Grieving is a necessary byproduct of being human.
Perhaps it's the loss of a pet, a dear family member, a relationship, or a safe structure that was taken away from you, along with the memories it held, in a disaster.
We will all grieve about something at one point or another. It's an emotion we share.
When I first approached Jan Heaton to be a guest on the podcast and talk about grief, we were living in a different world. We had a recording session on the calendar and then the world as we knew it stopped.
It has become very clear that, whether or not we have lost loved ones during this pandemic, we are all dealing with grief of some sort. We have all lost something.
Artists are collectively grieving a number of things.
- The exhibitions, art fairs and festivals, residencies, workshops, and other opportunities.
- The plans we had made.
- The studio spaces we can no longer visit.
- The connection to others.
- Our routines.
- Our freedom to move about. To travel.
Grief on so many levels.
This is a huge topic and Jan wants to be very clear that she isn’t an expert on grief. I asked her to be on the show just to talk about her experience in hopes that it might be helpful—even if for only one person.
Music by Wildermiss.
- Kristin's story (3:06)
- Kristin's misdiagnosis (9:02)
- Jan moves to Laguna Beach from Austin to help out Kristin and her family (11:19)
- Everyone moves to Boston for Kristin's treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass Gen) (13:17)
- Kristin took control of her healthcare (16:11)
- Jan recommends recording all sessions with doctors (16:38)
- Jan sets up a makeshift studio in Kristin's home by the beach (19:53)
- Ali Cavanaugh recommends taking naps when the kids nap (20:48)
- The kindness of anonymous gifts from friends and neighbors (26:47)
- The genesis of the Big Pink Blanket of Love project (31:13)
- Davis Gallery raises $35,000 for The Peabody Fund in 2017 with the exhibition Mandalas for Kristin (32:00)
- The Big Pink Blanket of Love auction is delayed because of Covid-19 (38:13)
- How Jan is spending time during Covid-19 (38:33)
- “Sometimes art is not just about making the art.” (42:25)
Mentioned and Recommended
- If you are experiencing debilitating grief, please seek counseling and support groups to help you through the process. Jan recommends the book Healing After Loss, which is a collection of daily meditations by Martha Whitmore Hickman.
- Davis Gallery in Austin
- Big Pink Blanket of Love
- Hiatus Spas
- Working Through Grief and Returning to the Studio
About My Guest
Born in Michigan, Jan Heaton is a watercolorist who calls Austin and Laguna Beach home. She has studied at Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the University of Texas – Austin. Heaton’s watercolors are abstract, but her creative process is inspired by the structure, color, and pattern of elements in nature that are often overlooked. Her work isolates details and exposes the viewer to an everyday object or place seen from a new viewpoint.
Jan is represented by the Davis Gallery in Austin, along with art dealers and galleries in San Antonio, Marble Falls, Houston, Atlanta, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco.
Music by Wildermiss.
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