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Inspiration: The Breath

Posted by Jacqueline Drake on Jun 28th 2017


Inspiration: The Breath was created for the Connected 2014 Collection submission to ArtPrize. This painting was created in collaboration with writer Kate Bishop and based on her poem “Inspiration”.


From the Latin.

Breathing in.

How is that inspiring?

We breathe in, of necessity,

whatever is in the air.

It’s the exhale that matters.

Saint Francis breathed in hatred

and breathed out love.

Breathed in injury,

breathed out pardon.

Breathed in darkness,

breathed out light.

How did he do that?


I bought some bracelets in Laos.

Mountain tribesmen forged them

from ordinance debris

dropped on astonished villagers

in the American War.

On my wrist

they chime and jingle

in merry harmony.

Maimed artisans

breathed in violence,

breathed out music.

How did they do that?


On the River Nhang

polished double-end boats,

former fuel tanks of stray bombers.

dance lightly on sparkling current.

more buoyant in water

than they ever were in air.

Bereaved fishermen

breathed in destruction,

breathed out grace.

How did they do that?

A trick of the breath.

It’s all in the exhale.

- writer Kate Bishop

The process of collaborating on one piece was a personal journey that began with me starting a painting of what she was writing about – her story, the boats, the place, etc. Along the way of painting that scene, I realized I wasn’t being true to what and where I found inspiration and I began looking deeper into the breath. As a meditation teacher and a mother, the idea of the breath and how it provides energy is powerful. The exhale is when all things are possible.