Hi all y’all!
It is another gorgeous day here in New Orleans. I am having one of my favorite kind of days where I can have time to just ponder, listen and create. I think it is in my goat-nature to plan and execute. I am working on being flexible… loosely woven plans. This is really anti-goat mentality, but worth working on.
For the two or three weeks, I have been painting a picture of Frida Kahlo. She is an inspiration in her fearless portrayal of her pain. She is so obviously someone who wouldn’t have been the person she was without the pain of the polio, the bus accident and Diego. Diego hurt Frida terribly, but he also validated her as an artist. I could write about Frida all day, but there are many books that do a better job. So here is my process.
Before this roughed out painting, I wrote “July 1907 – July 1954 Frida Kahlo” on the canvas, because I wanted to make this a tribute and to feel closer to her. I just happened to have a thin canvas that fit inside the frame.
This picture basically demonstrates that it doesn’t really matter how the painting starts out. Visualizing where the painting wants to go, staying connected, opening your heart, having fun with the paint and the colors is what happens throughout the painting, but really clear here.
This painting is rich with symbols. Starting on the left is a picture reproduced from Frida’s journal. I love it, because she is a skeleton in the picture. Under her journal page are loteria cards of a skeleton and a rose. Below that it says, “mi amor” in my best Frida handwriting from studying her journal. Printed on canvas is a picture of Frida and Diego.
On all 4 corners are tiles that my sister made, just because they look Mexican. Up at the top, you can barely see a photo of Frida in the hospital and a photo of her blue house. On the right side of the painting following her clockwise from the house that she loved are the words, “Painting Saved My Life”. On this side there pictures that you can slightly see of Frida with her monkey and her parrot. Here, there is a blue butterfly symbolizing her freedom.
On the bottom is the word, “FLY”. I don’t believe Frida would want to Rest In Peace. I nailed 3 milagros under the word FLY that I bought at the mission in Carmel, California. One is her leg that caused her so much trouble, starting with polio when she was a small child and ending with amputation shortly before her death, a bird and a heart. Her initials are covered in gold glitter and paint to symbolize the gold that covered her after the bus accident.
Finally, the center of the painting. Hovering above the daisies is an orange and red butterfly symbolizing pain and eventual death that shaped Frida’s life.
I almost hate to be done. Being done with this painting is like being finished with a good book.
To all of you out there, learning and growing from your pain. It’s not in vain. Look to Frida for your strength.
With steadfast love,
7 thoughts on “Tribute to Frida Kahlo”
I love her!
A beautiful tribute, Nancy….
Ooooooh I LOVE your painting – and all the mixed media you used in doing it. I read Frida’s diaries and wow – what a story!
I totally get that feeling of not wanting to be finished….I always fall in love with my last painting (but I may be fickle.)
Nancy, I just love this piece and how you explore your subjects so deeply and intimately. Thank you for sharing your process and your artful visions! Love the new look of your site too!!
Thank you all so much for the nice comments.
Nancy, I am so impressed with your Frieda. I too have always been fascinated by her–gone to her exhibits and read a lot about her. She was a very complicated soul. You really captured the essence of her. Thank you for sharing this via Jan.
I love your finished Frieda. I think the red roses and the slimmer face are perfect. I got interested after being in Mexico for “Day of the Dead” as high school students set up memorials for their role models. Frieda was especially interesting and I loved the movie of her life also. You do a wonderful job of explaining your process and thoughts as you work. Thank you for sharing in such a beautiful way.