Oil on Canvas
Coffee and Biscuits
“Men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work least.”—Leonardo da Vinci
You might be asking yourself, "Where are the biscuits?"
In dance, teachers call feet biscuits. It sounded better to me than coffee and feet, so I used the play of words.
"The biscuits foot" is when your foot just doesn’t want to point, it’s shapeless, it doesn’t wing, and well, it’s an absolute pain! If you’re cursed with biscuit feet, you’ll be pleased to know that you can correct it." Biscuit feet normally have tension in the arches, so it’s important to stretch and relax to correct them constantly.
But relaxing these days is harder than ever! Do you have trouble settling into quiet moments? Having a pastime, which is an activity that someone regularly does for enjoyment rather than work, went away with the advent of the mobile smartphone. Social media, email, workflow websites, and wordle all steal away our downtime. Precious quiet moments of nothingness have become a precious commodity. Often, I feel like I must be doing something that I fail to recognize the beauty and growth in doing nothing. The Italians have a phrase for this art of doing nothing, “la dolce far niente,” which translates to "the sweetness of doing nothing." It encompasses the idea that our daily actions become influenced by our instincts and no longer by routines, shoulds, and musts.
Wonder often spings from these moments. Wonder is that childlike curiosity in life. It is the one thing you can’t inherit or learn in school. To be interested in the shadow of a dragonfly wing or the gate of a ladybug. Retaining a childlike sense of wonder can be the most difficult thing to do. Yet, one of history's greatest geniuses in art, chemistry, physics, and philosophy, Leonardo Davinci, has his genius attributed to his sense of wonder. Most of us quit puzzling over everyday phenomena at a certain point in life. We might savor the beauty of a blue sky, but we no longer bother to wonder why it is that color. We should be careful never to outgrow our wonder years or let our children do so, for it is the purest quality of innovation.
Like always, I find nature to be the best teacher. As I think about this concept of idle time being the chamber to maintain and develop wonder, I thought about the spring tulips emerging from the ground in the Month of May come to mind. Tulips bloom in spring, but preparation begins in early to late winter. Tulip bulbs need a minimum of four weeks of chilling before they will bloom. Life’s bounty is in its natural flow and rhythm. It is always caught in a moment of evolution through quiet, careful introspection. It reacts to all the stimuli around it and thrives in differences in climate.
I am also brought back to the reoccurring theme of balance in life. I practice yoga, and I am reminded of the importance of the yin and the yang through it. Natarajasana (Dancer Pose) is a deep backbend that requires patience, focus, and persistence. One must hold a standing one-legged balancing shape, where one foot is lifted behind us, grasped by the hand as we tip forward and reach the other to the front. The pose is named after the Hindu god Shiva Nataraja, King of the Dance, who finds bliss in the midst of destruction. The Pose embodies finding steadying calm within, for one would crumble and fall without it. Staying centered is the goal and the point. How does this connect to art? Art is to observe the world around and stay connected to the present moment. It is an act of Balance between consciously trying to create something and unconsciously allowing things to happen.
Time is a precious circular commodity. It is never linear and meanders like the mind. Time should hold space for dreaming, away from the chaos of the daily frenzy. It is ok to grab a cup of coffee and savor the moment without guilt because, honestly, it is about this moment that innovation springs. Art is the giving of pleasure to the world. Always look for the thing you like. Just as a person has never been overappreciated… neither has nature. May the month of May nurture your spirit and renew your sense of wonder.