I finished my O'Keeffe painting Wednesday--and sold it Wednesday! The best part, however, is that I sold it to Carolyn Wickwire, a fabulous Dallas-based actress who has co-produced and is the star of a touring stage production of Lucinda McDermott's show O'Keeffe!
A couple of days ago, I started a new painting of Frida Kahlo. I have long been intrigued by her. She seems simultaneously very straight forward and mysterious. Andre' Breton once described her painting as being like "a ribbon around a bomb." That is an apt comparison. Her work is brightly colored and compelling, but it is also filled with her physical and psychological pain.
I can't help but get inside the heads of my subjects as I paint them. I think this connection creates a certain energy in my work. I think that by focusing on the life, the art, and the personality of the subject, those aspects are more likely to come out in my own work, to influence my style, and to stretch my boundaries.
Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907. My goal is to finish her portrait in a couple of days, on her birthday. I think of it as a kind of rebirth for her. As is evident from the image below, I still have quite a bit of work to do in order to accomplish this. But it is the "texting" of the face that takes the longest time. The actual painting goes pretty quickly. I have been experimenting on the Kahlo portrait with some encaustic wax techniques.
I considered a few days ago, not for the first time, that I most enjoy projects that are complex. I found myself explaining this to a visitor to Gallery 211 where my studio is located. He wanted to know how I chose the text for each piece and whether I was the only artist using this technique. I told him it was important that the text come from a source that adds an element to the art. Sometimes the words are biographical, and sometimes they are related in other ways. Both O'Keeffe and Kahlo are created from their biographies, but the Einstein text is from a book titled Practical Mathematics. I am currently planning a series of paintings that will be created from the book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. So far the series includes portraits of the Mona Lisa, Barbie, and the Virgin Mary.
I am not the only artist who uses text in her work, but I have not discovered anyone who uses it exactly like I do.