Grief Art: Art As A Medium To Cope With Loss and Grief

cover image for Grief Art

Grief is a unique and an extremely personal experience that every single person we know goes through. 

It’s an inevitable emotion that no one is ever known to have escaped, because it is in fact what proves us to be human! 

From the beginning of our existence,  people have found different ways to cope with grief and move on with it.

Grief art is one such coping strategy that was introduced for someone to navigate their journey through loss and pain.

And that is also why it has always been a part of art therapy.

Well, it is no news that art has been part of the human experience which also includes sadness and grief.

The proof of this can be witnessed through several artworks made by artists through the course of history.

Even then, to make the best use of anything, be it a concept or a product, it is vital to dive deep into the details of it. 

Because something like grief is so personal, how does one associate art to it and why is it necessary?

So, what exactly encompasses grief art and how can someone benefit from it?

Family painting from different photos

This is exactly what I am going to cover in my article for you—to understand what grief art is and the best ways to indulge in it. 

What is Grief Art?

a middle aged man painting on a canvas

We all know that art has always been created to imitate different aspects of life, and grief is one of them. 

To vent out our emotions and cope with immense pain and sorrow, we begin creating grief art. 

Grief is one of the most powerful emotions that can have a lasting influence on someone, in both good and bad ways. 

Many artists we know in the line of history have always reflected their grief through art, and in the process coping and accepting it. 

Grief in itself is a journey that an individual is forced to take, which of course has to complete its course. 

What art does is make the journey a tad bit easier and make it seen and understood. 

Also read: Art Investment: A Guide to Investing in Art

The 5 Stages of Art Grief

colors representing 5 stages of art grief

We all know grief is not some wavering breeze that sweeps you off and leaves you on the floor. 

In fact it is a storm that strangles  you to the ground, leaving you questioning everything and forcing you to pass through all its stages. 

We all know that the five stages of grief are; Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. 

See, grief is known to be a powerful emotion as it carries more emotions within them, sometimes even more than just five. 

But how do these emotions manifest themselves through art? 

When people surrender themselves to art to cope with their grief, they often use the colors associated with these emotions. 

Therefore, the five stages of grief art are;

  • Denial represented by Magenta
  • Anger represented by Red 
  • Bargaining represented by Green 
  • Depression represented by Grey and
  • Acceptance represented by “a bright light” which is either White or Yellow. 

There is of course no restriction when it comes to art, so people tend to indulge in different shades and hues of the above colors. 

Recommended Read: Best Online Art Galleries 

How Does Art Help to Cope With Grief? 

an artist thinking in front of her canvas

Now, it is already established that art helps with coping with grief, but how does one exactly do it?

And if one was to indulge in art to deal with despair and grief, is there any one particular way to do it?

Of course not, there are in fact many different ways you can use art to cope with your grief and loss.  

So, here are a few for you to consider;

1. Commissioning A Custom Memorial Portrait 

A lot of times struggle in being in a freeze state while experiencing grief. 

That does not mean they do not want to feel or accept it, but they just find it difficult to create something on their own. 

Well, art is not the one to discriminate, and you can always rely on art.

And that means grief art does not necessarily have to be created by you.

If you have fond memories of someone who you are grieving for, you can commission a memorial painting! 

This could even be a dear pet who passed the rainbow bridge recently.

Getting a memorial painting would be honoring the person you lost while also cherishing the memories you had with them. 

And when you get something hand painted, there is nothing more intimate and personal than that!

Are you intrigued to get a memorial painting to make your healing journey easier? Let me help you;

2. Create An Abstract Painting

When you cannot deal with the turmoil brimming inside you, you do the follow;

Get a canvas, some paint, and some paintbrushes and get your hands dirty. 

Let your body and mind guide you and take the painting to its natural course.

While the art you make gives you something abstract and definitely something that has a unique meaning to you. 

You don’t necessarily have to paint an abstract art, you can even try splashing your favorite memory on canvas. 

And again, there are no rules, so feel free to use your hands and fingers to create grief art on your blank canvas, making your despondence seen. 

3. Make a DIY Photo Collage

If you are a picture hoarder, then this one is an option you can try with the physical memory that you hold. 

Sometimes with grief, memory becomes hazy and might find difficult to acknowledge what happened.

You also find yourself in a frozen state where you are struggling to regulate your memories and emotions. 

Making a photo collage will help you revisit each memory and slowly unfold the feeling attached to it. 

You can give a theme to this collage, or you can segment it into different themes or sections and make an album out of it. 

This activity will make your grief tangible to a great extent and help you process it.

Conclusion: Embrace Art To Heal You 

a couple holding their family portrait on their lap.
Image: and

There is never one way to go about dealing with grief.

That is why we have grief art—when connected to art, it loses all rigidity and restrictions. 

If you would ask me, I would definitely recommend you to go with handmade paintings.

This is because they carry more essence and emotions encompassed in a painting. 

Grief art has a way to help you in ways even you’d surprise, teaching you something unique in the process. 

You need not “let go” of grief, instead you can experience it all you want and then hold on to the good parts in the form of a nice custom portrait. 

Because they are gone from your sight, and never from your heart! 

I hope this article brought you some solace in the matter of how to deal with grief. 

More importantly, I hope you have a good understanding of what grief art is and how you can use it to your needs. 

I will be back with another one, till then, see you!

Toodles xx

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five stages of grief art?

The 5 stages of grief art are as follows: 
Magenta for Denial, Red for Anger, Green for Bargaining, Grey for Depression, and “Bright light” which is White or Yellow for Acceptance.

What are some art activities to deal with grief?

Buying custom paintings, making abstract art, making a photo collage, doodling are some of the ways you can use art to cope with grief.

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