“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard...
Why can't we all be like that bird?”
― Edward Hersey Richards

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Dia de los Muerto -aka Day of the Dead

RANDOM 5 on Friday
link to meme found on my sidebar

1]  I mentioned perusing the vendors' tents a couple weeks ago with the festival here in town. Well, one 'booth' had a couple of hand made -CLAY- Day of the Dead dolls....[called Catrinas]. Living in the Southwest for a couple of decades,  within a few hours' drive to get across the border...{Tucson AZ, and now Texas}  I have been fascinated by the paper maché dolls from the import stores and souvenir shops that are imported. I never bought any before. Yet, after seeing the clay Catrina doll up close, I was amazed at the work entailed and considered buying one of her dolls---'til she quoted the price tag. $125 for a 10" doll. Nope, nope...not gonna do it. Okay. I continued my way around the other sellers' areas, and the doll was a constant thought in the back of my mind throughout the day. No, I didn't go back to buy it...but, I did go online to do a search for these cultural/folklore dolls, hoping in my search I would find a shop here in town that sold Mexican Imports.   I even searched for them online.   If you follow my posts often enough, ya' know I don't like buying online, for one purpose; buying locally keeps the businesses we have here from going under. I like to support the local store owners. Okay, so went to the store to see what they had. Didn't care for the ones much, so walked out empty handed. Back home, online once again.  I don't like eBay much; seems to be a rip-off anymore. What with the prices to bid on and adding the shipping and handling, I could DRIVE to Mexico cheaper. My last effort was Amazon. There I found one I liked a lot. The colors, the design, the art work. I ordered it against my stand on supporting local stores. I feel a bit guilty, but I also feel elated in finding the 'perfect one' for me.  And my order arrived on Tuesday afternoon!  I've dubbed her "Esperanza" [in Spanish I believe, the meaning is "Hope"]

2]  I also did not really know much about the history of the celebration.  I knew it had to do with sharing time and celebrating the life of those loved ones that left this world.  I had been to cemeteries before that have all kinds of frills and balloons, and trinkets from the days' celebrations.  But I had only thought it was ONE day.  November 1st.

3]  It's not just one day tho.  It is a three day celebration.  In Spanish it's called:   Dia de los Muertos  - Day of the Dead. The first day, if I remember correctly, is October 31st. This is when family and friends get together, cook meals, prayers, constructing altars, and celebrate those who have died. The next day, November 1st, is the day everyone celebrates and remembers those who have died...those that are/were children!! The last day, the 2nd of November, is for celebrating and remembering those family members and friends, adults who have passed on. In Old Mexico it is a bank holiday. In other words, government offices are closed. Sugar skulls and marigolds are traditional items.

4] In ancient times' [the holiday has quite an historical origin - dating back to the Aztecs] mythology, there was a Queen of the Dead [or Lady of the Dead]. Her name in folklore is "Mictecacihuatl". She resides and guards the dead. While reading the history of the 3 day celebration, I am inclined to think this is where the dolls of today got their start. In modern history the Day of the Dead dolls began just about a century ago, today they replicate his works...first in print...by Mexican cartoonist José Posada - Calaveras Drawings. And today...the historic artist plates dating from 1930s done by several artists with tones of Posada's works are created...

...read more historical fables/facts

5] Here I am...sketching again!! This time 'round it's of a Day of the Dead image I found from a poster online. [there are literally hundreds resulting in a google search] I can't draw from memory, so I need to have a 'model' to view as I sketch something. For instance when I sketch a bird, I need to have one of my photos in front of me to utilize for my memory of a certain angle or shadow, it just isn't there in my mind without the help of visual aid. I did a bit of tweaking on my drawing; the hat design was a bit challenging with the lattice work and adding the feathers atop the hat's crown, but it's a sketch, so really no need for too much accuracy, right? Here she is, in all her glory---

BY THE WAY: If any of you visiting today knows what the 'flowers' represent [their significance] coming off the skull's cheeks [they all seem to have this addition in the sketches and paintings], please do tell me. I'm curious!!!


  1. Your sketch is really good! I love Amazon and always go there first if I can't find anything in town.

  2. At one time I knew what the flowers were for, but my brain is a little fuzzy in the morning. i will check and let you know. As always, your artwork is amazing!

  3. I'm a big fan of Day of the Dead themed anything -- love your doll and your sketch...

    Thanks so much for sharing at R5F Anni! xo

  4. Loving your sketch too, Anni! And your new header!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Your sketch is fantastic!

