We are children of the ocean

Making of “Sweetest downfall” by Antoine Renault

The ocean transforms us

Just get in the water for a few minutes: your body relaxes, your heart slows down and your stress melts away. Scientists call this the “master switch of life” or “immersion reflex. An ultimate defense against asphyxiation that automatically kicks in as soon as our body is immersed. A phenomenon that affects the brain, the lungs and the heart, allowing us to withstand the pressure of the water and the lack of oxygen. An equivalent pressure on Earth would kill us, but not in the ocean.
The moment your face comes into contact with the water, the metamorphosis begins. The blood in your hands and feet will rise, your heart rate will drop by 25% from normal, and your mind will enter a meditative state. If you choose to dive, this transformation will be even more profound.

“Sweetest downfall” – Acrylic on canvas 100x70cm by Antoine Renault
Detail of “Sweetest downfall” by Antoine Renault

Flying below the surface
Staying on the surface and doing the plank is great. Swimming just below the surface facing the sun is wonderful. Have you ever tried it? I used to play this every day with the kids when we lived in Sitges right on the water. It’s an incredible feeling. In addition to all the effects mentioned above, it adds the fabulous light show. You feel like you’re flying in the clouds. Magical.
I had these memories in mind while painting this canvas. The completely relaxed position of the arms, the hair that seems to spread like a cloud of ink, and the light that appears on the surface.

We are children of the ocean
We feel so comfortable there, probably because that’s where we come from. Each of us begins life floating in an amniotic fluid that is 99% chemically similar to sea water. This is why a child placed underwater will naturally do the breaststroke and can hold its breath for about 40 seconds, longer than many adults. We lose this ability as we learn to walk.
Ancient cultures knew all about these reflexes and used them to catch pearls, coral or fish. Today the apnea record is over 12 minutes. At this rate, the record could soon reach 15 minutes.

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