I created this painting as the last piece for my upcoming exhibition 'Life in Skeleton' at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society (New River Inn) Florida Day of the Dead (Oct 25th -Nov 2nd 2016. I wanted to create a piece that represented the spirit of the season and our celebration of Dia de los Muertos. I had remembered a photograph a friend sent me from her trip to Oaxaca, Mexico during Dia de los Muertos. You can't get any more authentic than this, since this is the heart of where Dia de los Muertos originated. I used the photograph below of two women carry baskets of offerings of marigolds and pan dulce to their loved one's altars. I created the scene around them using inspiration from 'Grave Sight'; an acrylic I painted in 2010
Frida and her Doll' is painting #2 out of 3 in my Frida series for 2016. It was inspired by two images; one a beautiful black and white photograph of her in a dress with intricate designs, and the second is an original painting of hers titled, "Me and my Doll". When I first began this painting, I was only going to recreate her in the dress, but I felt something was missing. In the preliminary sketch I put a couple of cats with her, and on the wall beside her was going to be a different original painting, created by her. I changed my mind about the original painting, and decided to base it on her original titled, "Me and my Doll". I identify with that one more, because my Mom was an avid doll collector, and I grew up with a lot of dolls. I replaced the cats idea with inserting a baby doll; one created from my imagination to correspond with the doll in her painting. These two subjects, then brought balance to the piece. I enjoyed coordinating the colors of her dress with the colors in her original painting.
Frida' completes my Frida series for 2016., #3 out of 3 paintings. Again this painting was inspired by a black and white photograph of Frida Kahlo. This time I was looking to paint a close up of the artist's face and torso. I gave her a banner with her name inscribed, with two birds on either side, magically holding the ribbon. One is black to represent her suffering, and the other right (flying higher) to represent the love that would triumph. An interesting experience took place, while working on this painting. I rescued a butterfly from the pool, that had two broken wings, but was still alive. I tried to set it free, somewhere, but the poor thing could not fly. I didn't want to leave it, and let it become food for a lizard, so I brought it inside in a make shift cage, and fed it over ripe strawberries. The next day, it looked rather sad, so I took it outside and put it on my hand. When a breeze picked up, the butterfly (with two broken wings) miraculously flew up and off into the sky! I couldn't believe it! This beautiful experience made an impression on me. I felt it was a special message. It showed me that, despite our afflictions or brokenness, our will to live and love can overcome anything! I thought this as I continued to paint, and just decided to put this message in the painting, because it too suited Frida's life. I used a picture I took of the broken butterfly as reference, and put it at the top right hand corner of the painting. It felt right and complete.
RIP series reflects a peaceful and tranquil side to my paintings. I pictured skeletons at rest, in one way or another with each back drop, an element of nature or earth; sky, water and fire. The spirit of this series is one of cleansing, healing and renewal.
Painting #1 out of 3 titled, 'Duermase' oil on canvas 16 x 20" depicts a skeleton, peacefully resting in a heavenly sky
Painting #2 out of 3 titled 'Ophelia Muerta' oil on canvas 16 x 20" depicts a skeleton gently floating in a slow moving stream, surrounded by various flowers. This painting was inspired by the famous painting "Ophelia" by John Everett Millais, based upon Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
Painting #3 out of 3 is titled 'En Fuego' oil on canvas 16 x 20" depicts a skeleton in the center of a flame, or I thought could resemble a lotus flower. I couldn't help but think of the death of Frida Kahlo in this one, which was said, as her body was removed from cremation, the remaining bones and ash were of all colors; reds, purples, greens. This painting means for me, cleansing and renewal. Transformation.
'Reflejo de Frida' is the first painting of 2016 to add to my existing series of Frida Kahlo inspired paintings. I find the inspiration to create another Frida, begin around May of every year, and peak in the summer, around her birthday and also around the time of her death (July). This year, I've decided to use real photos of Frida, as reference. I was drawn to this one of her, as it has such a peaceful quality to me. In many of her photos, she seems quite alone, with the exception of her animal friends. Her lonesomeness seems to intensify in this piece. I wonder as she would stare at her own reflection, if she could fathom the gravity of her life, and how much she would impact future generations of artists, fans, and lovers of Mexican art and culture? Can we the viewers, from the outside, begin to comprehend her experience of pain, life and love? As I painted this piece, I heard voices whisper, 'Will you miss me when I'm gone?', or 'will you remember me when I'm gone?'. I almost titled the painting, with one of these phrases, because they came in so clear, I decided to paint her in skull, on the left, because it is my style; in skeleton, but not a black and white skull. I used every color in the spectrum to create the skull of Frida, because color is life, and although we pass, I believe we continue to live on. I took this a step further, by creating her reflection in the flesh, again using every color to symbolize life, from black to white, and everything in between. The face in the reflection seems to me, not so realistic as it is a spirit of her face. Her face is almost too sacred to paint, and I couldn't look at a photograph but rather, how I felt she would want me to paint her image. Falling from above, from the light, I painted rose petals cascading down upon the two of them. This is a symbol for the love that surrounds Frida today. As the petals fall to the floor, they take on life, transforming into roses, with red vines that continue down the path. I added my 'Tiki Man' statue in the left corner, which symbolizes something ancient and always present, witnessing all our life moments, emotions, struggles, death. For me, this painting is a glimpse; a moment in time, living forever in our hearts and never forgotten. In love, we remember Frida Kahlo.
