I am beginning work on a series of images honoring the Day of the Dead with "Catrinas." This series is acrylic paint on approximately 6"x 5" pine wood plaques. I have one painted and sketched out several more shown above. I love the colorful strikingly beautiful faces juxtaposed against the somewhat grim or haunted view of skulls and death, though this is not it's original intention.
Day of the Dead is Dia a de los Muertos, a Hispanic celebration typically the beginning of November, honoring those loved ones that have passed on through death, as well as those in ancient times. The girls with make-up on, with haired adorned with flowers and white painted faces loosely looking like skulls are called Catrinas.1
The original name for La Catrina was La Calavera Garbancera. It was a term that referred to native Mexicans/Indians who set aside their own culture and tried to pass as European, due to the Europeans apparent wealth.2
It was artist Diego Rivera who made the Catrina a lasting image adding clothing, poise and elegance, as you can see in Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda.3
And although Posada gets credit for popularizing the image of La Catrina it was originally conceived by another artist Manuel Manilla.4
Few countries pay homage to death the way Mexico does, La Catrina is a symbol of that.5
“Catrina,” is the feminine version of the Spanish word Catrín, which means well dressed and honored.6