Focusing Beyond the Target
I was a student of Sensei Hidy Ochiai and studied Washin-ryu Karate-Do for 12 years. The life lessons I learned and character I built as his student stays with me. Even though I no longer formally study with him, I still consider myself one of his loyal students. I remain a fierce warrior of light.
As a martial artist I was trained to focus beyond the target. If the technique was a punch to the solar plexus, you aimed past the body so you delivered power throughout the strike. My second martial arts teacher, this time in Aiki Jitsu, used to say, ”Look to the mountains, that is your focal point.”
I aim past the target when I throw paint. Thus, I capture a section of the trajectory bringing you the viewer into a moment of the movement.
When you work with a partner practicing a technique, of course, you don’t want to hurt them. It’s all about control. Being able to put the full movement into the technique, but stopping right before you make contact.
In the beginning I ended the technique way before the focal point, way in front of the body. As my control developed, I was able to get closer and closer without making contact. This applies to my artistic process as well.
At times I want to express a segment of the movement and show the full range of the throw’s trajectory. Here I must use control; it is a focus of wanting the paint to land almost in front of the canvas. And if my control is spot on, I end the movement right before the canvas ends.
It’s a gloriously messy process; some of my most exhilarating and freeing experiences as an artist are when I throw paint.
Also it’s the patterns outside the canvas that I find fascinating. I am investigating incorporating the painting beyond the canvas into my creations.
I developed these works as part of a submission to a show on movement in art. And drats! Second rejection of 2016. This time I was caught in a moment of discouragement. Luckily I was headed to class with my teacher and mentor Stan Brodsky at the Art League of Long Island. True confessions — I did mention (ok seriously vent) to some of my art pals about not getting into the show. They kindly laughed at (with) me and basically told me to get over myself. Rejection is the life an artist. A seasoned painter and poet told me she had a stack of NO letters several feet high (from her hand gestures) and that she had made an art piece from them. I am so fortunate to have colleagues that will not let me have even a moment of a “pity party.”
So here’s to rejection and what it teaches me as an artist and human being and here’s to taking risks and making glorious mistakes. This is my daily work as an artist.
Do you focus beyond your target? And what glorious mistakes have you made?