The moment we close our eyes, it gets dark and we lose sense of the objects and colours, everything becomes one, everything surrounds us becomes dark. The darker the place is the more we sense the feeling of black colour. An interruption of light changes that sense, it starts to get brighter and we start to become aware of the surroundings.
Grief is a common experience. We all share grief although we are all in different cultures, religions and have various thoughts, but we are human after all, we cry and we smile. Grief is a feeling that people experience at certain times of their lives. It is dark and painful, if we let it take control of us, it will surround us like a dark tunnel full of depression, negative thoughts and lose of hope. Once we let go and move on to follow the bright thoughts, life will become full of hope and joy.
I lost my grandmother in August 2013, she had cancer, although I was aware that she was terminal, it shocked me. I was holding her hand before she passed away, when I had to leave the hospital at that time, I received a call thirty minutes later from my aunt to tell me the sad news, it was hard, I could not cry. While she was terminal a new life was born, my niece, Rouda and after my grandmother passed away, another life was born, my nephew, Nasser.
The fact of losing our loved ones is like a wake up call for us in life. This experience brings up questions and thoughts. Time is running every second and does not come back again, what did we do in our life before this tragedy happened? Does grief makes us stop and think in a negative way about our life? Or does it encourage us to think positively and to move on?
Grief, Portrait of a woman
Oil on canvas
60 x 90

This portrait is to represent one of the stages of grief; shock. It is a reflection of my feelings when I heard that my grandmother passed away. The reason why a portrait was used because it is a representation of a person, to show personality and the mood of the person, it is away to engage the subject with the viewer.

Grief, I moved on
Acrylic on canvas
80 x 80

For this painting I wanted to add strokes of life; grief, death, new life, joy and hope. I started to sketch some ideas with lines until I found myself doing brush strokes to express emotions, memories, places, people and everything that surrounds me.  

I thought of starting those brush strokes with a dark blue, which is a mixture of ultramarine, titanium white, process cyan and black. Then I thought of adding colour of love, red, a mixture of crimson red and cadmium red hue. A mixture of lemon yellow and white was what I thought of adding next. I stepped back to look at the stage I reached so far, surprisingly what I saw on the canvas was a conflict, not the idea of grief of losing my grandmother, love of family and friend and moving on, but somehow I was looking at another type of grief, a political one, the conflict after the Arab Spring. 

I received some comments on the painting so far, someone said it looks like a tornado, another one said that it gave them a sense of dizziness. A flower was the thought of two people. A funny comment was that it looks like a toe print. More comments were also interesting; the brush strokes looks like a group of people or ants and even flying birds in the sky.  

I continued testing and I added pink, from the red colour testing, a mixture of cadmium red and white, the new life of a baby girl. I started to feel less conflict in the painting. 

Then the time to test adding blue came, but this time the baby boy blue, mixture of ultramarine, titanium white and process cyan. After adding that, I felt sense of joy and thought what if I add lemon yellow with white, but only this time away from the rest of the brush strokes. 

I stepped away from the painting and looked at it. I smiled, those brush strokes, looked delicate, soft and joyful, like a delicate rose petals, and somehow like fingerprints of a child holding a vanilla ice-cream, who thought of sharing and adding touches to the canvas. The theme that was surrounding me was adding joy, floating memories and emotions of longing. The lovely weather and the Turkish music that I was listening to brought back memories of me listening to the music while painting in my studio back in Qatar. I felt speed in movement of the brush strokes after I tried to add more of the vanilla ice-cream strokes only this time I added them close to the red, blues and pink.
Grief, Confusion, Joy and Hope
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 90

“The steps show confusion in the beginning or no direction or expectations. Then lessons learnt they equal each other like ying and yang, this painting paints a beautiful picture of your life experience and emotions ” a comment by one of my cousins on the stages of this painting.  

In this painting I tried to show how life is full of things, death, new life, new day, grief, happiness, confusion and movement. I tried to use lines inspired by Picasso, Andrzej Jackowski and Mark Rothko.

You may also like

Back to Top