We would like to invite you to complete a beginner paint pouring exercise that we’ve found to be healing for individuals who have faced loss.
What will you need?
Select a blank canvas of your choice, 4 push pins to help keep the back of the canvas from having direct contact with the newspaper (optional), pourable paint, 2 glass or disposable cups, and newspaper to catch excess paint. Due to the drying process, it may be helpful to plan for two days to complete this project.
On a flat surface, spread newspaper to catch excess paint. Next, flip over the canvas so the front is face down. Place a push pin on each corner of the backside of the canvas. Then, turn the canvas over, allowing it to rest on the push pins. This will allow the paint to spread across the front of the canvas and dry without damaging the edges of the canvas. It will also help keep your hands clean when picking up the canvas later.
Choose a few colors of paint to pour into the first empty cup. Resist the urge to stir. The amount of paint used will be determined by the size of your canvas. Excess paint will run off the edge of the canvas. We recommend using plenty of paint to ensure that the paint covers the entire canvas. If however, you do not use enough, simply pour more paint on the empty space, and it should look great!
When choosing colors for the first cup, select colors that represent the feelings and experiences you faced during your grief. For example, you may want to choose a dark color. For Ashley, in addition to some dark colors, she included a little bit of yellow because she was very appreciative of having our boys. After you have chosen 2-4 colors and think you have enough paint to cover your canvas, it’s time for the fun to begin.
Place the paint-filled cup in the middle of the newspaper. Put the canvas on top of the cup, face-down. The top of the cup should be touching the front of the canvas. Then, holding the paint with one hand and the canvas with the other, flip the cup over so that the paint will pour over the front of the canvas. (Remember that a quick online search can help with this process as well. Just search “Paint pour video.”) You can allow the contents of the cup to empty a bit before picking up the cup. When you pick up the cup, quickly grab the canvas and tilt it from side to side, helping the paint spread and cover the entire canvas.
Allow the canvas to dry. Snap a photo of this portion of the canvas to remember what your grief looked like.
Once your canvas is dry, you will repeat this process using colors that resemble what you want to hold on to. Reframing our grief, we look at the love, growth, and other positive elements that we see in our life. This doesn’t mean we are “moving on” or saying that our grief was worth it. We are simply declaring that we are going to try to remember that we are strong and that we want to hold on to our strengths.
For flip two, select 2-4 colors that you want to see as your look back upon the painting and your loss experience. Ashley chose white because she wanted to see hope, God’s love. She also chose silver with a shine. She wanted to have a sparkle in her eye even though she has faced great loss. She also included a very small portion of black. This serves as a reminder that life isn’t perfect. We know we will face other losses, and we will have tough days as we reflect upon our grief. Seeing the black reminds us that it is ok to feel sad. We give ourselves permission to grieve. We loved big. That is why we grieve.
Pour the selected colors into a clean cup, one by one.
Again, place the cup in the middle of the newspaper. Then, put the canvas on top of the cup, face down. Hold the cup with one hand and the canvas with another. Then, flip both, allowing the paint to pour onto the canvas. When ready, pick up the cup and allow the paint to spread across the canvas. Tilt the canvas from side to side, helping the paint glide across the work. It is common for paint to spill over the sides. If you have any bare spots, again, feel free to pour more paint over the sections that need filled or leave it. On our paint project, a portion of the first layer remained exposed. Isn’t that kind of like real life? We may do some hard work to heal, but some of our hurt may remain exposed. That’s why we hold so tightly to 2 Corinthians 12:9. His power is made perfect in our weakness. We cling to You, God.
How did it turn out? We hope that you enjoyed this experience, even if it was a stretch for you. If you read through this post and feel interested but scared to take on this project, invite someone artistic to complete the project with you. What a great way to develop or strengthen old or new relationships. Then, be sure to post a picture of your piece of work using the hashtag #loveandlossproject so others can benefit from your story. Follow the hashtag to get inspiration from others.
If you'd like to continue growing spiritually through your loss, we invite you to start our free reading plan that goes along with our six-week on-demand grief course called Love and Loss. In it, you will be given permission to face what you may have been avoiding, reframe, and see the paint pour project that Ashley completed during the filming of this series.