It was in therapy when Elizabeth Selby heard the phrase “shallow breath.”
Her therapist was explaining to her that breath is often an indicator of how you’re feeling. “And if you’re ‘shallow breathing,’” says Selby, “that’s your body’s stress response to something.”
Her most recent collection, the title of which borrows from this therapy session, includes artwork from the past two years, spanning pre- and mid-COVID.
According to Selby’s therapist, paying attention to our breathing patterns is important: “Just check in with yourself and be like, ‘What am I anxious about or worried about that I’m possibly ignoring or numbing by looking on Instagram or watching something?’” This “checking in” aspect is a major element of her show.
The painting titled “Shallow Breath” is the only one in the collection with a male subject — the man to whom she happens to be married. “I noticed I am so tethered to him,” says Selby, a realization that came during the pandemic, a year that was particularly difficult for her husband. “I am so tethered to this person that when he’s anxious, I get these stress responses. I get these anxious, shallow breathing symptoms. When he’s sad, I’m devastated.”
“It’s annoying and magical at the same time,” she says.
With COVID also came a shift in Selby’s creative process. Initially, the way she approached art was procedural and lengthy. “Once my energy levels were so low, I [felt] like I just didn’t have the energy for all that,” she says.“I was just like: OK, we’re just going to do the raw, bare minimum to get it out of me and onto a canvas.”
Self-portraits make up the bulk of Selby’s work. “I’ve had models who are like amazing models, but I’m not the best at communicating, like, this is what I’m going for,” she says. “And you know, sometimes you’ll get lucky and get the image that you want, but it’s just so much easier working with myself in that way.”
However, Selby does note the following: “Someone [once] said, ‘Every painting is a self-portrait of the artist.’”
She hopes her exhibit is an emotionally liberating space. “I want people to be able to maybe feel empathy for where they’ve been at emotionally,” says Selby. “Like just feel that they’re not alone. That it’s OK to let yourself feel these things. You kind of need to let yourself feel these things so that you can keep going.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Theatreworks is back this summer with a 75-minute rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For those of you not familiar, the Shakespeare play revolves around four lovers who become bewitched by fairies; the evening takes a chaotic (albeit comedic) turn. Thanks to the Free-For-All program, this performance is free of charge throughout the Pikes Peak region.
The show runs through Aug. 1 and at various locations.
For more info, go to entcenterforthearts.org/theatreworks/events.
2021 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The annual “race to the Clouds” is an automobile hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak, aka America’s Mountain. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume the majority of us are not competing — and if you’re anything like me ... lack the intestinal fortitude for such a rapid ascent anyway. (Over 12 miles long and 14,115 feet high!!!) Lucky for us, there are spectator tickets available.
The 99th race will start at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 27.
Visit ppihc.com for more info.
City as a Venue: Front Range Fables
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center presents Front Range Fables, three tales written by local playwrights — all based on the city’s history. Shepherd of the Great Mountain (Marisa Herbert) is inspired by Julia Archibald Holmes, the first white woman to summit Pikes Peak. To Slay the Dragon (Jonathan Andujar) is inspired by the former Conejos neighborhood, an immigrant community. Lastly, The Stone Garden (Jessica Kahkoska) is inspired by Curt Goerke who, in the 1900s, infamously built a wall around Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June 26 to Aug. 7.
See fac.coloradocollege.edu/theatre-events/front-range-fables for free tickets and details.