Portraits provide healing outlet in grieving process

Portraits provide healing outlet in grieving process

Artist shares healing experience of remembering loved ones through imagery

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Grieving is a process through which people must find their own way.

But the journey can sometimes be made easier with help from family and friends.

Adam Meikle of Meikle Studios Social Art House offers an artistic way of helping people reflect on their grief and move forward.

Clients are invited to create a portrait of their deceased loved one from a favourite photo.

“I haven’t had much to do with grieving myself, but I have personally been involved with others – more than I expected,” he says, noting he and his client work side-by-side to first draw a charcoal portrait. “I’ve found when I describe the facial features and point out things I notice in a photo, maybe how they smile, or smile with their eyes, or look mischievous, it opens a door to discussion about the deceased person.”

Meikle says that’s when memories, both good and bad, emerge and are accompanied by laughter and tears. By the end of the first session, both Meikle and his client have completed a charcoal sketch of the deceased person.

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“In the second session, I know more about the person I am working with and that person is more ready to paint,” Meikle says, noting colours are chosen that complement skin tone, eye and hair colour and other features such as the deceased person’s favourite colour. “The whole time we’re painting, they’re still telling stories and I am pointing out nice features.”

The result is a painting that captures the unique individual that once lived.

“By the end of it, I’ve shared an experience with that person that I never got to meet and I also end up with a special connection with the client,” he says. “You don’t sit down with someone and share those personal memories and create a personal portrait with their individual characteristics without remembrance, bonding and healing.”

Meikle enjoys painting portraits and says that when he paints one with someone who is grieving, the client’s always look better because they knew the deceased personally.

Miekle has helped four grieving people continue their journey to healing and says both the results and reactions have been gratifying.

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“The feedback is awesome, I always get a hug,” he says. “There has to be some healing in that.”

A self-taught artist, Meikle picked up a paintbrush some 20 years ago and, through practice, has become an accomplished artist and teacher.

His mandate is to have his clients love art as much as he does.

Meikle Studios offers a wide range of art classes for all ages and skill levels and accepts commercial art installation projects.

For more information or to connect with Meikle, go to www.meikle.studio, phone 778-489-5658 or drop in to the studio at 148 Lakeshore Dr. NE. The studio is open noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.


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