Updated: Feb 10
How Art Can Celebrate and Commemorate Love
Twenty-three years ago, in the depths of grief over my sister’s death, I found myself struggling to hold on to her love. We feel love and we can know we are loved. But both are intangible. We can only touch, hear and see the effect or expression of love.
I had an unsettling feeling that perhaps Kerry and I weren’t as close as I had imagined. Was I remembering correctly? I felt so lost and disoriented I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t bring to mind our conversations or even her voice. I could only recall the glow and connection I felt in her physical presence and now that feeling seemed forever out of reach.
Our Mom had kept a little pink and white dress that Kerry and I had both worn as babies, though we were born eight years apart. For me, that dress became a symbol of the many things my sister and I shared. And painting it was a way – for my own heart – to reclaim and bear witness to our closeness, connection and love. Depicted illuminated by the sun as it hangs on the clothesline, the little dress also reminded me that love survives beyond our perishable bodies. It shines within us and can show up in our lives in unexpected and beautiful ways.
I believe that one of my callings as an artist is to celebrate and commemorate love, past or present, for myself and for others and to help provide a visual anchor or catalyst to revisit that love. As I create a painting, it is almost as if I am writing a "love letter" through the composition, light, and color, each brushstroke like a word or gesture expressing relationship and connectedness. And as you can see, such paintings are often symbolic reminders, rather than figurative portraits.
If you were to commemorate or bear witness to the love in your life through a custom-created painting... a painting you could look at to feel, hear and see that connection every day... what love would you want to honor? One met through friendship? Or through children, grandchildren, parents, siblings or other family relationships? Through a marriage or partnership? Or the love of an animal companion? Perhaps the love you feel through your faith or spirituality? And what image, symbol or scene would you choose? I'd love to hear in the comments. If you'd like me to create something meaningful for you, I have 5 painting commission spots left for this year. You can reach me here or at laurahiggsart.com to connect and learn more.