Love Never Dies

Dia De Los Muertos Day Of The Dead Dancing Skeletons Watercolor Illustration

For our Doodlewash prompt of “Bones,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Coat,” I ended up with a pair of happy dancing skeletons. I tried stippling for this one, which is the only shading technique left that I’d yet to fully try this month. Each year now, we watch the Pixar movie “Coco,” which centers around the Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. At its heart, this is a tradition completely full of heart and about continuing to honor loved ones who have died. While, the Pixar film is my new favorite from them, I equally love the ideals behind this tradition. The importance of family and honoring those who came before as well as those we are with today is simply a wonderful way to live. And, unlike the spookiness of Halloween, this holiday is the complete opposite. It’s a celebration of love and the power it has to keep us connected, even after we’re no longer living. The simple fact is, that it’s all very true. We never stop loving our loved ones. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my father, my grandparents, and other loved ones in my life who are not physically with me anymore. The memories I have of them are precious to me and feel like a gift. Far better than candy, it’s the gift of love itself. And, love is something we can all believe in.

As for today’s doodle, it’s quite different than anything I’ve ever done to date. After watching videos on Mexican dancers and looking at tons of references, I created my own little version of a Día de los Muertos illustration. Wanting to add a bit of sparkle to evoke the joy of the tradition, I opted for stippling, which is something I’ve never done because it’s quite time-consuming and I have the patience of a flea. But, I simply used it as a way to take time to think about my own loved ones and then got a bit lost making all of those little dots.

Day 27 - Dia De Los Muertos Day Of The Dead Dancing Skeletons Inktober 2019 Illustration

Life is really just a series of dots that manage, in ways big and small, to connect each and every one of us. When those dots swirl into focus, an image appears, and quite often a memory is made. While not everything in life is joyful, the moments I remember most about my friends and family who have passed are always the happy ones. It’s not idealistic, it’s simply the fact that moments of glee and delight are the truest versions of who we are as people.

When I’m in a truly happy moment, I feel like I’m the purest version of myself. Worries, doubt, and fear fall to the background and I’m just good old me. In that very moment, I can remember the silliest and simplest of memories. I remember my father telling me about the Jamaican Rum he just brought back from his trip. Then I drift to an image of my grandmother holding a small piglet in her hands and saying that her name was Rosy. A brilliant name to describe life itself when lived with a sense of hope. So, yeah, my inner child still likes the spookiness of Halloween that comes around this time of year, but my adult self appreciates thoughts of the past. I adore that I have such wonderful memories to connect the dots of my own life today. Even weird things I consider don’t seem quite as weird when compared to my own father’s approach. I’m not the first one to have thoughts like these, nor will I be the last. But, I’m proud to be a member of my family. Both biological and chosen, family is indeed the most important part of life. And it’s quite comforting to know that no matter what happens in this crazy world, love never dies.

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Dia De Los Muertos Day Of The Dead Dancing Skeletons Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

 

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
39 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 3 weeks ago

    This is wonderful, Charlie!

  2. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful, Charlie!!Your words are so, so true!!!!

  3. Fatima Chamkha 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful Charlie looks almost like a mexican tarotcard!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Fatima! 😃💕 Yeah, the look does give it that kind of feel!

  4. Claire McArthur 3 weeks ago

    This is brilliant. The stippling was worth the time as it really adds depth to the piece. I’ve never seen suck happy skeletons.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Claire! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed this one. It was a very different approach for me, but fun!

  5. Walt. F Pierluissi 3 weeks ago

    “el día de los muertos”. The day of the dead in the Mexican culture, hallowing for us in US… Good Sketch Charlie…. And is true, love never die.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Walt! 😃💕 Yeah, I adore this celebration. It makes a lot of good sense.

