Monday, July 25, 2011

Frida, and finding my voice.

Last week, while visiting my dear friend Barb in Washington state (more about my visit in a future post), we watched the movie Frida.  I'd seen it before, but it had been awhile, and this time it struck a chord with me that it hadn't during the first viewing. I had an epiphany of sorts concerning an artist's life and how it affects their work.

Ever since the first time I laid eyes on Frida Kahlo's work, I've been a fan. One of the many things I find very appealing about her paintings is their personal aspect. It struck me during the movie, while ruminating about her life and the obstacles she had to overcome, this is something I should strive for more in my own work. Often, when I don't like a piece, I find it's because it feels contrived and lacks my true voice. Frida's paintings are her paintings; no one else could have painted them, ever. They are true to her, and she allowed so much to be spilled onto the canvas. There are times when I am forcing the work, and struggling. I'd do much better to allow the art to come through. I tend to forget this, and then a wall goes up.

I'm very interested in Frida herself, aside from the artist. She intrigues me. This leads me back to her artwork as my interest in her makes me want to hear what she has to say. Some of the most valuable messages are related through art, maybe especially of the variety without words. Often, the most important things can't be contained with words.

Frida shared herself through her art. We are so lucky to get a glimpse into this other world, a world of deep emotions, secret desires (or not so secret), dreamscapes...nightmares. The meat of it.

Everything I create will have my voice attached in some way, even when I'm "forcing" it; it can't be helped. Because I am the creator, part of me comes through. But I crave more. I often end a day in the studio feeling like I didn't create the art I really wanted to, the art I see in my mind and feel in my heart. Sometimes I tap into it easily, and it just flows, and reaches a point where it feels like the art is making itself. Other times, not so much.

I will not be satisfied until I feel I really allow my voice to speak more often than not. I want to create my art. I want my work to have a personal connection to me, even if veiled and only seen through my eyes. I'm getting closer to this, I can feel it.

Still...the wall has been up. I returned from Washington reinvigorated, refreshed and inspired, yet when I sit down to work, nada. I've turned out a couple small things, stumbling all the way, but it feels like there's something hidden, just beyond, and I can't quite make it out...

This life is a learning process, and so can be creativity. In both, it's important to let go of control (or the illusion of) sometimes and just go along for the ride. Letting go of fear is key if you want to really live, and if you want to realize the potential of the person and artist inside you. (I think I should heed my own advice.)


  1. Funny, I was thinking much the same thing when we were watching Frida.

    I can so relate to that "untouchable intangible" feeling. I think I kind of turn to my acting skills when that happens. I go internal and conjure up a memory that is laden with emotion. Sometimes the memory itself translates to what I'm doing, but often it's the emotion behind it that comes out.

    That being said, I've yet to really explore my darker side with my art. I keep holding back on it for whatever reason, and I shouldn't. I think whatever is lurking there is going to become something amazing. Time to let go and live it, huh?

  2. Yes, B, time to let it go! I really want to as well.