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.
Messy, but I was only really blocking out the figures.
And these are the final two photos in the series:
AND drumroll….the final painting, where I called her done.
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! :)
Have a good weekend.