Thursday, June 30, 2022

Frida Kahlo and Flower Headdress

 Art. I find it is all about patience, mostly with ourselves.

It is also about finding that connection and getting out of the way so it can happen.

Patience to find the Connection

I have struggled with Frida's Flower Headdress. It happened only when I was able to back off and let it rest that the "solution" or I should say, the right thing came to me. It was there ALL the time but I kept pushing things into a different direction.

Frida- who was she? 
She let the brush become an extension of her heart, her pain as the flower bloomed in vibrant colors onto the canvas releasing that familiar ache within her back.

Paper and Silk with dyes...Paper with dyes...Silk painted with gold leaf... 

Read here about this Process!

Watch here the Process

And then when I wasn't thinking about it, it came to me right in the middle of doing a presentation for other artists that I realized that is was there all along! 

Hydrangea Story Hat

Create with your Heart

Of course- create your own with the silk that you is always the key.

Hand drawn flowers. Dyed in layers and 
then topstitching with free form motion.

This the color and depth that she was asking for all along!

Finished Flowers.


And was able to glide along smoothly, just as Dorothy was told by Glinda..

I still loved the idea of a created a round shaped under structure to add the flowers to.
One by one...being mindful of color balance in cool and warm tones with a bit of neutral color tucked in.
Note: I also added a bit of free form topstitching to her rebozo to honor the spiritual  weaving of the Tehuana culture that Frida so adored.

The Final Images!

I paint flowers...

Close up views.

On a closing I reflect on this process of creating Frida, I find the trials that I went through to express her in her fullest glory was in a sense, how she lived her life. There were ups and downs but in the end she got her one woman show. She expressed her pain with in her paintings and surrounded herself with beauty in relief of her battered body. 

Her life was about being truly herself 

with no apologies.

For information of this one of kind original
Leslie O'Leary

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Frida Part Two: Sculpting, Painting, and Flowers

I find creating art to be a process of not only self discovery but of also being able to understand your subject better...Frida the Bust. I have had a push and pull with her.

She is such a strong spirit and I guess, so am I!


This process went very smoothly. I feel I understand the clay (DAS- air dry) I work with well and I feel, understand what is is capable of doing.

Base Form

Hair and Eyebrows Added
This was a great experience form me, since I have never sculpted hair in clay before! 
I researched many "techniques" on YouTube, but ended up going with my own instinct. 

I love the was the hair turned out! It was all about following what you know within your own medium and what it can do and using the "tools", in this case a chenille needle, that will work in their best capacity.


HA! This piece is SUCH a great learning experience for me!
I wanted Frida to have a painterly, my first method was watercolor...

YIKES! Well, this turned into a muddy mess. No flow, just stickiness!
So there I sat, staring dead on at Frida...
where are you?? who are you?
And then she answered "I am a shining light".

Well, of course your are Frida- you are gold.
Which also relates back to her accident that changed her entire life when she was eighteen years, left in the street thought for dead with gold dust covering her torn and broken body.

Several coats and drying time over night... I could return with a renewed spirit and a knowing that I was indeed, in the right place- shoulder to shoulder- with her.

Warm tones. I always start with the warm up. The gold became a beautiful base as I painted a combo of skin colors on top. The gold still shone through but in such a delicate way. As her spirit always shone through even through pain with layers of clothing and accessories.

This is where I used not only acrylic but was able to bring the watercolors into play!

Cool tones. Next came the shading in the cool tones. Unseen here in the photo are the blue and green tones. You can see them softly in "real life" and my hope is in the final images.

She was very demanding and needed her hair immediately, so I had no time to take a photo in-between the two paintings.
Here she is compete in her painting.

Flowers and Rebozo

So at this moment, I am writing in retrospect!
This has been and still is the most interesting part of creating Frida...

I have found that I have stepped with my personal take on who (I thought her to be) only to be dissuaded time after time...At this writing I have put Frida to the side and feel that the right connection is in the process of being reveled. I can feel it but hasn't quite come into existence...yet.

First Flower attempt:
Silk and paper.
Cutting and shaping all seemed to be going well, UNTIL, I started to put them together. It was too obvious...too expected. 
Two days of work swept into plastic bag.

Second flower Attempt:
Japanese Paper.
Beautiful and had the feel of a painterly feel.
I rushed it and the re-shaping of the flowers lost their delicacy.
Two days of work swept into plastic bag.

Third flower Attempt:
Ok, so this is where my own definition of Frida, got in the way. She is such an icon, a saint really in our own human anointment of her.

I went back to the painting of her. "I a shining light"...of course, a halo- a halo of roses. It came into being. 
It worked for about two or three days but just not quite...there. It was very elegant but I know I needed to sit on it.

After conferring with a trusted artist, and getting the same response as I was giving it.
Four days of work swept into plastic bag.

NOW the rebozo- the paper was not working and I return to my roots and created a magenta (her favorite color) in a beautiful two way silk with my signature topstitching.

And now Frida, sitting patiently for the her headdress from this maker.

It is coming...I can feel it.

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