Over the years, Don Hires, a grief counselor with Cornerstone Hospice, has dealt with a lot of personal grief, losing his parents and three siblings, as well as a child at birth.
Hires said he thought for years about programs that would allow people like himself to express and see their grief in different forms.
Last week, the hospice held the first of three workshops called “The Color of Grief” that arose from Hires’ ideas at the Highlands Art League’s Visual Arts Center.
During the first workshop, a few people created art, using different colors and designs to visually express their grief.
Terri-Jo Kanter created art remembering her mother, Gladys Kanter, who died in 2011.
She said she wanted the painting to reflect her mother’s kindness to others and how she always wanted to help other people.
Annette Majewski, another participant, said she wanted to paint her unresolved feelings regarding her husband, who died six years ago; and her mother, who died two years ago.
It was the first time the workshop was held in Highlands County. Hires said the workshops were held last year in another county.
He said he had wondered, if he tried to paint his grief, what colors would best represent his feelings.
During that first session, he said, he did his own art. It ended up having colors that included yellow, blue, red and brown. His painting included series of circles of different colors representing family members who died.
The circle representing his father was painted black, he said, because, “I didn’t have a good relationship with my father.”
He said his father had alcoholism issues.
The second workshop, on Thursday, will be called “Unmaking Your Grief,” with the idea that many people hide their sorrow.
Participants will create a blank mask and then rework it into one showing an outward expression of the grief, according to a description provided by Cornerstone.
Hires said the final workshop on April 2 will encourage people to express their grief through words.