Frida finished on a Friday

I may be delirious typing this, because that title strikes me as hilarious. I suspect it isn’t.

While this post is about my FINISHED Frida painting, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented yesterday after my interview with Tammy (as part of her interview series) at Daisy Yellow. It was thrilling to just be asked, but I completely hadn’t expected all the kindness and support shown, and the comments made meant so much to me. So thank you, if you have missed the thank you on my art page. It touched me far more than I can say here. Sometimes plodding away at my dining room table can be a lonesome exercise, and you can feel a bit unseen sometimes. Yesterday I felt very supported and connected, and I am so very grateful. So thank you. :)

As I said in my last post, I was painting a Frida copy, and then I would look at the elements of her story and tell that story in my own style. Finally I have finished her. My Facebook art page has had all the update photos during the week.

The last post has the progress up to the point that I am about to start.

I will just repost the original reference picture, so you can see what I am copying, and also the initial charcoal sketch on canvas. This is a big canvas 50cm x 60cm. I am happy with how my acrylics performed for the most part. This has been one of the most patience trying things I have done, but also one of the most valuable learning experiences. By the end I really dedicated myself to finishing, because I wanted to stop more than once. It is so tedious copying another persons work, another person’s story. With nothing of you in there at all. Much more than I anticipated.

Here is the original painting reference photo I used, titled Self Portrait 1940 by Miss Kahlo herself.

Reference Photo

This is where the painting started:
Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait 1940 Study WIP #1

Messy, but I was only really blocking out the figures.

And these are the final two photos in the series:

The last progress shot:
Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait 1940 Study WIP #11

AND drumroll….the final painting, where I called her done.

Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait 1940 Study WIP #12

There are of course difference, and some like the neckline of her dress bug me a little still, but I am so pleased with her. And also that I stuck with it. I had no idea it would be such a valuable learning experience.

Looking at the story behind the painting and the images (according to the library books I have), the thorns around her neck allude to Christ’s thorns, presenting herself as a matyr. Some of the sticks are broken on the original…I only had two broken ones, and I note since I just got up to check that they are both under the freaking bird. :) But I will remember that for the story. Broken sticks alluding to the fact her attraction to broken things, like her body.

The dead hummingbird apparently may refer to her been cut down in flight, or to her rejection by Diego. In another book, there is reference to Diego killing hummingbirds and dissecting them, and her distaste for that. In Mexican folk tradition apparently dead hummingbirds were used as charms to bring luck in love, which is interesting in terms of Diego killing them, and his philandering ways, though I wonder if dissecting them is having them as a charm (and that line of thought is not in the book…just going around my head as I type!).

The books also mentions aztec mythology where the hummingbird represented reincarnation and it was believed that warrior spirits returned as hummingbirds, which is interesting, but I am not sure Frida went there. I found it interesting though so I included it! :) As an aside, much of this interpretation without her words to tell us, is pretty subjective, but I am geeking out over interpreting her images and symbols like a detective. I justify it here, because it becomes pertinent when I tell the story in my own style next.

Some historians have also apparently alluded to the fact that Christian symbolism has birds representing the winged soul, and given the religious nature of the painting with Frida standing as Jesus, the bird could be the Holy Spirit??? I am thinking that is a big stretch.

The animals are suggested to be menacing. The cat representing death over the person’s shoulder who is about to die??? Another alleges that the cat is ready to pounce on the bird, and the monkey (a gift from Diego) fingers the thorny branches in a way that deepens the wounds. The two flower dragonflies may represent transcendence, as do the filigree butterfly brooches attached to her headdress.

So the story involves love, heartbreak, martyrdom, pain and suffering and the transcendence of the suffering. According to the books. I will do some more research over the weekend, before I start the next painting of my interpretation of the story, but if you have different interpretations I am open! :)

And I am linking to The Butterfly Effect, which has Frida as the theme this week (and Fairy sex!!) next week. And also Paint Party Friday. :)

Have a good weekend.


