Since the first experiments in India in the early 90s, the breathscribe series has been a consistent part of my practice. Regardless of restrictions of space, one can always find a spot to sit down and sink into the rhythm of the breath. These works are my way of touching the silence beyond the mind.
The series began in India in 1994. I was curious to know what might happen if one didn’t design a painting, or paint a design. During meditation, as the tide of my breath took me deeper and deeper into stillness and silence, the idea arose to work – somehow – with that rhythm of inspiration and exhalation which is so fundamental to life:
What if I painted the flow of my breath?
A simple horizontal stroke was laid down, its length being determined by the amount of paint in the brush – or by the duration of the exhalation of my breath. On the inhalation I reloaded the brush. I was entranced by the patterns that emerged as I breathed my way across and down the surface.
Gradually, the relationship between breath and spirit (inspiration) revealed itself, and over time, the paintings evolved in their own way. Sometimes mantras (this was India, after all) floated out on the exhalation. Sometimes a person’s name or a little prayer appeared in mind and flowed out on the brushstroke.
Color became significant. Prayers and glyphs were sometimes encoded and embedded into the preparation of the textured ground itself. And over the ground, the breath-strokes would express the focused prayer, releasing it over and over again into the quantum field.
But these days I find myself returning to the simple unadorned exhalation of breath from the silent mind. No intention, no commentary, no design.
Just this breath, tracking the traceless.
Breath returns me to Life.
There are many pieces in this body of work. Those featured here are associated with places of special import to me.
Please click on the titles to view the full-size images.
Top image: Breathscribe prayer for my mother, Miriam.
Light-reflective pigments, acrylic, on textured canvas.
Bottom image: the first Breathscribe – Rishi Valley, India
Gouache on handmade khadi paper.
Related posts on the blog:
Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.