These are two of my silk paintings.  I painted them several months after my husband died in a class I took at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  When I signed up for the evening class, I had no idea what would be involved in painting on silk but I decided I wanted to be away from the house as much as possible, especially at night.  My short-term goal was to be as exhausted as possible when I came home, which was one of my tactics for managing my grief.

I remember the teacher beginning the first class with an introduction to silk painting and saying, “We can lose ourselves in silk painting and forget everything except watching the dye seep into the fabric.”  Perfect.

The painting on the left was inspired by my first trip as a widow when I went to the Grand Canyon.  My goal on that trip was to see a hole in the ground which I thought would be as deep as the one in my soul.  I don’t think I thought the hole was nearly as deep, but I was impressed with the mountains against the sky.  That stayed with me.

The painting on the right was an Italian hillside town, which still exists only in my imagination until I can take that trip to Italy.

There’s an excellent article in the New York Times today about a coloring book made by Deborah S. Derman, a grief counselor: “Coloring Your Way Through Grief”.

It supports the view that coloring books enable grieving people “to relax and be more focused” and “can have a profound impact on a person’s physical and psychological well-being”.

I didn’t use a coloring book but my silk painting class did accomplish those very same ends.