Grief is sacred
Grief is beautiful
Grief is an expression of love
Bereavement Portraiture is an alternative to physical forms of memorials which tend towards one-dimensional sentimentality. As I child, I sat flipping through the brochures in my grandparent's funeral home, comparing the various products available to the bereaved: blankets, necklaces, and windchimes customized with a portrait of your loved one. All these
are well intended tokens of remembrance, but ill-equipped to handle the multifaceted nature of grief. When my mother died, I was shocked to discover that beauty can be bound up in anguish, and lament sometimes mirrors a deep sacredness. In this light, the most well meaning remembrance tokens can wind up feeling empty, or in the worst case, insulting.
Bereavement portraits welcome the sacred-desolation of grief by capturing the whole of life, love, and loss experienced by the deceased and those now left behind. The portrait, and the process of creating the portrait, is designed to bring beauty and healing into a fragile and traumatic season.
Gather photos of your loved one into an online photo gallery. A wide variety of images is best - posed and candid; headshots and full body; professional and low quality. I use these images both as reference, and as a way to get to know your family and lost beloved.
While grieving, various things become inexplicably “tied” to a person - a certain color, season, or movie. These things, what I call, associatives, offer a key way for me to enter into and depict your walk of grief.
I have prepared a guide to help you identify the associatives you may carry.
Meet up for a Listening Time
Once you have collected photos and meditated on associatives, we meet together (virtually or physically) for me to learn more about your story of life, love, and loss with your beloved. Lasting around 2 hours, this meeting is the most vital part of the creative process.
Consider the Proposed Composition
1-2 weeks after the meeting, you will receive a proposed sketch for the portrait's composition. Often the idea for the sketch is developed in the meeting itself. Once the proposed composition is approved, the painting begins production.
Watch the Painting Progress
You will receive periodic updates about the portrait's progress as it is painted over the next few months.
When the painting is nearing completion, final adjustments to the portrait are made with your guidance to ensure a true likeness.
Receive your Completed Portrait
Once the painting is completed, the portrait is conveyed to you at the earliest convenience, either by mail or in person.
Framing is available upon request for an additional fee.
"Meredith is compassionate, thoughtful, and intentional. I have admired her work for years and was excited to work with her. My expectations were exceeded! She was inclusive and open, seeking our feedback throughout the process. It was fascinating to watch her work. The finished product is so beautiful and I love passing by my brother’s portrait everyday and saying 'Hi.' My favorite part was having Meredith sharing about the painting in person. I was blown away by the meaningful details she incorporated. Highly recommend working with Meredith!"
- Britt Eben