Nova Silbaugh Art

Art, the Incredible Dream.

Tag: creative

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

by Marty McConnell

“leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.”

McConnell is a contemporary poet who, in this work, imagines receiving relationship advice from the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who, as we know, faced her own set of romantic upheavals—she counted Diego Rivera, Isamu Noguchi, and Josephine Baker among her lovers. But despite the specificity of its title, this poem could just as well have been written for any woman who has ever left a relationship behind in order to open herself up to better, truer possibilities. A good reminder to us all—whether we’re years beyond our last break-up, or still freshly reeling.
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Frida Kahlo’s Imaginary Friend

Several months ago, while on a walk, I rescued a book that was lying in the middle a street. It so happens that this book was “Inspirations: Stories of Women Artists,” which included Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, and Faith Ringgold. It was an introduction to the artists, and probably meant for middle school children, but I enjoyed it anyway.

One tidbit of information I picked up from it was that Frida Kahlo had an imaginary friend as a child. I’ve read quite a bit about her, and this is the first time that I had heard this. Frida has been a favorite artist of mine, and has served as inspiration from many of my art pieces. Not so much stylistically, but in what her art expressed. She wasn’t afraid to show her emotion through symbolism, even if it was drawn from painful events; like a mirror to the soul.


I had been thinking  a lot about inner voice, like a persons second self, and expression of inner turmoil and emotion. This idea is reflected in my drawings such as “Solace” and is a continuing theme of many drawings I’ve been working on featuring interconnected people. I have the habit of often talking to myself, like an imaginary friend, this is how the idea came about. When I heard the Frida had an imaginary friend, this sparked an idea for tribute to the artist.

NovaArt3_2014 Art Artist Drawing Illustration

“Frida Kahlo: My Imaginary Friend” is done in my own style. I used “2 Fridas” as reference to how the figures are placed.


The Frida on the left is the rejected Frida with a broken heart in the modern dress Frida wore in the past. The Frida to the right has a whole heart and is in the traditional Mexican dress she became known for wearing; she is holding a small portrait of her husband Diego.

In my drawing I’ve replaced the “rejected Frida” with myself. I look to Frida, while she looks out.  Frida holds a small Mexican art figurine instead of Diego. The pattern around her face is a pattern found in some of her paintings on her dress. In my hand is a mirror with the reflection of a healthy heart. In a whole this is a reflection of our best selves as women and artists.

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”~ Frida Kahlo

The Awakening and The Journey

While I was on my bi-weekly Public library visit I stumbled upon a quite torn and tattered art book called No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist Within by Peter London. Judging by the condition I knew this book had to be much loved. It seemed to be the type of book that someone would read over and over. Even though it was written in 1989, I don’t think it’s out of date. In fact it seems even more relevant in our media infused world lost in a constant bombardment of input.

I know like most artist I struggle with doubt and worry too much about what others might like, or how others might feel about my art. All this does is stifle creativity. Awakening the Artist Within is what it says. It’s about letting go and finding your artistic voice again, the beauty of your own vision, and value of dreams.  A kind of a artistic philosophy,  laid out in a deep meditative process to understand self, and to make ones art a journey.

The second half of the book focuses on exercises, or encounters, designed to give the artist a unique creative experience.

I admit that I haven’t finished the second half of the book, but already I have gotten so much out of it. Little things Peter said just really hit home, and helped me to see that I need to just trust in myself and be a bit more fearless.

Creative Resolutions for the New Year

Just a week into the new year, a time for change.

For me, I need to make some real creative changes. I’ve spent this last week thinking about the last two years.  I’ve had some big changes in my family life, but no real change artistically. In fact, I’ve been in a big creative rut and haven’t gotten nearly enough artwork done. So here an now I’m setting out some artistic resolutions:

1. Better time management. That’s been my biggest obstacle. It’s not that I’m out of ideas, believe me I have plenty of them, it’s that I can’t possibly get everything I want to do finished. Admittedly, there have been weeks when I just don’t get anything done because I’m lucky just to get a couple hours a week to work. I need to find more ways to get my artwork done, without sacrificing my family time. Maybe I’ll just clean my house less, but I’ll find a way.

2. Be more focused and carry through on creative ideas.  I feel like I have artistic ADD sometimes. Like I said, I’m not out of ideas. My big problem is I have too many and I tend to jump from one idea to the next. I leave a lot of unfinished paintings and tend not to carry through with painting series ideas. This is also partially due to my time management problem, I start working on one idea one week, and by the next week I have a new idea I can’t wait to embark on, and so little time to work on it! I’m just going to have to write my ideas out and then force myself be a bit more patient.

3. Explore new mediums. Part of my artistic rut has left me sunk in only one medium. oil painting was all new to me 5 years ago, and understandably so, that is what I focused in on. I love painting, but I really want to explore more with other mediums as well, and do more mixed media paintings. Maybe I’ll finally try out some woodblock printing, which I’ve been wanting to do for a long long time!

4. Draw more. I’m a pretty great draftsman and I need to be using those skills more. I would like to go beyond just doing my sketchbook and do some real completed drawings or incorporate them somehow into a mixed media piece.

I really want the new year to bring my art into new life. I’ve already gotten things off to a great start and I am doing much planning and lots of sketching. Times of renewal and the circle of life are themes that have been in my head lately. Here are just a few thing ideas I’m working on.. and there are so many more…