  6. smzang 3 weeks ago

    Charlie says, “I’m proud to be a member of my family. Both biological and chosen, family is indeed the most important part of life. And it’s quite comforting to know that no matter what happens in this crazy world, love never dies.”

    and therein lies the spring in his step and the peace in his soul!
    (not to mention the joy that blooms in his thought and art)

  7. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    This may be your best doodle of the month. I love the stippling. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to do it all the time because I’m sure it takes a long time to do it, but when you need it, it’s nice to know you have it in your toolbox as a technique you’ve done before. Brava!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, I don’t think I could do stippling very often. If nothing else, I rarely ever have the time… hehe… but it was fun!

  8. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 weeks ago

    This is beautiful!!!! You got me right in the heart with this one. I adore CoCo. It reminds me of my grandma who I Dearly miss. She is the one who made “home” in our family. My sister and I do our best to do what my grandma and her sisters did. Open their hearts to all with hospitality and love. No matter the time someone came over they would be fed and be part of wonderful conversations. It was so beautiful to see. 😀

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Aww I’m thrilled this post spoke to you. I miss my grandma as well and she created the “home” for our family too. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful person.

  9. Zertab Quaderi 3 weeks ago

    Beautiful sketch, Charles! Your words have touched me to the core. Agree with every word you’ve said.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Zertab! 😃💕 So happy this post spoke to you!

  10. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    I agree. Dia de los Muertos is a wonderful holiday. My parents are buried in a cemetery that also includes many Mexican and Mexican-American graves. The decorated graves are beautiful at this time of year. It’s a big holiday in L.A. Your skeleton dancers are fabulous!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s such a wonderful tradition. I’ve always loved it!

  11. Gary Middleton 3 weeks ago

    Coco is a great film and I love your painting.

  12. Heidi S. 3 weeks ago

    So beautiful… both the text & the drawing / painting <3

  13. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    Spot on! (Lol, no pun intended!)

  14. memadtwo 3 weeks ago

    This is perfect Charlie. I hope that’s what my bones will be doing! (K)

  15. Laura Hale 3 weeks ago

    I love your “I have the patience of a flea”, because I can so relate! Once again, I’ve enjoyed how you weave your art and words as an invitation to join you on this journey.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Laura! 😃💕Yeah, I have a severe lack of patience, but when I’m having fun, I can usually hang in there. So thrilled you’re enjoying these posts my friend!

  16. Ellie 3 weeks ago

    Oh my goodness! This is so delightful, Charlie! The painting is wonderful – stippling! And you of self-professed non-patience. : ) And your story is so inspiring, taking time to honor those we no longer have with us. Thanks, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Ellie! 😃💕Thrilled you enjoyed this! Yeah, stippling is something I’ve always wanted to try, but I never have the time. It’s actually quite fun!

  17. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I love your stippling! One of the most beautiful methods of mark making that there is. But oh so slow, even if you have the dotspen.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 OH my goodness… so slow!! This may be the last one for awhile. I just had a flash of rare extra time. That said, it was rather enjoyable!

  18. Loan Anh Pham 3 weeks ago

    I love your story and your sketch, Charlie. They’re always lively and beautiful. And yes, you’re right, Love is a magic.

  19. Vicki 3 weeks ago

    How nice to receive confirmation that remembering the best of our loved ones passed is not only acceptable but are the “truest” essence of those most loved. A timely post for which I am very grateful for.

  20. marshathepainter 3 weeks ago

    Great job stippling! I have always thought it would be a lot of work and I am so lazy! I am also a slow worker and I guess that explains to some extent why I find the goal of a sketch a day for doodlewash a bit much for me, but I accept that about myself; will do what I can.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Marsha! 😃💕 haha! I too felt stippling was behind me. I have no patience and I’m messy in my approach. But it’s really fun and a great stress-reliever. You sort of get lots in the dots! And Doodlewash challenges are really meant to be make your own challenge. You can do 1 a week or 2 a month… it’s just about setting a regular goal. Though yeah… daily is the most fun! 😉 hehe

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