My answer is: In my dreams. In my dreams, I have gone swimming with mermaids, discovered underwater worlds, and yes, breathed.
It certainly helps that there are increasingly more marine biologists studying deeper sea beds and providing beautifully shot documentaries about ocean life. I get inspired by the colors, the unbelievable creatures, and the explanations of their prehistoric lineages. From there, I go to sleep and take myself to those worlds, experiencing them almost firsthand, with a little help from my ridiculously vivid imagination.
When I wake up, I take those visions and transfer them to sketches, and then to canvas, so that everyone can see my mixture of reality and story-telling. My mermaid paintings "Undersea Adventures" are the result of this. There are six sketched and planned, and two are complete already. I'm working hard to finish the third. You'll notice that my mermaids have sharks' tails, making them strong and fearless. There is a story to the entire series, which I will unveil when they're all complete. You might be surprised to find out what mermaids are like.