Art Reflections

Frida Kahlo: Expression of Feelings on Canvas

It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We use words to express what we feel or what we need. However, when it comes to images you don’t need words anymore. The image is the one that can capture a feeling: sadness or happiness. You become absorbed in the feelings that live before you. The artist can make you feel sad or happy. The artist is the one that can and will play with your feelings, even if he or she is not near you. Artists can do that by just creating a painting that can change the way you feel only by looking at it. The free will inside you is not so free anymore. The choice of what you should take is not yours anymore. You are just a person at the crime scene, and you can’t take your eyes from it. It is mesmerizing. At the same time, an artist can make you sense what he is feeling.

Frida Kahlo is an artist who could lay her feelings on canvas. She described with images what she was going through since the accident on September 17th, 1925. It was the exact day of Mexican independence. In the years that passed, she described the accident by painting it. She also wrote: “I sat on the edge, near the descent. Moments later the bus was hit by a tram line Xochimilco. The Tram crashed the bus on the corner of the street. It was an odd blow. It wasn’t violent, but dull, slow, injuring everyone. Especially I.” She suffered a triple fracture of the spine, clavicle fracture, dislocation of left shoulder, triple fracture of pelvis, abdomen, and pelvis perforation, and dislocation of her right leg. Virtually, the accident stopped time for Frida, who was, as she described in her memoirs, a wanderer.

The list of health problems will continue throughout her life. However, Frida is the worthy example of someone whose body is weak, but whose interior is strong. In the long days, she had to wait to walk again Frida made the first significant painting of her work, Self-portrait in a Velvet Dress. It is influenced by the Renaissance painters whom she studied with passion during convalescence. Besides her work is represented by the self-portraits, the only person she knew best so she could spread feelings on canvas. She was the only person who could stand still long enough that she could surprise even the most hidden feelings. People can only see glimpses of the person you really are, but they can never look within themselves to see your hidden thoughts.

Frida - The Broken ColumnSometimes even you cannot see the hidden part of you. I fell in love with Frida not only for her original paintings but because of the whole package, her life. I think that you can’t understand the significance given by the artist to his paintings if you don’t know his life. Because Frida lived much of her life in bed in a room with four walls, her paintings are full of solitude. We can see this by the fact that the main character is placed in the middle of the paintings, all alone. Sadness in the eyes of the character also surprises. She shows loneliness and sadness as they are, without a curtain. The artist’s suffering can be seen especially in the painting The Broken Column, made in 1944. Admired in Frida is that for a moment, she did not hide the sadness and suffering that had gone through her life. Frida is for me a worthy artist. She wrote towards the end of her life “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope I never come back.” Most people fear death, but she would look right into its eyes.

Perhaps the harsh and sincere reality of her paintings resonates so much with the viewer precisely because it describes exactly what the world feels: that we struggle alone with our own suffering.
Frida shows that you don’t need words to reflect how you feel just as you don’t have to reveal your wound for people to understand your pain. You only need a painting.

About the Author

"In order to learn to draw you must learn to see" is the quote that inspired me to seek beauty in life, not only in art. I also may say that life is the best theme in art. I let drawing be only a hobby for me so I would never lose my passion by turning it into an every-day job. That is why I decided to write about art. Cristiana Dumitru lives in Bucharest, Romania, besides art she is also a news presenter on Radio ZU, the national Romanian radio.