Self Portrait In The Style of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is hailed as one of the greatest Mexican artists of the 20th century. We’ve been learning about this fascinating lady the last couple of weeks.  This children’s primer by Mike Venezia is the best one I’ve found on Kahlo.  It features a wide variety of her works and has interesting text about her life and struggles.  Though it features a few of her provocative works such as “The Two Fridas” and “Without Hope”, it does not include works of mature subject matter.

We focused mainly on Kahlo’s extensive self-portraits.

My young artist loved Kahlo’s use of bright colors.  She chose “The Frame” as her favorite.

In the past I’ve seen my young artist become so frustrated trying to draw a face that she wants to quit.  To make this project more enjoyable and avoid discouragement, I took a photo of her face at close range.

In all of Kahlo’s portraits we looked at her expression was one of strength and self-awareness; her look was serious, with no smiling. So in keeping with the style of Kahlo, I had my daughter look directly at the camera with a calm, confident expression.

I printed out the photo and then gave her some transfer paper.  She carefully traced her features.

Here’s the blue outline after she finished tracing.

She sketched her border design in pencil while I set out a variety of acrylic colors.  I let her pick her colors, reminding her that the color of the frame and the area around her face needed to contrast.

Painting her frame…

Adding a bright pink bird…

She decided to use red-violet around her face. I think Frida Kahlo would’ve approved, don’t you?

Here she is on the second day of painting, working hard to paint the right amount of highlights in her hair.

Remembering the need for contrast, she changed her shirt color from green to blue since  it would’ve blended in with the grass at the bottom.

The third day of painting was the most exciting.  It was all about her face.  We spent a few minutes looking at her reference photo and discussed all of the values that go into flesh.  To simplify it, I gave her 3 shades to use (medium, light, and very light).

And I was amazed! It’s like a light-bulb went on and she finally saw the values and tried to paint them, not just color it in like a coloring book.


She gave this her best effort and worked carefully over three days. I think it turned out AMAZING!

So proud of this girl, she inspires me every day!

Hope you have a great weekend! I’ll be going ‘out’ to visit many of you tomorrow and see what you’re working on, thanks so much for stopping by!

28 thoughts on “Self Portrait In The Style of Frida Kahlo

  1. She did an amazing job! She needs it framed and hung up~ I love seeing a budding artist, her art is amazing! She is lucky to have a wonderful Mom to encourage her growth! You both are lucky to share this passion~It is a blessing! I love Frida and can relate to her story~ Frida would be proud 😀

  2. great job on her painting!
    I read a book a few months ago called The Lacuna which was based on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s long time romance and their art.

  3. Wow I am so impressed, what a little budding artist!! Sveva your self portrait is really good honey, you are really learning so much from your mom. I’m proud to be able to brag about ya’ll all the time to my friends. So fun to show them my beautiful Niece Scarlett, and my incredible Great Niece’s and Great Nephew’s working her magic on everything she does. The word Great is intended for both meanings…because I think you all are GREAT! Love you, Aunt Mel. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. I swear! I almost always cry when I read your posts!
    This is SO very inspiring – both the arting and the mommying 😉
    I can just picture you discussing the technical aspects of art and well, her painting is just amazing (and she looks so cute doing it!). I would be so proud, I hope she is. Please give her a high five from me.
    And you are also such an inspiration – have you always home schooled? I love your approach so much.
    Happy weekend, xoxox

    1. @Kristin –Thanks so much, she looooves reading the comments about her painting, thanks for the sweet words for her (and me!) We’ve been homeschooling for a decade now, just taking it one year at a time. Things are getting tougher with our little Knox,though, so not sure how much longer I can continue. I sure would miss it :( Thanks again for coming by and encouraging both of us, I really appreciate it!

  5. Frida definitely would approve and she was a great choice for an artist!! I LOVE Frida….Your Baby Girl did an amazing job with the colors and the blending is so well done…… she is a talented young lady that is for sure… I am sure you are very proud of her…:) Have a great weekend!

  6. Beautiful! Frida would have definitely approved of her colors. I think it is amazing, and like the others, agree it should be framed and displayed. I know she is proud of it! I know you are proud of her.

