Art Heals

 In Artistic Inspiration, Blog Post, Painting Inspiration

Art Heals

Life and Loss and how To Look to Art for Relief

 

Life and Loss.  I like the first word, but the second word causes me to shudder.

 

I don’t like change, certainly I don’t enjoy loss.  Sensitive artist types are thought to get their inspiration from the dark parts of a full life, but I’d rather not.

 

As someone who becomes so fully attached to the people I love or a pet I adore, it is  excruciating to process a loss.

This year has been one full of so many.  My best kitty buddy Jack, My dad, and my fiancee’s dear mom.  Awful.

 

Stick with me here, this will get better. I Promise.

 

Max

I once had a sweet little kitty named Max.  When he left the planet suddenly, my therapist (yes, I have one of those.  Highly recommend it!) suggested I paint a picture of him.

 

I hadn’t tried any realistic paintings before, so I was irritated (yep, perfectly normal to get irritated at one’s therapist) that she suggested it.  However, I begrudgingly went home and did it.

 

I started with finding a favorite photo of my silly little black kitty, grabbed a masonite board (which I had never painted on before) and because I was just starting out with acrylics, my one little shoebox of acrylic paints.

 

Sidenote: Acrylic paints now # in the 100’s and have taken over 1/2 of my art supplies.

 

I decide to forgo a brush for most of the painting, and used my fingers! I do not know why I did that, but I only realized it after the fact.

black-kitty-painting-of-maxwell-kuuipo-by-mika-harmony

 

 

A Healing Process

While I was painting, I was sad- but there was something more happening.

 

I was able to process so many feelings. I felt that I had missed the health cues that something was wrong, I felt guilty, I felt like I failed my little pet but I also I felt relieved that he wasn’t suffering…all of it.

 

Most of all, I felt a weight off my shoulders that I could honor my little Max in a painting.

 

Helping Others Heal

Fast forward several years later, I have posted that pic on my Instagram page– and then someone asks me to paint their cat.

 

I now paint as many pieces in honor of kitties who have passed, as I do painting pieces celebrating those sweet kitties who are still here to give us love.

 

Whimsical Illustrations

Here are a few whimsical illustrations I have done of cats:

calico-kitty-painting-of-miss-watson-by-mika-harmony

Miss Watson, photo courtesy of @melowonne

 

Orange and White kitty “Noodles” aka “Noodacris” photo courtesy of @katoooshkaaa

 

Realistic Style Pet Portraits

tiger-tabby-kitty-watercolor-painting-in-honor-of-cat-by-mika-harmony

Kalli kitty of @colukafr

 

Rainbow Bridge: Art in Memoriam

Here is a hybrid seahorse + dog that I did in the spirit of sweet Willie, the affable golden retriever of my artist friend @pattymacknits.

Life and Loss_rainbow-bridge-art-of-puppy-dog_willie-seahorse-painting-by-mika-harmony

I added all of Willy’s coloring to the seahorse- the golden bits, the white flecks, the rust colored nose and his eye color.

Patty so very kindly videoed herself opening my gift. Please consider watching it HERE. It is a beautiful video.

I was so incredibly touched that she started crying when she opened it.  That to me, was the greatest gift.

 

I put my heart into everything I paint. It is always such an honor to have my enthusiastic aloha spirit recognized and appreciated.

 

How to Process Grief

What if you have experienced a loss, but you don’t paint?

I completely endorse the idea of writing a letter to your loved once you have experienced their life and loss.  This is a letter just for you, that nobody else will see.

Think of:

  • 1 thing you want them to know about you?
  • A final question you want to ask them?
  • What do you miss the most about them?
  • what is 1 thing you wished you had said or done before they passed?

Those prompts should get you started.

 

If you are too fragile to do that on your own- call on a friend to be with you while you write….or if you like, call on me- my contact form at the bottom of my webpage will get your message into my private in-box.

I will walk you through one of my beloved grief painting exercises or writing exercises that is very user-friendly and easy to share.

 

A Happy Ending

I know it is all part of the life and loss cycle, and sometimes through the loss we are rewarded with even greater things.

 

If I hadn’t lost my Max, I would never have gotten my sweet Simon, who holds the title of CEO of Art Production at Mika Harmony Studios.

 

Life and Loss_a new kitty at my art studio

 

Mahalo for reading.

Big hugs, Mika

 

Want me to paint a piece in honor of your beloved pet? Contact me here.

 

 

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