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33 Yoga Illustrations on the “Digital Continent”

pigeon pose yoga drawing

Pigeon Pose, Walnut Ink on Paper, ©Michelle Arnold Paine 2019. Click to Purchase Prints.

Instagram Birthday Gift

I enjoy posting my yoga illustrations from my Mind-Body-Spirit series of figure drawings to Instagram. Instagram is a fun social media tool because through the hashtag (#) function you can follow topics that interest you, not just people. This, in addition to the fact that it is image-based, makes it a very different social media tool from Facebook.

One day last spring I was approached via email by someone who wanted to make an Instagram gift of art! This person commissioned a number of artists to create illustrations of photos of Spanish DJ Katy Sainz.  The artists created a surprise birthday gift by posting the drawings on Instagram over the couple of weeks surrounding her birthday.

I enjoyed the challenge of finding one of her Instagram photos which I thought would translate well to a drawing. I had to find one which had a nice balance of light and shadow, combined with  enough information about her body to create an accurate representation. For example, a photo in which she was wearing baggy clothes would not allow me to see the structure of her figure underneath her clothes.

Yoga Illustration Process

I usually work from life, so working from a photo was a bit of a challenge, since there are limitations to the amount of information which a photo has to offer. Additionally, when working with pen and ink it is important to know when to stop working on a drawing. I love the way the warm walnut ink of the drawing echoes the warmth of skin and the human figure.

When using a photograph the time is not limited the way it is when working from a live model, and so it can be very easy to work a drawing to death. The advantage of working from a photograph is that I actually ended up doing two drawings, as I wasn’t happy with the first one I made.

The group of yoga illustrations can be viewed at: A beautiful collection of artworks inspired by Katy Sainz’s Instagram feed, it really becomes an art exhibit, just like a group show in a gallery exhibit it is organized around a theme.  Gallery shows are limited by the amount of time they are on display as well as by the number of people who are able to visit the gallery. By viewing art through Instagram and other social media outlets we are able move beyond the physical art object.

Exhibit on the “Digital Continent”

Through the Internet we can create a globalized art community that moves beyond barriers of space and time. This is why Pope Benedict XVI called the Internet the “digital continent”. When Pope Benedict said that in 2009 in his address for World Communications Day, some people said he didn’t understand the Internet (it’s not a physical “continent”, duh). Over the last few years Internet has indeed broken barriers and brought people together in ways that would not have been imagined a few short years ago.

Via the Internet and social media apps such as Instagram we can connect to others across the world. In this way we can create a globalized art community in which we are able to find people with whom we have much in common. Technology is shaping our artistic and communal space in new ways. Do these new channels for connection replace the physical art object or face-to-face relationships? No, but they provide a means to creatively forge community in a world that needs it more than ever.