Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Casa Azul to The Golden Gate Bridge

This week brought me not one, but THREE Frida Kahlo journals, and I've managed to complete pages for two of them.  As themes go, Frida can be a challenge.  Much as I admire the artist and the woman, her work can be disturbing and her life was no fiesta.  Having said that, the colors that evoke the spirit of Mexico found in Frida's paintings are brilliant, and the folkloric images are vivid and full of life.  Contradictions. 

Kate's journal has a sub-theme of Frida in San Francisco, and she requested that we all include some iconic image in our work.  I used two:  the Golden Gate Bridge and a cable car.

I did a simple background on watercolor paper with color washes, pastels, inks and mica sprays.  I then did a very loose sketch of the bridge and went over the pencil lines with an embossing ink pen.  Copper perfect pearls was brushed over that to give the bridge a kind of vague, through the fog look.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

The cable car is a photo I found in google images, printed it out on plain copy paper, did some fussy cutting and a lot of pencil work to add some shading.  Diego and Frida were cut from a copy of one of her paintings.  I recall that Frida's father referred to the couple as "the elephant and the dove," so I decided to place that particular bird on Diego's head.  The cactus is a stamp.  Because Frida often included roots, vines, leaves, etc. in her work, I added those, and die cut them from a variety of papers.  Now, off to Casa Azul.

Janet created a portfolio style book, and asked that we include anything we think would have been found in Casa Azul, the home Frida and Diego shared in Mexico.  Well, I know Frida loved her elaborate folkloric dresses, and there had to be many in her closet, so that gave me the idea for my pages.

The title page:

 The blue strip was created by spraying denim color wash over a prima border stencil.  After it dried I went over the whole thing with faded jeans distress ink.  Then, of all things, I used a Stampin' Up wheel stamp of skulls over the top of it.  The area next to it is a collage of spanish text and sewing pattern paper, covered with a light wash of gesso and then peeled paint distress stain.  The wonderful letters are from an out of production stamp set, designed by Tim Holtz.  I love that set and am lucky to have snagged it when I did.

Whenever I'm starting a new round robin journal project I begin by gathering together materials I think I may use.....papers, collage sheets, charms, postcards, etc.  In my Frida box I found a strand of beads, handmade and of very colorful fabric.  I have no memory of where they came from, though I think someone sent them to me with a swap.  There is something very folksy about them and I thought they looked great highlighting the switch from the border to the rest of the page.  Plus, they echo the colors in the dress on the next page (that's me being arful and design conscious, LOL).   Speaking of which:

So, this is what is in Frida's closet.  For this background I did a series of the border stencils, each in a different color, by doing one at a time, masking off the surrounding areas.  Then I stuck some spanish text in between the border strips, and gave everything except the dark blue border a light wash of gesso.

The dress was created entirely from scraps from one of my many boxes of leftover pieces from previous projects.  The top is actually very fragile vintage wallpaper that I received as a RAK from my friend Angie.  I love that paper and have used it many times before.  The ruffle right below it was made from some paper towel that had been used to clean up after some spraying.  The bottom of the dress went through a few stages before I was happy with it.  It started out as a piece of sticky back canvas.  I covered it with a collage of text and then a coat of fired brick distress stain.  Then, using sharpie poster paint markers I drew a design similar to the one on the wallpaper top.  Some pom pom and bead trims finished it off.

The dress in on a wire hanger (with apologies to Joan Crawford, wherever she may be), and it is on a rod cut from a chop stick.  The lizard is a shrink plastic piece I did a while back, and I just knew it would eventually find its way onto one of these pages.  It was rubbed with embossing ink, then covered with gold UTEE before shrinking with a heat gun.  While it was still hot I sprinkled some beadazzles (a Suze Weinberg product that is a combination of micro beads and glitter) over top.

Now, I'm off to work on Maxine's Frida book.....with a theme of Day of the Dead.  Awesome!


Dorothy said...

Beautiful EIleen!!

Elena said...

I love both of them but especially love the dress on the hanger! Great job sweets!

Angie Hall Haviland said...

FABULOUS Pages, Eileen!! TOO MUCH FUN!! and you know I LOVE the wallpaper :) Glad you are enjoying it!!

Angie Hall Haviland said...

FABULOUS Pages, Eileen!! TOO MUCH FUN!! and you know I LOVE the wallpaper :) Glad you are enjoying it!!

Gail Bales said...

Wow! You are so creative. Wish I had a portion of your talent. Great
Gail in Oklahoma

PetraB said...

This is fabulous, love especially the dress!

Lee said...

How Fabulous! you really captured Fridas life!Great work!

teri said...

That bridge does look like it is enshrouded in fog. Lovely job on the cable car too! I've never done anything Frida but I have to believe that you are an expert on Fridart. (Weren't those beads my Christmas gift to you?) :-)

Lori said...

Both pages are wonderful! Love the cable car and gate idea, and it came out beautiful. The dress is totally creative, love the lizard, too. I can imagine that theme would be challenging.

Patzee said...

Whoa, that cable car and foggy bridge are so cool. The foliage is a great tribute to Frida. Your scrapalicious dress is so clever.

Jenny and Jimbob said...

Looove Frida and these pages!

Mixed Media Martyr said...

Wonderful to hear the process for these pages Eileen! They look fantastic!! Can't wait to see your Day of the Dead page! Leanne.