A Kaleidoscope of Colour and Memory - Chloe's Story

When I first heard of Legacy Paintings, I was thoroughly intrigued. As someone who works in bereavement care, I am always on the hunt for unique and colourful ways to help my families celebrate and honour their loved ones. I had no idea how richly rewarding the experience would be for me too.

I met with the artist over a cup of tea at my kitchen table and she explained the process that would soon transform my dining room into a psychedelic explosion of colour and memory.

As the artist explained, a Legacy Painting is creating an artwork that is a physical representation of your life story.  It is about love and courage, joy and sorrow. The magical stories that are relayed to the artist during this session then inspire the shapes that take form on the paper. 

The creative process started with words of blessing and a waterfall of colourful confetti. With a nib and black ink, the artist started by creating a spine of courage and lungs of freedom. From there, the way the ink spreads naturally through the grooves on the paper inspired the ensuing lines forming bubbles of joy and expressions of love. The colours that followed then filled in the detail of my story. 

With a melody that is deeply connected to my soul playing softly in the background, we pressed the record button and I proceeded to unravel the details of my life story: layer by layer, colour by colour. As I spoke, the artist gently nudged for further information about the narrative of my life. Why I had turned down certain paths instead of others. How I felt about the pain, the love and the great loss I had suffered.

I was surprised at how natural our conversation unravelled, with decades pouring out over a cup of French Earl Grey and onto the crisp parchment. I was so tempted to look over at the work as it was being created, but the anticipation of seeing the finished product kept me saddled in my chair.

Legacy Paintings demand a unique approach from the artist. It requires the ability to hold space for someone and offer counsel, without judgement. The ability to ask a question and then be happy to sit in silence and wait for a reply, which may or may not be forthcoming. Throughout our conversation, the artist unravelled many bubbles of grief: losing my brother, my Dad, several key people in my life and, in many ways, the grief for the loss of the life I thought I once had. It was comforting, cathartic, and the more we talked we felt we had each found a close friend.

The artist took the black and white skeleton sketch home and filled it with colour inspired by our conversation. She returned a few short weeks later with a beautiful, framed masterpiece which now hangs lovingly in my home: my life on a single page. I would thoroughly recommend this experience to my clients and all those who are looking for a creative way to celebrate their life. The process is just as meaningful as the artwork you receive in the end.