I started a new painting on Monday. Here's the start of it:
It's going to be a Dia de Los Muertos style portrait. Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday to celebrate and pray for those passed on. You can read a little more about it here:
The figures and paintings associated with the Day of the Dead celebration are homages to the person and what they loved to do in life. Playing music, dancing, playing with dogs, taking care of children, nursing, whatever it is that the people in their lives remember them for.
The skeletons are often smiling and happy. And I find them cheerful. They appeal to my love of weird things and I like the idea of remembering your loved ones in a happy situation.
As I was painting this one, I knew it was going to be part self-portrait and I first got the idea of doing the Dia de los Muertos style because I'm still not good at replicating human anatomy. But, as I was filling in the ribcage last night, I realized that this is also about me dealing with turning 40 this year.
My daughter is showing signs of growing up. As I've said in the past, we only have one more year of elementary school after this one and she's off to middle school, where bad memories are made.
My excellent friend Brenda says that a person's life is most effected (affected? which is it?) by what happens to them the year they are eleven. I'm already thinking about what I can do to make her feel loved, good about herself, smart and all that next year.
Anyway, I'm also dealing with my grandparents getting well into their nineties, realizing that any year now I'm going to have to buy a suit and fly home inside of 24 hours. This isn't exactly a comforting thought.
This year I'm making the realization that the rules are going to apply to me. I've said this before, I'm going to eventually be seventy, my children will become adults.
So, this painting is coming out. I'm working on it very slowly because I want to get the proportions as correct as possible and I am letting the layers dry very, very thoroughly before starting the next one so they will not smear.
It will easily be a week before I'm finished and probably longer before I'm satisfied. What will my cheerful skeleton be doing? I don't know yet, she needs to talk to me. And I need to listen.
Amanda's beauty tip of the day: Yes, you need to splash your face in the morning, pillows can be pretty dirty.