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Processing Loss Through Your Art

A gentle warning before you read this. This was supposed to be a celebration article, but things happened that led me in a different direction. You might find it sad.

Stick with me because there is a message here that you might need. Maybe not now, but someday. And I promise that there is a happy ending.

Thank you in advance for allowing me to share this story with you.

©Carol L. Myers, Now. Encaustic monotype on Kitikata paper, 20 x 16 inches. Used with permission.

©Carol L. Myers, Now. Encaustic monotype on Kitikata paper, 20 x 16 inches. Used with permission.

15 Years of Art Biz Coach

This week I celebrate 15 years of writing a weekly email to artists, which I mark as the anniversary of Art Biz Coach. The newsletter is now posted here on the blog where you’re reading it.

It was on March 25, 2002 that I sent my first private Email as a sample to artists I found on the Internet.

I remember the reply from one person: “How did you find me?!” She thought it was a little creepy that I found her online – as if her website were supposed to be a secret.

I don’t know of anyone who was sending a weekly newsletter to artists at the time. Many artists appreciated it because it was exciting to get email about the art business and feel connected.

Those were the days! Now we don’t need more email. We don’t want more email.

This is one of the many reasons why I’m extraordinarily grateful that you invite me into your inbox each week.

You’re busy, and now there are many other business tips out there for artists. I don’t take your trust for granted.

I can’t promise this newsletter and corresponding blog post will go on forever. I can’t even promise they will happen next week. But I’m pretty proud that I have never missed a weekly issue. That’s 780 newsletters if you’re counting.

I take this seriously.

I fired my first virtual assistant because she didn’t get my newsletter out on time. By golly, I promise it on this day and it should be delivered on this day!

This week’s newsletter – the very one you’re reading now on the blog – was a close call. Here’s what happened.

You Have Something To Say

My delightful father-in-law passed last weekend. He wasn’t well, but it wasn’t imminent. His passing capped off a week in which I said goodbye to my sweet kitty, Dharma, and – I can’t make this up – had my first car wreck in recent memory.

©Pattie Byron, The Journey Within. Copper, stainless steel, steel, and powder coat, 16.25 x 10.25 inches. Used with permission.

©Pattie Byron, The Journey Within. Copper, stainless steel, steel, and powder coat, 16.25 x 10.25 inches. Used with permission.

If bad things happen in threes, circumstances can only get better, right?

You surely wouldn’t blame me if I skipped my weekly missive, and I am not writing this to prove a point or to maintain a perfect record.

I’m writing in the middle of this turmoil because I have something to say.

I watch many of my clients deal with illnesses and deaths of loved ones. Several in the last few weeks alone.

We need to know that it’s okay to grieve. Everyone deals and heals at his or her own pace. Take as much time as you need, and don’t let anyone tell you how to mourn.

Me? I needed to work this week. I’m processing these major life events by writing about them.

I wrote in my journal about the joy I got from both Dharma and John. It was important to do so before it was too late – before I forgot why they took up such a big space in my heart.

You might need to make art to process loss. The art might be about your loss, but it might be about something else entirely.

In an undergraduate painting class, I started a canvas about a scene that I wanted to remember with my older cousin. He had just been killed in a private plane crash.

The painting, in a word, sucked. Come critique time my wise professor said that it might be too soon. I was probably too close to what had happened.

Life Happens, But The Daffodils Will Still Be Here

Life happens while you are busy making other plans. – John Lennon

Life happens, and the world moves on. But, man!, it has changed. It’s a different world than it was before your loss.

©Robin Herst Rose, Fire Water. Photograph. Used with permission.

©Robin Herst Rose, Fire Water. Photograph. Used with permission.

It feels like a crueler world – until you accept the generosity of those around you. Posting a photo and small story of Dharma on Facebook helped with my healing. I was home alone while my husband was away with his sick father, so I soaked in the kindness of my friends and “friends.”

Knock social media all you want, but feeling this love was such a comfort.

It might also seem like a darker world. Until you open the door and walk onto your front porch immediately after your beloved furry friend  dies and – I can’t make this up, either – witness the first daffodil of spring open right before your eyes.

Your Turn

If you have a story about processing grief, tips for those who are grieving, or would just like a warm-and-fuzzy virtual hug, please leave a comment.

This post first appeared on Art Biz, please read the originial post: here

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Processing Loss Through Your Art


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