Remember to breathe...
We breathe all of the time, we wouldn't be alive without breath, but we are usually not aware of our own breathing. I have started work on a new collection of paintings, inspired by the simple word Breathe, and what it has meant to me during the past year and a half.
The first Breathe painting that I have created is based on a photograph of wild flowers that I took this summer. Near the bottom of this painting is a black horizontal line across the painting. Along this are groups of long and short vertical lines. The short lines represent dots and the long lines represent dashes. In Morse code this spells out “breathe”.
During my ongoing recovery from Long Covid, I have been using mindfulness as a way to encourage my body to calm down. Our breath is always with us, and so we can use it at any time as something to focus attention on. Concentrating on the breath is a powerful way of taking time out to calm mind and body.
Lockdown brought with it a real appreciation of the benefit of spending time in green space. Getting out into nature provides me with a real boost to my mental health. "Breathe" is not just a prompt to spend time breathing in fresh air, but also to stop and appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world.
Above are several sketches that I made using marker pens, based on reference photos that I have taken in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire. These abstract landscapes and skyscapes all feature this same line of Morse code.
The line of Morse code also features as a line where part of the image is reflected above or below the line. This alludes to the idea of looking at the world around us from a different point of view, to try out new perspectives.
I am really looking forward to getting to work on the next one of these paintings. I will be exhibiting this collection at my exhibition Room for Art, which will be taking part at Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham from 2-8 February 2022. Put it in your diary if you'd like to see these paintings in person.