Creating art is one way you can remember your loved ones or furry pets. Whether you can draw or not, you can create something so personal and unique to you. Use your loved one's favourite colours and paint something abstract, create a photo collage or put together a memory box and decorate it. Going through the process of creating something with your loved ones in mind helps you through your grief.
I speak with Chantal Madeline, a Canadian artist. Chantal has unfortunately experienced a year of grief losing her Grandmother, Auntie, Grandpapi and her Dad. She learnt that her art helped her express how she was feeling and a way to remember her loved ones.
"In October of 2019 when I was participating in the inktober challenge, I found it helpful to express my feelings about my grandmother with each daily post. I created this one for inktober for my grandmother. I just got home from my last goodbye to her at the hospital before she passed away. I wasn't in the mood to create anything but with some comfort food and tea, this is what came out. The word prompt for that day was "mindless" and that was exactly how I was feeling after such an emotional day. This is a self-portrait, I am thinking of the yellow roses I gave to her for her birthday that August. She loved them so much!"
"It just felt like each word prompt fit an emotion I was experiencing. it was a huge thing for me to do something like this. I usually only do commission work, consisting of mostly portraiture. the responses I was receiving from many wonderful and kind people was incredibly healing and unexpected."
"After my grandma passed away in October 2019, my auntie (her daughter) passed away in November 2019. I did a piece of artwork in her memory to help me cope. It was a sea turtle in watercolour and ink and I wrote one of her journal entries in cursive around it. She loved anything turtle! She had a huge collection. So I knew I needed to do something with that to honour her. She kept journals for most of her life. she wrote about anything and everything. I would love to read them all someday and create a larger piece but this was one of the entries that felt fitting at the time."
"Shortly after, December 2019, my grandpapi, on my mom's side this time, passed away. So again, I did something in his memory. I painted all things he loved, in acrylic on a wooden slab that he gave me a few months before he passed away. I painted a fish to represent his love for fishing, his fishing club and all the fond memories I have fishing with him. I painted his blue boler trailer that we all camped in for many summers. A lot of campfires as well of course! He had many canoes throughout my early childhood years, he would even let us paint pictures on them! So I had to add that in too. He loved nature and was a true outdoorsman."
"December 2020 ( 2 days before Christmas) my dad passed away unexpectedly. I am still working on something for him. The relationship was quite a bit different compared to the others. Not always a happy one, so it's a lot more to process emotionally."
"Creating these art pieces is a way for me to share a part of each person that I've lost and loved. Each one had an impact on my life. All of this inspired me to start a grief journey series. I realised how much I miss creating just because I felt like it. I realized how much I need to get these feelings out, in the best way that I know how through my art. I don't know what exactly will be in it. whether it will be drawings, or paintings or both. or how many. I just want to see where this process takes me. it's both exciting and terrifying all at once! My introverted self prefers to hide in my studio alone, in the quiet, with my cats, creating."
"I found it to be a relief to have something to physically represent each person that I love so much. Something to remind me of each one. I keep them in my art studio space so I can look at them throughout my day. They all encouraged me to keep going after my art dreams. They loved seeing pictures of what I create. So it brings me a lot of comfort having them so close to me still."
Thank you so much, Chantal, for sharing your story and your beautiful memorial art pieces.
To see more of Chantal's work go to: