Art therapy

My friend Angela started a blog this month as a theraputic, creative challenge for herself. She has the whole year mapped out with a different, relevant theme for each month. When she told me about her plan, I was impressed and inspired.

November’s theme is sugar skulls in honor of the Day of the Dead. When she started posting every day, I fell a little bit in love with her drawings — their personalities and common elements.

I wanted to channel that inspiration into my own project. I had lots of ideas, but I knew that I wanted to somehow surprise Angela with the result of my creative efforts.

Today I accomplished my mission! She was surprised and pleased, which makes me happier than I can express! Angela took a picture of what I sent her along with a photo of us at Rock-N-Bowl when we were in school at Baylor.


Allow myself to indulge myself in some self-depricating commentary about what I’m wearing. Angela is rocking a classic look in jeans and a button-down, while I am sporting a 90s grunge-era look in leggings and plaid flannel — tied around my waist, no less — over my over-sized Student Foundation t-shirt. So, I wore that.

Last weekend, I was supposed to go to Houston to visit a friend, but my visit was cancelled, so I decided to make a day of my sugar skull project. I wanted to make actual sugar skulls out of sugar, but nothing came together — the ingredients were hard to find, I didn’t have the right crafts at home, and I had no idea what I was doing.

I wandered the aisles of my local craft store searching for inspiration. I love to wander the aisles of home improvent stores because I find inspiration in all kinds of wacky things, but sometimes craft stores are not inspiring because everything is too easy. Staring at sheets of MDF or paint color samples push me to my creative edge.

Luckily, I came across some cut-out MDF letters in a funky font. The letter “a”, by the way, is very hard to come by in all initialed things. So, scoring a cute wooden “a” was the perfect inspiration. As soon as I picked it up, I knew what I wanted it to look like. I painted the blank wood a soft yellowy-orange. It seemed like a good base for Angela’s preferred color pallette. I gathered paints, glitter, sequins, glue, and brushes.


Executing what I wanted my “a” sugar skull to look like took some reverse thinking for me. I had to build up from the negative. This is the paint “foundation” for my ultimate design.


I outlined the eye, nose, and teeth with black and added jewels, glitter, and sequins for emphasis.



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