Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


Frida Inspired Angel

Life has a curious way of distracting us from our other plans. Such as it is with my attempts at blogging on a more consistent basis. However you might define consistent.

Anyways, I finally put my butt in the chair and uploaded the rest of the pictures for my Frida-inspired angel. This is the angel created in the first lesson of Kara Bullock’s “Angels Among Us” online workshop. You can see the first installment here.

Picking up where the previous post left off, here are more work-in-progress (WIP) images and the finished piece.

The initial layers of her face, hair and halo have been painted. Now it was time to sketch in her shoulders, torso, necklace, and wings.

Then came the color of her necklace, dress, and texture for her wings. And a few more tweaks to her face and neck. Of course.

I found a picture of Frida online and in it she is wearing this groovy necklace made of crocheted flowers. That became my inspiration for the necklace in this painting.

At some point, you have to stop focusing on the little details and move on to the background. It’s really easy to obsess over the little details. I lost count of how many layers of paint are on her face. Or how long it took to paint in her hair, adjust the width of each row, and make sure each section landed evenly on both sides of her head.

With the background painted, she really started to pop off of the canvas and the painting finally felt like it was coming together.


An Eye Popping Background

From this point I focused on finishing her necklace and making some final adjustments to her dress and face. She had finally come together and I was super happy with how she looked.


Frida-inspired Angel (cropped)


Frida-inspired Angel (iPhone version)

I even pulled out my Nikon to take a few pictures of this piece. I’m a little rusty on taking art photos with a digital camera in manual mode. And the location where I set up this painting and my equipment wasn’t ideal. However, the resulting images give a slightly different “feel” to the painting; a more “aged” icon kind of look.


Frida-inspired Angel (Nikon version 1)


Frida-inspired Angel (Nikon version 2)

Since this painting was finished, I’ve completed a second lesson creating an angel using watercolors and am in the process of working on another angel using acrylics. I’ll share those with you after the Thanksgiving holiday.


Art Date: Frida Kahlo Art Exhibit

This past weekend while visiting family in New Jersey, Eric and I had the opportunity to visit the Frida Kahlo exihibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  I admit that I’m not a big fan of Kahlo’s work.  It seems flat and folky on one hand and just bizarre on the other hand.  But because she was such a force in the art world and someone that I was not very familiar with, I decided to get tickets to the exhibit to learn more.

And learn I did.

Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, a suburb in Mexico City.  She was a polio survivor and intended to become a doctor but a horrific accident at the age of 18 changed those plans and the course of her life.  The accident, which fractured her back, collarbone, and ribs, shattered her pelvis, and injured her shoulder and foot, left her convalescing for more than a year.

It was during this period of recovery that Frida started painting; primarily self-portraits and still lifes.  At the age of 21 she met Diego Rivera, an artist 20 years her senior.  Their tumultuous relationship (marriage, divorce, infidelities, remarriage) lasted until Kahlo’s death in 1954.  And it is the near constant pain from her accident and frequent surgeries, a miscarriage and her inability to have children, Rivera’s affairs, and politics that are reflected in Frida’s paintings.

Now I understand the power behind her work.  I’m still not crazy about it but I admire her ability to express herself so freely and so independently.  As with many artists, Kahlo did paint more traditional pieces (e.g. still lifes) which sold more readily than the disturbing pieces that came from her soul.  But it is those haunting, bizarre, and tragic images that stay with you.

Through this exhibit I also learned more about the symbolism in Kahlo’s paintings and her frequent inclusion of animals and pets who took the place of the children she could not have.  This exihibit also included numerous photographs of Frida, Diego Rivera, their friends and family which provided another aspect into her life.  Yes, she did smile.

This exhibit is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 18, 2008.

The Love Embrace of the Universe, the Earth (Mexico), Me and Senor Xolotl (1949)

Me and My Parrots/Yo y Mis Pericos (1941)

The Broken Column/La columna rota (1944)

Note: The image on the cover of the brochure is titled Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird/Autorretrato con collar de espinas y colibri (1940).  The photograph of Frida was taken in 1932 by her father, Guillermo Kahlo.