Can colors help you deal with grief?
It sounds like an odd question, but it is the question posed indirectly by author and illustrator Roger Hutchison in My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes: A Journey through Loss with Art and Color.
What Hutchison does in this small, beautiful book is paint the colors of grief and healing. The words are relatively few; what draws our attention are the paintings and illustrations.
“Blue is my favorite color.
Just not today.
Today I feel blue—the swirling blue of a rainstorm.
The storm is inside me.
I am angry.
I am sad.
My heart is hurting.”
What those words are paired with is a n abstract painting of shades of blue, black, white and a post or two of yellow – and it precisely depicts an interior storm.
And so Hutchison writes and paints. Love and anger. Quiet, listening, and remembering. The silent night sky. The yellow of a shooting star. The brown of summer dirt. The moon low in the evening sky. Snow falling in a winter sky. Orange, And the green of new life.
These are the colors of grief, because there are the colors, the sights, the sensations, and the smells of the one who is lost. At the end, Hutchison includes a list of ways to remember and celebrate the life of one who’s been lost, and a list of resources on grief and loss.
Hutchison is an artist and author, and also director of Christian Formation and Parish Life at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. He is the author of The Painting Table: A Journal of Loss and Joy (2013), Under the Fig Tree: Visual Prayers and Poems for Lent (2015), and the forthcoming Jesus: God Among Us (February 2018). He and his family live in suburban Houston.
Before this little book, all of 34 pages, I’d never thought of grief and loss as color, or considering color as a way of dealing with loss. This book changes that.
Top photograph by Stefan Gunnarsson via Unsplash. Used with permission.