Sweet Grief

Sweet Grief, a collaboration of paintings and poems, opens tonight at the Windermere Gallery in Seal Rock, Oregon. Can't make it to the show? We've created a book featuring the 12 paintings paired with 12 poems.

From the Sweet Grief Introduction:

Sweet Grief: Paintings and Poems on Love and Loss

by Senitila McKinley and Drew Myron

Dying sucks.

A creative collaboration began with those two words.

The collaboration — 12 paintings paired with 12 poems — is the work of Senitila McKinley and Drew Myron, two women who met in 2005 and bonded over an appreciation for children and families in need. At Seashore Family Literacy, the nonprofit organization that Senitila created and runs, Drew serves as writing instructor.

Sweet Grief began in the summer of 2011 when Senitila’s husband of 33 years was diagnosed with cancer. David McKinley died just a few months later.  

At what turned out to be his last visit with Drew, he was clear and direct.  “Dying sucks,” he said. “I’m not gonna lie.”

Later, with her friend, Senitila was pragmatic: “Death is not a crisis,” she said firmly. “It’s a beautiful part of life.”

With that in mind, Senitila and Drew explored love and loss through their art. What was initially specific to David’s death became a larger meditation and appreciation for the weighty beauty of being with the ones you love to their very end.

“Grief is a beautiful thing,” says Senitila, “not something to be afraid of, but to enjoy because it is still a gift. We think that only mystical people have a meaningful understanding of death. But it’s not true. To look at death and grief as a gift is not reserved for those who have a defined spiritual journey, but for everyone that has known love.”


Special edition exhibition book - $10