Memories From The Heart

Sugar Skull Dia De Muerta Day Of The Dead Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Sugar Skulls” today, as we begin our November Art Challenge, I sketched a brightly painted calavera decorated with cempasúchil flowers. ¡Feliz Día de Muertos! This beautiful Mexican tradition is about reuniting the living with those who have passed on through a joyous celebration of remembrance. I’ve always loved the idea of this tradition and the soulful and colorful way it honors those who came before us. As I was painting this, I thought of my grandmother, who I miss dearly, yet I always feel a sense of warmth and joy whenever I think about our times together. It makes me happy to remember her quit wit and sharp humor, and when I reflect back on those stories, it fills me with love, and quite a few giggles. Her sense of humor was passed down through my family in a way that made every gathering a jubilant experience. Though the people we cherish won’t always be with us in a physical sense, they are never actually gone as long as we continue to reserve a special place for them in our hearts.

This time of year is filled with many lovely family traditions and I think that’s why I adore autumn the most. It’s always felt like a season filled with warmth, even when the temperatures drop and the cold air returns. I find myself trying to make sure we’ve made plans to see our small circle of close friends before the year ends. Last night, Philippe carved a jack-o-lantern in honor of Halloween, which he does each year. The tradition remains, but the size of the pumpkin has gotten much smaller over the years. This year, it was just a little pie pumpkin that he quickly carved before dinner. My favorite part is that he roasts the seeds for a snack. And now, thanks to a recipe from a good friend, we also enjoy a pumpkin and mushroom lasagna for the main course. Our puppy Elliott wore his red glow collar and we played laser tag with him in the cemetery next to our house as the sun was setting. We haven’t told him that some “kids” get to go door-to-door acquiring treats, so he wouldn’t feel like he missed out on anything truly amazing.

It was a quiet evening as we don’t get trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. I was thoroughly enjoying the quiet comfort of being home with my family near the glow of a pumpkin and candles. Elliott was worn out from his evening of play and the three of us cuddled up to relax for the rest of the night. These are the moments that I want to remember forever. They’re not always the ones that come to mind first. Those big life events or large gatherings from the past usually maintain an over-sized role in my memories. Yet, I feel we’re the most “us” when we’re doing things that aren’t particularly noteworthy. It’s the purest iteration of what it means to be a family. Beyond the traditions we share, it’s the time spent in comfortable silence that defines us most. And, the memory that I was simply part of those exceptional moments is all the legacy I’ll ever need. The most valuable recollections of those we love can always be found in those indelible memories from the heart.

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Sugar Skull Dia De Muerta Day Of The Dead Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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25 Comments
  1. naca A 1 month ago

    Love your exploration of diversity!

  2. Brenda Sommerville 1 month ago

    Fabulous Charlie😊

  3. April 1 month ago

    Beautiful Charlie!

  4. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Wonderful, Charlie!! Remembering my sister when I did todays prompt…keeping her close in my heart. When we first moved here there were lots of kids in the neighborhood and I decked our porch out with “spider webs” and black cats and scary lighting and had a blast. There were so many kids on our street it was like watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The kids have all grown up and moved away so we don’t see anyone trick or treating anymore. Kind of miss the fun but we had a nice quiet evening together.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, it was wonderful remembering those we love for this prompt. And awww… those past Halloweens sound like so much fun! Though a quiet evening is fun too!

  5. Gary Middleton 1 month ago

    That’s a beautiful painting, Charlie.

  6. Varsha Koli 1 month ago

    I love the colors!! Awesome painting, Charlie..:)

  7. scrittoralinda 1 month ago

    Charlie you are such a dear and loving man! That there would be more Charlies!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Aww you’re too sweet! Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕

    • Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

      Hola, Linda! How are you? Just wanted to say hi. Sending you hugs!

      • scrittoralinda 1 month ago

        Greetings Marisela. I am well thanks and hugs back to you! Take care.

  8. Fanna Turano 1 month ago

    Charlie, your painting is absolutely beautiful, detailed. Lovely!

  9. Marisela Delgado 1 month ago

    I’m late to the party again! 😂😂 Mi amigo, Charlie! You’re always so sweet and you have such a way with words. My father died in 1996. He was hell on wheels. Sometimes we remember crazy little memories of him that we laugh about now. I used to dream of him often, but those faded away as time passed. Every now and then, I will dream of him on my birthday. I am always surprised to see him and will ask him, “Dad, what are you doing here?” He’ll kinda laugh and say, “I came to see you for your birthday.” He says it like I’m being silly. He always looks so beautiful and….it sounds weird, but colorful. Radiant. He was sick for so long. We don’t celebrate Dia de los Muertos, but Fall always reminds me of him.
    Great painting, Charlie! 💜💜💜 Te quiero mucho, Charlie.

    • scrittoralinda 1 month ago

      They can appear in dreams. What a beautiful gift!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Hola, mi amiga! Thanks so much! 😃💕 I’m late to reply! hehe That’s such a lovely story of your father… what a beautiful image to see on your birthday. I think souls do return in that way… colorful and the most radiant things we remember about those we love. Much love to you!! ❤️

  10. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    The passing of my sister-in-law has added a family story to our vault. Both Merri and my brother are very spiritual and he was certain she’d send him a message, probably through an animal, so he decided he’d watch out for any unexpected ones. The next morning, he found a tiny tree frog about the size of his thumbnail sitting on his toilet seat! He immediately looked up the symbolism, which boils down to ’embrace change in leaps and bounds’. That is so Merri and exactly what she always said.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Aww I adore that story! 😃💕 I think that’s definitely a message from Merri and a very beautiful one indeed!

  11. shawnthompsonart 4 weeks ago

    Nice skull, it is interesting to see a skull with bright and cheerful colours. You created some really good patterns on this.

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