2020 Xmas Card: Momento Mori

2020 Holiday

Holiday Story: Global Pandemic Necessitates Moment of Reflection

Category Is: Momento Mori

March of 2020 began a surreal chapter in the history of the 2000s and our lives. When it came to the Xmas card, the sister and I were having artistic differences. In hindsight, it turned out for the best, cause we came up with this.

I’d had an idea for awhile to take a painting and insert ourselves into it. Who doesn’t love photoshop! We also decided that the momento mori theme really fit the year.

Momento mori: In essence, take a moment to meditate on life and enhance your perspective. Be grateful for what you have.

Translated more directly: As am I, so will you be or, in another version, remember you too will die.

I started trolling museum painting collections online looking for something in the common domain that I could alter. I came across this piece:

And I cannot find the artist of this painting, but I’ve got it written down somewhere. I do find it hilarious that the governess/companion is right behind and to the right of the sisters.

So, there’s kind of a lot going on in that picture besides the two good-looking sisters towards the lower right corner, so I did some cropping and photoshopping, inserting our faces onto those of the sisters.

I also added in some of the momento mori symbols from our own lives.


The momento mori theme incorporates several characteristics and symbols that I happen to love:

  • Skulls*
  • Dutch/Flemish painting^
  • Flowers
  • Fragility
  • Acknowledgement of the ethereal nature of our lives
Flamingos, obviously a reference to our abode: Chez Flamant, and one of my skulls, Rhombus. Rhombus was contributed to my collection by Alana who scavenged it from a birthday party. Birds were also a symbol in Flemish paintings.

Besides those two symbols, I also added our other roommates, Amp and Phe. We go nowhere without their say so. #amiright

L: Ampersand sitting on a book by T.S. Eliot. About cats. R: Phe (Apostrophe) with resting cat face.

The Message

To match the feeling of the year, we found a quote matching our theme. We laid that quote over a flower background.

Flowers photo shot around 2015 at Thanksgiving Point during their tulip festival.
A fitting theme, no?

The card came together really nicely. And it reflected how we felt at the end of that year. As I write this, things haven’t changed a lot, except we can go out in public now thanks to the vaccine. So, to future us, we will get through it! Stay in touch.

Online card version that we sent out digitally.

*Remember when skulls were a goth symbol but then Alexander McQueen started printing and incorporating them into his fashion and all of a sudden those of us who appreciated the details in life were suddenly trending? Yeah. I do :D.

^Dutch and Flemish art is one of my favorite periods of art. Between the lighting (Caravaggio-esque), the still lives (mixes of fruit, flowers, and—you guessed it—skulls), and the sensuality (more secular themes around maximalism), Flemish art slays me.

Go back to the main page.

See 2019.