22″ x 30″
Arches Hot Press Paper and Strathmore Drawing Paper
Ink and Gouache
I was first introduced to the life and works of Frida Kahlo when I was a freshmen in high school. I was sitting in a classroom across the hall from the art room. There was an upper level class going on in the actual art room so my freshman class had to work across the hall. We were all crammed in there, elbow to elbow as my art teacher walked around the classroom holding a book filled with paintings by Frida. The first painting she showed us was this one. It was a lot for a group of 14 year olds to take in. But I absolutely loved how brutally honest her paintings were. I loved that she was willing to share her emotions. I loved that even though the majority of her work was about loss, pain, and sadness, she still used bright, vivid color to express herself. I believe Frida was one of the reasons I started focusing on portraiture within my own artwork.
This piece was kind of a happy accident, as in I hadn’t planned on creating it. I wanted to experiment with ink washes and had a Frida Kahlo biography sitting out and decided to try and create an ink wash portrait of her. I loved everything about it except the headdress. I didn’t want to abandon the portrait so instead I decided to cut it out and leave behind the part I didn’t like.
I then glued her face onto a giant piece of arches I had and began to paint around it using gouache. There are certain flowers, vines and leaves that depict ones that she used in her own paintings. I also wanted to include her love of animals (I just adore how the parrot turned out). The rest of the natural elements come purely from my imagination. I believe this piece is a great tribute to Frida.