Take a deep breath and dive in a fresh, clear water! Looking through these underwater paintings and you start to immediately remember what it feels like it. That moment when the world’s worries wash away and a sense of calmness overtakes your body.
Zener calls that shared feeling our « quest for refuge and peace beneath the chaos of life. »
« My work is about psychological turning points and transformations and risk, taking that proverbial leap of faith, balanced with that quest for finding refuge, finding quietness and stillness and escapism, » he said. « Some [paintings] are very, very introspective escapism. Some are just the joy, the pool full of people in this temporary oasis. The 10 minutes when you hit the water for the first time and the smell of sun tan lotion hits your nose. You really don’t think about anything for those first few minutes. »
Ontario-based artist Heather Horton paints soothing scenes filled with calming color palettes and rich textures. This series of Swimming Portraits features faceless females gliding through the water and creating ripples and bubbles all around.
Reflections of light and distortions give the illusion that each swimmer is consumed beneath the surface of the flowing water. In reality, though, the images are just flat, static paintings in which Horton has captured very realistic feelings of fluidity in her continued exploration of the human condition.
Each composition is just a fragment of a larger picture, with the solitary figures quite content in the seemingly infinite watery world. Horton says, « There is a prevailing sense of isolation and alienation in my paintings. I want the viewer to wonder what is beyond the borders of the canvas. I like to paint natural people/objects in natural surroundings…environments that are special to them, with minimal posing and no pretense. »
Artist Samantha French was born raised in Minnesota. Her current body of work explores nostalgic memories from her childhood spent swimming in lakes of northern Minnesota. The underwater portraits portray people both in and out of water in the midst of perfect tranquil moments captured gracefully with oil paints.
She says of her work:
« My current body of work is focused on swimmers underwater and above. Using vague yet consuming memories from my childhood summers spent immersed in the tepid lakes of northern Minnesota, I attempt to recreate the quiet tranquility of water and nature; of days spent sinking and floating, still and peaceful ».
« These paintings are a link to my home and continual search for the feeling of the sun on my face and warm summer days at the lake. They are my escape, a subtle reprieve from the day-to-day. At the same time, I am drawn to an idealistic time before my own, where swim caps and wool swimsuits were commonplace. This combination of memory, observation and photography has allowed me to preserve the transitory qualities of water and remembrance ».
Most often than not,English artist Sarah Harvey likes to be both the artist and the subject of her artworks. She puts on a bathing suit, jumps in one of London’s oldest pools and goes underwater so her photographer friend can take a series of photos.
She takes into consideration the position of the sun every time she prepares for a photo shoot, and tries to include its reflection on the water whenever she can, along with the surrounding darkness to create a contrast that makes the distorted human figure look even more interesting.
« My paintings of figures floating are predominantly self portraits. I aim to create paintings that arouse both a sense of well being and pleasure, whilst simultaneously suggesting notions of insecurity, fantasy and sexuality. »
And why not recapture this cool atmosphere with this set of duvet covers and pillowcases that turns your place of sleeping into a place of swimming by making your bed look like a photorealistic sun-filled lap pool? Created by Dutch bedding designers Snurk