handling for the book and limited edition print

To place your order, click here
WHEN WE PRAY PRE-ORDER
or any of the underlined links above

THE AUTHOR

The Reverend Damon A. Powell, Ph.D. is an artist and theologian who currently resides in Oakland, California. Dr. Powell’s academic research and artistic creations focus on the intersections of art, aesthetics, and spirituality. Dr. Powell’s insights come from extensive research into a wide range of spiritual and philosophical concepts that have provided him with a deep understanding of the various ways the spiritual and the aesthetic interpenetrate one another. Damon’s artistic creations are the result of ongoing spiritual practices that provide insights that he births into visual form using color, line, and symbol. Damon’s mission is to give form to divine light through the manifestation of symbolic images that reflect on the myriad ways Spirit reveals itself within our daily world.

**Please share this link with others who might be interested in this offer**