The Power of the "Artist's Triangle"


Most of us know when an image is pleasing to the eye, but did you ever stop to consider why?  

Often we respond to hidden "cues" in a scene that create pleasant emotions. One powerful tool that classical artists used to evoke these responses is known as the "Artist's Triangle".

The Artist's Triangle is a simple arrangement of objects in a scene where the most important object is centered and elevated with two (or more) objects of lesser importance positioned to its sides.  

The effect of the triangle is to draw the eyes inward and upward to the central object. This also has the effect of subconsciously elevating the the central object and giving it the feeling of great importance.

Renaissance artists enhanced the emotional impact by highlighting the central features and using more muted colors for the supporting features. 


It is easy to achieve the same effect using floral bouquets.  

A bright, eye-catching floral piece might be used to draw the eyes up to an urn or portrait with two matching complimentary pieces arranged to either side. This simple use of the Artist's Triangle has fairly obvious benefits.  

The Artist's Triangle can also be used in more advanced applications. Sometimes the artist skillfully manipulates the effect of the triangle to focus attention upon a larger scene that is not strictly contained within the triangle because attention can be directed to the whole area around the top region of the triangle.

Using the triangle, thusly, the artist subtly draws attention to the most important elements of the larger image.  Your mind is subconsciously directed to the important areas. This technique is a way to gently emphasize the central theme.


Seasoned funeral directors often use the Artist's Triangle whether they are aware of it or not. They inherently know that matching bouquets to either side add balance and that bright flowers on the casket gently draw your attention to the casket itself.


When selecting memorial flowers, you can easily put the Artists Triangle to work. Just follow these two simple rules:

1. Choose a bright, eye-catching piece to ornament the casket or urn.  This is the most important piece of flowers and is often from the spouse or most intimate relation.

2. Select two (or more) similar floral pieces to frame the scene and provide symmetry.  These bouquets can match the central piece, but can also be a more subdued color to lend emphasis to the center. Often these pieces are sent from the children and grand-children.

The funeral director will then arrange the bouquets sent by other family and friends to either side of the central scene. This is an easy way to make the remembrance display look beautiful while giving the family flowers the place of honor!  

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Allowing Children to Grieve


Inviting your children to share your grief is the best lesson about death that you can offer them. Allowing them to experience the grieving process while explaining death as part of life, will help them develop a mature and healthy understanding of death.

Being a funeral director I have witnessed many funerals and have been there for many grieving people who have lost their parents, spouse, children, and friends. Hopefully I have learned a little bit at each stop along the way.

My best example is how we talked to my own daughter Lilly, named after a beautiful flower she is. Lilly (pictured above) is older now, but unfortunately when she was younger, Lilly experienced the loss of more than one family member at a very young age. Rather than keeping her in the dark, we decided that we should be open with her and allow her to understand both loss and the love we keep for those who passed away.

We taught her that the dead are never truly gone and that we should remember them through the eyes of love.  We keep their memory alive by including them in our nightly prayers and bringing them up into our discussions. In this way we preserve their precious memory in our lives and are thankful for them.

They say a person is only truly deceased when everyone ceases to remember them. I very much believe this is to be true.

It is natural to want to protect your children from pain, but keeping them in the dark can cause anxiety and confusion. It may also appear that you are distancing yourself from them in their own time of grief.

Try as we might, we cannot shield our children from all of life’s trials.  Instead we should use these opportunities to grow and nurture our relationship with our children.  We might even learn something about ourselves along the way.

As a parent consoling a child, you can explain that death isn't something taboo or to be feared. It is a part of life and the people who die are never actually gone, unless we stop continuing to make them a part of our lives.

I see too many people try to avoid the pain.  In doing so, they cheat themselves of an opportunity to heal. As  painful as funerals are for us, they can also be wonderful catalyst for bringing us together. At the funeral we begin the process of discharging all the fear and anxiety, all the negative beliefs and emotions that death has stirred in us. We face the reality of death, and together move on.

Treat the passing of your loved ones with the contemplation and ceremony they deserve.  Your children will remember the death of loved ones for the rest or their lives. You can make those memories beautiful.

National Study Confirms Value of Flowers at Funerals

(Courtesy of the National Funeral Directors Association)


Brookfield, Wis. – According to the results of a new report from the American Floral Endowment's Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF), both bereaved families and funeral directors feel flowers and plants offer comfort during and after funerals.

The study, Funeral Directors and Flowers: Insights into Floral Tributes in the Funeral Industry, by the FMRF sought to assess consumers' attitudes toward and use of floral tributes in funeral services; the study also sheds light on funeral directors' current relationships and experiences working with floral retailers. FMRF partnered with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) to conduct the survey of association members; this is the first study of its kind in more than 20 years.

According to the study, when looking at non-human sources of comfort, funeral directors believe that flowers and plants offer the most comfort to bereaved families, followed by sympathy cards and food. Seventy-three percent of funeral directors believe the families they serve recall flowers and plants as a source of comfort; approximately 64% of families talk about flowers and plants sent by loved ones and friends.

Funeral directors personally feel – and believe the families they serve think – that floral tributes and plants serve as an expression of sympathy, are a token of tribute and respect for the deceased, and help provide comfort and warmth to the funeral setting.

Funeral directors indicate that nearly 84 percent of families want to take flowers and plants home after the service.

"Flowers always have been and will continue to be an important part of funeral services," said NFDA President Robert C. Moore IV, CFSP, CCO. "Seeing a flower or plant from a friend or loved one brings comfort and lets the bereaved know they are not alone in their grief."

FMRF also asked funeral directors why they believe some families prefer memorial donations to floral tributes. The top reasons why families prefer memorial donations include: their loved one's involvement in a specific charity (33.7 percent) and not believing flowers are needed at a funeral (27.5 percent).

The study examined the relationship between floral retailers and funeral homes. Most funeral homes (73 percent) indicated they had a great relationship with local florists and that they work well together. Approximately 63 percent indicated that they'd had a "relationship-building" visit from a local florist in the last three to four months.

The report offers suggestions from funeral directors to help florists offer better service. Suggestions for florists include keeping product information they provide to funeral directors up-to-date, ensuring that deliveries are made well before a scheduled service to allow adequate time for set-up, and being mindful of the size and shape of floral tributes so that they are easy to transport and set up at the locations where services might be held and to the family's home after the service.

Concluded Moore, "I recommend that NFDA members download this report and share it with their local florists. It offers a good starting point for a discussion about how funeral homes and florists can work together to best serve those who wish to use flowers and plants to pay tribute to someone who has died."

The report can be downloaded at no charge from the FMRF website, (first, create a free account on the site; once logged into the site, click the "Research Reports" link at the top of the page).

NFDA is the world's leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit