Each year I paint a Day of the Dead painting. I began this a decade ago as a meditation on famous people I have been impressed by. Some years I may have just finished reading a biography/autobiography and reflected on them with a painting. Some are long life impressions on me, more than by me. You know, some names become household. They are 'famous' and grow up with you, like a member of family.
Here is a link to my past paintings.
2017 Day of the Dead painting
This year I painted the platform, with candles and marigolds for the artist Margaret Kilgallen. She has been on my mind this year. Her life ended at a young age Her tragic death happened. No matter her importance, blazing rightfully to the forefront of the art world, a new mom. Removed personally, it was reminder of the vulnerability and fragility of our lives.
I picked Margaret this year after recently reading a 2015 published article in the New Yorker revisiting her story through her widowed husband, his current wife and their daughter. The article titled "A ghost in the family" explores this time after death of a loved one. I connected with the tragedy of Margarets death from a personally poignant new way, in Clare Rojas' eyes. Ghosts, linger kindly. I used to understand Day of the Dead to be a celebration of the loves and lives of which we came from, but I've grown to think it about the space in time since they left as well.
Things are the same and different and the same ...
This painting was set, as the others I do, after a study of her work, with candles and marigolds However Margaret didn't come to it front and center as others have. Instead, she traveled across, on her way, giving me only a glimpse of her profile.
May our visits with our past loves fortify our here and now loves, not just haunt them.