This is the first painting, I've created that's of a personal photo. It depicts a couple, in a dark, old time Movie Theater, enjoying, more the company of each other, than anything else. This is a painting of me and my adoring husband, Noel. When you first meet that person, who you know you will spend the rest of your life with, you just want to share anything and everything together; watching movies was one of the things we enjoyed doing a lot, in the beginning of our relationship. We shared all of our favorites, again with each other and discovered so many new, amazing movies together, which then became 'Our' favorites. Some of those movies were, 'Sweeny Todd' and 'Cinema Paradiso'. I hoped to give it that kind of vibe, along the lines of Tim Burton. This is a near and dear one, and will be kept for our home and family. I wonder if it will creep out our future grandchildren one day haha! Even for me, this one is a little bit chilling , to walk in the room and see ourselves as muertos.
This is a piece that came to me, much like the other ones; it began with a vision into a beautiful forest, following a path of light. I saw a shadow inside and surrounded by the light. As I got closer, I saw it was a little deer, so small and innocent; not afraid. All I wanted to do, was get closer to this little deer in the light, because I believed, if I touched him, all my pain, worries, and sorrow would disappear. It would be like turning a new chapter, leaving behind what ails us, and beginning again, fresh and new. All there is on the other side is LOVE. This is what this painting means to me. I often have these feelings of beginning anew every Spring; that's why I titled it 'Primavera ~ Forest of New Life'. The message is: Everyone has a chance to begin again. Everyone gets a new start. It's up to us to go within to find the strength there and the Love that makes this possible. I used myself as the model in the painting
Divine Mother Earth' began as an abstract; just for fun. I needed a break from my normal process, of imagining a picture first, then getting it out of my head to canvas. This time, I had no preconceived idea of what I would be painting; just that I would be playing around in paint. I started with blues, and yellows, with some red and purple, with the canvas laid flat, and let whatever would happen; happen. I started to see something like a castle, or a forest, and also shapes like figures began to appear. I let it dry, and put it vertically on the easel, and switched to oils. I then started making apparent the figures that I saw and forest. I sensed a great feminine energy at this point. In those feminine figures, I gave some of them faces. I called it divine, because every inch of this piece feels magical to me. All the colors are connected to one another. There are no limits or boundaries. To some up what I see in the finished piece is Earth in it's divinity; The cycle of life, and how it never ends. The center of the painting is middle ground, where we exist with nature and the Divine Mother who watches over us and is nurturing. The top of the painting is universal flow, and the bottom, is the dirt and earth, which we die into, but transform into new life. Wow this was a deep one for me!! What do YOU see?
'Ribbons in my Hair
Ribbons in the moonlit sky
Red and Yellow, flowing through the air
Tell me you love me
Ribbons in my Hair
Ribbons in the night garden
gently whispering their secrets
Tell me you love me
Ribbons in my Hair
Red and Yellow, flowing through the air
Ribbons, Ribbons... Ribbons are everywhere'
This is the poem I heard in my mind, after seeing the vision of this painting, 'Frida in the Moonlight Garden. This is the first time I heard phrases whispered to me, as I saw a painting to create. I was able to fly all around inside the painting, and see and feel everything. I immediately sketched the image along with the words. This is how 'Frida in the Moonlight Garden came to be.
This painting came about in a dream. I dreamt that I created a series of 3 new Frida inspired paintings. I was able to see rather clearly each one, individually and fly around in them, seeing the colors and themes for each one. I knew this was a gift. Part of me knew I was dreaming, so I tried as long as I could, to gather all the information necessary to create these pieces. I also saw in the dream that two out of three pieces, would be hung in San Francisco. I woke up and immediately grabbed my sketchbook and wrote down as many details as possible to later create them. ‘Thinking about Life’ is the first painting of this 2015 series of Frida inspired pieces. Before I began painting, all I knew was that it would be Frida in the sky with some red and blue accents. I didn’t have a clear vision but in faith, began painting anyway. The entire painting just flowed out of me effortlessly. When I painted her skull in the clouds, a circulation of clouds seemed to encompass her, looking to me like one of her famous head dresses, that she painted herself in several paintings. I felt so much Life in this painting and Light! It surrounded her and also emanated from her, coming from her forehead, above the brow and also shined upon her from above. As I progressed, I felt something very significant below her missing...I initially thought bright and vividly colored flowers would be at the bottom, but it needed something more. On a whim I added a child; a baby which could be a doll. It was a symbol for new life and for innocence. The titled came to me just as easy as the painting; While thumbing through one of my Frida books, I found a painting, which I had not really taken notice. It was another self portrait, where she has a skull on her forehead above the brow. It's titled, ‘Thinking about Death’. A voice came to me in that moment, ‘Your painting must be titled, ‘Thinking about Life’, and it was decided. What do I think this painting represents? For me it means, Rebirth, New Beginnings; the eternal. Ultimately it’s for others to decide what it may mean for them. I see my art as being a gift for others, left for Their interpretation. This painting will be featured in Fiestas Fridas San Francisco, a two month long celebration of the life of Frida Kahlo, from July through August, 2015.