Here’s To You, Mom

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In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to write a post honoring my mom, Dulcie Luna. Though she’s been gone for over 20 years, I wouldn’t have gotten this far on my writing journey without her love and support when I was growing up.

As a kid, I was fortunate to be part of a very artistic family. Our house was extremely messy, but crammed full of ‘projects’: abstract oil paintings, character sketches, animal puppets, watercolor paintings, and soapstone carvings. The dining room table was always covered with paper, colored pencils, ink pens, pastels, and huge stacks of books.

Mom cat sketch

Sketch of our two cats

My mom went to art school during her college years, but never pursued art as a career. After my brother and I were born, she stayed at home full-time to take care of us. Even as a little kid, I was aware of her artistic gifts. Whenever I wanted to draw, she’d be sitting next to me, doodling her own pictures of cats, dogs, rabbits, and mice. All my birthday cards were handmade, filled with her clever sketches. She also made up wildly creative stories, including a hilarious series called “The Adventures of Wiggy, Glassy and Nosey” about the misadventures of an old lady’s wig, eyeglasses, and fake nose!

By the time my brother and I were in school full time, she branched out and took print-making at the local community college. She got really into it – sold her etchings at craft fairs, made friends with a bunch of other print-makers, and ended up teaching the class. Even though she never had a lot of success at the craft fairs, I admired her for putting herself out there.

When I was 22, she started working on a manuscript she’d written years ago, a rhyming picture book called “Cats in the Kitchen” about a couple of culinary felines whose kitchen is invaded by rampaging dogs. The illustrations were wonderful! She considered trying to get it published, but she died very suddenly, from a heart condition, when I was 26. I still miss her.

Preliminary sketch from "Cats in the Kitchen"

Preliminary sketch from “Cats in the Kitchen”

One of the things I loved most about my mom was how she believed anything was possible. She never dissuaded my brother and me from trying to reach our dreams and she encouraged us in all our artistic endeavors. Though she might not have ever achieved commercial success, she was an amazing mom and a true inspiration.

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7 Responses to Here’s To You, Mom

  1. Liz says:

    Love your mom’s pictures–can they be used in something? I think the same thing about my dad’s stories. Dusting them off and doing a dual byline.

  2. Wow, another amazing Mom/woman. Those cat drawings are awesome and cats are NOT easy to draw (I went to art college too and they are way harder than people). I’d like to think the clutter in my own house is “creative” in nature, but most of it isn’t. Although I’m very sorry you lost her at such a young age, it’s clear she’s still very much with you in other ways. Hugs.

  3. Your mom sounds like she was an amazing, artistic, nurturing force. Thank you for sharing her and her wonderful drawings with us.

  4. karen lee says:

    Very sweet story. I’m sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds divine.
    My mother is an artist, who never had time for her art raising her children alone, and being an immigrant. When I was very young, she would give me drawing tips. But mostly I would watch her paint, and was in awe of how she could make her work so Real. It was said she could copy any master. Now much older, I still harp on her to get back to painting!

    I love the picture book your mom created, the drawing and the idea. Hm? Maybe you could bring it out into the world somehow…

    all the best,

  5. Wonderful illustrations. What a fabulous legacy. Thanks for joining Thursday’s Children!

  6. Pingback: Thanks, Dad | Carla Luna Cullen – YA Fantasy & Romance

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