You may or may not be familiar with the work of Frida Kahlo, a South American artist 1907 to 1954. In her teens she was the victim of a terrible car accident, and suffered life-long pain as a result of her injuries. Some of her injuries were appalling and I will spare you the details, but among them was a spine was broken in three places, as was her pelvis. She had 11 fractures in her right leg and her right foot was crushed. She got the gangrene in that same foot later in life, and had to have the leg amputated below the knee to stop it spreading, and was frequently bedridden after extensive surgery or just with pain.
I've always admired her - not only because of her striking self-portraits, but the sheer guts and bravery of the woman, so she's something of an icon for me, struggling in my own lesser way to deal with what life has thrown at me.
So there I was thumbing through my catalogue of collage images in search of inspiration and who did I let on but Frida's self portrait, with the tight thorns around her neck which represent her pain and struggle. I decided to draw a frame around her a bit like the South American Milagros, little shrines, because that seemed right for a heroine, and I gave her wings because she's gone on beyond her pain now. From the same page I found this little Frida label that just seemed to belong on the page as well.
I did the background with my trusty Caran d'Ache watercolour crayons, just a soft colour because I wanted the shrine to be what stood out of the page. Some collage sheet lettering provided her name, and then I just drew, doodled and wrote. The page turned out as I'd hoped - its vivid colours a testament to Frida's own brilliantly coloured paintings. It felt right to celebrate her life not so much in words but in art and colour.