2023 Mother’s Day card for my dragon-loving wife, featuring our perpetually aging kids as dragon-ish things. I started this tradition when our first son was born, and during the ten or so years that I was not actively in my studio due to being the stay-at-home parent, the annual card was pretty much the only art I made time for each year. For every card, I try to have the kids doing something related to a good memory from the previous year, more recently even using some rough photo references for where we were or what we did. This year’s card was inspired by a local trip we took with my wife’s visiting sister and husband to a working farm with some really nice walking trails. Not far in, we spotted this absolutely gargantuan pine tree, that our tree-loving middle son (who is planning to attend college this fall studying environmental science and forestry) had to go see (he’s the dragon in the middle, here). To be fair, the rest of us thought it was pretty awesome too. I did a fair amount of climbing (and falling out of) trees growing up, and I’ve always loved the massive ones. I still daydream about living in either an Ewok/Wookie style tree house, or a house/tower that is shaped like a tree that I could live inside. Visiting the redwoods and giant sequoias on the west coast of the US is a dream of mine…but there is some danger I wouldn’t ever leave.
Anyway, the dragon on the left is the oldest, sporting his layered hoodie look, and the one in the tree is the youngest. He used to love climbing everything when we spent more time hiking. He would wander off on his own adventures whenever he spotted a cool log, tree, or boulder to conquer. He also has a habit of making faces whenever we take pictures of him.
These cards seem to be getting more and more elaborate each year, which makes them very time consuming. Fortunately, my wife is worth it. It affords me the opportunity to explore different textures (like the tree bark, that was fun) as well as play with my Copic markers-something I haven’t made the time to do very much in recent years.
As the years march on, and the kids get inevitably older, and in between some of the frustrations associated with living with and raising teenagers, I find myself getting very nostalgic for the simpler times (forgetting the frustrations that existed during those years). I wonder what the future holds for them, and for us as a family. Where will they wind up? What shared moments and adventures do we have left? It also makes me wonder what I’m going to have to do with my annual cards, once they are theoretically out on their own, perhaps with their own families. I’m sure my Brain will figure something out, eventually. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy capturing a few select special moments and reminders of the things we used to do together.