We incorporated the use of visual arts with the movements of tai chi. The goal is to give some visual connection of how energy, through the use of tai chi, might look. The exercises provide a means of visualizing energy. The components of the workshop were:
We begin with the simple task of raking miniature zen rock gardens – We want to begin showing that the smallest of movements has a profound affect. It doesn’t always take a lot of energy to create.
We practice the posture Wave Hands Like Clouds with paint against parchment hung on the wall – The next step is to get the participants used to moving and creating with paint. We use Wave Hands Like Clouds so that we could view how the hands move through the air, and what projection the energy might have in this posture.
We come back to using calligraphy pens to observe the effect of pressure on the pen – We are back to a more precise media.
We begin to focus on our core by drawing holding a paint brush at the dan tien against parchment hung on the wall – We go back to the wall, and use brushes pressed against our lower dan tien. Our desire is to get the participants used to the core being the initiation of movement.
We give a different perspective by placing a bucket of sand against the dan tien and attempting to throw the sand – We give participants buckets of sand. The bucket is placed against their dan tien. They are to try and throw the sand using only the energy generated from their dan tien movment.
We move to a different part of the body. Practicing footwork with paint on light slippers on parchment on the floor – We then put thin plastic slippers on the participants. They place them in paint, and then practice the footwork of a form. They are able to see how the foot us used to root, ground, and initiate the energy.
We then go back to the wall and paint Wave Hands Like Clouds once again. We want to give the participants the ability to incorporated what they had learned about movement with the dan tien, the use of the foot in generating movement, as well as the fine movements of the hands.
We finish the day where we start. We go back to the zen rock gardens. We want to see if the participants have a different feeling of the small amount of energy then they did at the beginning of the day.
Participants state they are able to feel and see the differences as the day goes on. They are excited about being able to add a visual connection to the discussion of energy. They state they are able to begin to translate between big movements to smaller, more defined movements. The second day, we set up a coffee house style art gallery. We display the art created by the participants the day before in the movement exercises. Other artists are invited to display their art as well.