Former social care worker finds ‘healing journey’ in adding father’s ashes to landscape painting

An artist wants to help others “immortalise their loved ones in art” after deciding to incorporate her father’s ashes into a landscape painting.

Lanson Moore (pictured), 38, was formally a social care worker but is now a full-time artist based in Wakefield, where she lives with her husband and two-year-old son.

Ms Moore told the PA news agency she had always thought about making a piece of art for her father, Kev, who passed away from lymphoma in December 2016.

She has now secured funding from Arts Council England to research the method and work on 10 private commissions for bereaved families.

“He always supported my art,” Ms Moore said of her father (pictured).

“And he wanted me to paint this picture for him (to put) on his wall, (he) wanted me to do a big mural of one of his favourite landscapes, which is Port Lligat by Salvador Dali.

“My dad loved Spain and he loved going off the beaten track and this is where Dali actually lived for most of the later part of his life.”

Ms Moore said he died unexpectedly but making “Abu in Port Lligat” for her father was a “healing” part of the journey.

Abu, short for Abuelo, is short for grandfather in Spanish, and also what Ms Moore’s Dad insisted he be called by his grandchildren.

“I felt like he was on the journey with me,” she said.

“My Dad, if you knew Kev – he was such a character… I think he was quite guarded in a lot of ways, but he was quite expressive and eccentric.

“That was my Dad, and he was very well-read – he loved reading, loved films and literature.”

Ms Moore explained that after thinking of the idea, she “couldn’t really find much” on the concept of turning ashes into art, later securing funding from Arts Council England to facilitate her own research.

“I’m an abstract artist, so my gut instinct was always to produce an abstract piece of art,” she said.

“However, I wanted to have those links to my father, and my sister and brother-in-law were actually quite heavily involved in the design of the artwork as well because it is going to be a piece for the entire family.

“And so we sat down together and we talked about what is it that we remember when we think of my dad or what three words? (Because) we didn’t want to get over-complicated, and we talked about what colours we wanted it to be.”

The final result is a large painting of pink, red, blue, and yellow mountains, the tops of them marked with a sparkling gold line.

Ms Moore has not “rushed into” adding her father’s ashes as she is still testing how to do it, but she has decided where to place the ashes.

“My dad always said he wanted to live on a boat, and there is actually a boat on the scene and next to the lake,” Ms Moore said.

“And I thought that would be quite a good idea, but then, as this landscape carried on, I just thought that would actually be a really nice way to embed the ashes into that line as though it’s like a life of his journey and (it is) ongoing.”

She added that she is “really passionate” about being able to do the same for others.

“I can offer that service to other people who may also want to immortalise their loved ones in art,” she said.

“And already the applications and the information that people have given me has been really touching as to why art and a piece like this would help them… And again I’m an abstract artist, so obviously this service could be available in all different mediums.

“But for me, abstract is real – the colours and the shapes and the patterns are really what tell an emotion.

“And I think that if I can touch on that with the individuals who have lost a loved one to create something where as soon as they look at that piece it reminds them of that person, then it will be quite special.”

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