Meaning behind the Seven Stages of Grief Collection

Meaning behind the Seven Stages of Grief Collection

The central theme of the series is the seven stages of grief and the change that a person goes through due to life-changing events such as loss, isolation, and shelter-in-place due to COVID-19.  According to Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle, from denial and frustration, through anger, depression, and bargaining, we reach acceptance, commitment, and rebuilding in life. Through my paintings and color, I walk along an emotional path to achieve healing from my mother's unexpected death due to COVID-19. 

The quality, direction, arrangement and orientation of lines that I use in my work evoke and symbolize the emotional state, as if through color and brushstrokes I am allowed to expose the inside of a soul. I use watercolor and masking fluid to achieve a layered look just as our psyche is. This series represents an emotional journey through color and patterns that I want my viewer to experience with me. 


Depression by Natalia Shevchenko
Depression was the first stage that I got to paint. This stage I associate with numbness and detachment, it’s a state of being suspended and misplaced. Shapes of brushstrokes convey the uncertainty and apathy of this stage. Dark and repressed colors reinforce the emotion of loss. 


Anger by Natalia Shevchenko

The Anger stage became my next subject. I choose to use a warm and true red palette to show the destructive nature of this stage. The geometric shapes convey the idea of how normal life halts and shudders under the pressure of life-changing events just as a shattered glass.  


Denial by Natalia Shevchenko

For the Denial stage, I choose deep green colors to show the strong contrast of realities that a person experiences when going into denial. Brushstrokes express the multiple rounds of bargaining a person undergoes when faced with a challenging situation.


Catharsis by Natalia ShevchenkoCatharsis stage features a bright red palette that symbolizes the courage to address fears and doubts, as well as desire to recognize the traumatic event. Shape of brushstrokes symbolizes a spark of clarity. 


Acceptance by Natalia ShevchenkoThe Acceptance stage is like a refreshing ocean wave, that keeps washing over and calming the hurt soul. These pieces feature a blue palette that symbolizes serenity and ease. The brushstrokes are flowing here in a newfound direction. 


Rebuilding by Natalia Shevchenko

The Rebuilding stage brushstrokes symbolize experimentation and spontaneity that allows us to figure out new ways of life. The abstract shapes bloom with warm green-yellow colors.  

 New_hope_by_NataliaShevchenkoThe New Hope features a lot of round shapes and bright colors. It's chaotic, but it shines bright as a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. The brushstrokes grew in size with me being more and more hopeful and playful.

As a collection there is no specific order as these stages have cyclical nature and can come and go. 

To view the full collection, please visit my studio in Sunnyvale or you can find it online here.

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