45 thoughts on “Frida finished on a Friday

  1. Your charming interpretation is folk art lovely and reminds me of a true mexican artist with a love of frida!

    Really powerful!

  2. I say you did a more than comendable job on Frida. I especially like the shadow lines in the purple head dress…well I like most all of it…I like to think when we do copies like this that we do have license to put some of ourselves into it and that it need not be photographically perfect. Brava!

  3. Wow! I love the fact that you did so much research into this painting. You reproduction has so much more”soul” to it than others I have seen because of it. I think the cat is definitely watching the bird, and I can’t help thinking of the saying “a monkey on your back”, which to me represents a long held misfortune that can not be easily dealt with, usually aggravated by some form of expectation by others. Wonderful piece Natasha :D XXX

  4. Wow! You really nailed this painting! :) I love all the symbolism described in your post. I’d say she was the bird that was caught in the thorns. Monkey represented Diego and the cat I have no idea. Did she have a favorite pet? What about the dragonflies?

  5. Oh wow! What a beautiful interpretation of a lovely painting! I think you did a fantastic job and it was really interesting to learn the meaning behind everything that was in it! Well done!

  6. Beautiful! Way to go for sticking with it to the end. It is hard to copy another’s work, you are so right. But, what a learning experience. There is such deep meaning in this painting and I think you did a great job. Happy PPF

  7. So, so , so much work has gone into this. I didn’t realise you were to do another afterwards as well – I thought this one was your interpretation. Wow – this is a project and a half. Aside from admiring and being extremely jealous f your painting talent, I am also in awe of your dedication and investigation skills. I love all the thought that’s gone into the symbolism. I’m glad you did though as I never even noticed in the original that the monkey was playing with the thorns…

    I wonder what you would make of my obsession with a certain silver crow. Who we saw today again and I almost stopped the car in mid-traffic so I could get out and photo him. He was sitting so still and calm on a fence almost looking directly into the car…

  8. The last thing anyone would notice in this is that the neckline isn’t exactly like the original. And it doesn’t need to be! It’s a wonderful painting and unquestioningly Frida.

  9. You deserve a hand for finishing such a complex painting. There is so much going on in all her work. I know I couldn’t have done such a faithful interpretation, it’s hard to process it all just looking at one of her paintings, let alone trying to do your own version.

  10. You did a GReat job with this painting. I know you must be proud of yourself and the giddiness got you when you wrote the title which is probably why it struck you as funny. I did an interpretation of one of Klimt’s pieces a couple years ago and really felt like I’d gotten into his mind a little bit in the process. I think you’ve definitely done that here with your finished Friday Frida!

  11. Its a beautiful painting! I can imagine the work that must have gone into it. I loved reading your post and the interpretations! Thank you for visiting me.

  12. Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog … Because it led me to your site! This work on Frida is marvellous. As you say, trying to copy a great artist’s painting or do it in your own style makes us learn so much. When I was doing my art degree I was ill with a terrible pain in my head, and at one point I felt compelled to draw the pain. When I showed my art tutor she referred me to Frida’s work, which I never ceased to be amazed at. Did you see the film?
    As for my I-PAD paintings, I so wish I could find someone else who is playing around with I-Pad and I-phone art. If you do get your I-Pad I’d love to see what you do. Jez.

  13. Wow, what a challenge you set yourself…and met it well. I can’t imagine doing all that painstaking work copying someone else’s work, but you succeeded. Thanks for sharing the challenge with us.

    Best wishes,

  14. Wow. I think your work on this is amazing, not just because you physically copied her portrait exceedingly well (tho you certainly did!), but also because I think you captured some of the essence of her portrait.

    Really amazing job.

    I love the research you did and the questions you’ve asked about her use of symbolism. I’ve been very interested in symbolism for a long time–when it’s used purposely and when it’s used accidentally, in both writing and painting.

    Really great work all the way around.

  15. Pingback: Friday round up | Natasha White Designs

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