Creative grieving – or morbid art?

In the past couple of months I’ve experienced the loss of 3 people, relatively close to me. And in this loss I’ve come to realise again the importance of grieving. This got me thinking about creative grieving and therefore creative healing.

Out of interest I looked back historically, in particular at artists, and there is a strong theme of grief within art or creativity coming from a place of grief.

I first found a blog written by Lisa A. Riley, MA, called Grieving through Art which looks at Picasso’s well-known “Blue Period” and how it “was prompted by the sudden suicide death of his friend Carlos Casadgemas.”

Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting “Christina’s World” was notably painted “in 1948. His father, N. C. Wyeth, had been killed at a railway crossing just three years earlier and Andrew’s work underwent a significant change after the loss. His palette became muted, his landscapes barren and his figures–if present–seemed plaintive. Christina’s World epitomizes these traits, and conveys the impression that it is an outward expression of Wyeth’s inner grief.”

And finally the grief that comes out of rejection has been observed and documented in famous artists work. The likes of Van Gogh, who spent time in an insane asylum and had a self-inflicted ear mutilation. Monet, who endured abject poverty. Cezanne, who experienced repeated professional rejection and whose personal life was marked by tensions that sharpened his sensitivity to relationships. And Gauguin, who also experienced poverty, his daughter Aline dying of pneumonia and Clovis, his son, dying from a blood infection. Gauguin even titled one of his masterpieces “Spirit of the Dead Watching”.

I then reflected on earlier losses in my life and remember that in time I have often created something or done something creative to aid my own healing process. I have written a poems.

I remember you.
I remember your blue eyes, that sparkled even more when you had a scheme brewing.
I remember your laugh, a hearty chuckle full of joy.
I remember your stories, full of artistic licence and fun.
I remember your hugs, where I felt so safe.
I remember your love, so warm and true.
I remember you.
~ Anna Nelson. 19.1.08

Created a short clip , and by chance or fate I found a significant charm and put in on my keyring for several years.

For me these are an acknowledgement of what is no longer with me physically, a celebration of what impact the people had on my life, and creative healing.

What do you think – Is this creative healing? Or just adding to the pain of loss?
How do you creatively heal in a time of loss?

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2 thoughts on “Creative grieving – or morbid art?

  1. When my life threw me an oopsie a number of years ago – I found that everything was an uphill battle. I remember people in my fibre world of textiles saying “I thought that now you had more freedom to create, you would make brighter, more textured wares, but you aren’t”

    I went into to a very dull, natural looking ideal – occasionally a flick of colour but it would soon disappear into the depths of the rest of the creations. I think I thought that if I used up all the dull colours in my stash; I would be released from this dreadful issue…

    Maybe it was a way of coping…

    I also noticed how my dress changed…back into sombre colours and if anything was too bright – it was indoors only! Also what is deemed mainstream classic clothing colours.

    Especially when I have been previously known as the person who could wear Yellow bottoms with Pink and Green striped top and bright red shoes and purple patterned sox! Or something just as daring…apparently friends thought when they were going to meet me “I wonder what she is wearing today!!?” Once period I got into hats…

    I still haven’t found a way out of the black or dark coloured mire…maybe I should. Especially as I need some new duds because I’ve dropped another size and much of what I have is no longer a fitted item. My raincoat which you might remember is certainly sack-like this year 🙂

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