Aerial Arts Inspiration

My newest work is a visual representation of my experience learning Aerial Arts during the summer of 2018. Alongside my Aerial training with Cheryl Broughton, I made stream of consciousness watercolors that I am now transforming into mixed media mandalas. These paintings were also influenced by sessions with Sifu Matthew Cohen from Sacred Energy Arts. 

I began by applying for the Pratt Intellectual Development Fund awarded by Brentwood School to its faculty. After applying for the grant in December of 2017, I learned the following Spring that I would be awarded the funds and was able to start my training in the summer. My application specified a clear rationale and a list of intentions and expected outcomes.


My intention is to learn Aerial Arts[1] as a way to discover an exciting new perspective that will invigorate both my teaching and art making.  My goal is to explore Aerial Fabric, Aerial Hoop, and Aerial Hammock, as art forms that will enhance my creativity both in and outside of the classroom.  In addition, I will continue to develop mindfulness and meditation through the lens of yoga, qigong, and martial arts.

Anticipated Outcomes

·      I will develop a series of new paintings that will be informed by kinesthetic learning and the conscious understanding of my body as it moves through space.

·      I will incorporate more kinesthetic learning into my art curriculum.

·      I will understand Aerial Arts as an accessible art form that will bring me a new kind of self-awareness and enhance my self-confidence. 

·      My gains in self-confidence will enhance my leadership skills, enabling me to easily share how the combination of action and intellect produces meaningful work. 

·      I will complete 10 hours of one-on-one study with Los Angeles-based Aerial Arts instructor, Cheryl Broughton. 

·      Specifically, I will become familiar with basic climbing techniques, single and double foot tie-ins, inversions, basing, and basic drops.  I will also learn positions such as Mermaid, Candy Cane, and Peter Pan. 

·      I will include a video of my Aerial training alongside slides of new paintings in my summary at the conclusion of this project.

[1] Aerial Arts refers to physical disciplines involving the use of apparatuses that hang down from a rig point. Some of the most common are Aerial Fabric (commonly called Aerial Silks even though they are not in fact made from silk), Aerial Hoop (also called Lyra or Cerceaux), Trapeze(static, swinging, flying, and dance trapeze), Aerial Rope (also called Corde Lisse), Straps, Loops, Slings, Hammocks, and a variety of other apparatuses of all shapes and sizes.

The first step in creating the paintings was making stream of consciousness watercolor sketches. As I freely applied concentrated water media, vibrant hues emerged in shapes and lines that were evocative of what I felt in my body and were the summation of the processing of my emotions.  As I became less attached to the need for realistic imagery, the shift in my artwork immediately began to manifest as abstraction.  In this series, color relates to the vibrations of different chakras.  Rich reds, such as pure cadmium or deep crimson, emerge to relay the root chakra of connection.  Vivid indigo blends with turquoise to reference the intuitive qualities of the third eye chakra and opening of throat chakra.  Patterns from nature also come forth, such as the snake skin’s repeating, interlocking, almond shape or the hexagonal shapes in the turtle’s scutes and honeycomb cells of beehives.  These shapes symbolize the Animal Medicine called forth to make the transcendent journey that paralleled my Aerial Arts experience. I continue to trust the work of the abstract, stream of consciousness paintings.  The imagery always has the right “medicine” for the spiraling of my journey.   

I am currently navigating phase two of the process, which is more methodical and meticulous. I photograph the abstract watercolor sketches and open them in Adobe Photoshop, extracting compelling shapes and applying radial symmetry to compose mandalas.  I often develop written affirmations that reinforce the meditative qualities of the artwork and post them on Instagram