Frieda Kahlo is a Mexican Painter and a great inspiration to me. There is something extremely weird and distant about her artwork. She invites the viewer to understand her artwork but at the same time she tries to alienate you with her subject matter. She is very famous for herself portraits. Therefore, I decided to create this portrait of her based on a photo that I’ve once came across when studying Visual Art at university. I instantly fell in love with the colors, the flowers, the patterns on the shirt and the juxtaposition of light and dark.
I’ve kept the photo for 2 years in my inspiration book until I decided that I am ready to paint it. I was overwhelmed at first. There was a lot to be done and I wanted the painting to be my own but at the same time I wanted it to reflect something true about Frieda Kahlo’s personality and her original work. So I began with very bright base colours. Painting dark shades of purple on the shadowed areas and yellow on illuminated areas of the face. I continued applying layers of brown shades. Using very gentle and smooth brushwork. Eventually a face was beginning to surface. Adding detail made her even more realistic. Adding highlights on primary areas and glazing the darker areas with a darker pigment led to a realistic Frieda Kahlo portrait. I started painting the background with a bright pink and adding thick layers of blue and turquoise paint with a pallet knife that created the strong hatching marks. The smooth brushwork used on the face and hatching marks in the background creates a vivid contrast between the two areas that causes the face to be placed in the foreground of the painting. To paint Frieda Kahlo was a wonderful and exciting 3 months experience.