    Will you tell her thank you for me, for showing us the process she went through, and the end result of her masterpiece? She is inspiring, like her mama! I LOVE it! She did such a great job.

    How are you feeling this weekend? Hope everything is ok with you and the family! Thinking of you guys, sending love to Knox, xoxo Sher

  7. @Ella -Thanks so much, yeah I read more about Kahlo on my own, and wow, I can totally relate to her art and her style,too. I love her symbolism. Thanks for the encouragement for S. and me!

    @Delores –Thanks for stopping by! Yep, painting with my girlie is one of my very favorite things to do! Have a great weekend!

    @Nola –Oooh, was that book good? The little I read about their life sounded pretty stormy but extremely interesting. Thanks for coming over and leaving S a comment!

    @Melanie –Thanks, Aunt Mely, I’m so glad you’re able to see the projects we do on here and I’ll pass the praise on to miss S. :) Love you, come see us!

  8. @Jean –Didn’t she do a great job? Wow, faces are still hard for me! Thanks for the encouragment..she’s reading all of these comments!

    @Joanna –Hi there! Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you liked the art project! I’ll be over to visit you real soon ,thanks again!

    @Reneee–Hmmm…maybe I should invent a kids’ art contest online?…that’s a really cool idea!! Renee, you’ve got me thinking. :) Thanks so much for leaving S. some sweet words!

    @Connie –You’re so kind, thanks for your kind words for my girl! Appreciate you coming over, have a great weekend!

    @Linda –Thanks!! The more I learn about Frida K. the more I’m fascinated by her paintings. Thanks for leaving my S. some praise, she’s on here reading all of the comments of course! :)
    @Sherri–Thanks for dropping by, we’re ok, Knox’s left ear still hasn’t cleared up, on a 2nd my oldest just learned she has a dislocated knee-cap..good grief! Thanks so much for the encouragement for S., she thinks it’s pretty cool that ‘other moms’ leave comments about her projects :) And I appreciate you coming by and leaving such caring comments, too…still want to send you that little birdie mini canvas, let me know your address when you can!

    @Sandi–You are so sweet to drop by, I know you are a busy mommy right now. Appreciate it so much, happy Saturday :)

  9. Wow. Just wow. I’m not sure what impresses me more, Sveva’s ability to paint, your ability to teach her, or your ability to photographically journal the whole process! Kristin really said it – “the mommying”. I’m inspired all the way around. Love ya ALL!!!! B-)

  10. Nice work. Thankfully she didn’t include the unibrow. You are a very good art instructor.
    I like the music you have playing here. Is it The Gypsy Kings? That’s who it sounds like to me.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    1. @Lee –Ha! Nope, no unibrow and no monkeys, either :) Yep, that was ‘Inspiration”, one of the GK’s instrumental pieces. I try to match up the music with the mood or inspiration of the post. Thanks for the comment!

  11. Oh wow… this is fantastic!! What a great job she did. She did amazing with the values. Such a fun project. What an awesome little artist you have on your hands! :) Love the photo of her holding her painting… beautiful!

  12. oh my my my…extraordinary!!! Wow! And what a great book! I would love to see it! I’ll have to see if I can hunt it down at a library! Thanks so much for all the insight and inspiration!!!

  13. Gorgeous! I love the fact that in the midst of a trying schedule, the two of you find time for art. Medicine for the soul, indeed. Kudos to you both – I think she should enter it in a contest.

  14. Hi Scarlett .. that is amazing – good for you both .. but your daughter looks delighted with the outcome and what a success – fantastic … so pleased for you .. with smiles and hugs – Hilary

  15. To your very talented daughter: bravo!!! A masterpiece! I suppose you won’t forget about Frida Kahlo for the rest of your life.

    To the mom: So nice your daughter can grow up in a very creative environment. She’s a lucky girl :)

  16. Wow, she is a little Frida herself. The painting is so beautiful and colorful, she has definitely talent.
    And at the look of her she luckily has a happier life than the poor Frida.

    No idea how I ended up on your weblog but boy I love it and will be back!


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