    The day of the dead is the day of All Souls day for us church goers..

  6. I always love seeing all the celebration skeletons at our Midtown Global Market. The decorations are so exotic and festive. Thanks for sharing the real meaning behind them.

  7. Wow $125. yikes but they look like they are a lot of work.
    Your sketches are amazing you are very talented. B

  8. i luv Day of the Dead celebrations. would luv 2 c one n person one day, i hope. ( ;

  9. This was really interesting. The doll you bought gave me goose bumps. I'm not sure if that was because she is eerie or beautiful!

    You are an incredible artist. I'm not surprised that you use a model!All artists do that, don't they?

    Thanks for dropping by today. :-)

  10. Your new witch is awesome, as is your sketch. Could the flowers mean from death comes life and beauty?

  11. Now you've got me wondering just what those flowers on the cheeks mean. It must be the dead's version of a rosy "bloom"? Your sketch is wonderful, and your new doll is perfect. I know she will find a place of honor in your home. :-)

  12. An interesting celebration Anni. I love your doll!

  13. Hey, I didn't know you sketched Anni, that's nice for me because I also sketch. I knew we'd be friends :)Once, we had a Mexican student with us and we made an alter for the D of D celebrations, where we placed photos of ancestors and we cooked the foods they liked, and then, because we couldn't get marigolds, we made some out of orange crepe paper. According to Paulina, the marigolds are there to guide the ancestors spirits back to the alter because they are bright and act as beacons. Maybe this is the reason. :)

  14. Great job on the sketch! I didn't realize you had that talent. Lucky you. :) Love your new header. Hope you have a great weekend!

  15. Hi Anni ~~ I like your "Esperanza" and for some reason I associated it with a song. When I got to figuring this out my song turned out to be "Desparato."

    For sure I don't know much about Day of the Dead. Mrs. Jim knows more than I do, she says it is mostly a Mexican holiday but that the first day is on the universal Holy Day, All Souls' Day. In other words, loosely, 'Honor the Dead.'

  16. ohhhhhh that is the best dressed skeleton I've ever seen and your drawing well you know we are big fans.
    Hugs madi and mom

  17. Interesting post! I live in San Diego, on the border of Mexico, so we see a lot of Day of the Dead celebrating here today, too!

  18. Your sketch is fantastic! And that's a beautiful gown on the doll. I thought that I was pretty well-read, but I'd never heard of the Day of the Dead before. Interesting!

  19. very cool sketch. :)

    as catholics, we grew up celebrating all souls day (oct 31) and all saints day (nov 1). had to learn about day of the dead after moving to texas. :)

  20. This is so interesting! I knew a little about Day of the Dead, but I didn't know the details, so thanks for sharing!

    That's a good sketch--so neat that you draw! And I like the detail in the doll that you found.

  21. Your doll is gorgeous! I think the flowers and hats/decorations are just to depict joy and happiness (my guess).

    Here at the Museum, where I work, we always have a Day-of-the-Dead celebration. One year, we even had an alter built as an installation art piece. We have many Mexican immigrants in my county, and we always try to celebrate diversity.

    Again, your doll is amazing. Good find! Amazon is building a warehouse right here in Lakeland, FL. My first thought was that now buying from Amazon will also be buying local! (I know, not the same thing.)

  22. Day of the Dead has become more and more popular - even in the Midwest - who knew?

    I'm from Southern California, so i was accustomed to seeing the celebration - I really like your sharing about it.

    Thanks So Much!

  23. I must have missed your awesome header and background when I commented. I LOVE it!!! Both the color and the cute scarecrow.

  24. Great information on the day of the dead.

  25. We all celebrate the dead in one way or another. Guess this one is as good as any.
    Hope your Halloween was fun.

  26. My co-worker for many years set up a Day of the Dead table where I work, and she always shared Mexican sweet foods too. How nice you got the doll figure that suits you and for a cheaper price.

  27. What a cool doll that is and your sketch is awesome

  28. I am not sure exactly what the history is - BUT - I do know it is a day for remembering those we have lost the past year.

    I love Amazon - have a bad habit on that site!


  29. Thanks for the history lesson. I always wondered how Day of the Dead originated. Great sketch. You're very talented.

  30. Your doll is fantastic. I find this celebration very interesting (and a little creepy). Here is a link to a gal who did some photo session of live models for this holiday.