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.
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.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Cobalt Turquoise. Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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