Painter uses anxiety of breathing in the age of COVID as inspiration

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Lemon Grove artist Redin Winter Courtesy photo

Like many artists, Redin Winter found herself moving from a brick and mortar studio in North Park back to her home studio in Lemon Grove due to the COVID-19 pandemic after the back and forth of openings and closings. Her altered daily life, two children and pets, living and working from home, and the worries of the spread of the virus brought both anxiety and inspiration for her latest series of paintings.

“All I can do is think about myself and how I am existing in the world and a couple of things kept coming into mind. One was this newfound anxiety that I was having about breathing,” she said. “From the smallest thing like going to a grocery store, being concerned because I had to cough and how people around me would react if I did. I realized that when I went into a place where more people were around, I would not breathe as deep. So I was realizing how I was navigating this new world, with a mask on my face that focuses on the mouth and what is going in and coming out.”

Winter said during this time, with her style of art her anxiety about breathing, she also realized she had become obsessed with trees.

“I have a tree in my backyard that I always go to when I am needing to find some peace or a moment to myself,” she said. “I have two kids at home now because the schools are closed. There is a lot going on. We have pets, everyone is working from home, so the touchstone of my calm is this tree.”

Winter said when you look at pictures of lungs, they look like tree roots are going through them and she began focusing on the fact that trees are the Earth’s apparatus for our own breathing.

“That was it. There were too many signs pointing me in this direction,” she said.

So Winter began on her artistic journey of creating pieces turning to trees as a means into a conversation about breathing in this present world. Her “Take a Breath” series is a compilation of her personal journey through the age of COVID.

Winter prefers to release her art in series rather than completing one painting at a time and releasing it out into the world. She said regardless of the theme, idea or concept she is exploring, working on several pieces at once helps her focus on them on a larger scale.

“I am not a political artist, figurative artist, I am an abstract expressionist and I usually use nature, natural forms, organic or landscapes then distract and distort them in different ways,” she said. “I started abstract painting in 2018, so it was recent. And I was not a professional artist until recently when I put myself out there, although I have been painting for 20 years.”

Winter is specific about the mixed media she uses because she pays a lot of attention to creating pieces that stand the test of time. For her texturing, she uses professional modeling paste, then she continues her works with acrylic paints, acrylic archival inks and many times uses charcoal as a base.

“Take a Breath” is a series of 23 paintings and can be seen at Winter’s website beginning Jan. 30 at www.redinwinter.com and on Instagram @redinwinter.