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Why Art?

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Over my 40 year career in distilling, I worked in various roles starting as Laboratory Assistant i.e glorified tea boy! finishing my career as Technical Manager of a large grain distillery. Throughout my career there was always the creative side to my character that would be in conflict with business requirements. Hence now retired from "wage slavery" I can express my creativity through art. So this is a journey of discovery about art techniques and about myself; what type of artist will I become?




Frida - Catalogue cover


Mix Media on 3mm Hardboard (reverse side). 25cm x 30cm, Watercolour, Gouache, Fabric, Pencil, Brush pen, wooden mannequin, beads and Cyanotype print. My response to a brief on Frida Kahlo exhibition. The blue watercolour background to reflect Mi Casa Azul, my blue house which was Frida's favourite place, also her studio and where the exhibition objects were found.


I've shown Frida with the colours of the Mexican flag running through her face to represent the passion she had about her country. Her face is a light pencil drawing using tracing paper from an image by Nickolas Muray, "Frida Kahlo in Blue Satin Blouse" 1939. I've picked out the most synonymous features of Frida, her eyebrows in brush pen, lips in red gouache. and headdress in gouache.


Below Frida is an underexposed cyanotype of multiple positive and negative images of her husband Diego Rivera, as he was a significant emotional influence on her life and art.

A mannequin was used to support the representation of a plaster corset which features often in her life (and exhibition) as a result of various unsuccessful operations on her spine. Modroc covered wooden mannequin painted with watercolour and detail in gouache, showing the hammer & sickle as Frida was a communist. The "skirt" is fabric sewn and painted with gouache. The single leg is her artificial leg, painted with gesso, watercolour and gouache. The bottom of which I vanished.


Frida loved beads and Jewelry I've shown the beads coming from under the skirt and joining to her, as an "umbilical cord". Through her paintings she gave "birth" to her image which has endured and become iconic image in popular culture.

As an after though I pierced the modroc of the "corset" at the holes for the mannequin arms to exposed the spring which hold the mannequin together, as Frida's spine was support by metal.


A few things I would have done differently , if doing again I would have shaped the upper area of the mannequin to better represent the plaster corset. as the mannequin is there to support the objects of the exhibition and not a representation of her body.

Diego Rivera image from: https://www.diegorivera.org/




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