About Katrina’s Art


Feather Chair

This is a beautifully simple Edwardian oak framed,basket weave panelled chair, I like the effect of allowing the fabric to pop out through the holes and wanted to play with that idea. I decided to ‘rag rug’ the surround of the cushion in order to achieve the desired affect. I began with painting on the satin; I was fascinated with how the paint worked on the material. I took a detail from Kahlo’s “Me and my Parrots”, a metaphor for the many changes that had taken place in her life. Her father had died, she had also remarried Diego, with the agreement that they could both have extramarital affairs.

This piece of Kahlo’s also referenced a Greek Mythological story, of the Amazon women who were reputed to have eaten men; perhaps Kahlo felt disempowered within her relationships.  

‘Frida with Monkey and Cat’


This was one of my first pieces within this body of work, experimenting with acrylic paint on fabric. Stitching various wools and threads to create textures of fur and hair. I had initially envisaged making these images into centres for bedspreads, for which, of course they could still be used; however they have finished as hangings. I sourced antique lace and embroidery for this piece; again bringing in women’s traditional craftwork.

Taken from self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird. Once more Kahlo refers to mythology and tradition; Mexican people were known to have hung dead birds around their necks for love spells.


This is a fusion of ‘Self-Portrait as a Tehuana’ and Self - Portrait’ 1948

In my interpretation of these two works I have changed the direction of the face thus creating a cameo effect and Kahlo is therefore looking directly at the viewer with a tearstained face.

The portrait is Acrylic paint on canvas-

Edged with pink satin ribbon, surrounded by antique lace on cream and brown ‘rag-rug’ base creating this unique wall hanging.

Kahlo even yet again references mythology. The Tehuana being a religious representation of the Virgin of Guadeloupe.


Dressing table stool; with image taken from ‘I am a Poor Little Deer’ (there are several other titles for this piece as is so often in Kahlo’s works.

The kidney shaped stool is almost ‘Heart’ shaped.

Another name for the deer is a Hart, thus my title.

I painted directly onto the black velvet with a very limited colour palette.

The velvet of the stool evokes the feeling of Kahlo’s piece; the texture of the velvet gives a furry tactile effect.

What the Water Gave Me’

Deck chair ‘What the Water Gave Me’ as Kahlo’s painting 1938.

This piece of Kahlo’s work is full of symbolism; I condensed and altered the shape of the piece creating the rope strangling the woman, by stitching cotton and threading charms and jewellery, representing the insects.

The most recent notable reference to this piece is in popular music as ‘Florence and the Machine’ has released a cd ‘What the Water Gave Me’

I felt the shape of the deck chair lent itself well to the bath shape in which  Frida saw herself.

I framed the piece with shells; there is a shell depicted within the work.

Kahlo would often use shells to surround her work;  hence the obvious - a beach or deckchair.

Intended this to be a functional piece but somewhere along the ‘Art’ took over from the ‘Function’.

‘Skeleton in the Cupboard’

This Art Deco Wardrobe has been turned into a shrine. The back of the wardrobe depicts the Wedding of ‘Frida and Diego Rivera’. This particular painting I portrayed in a very naive style; colours and textures being quite distinctive; this was painted on the back of the wooden wardrobe a grainy effect emerged, I felt this emphasised the simplicity of Kahlo’s work.

The remainder of the wardrobe I have given simple colours; a very ‘Indian-esque’ look became evident.

On opening the wardrobe, we can see layers of images, quotations, fabric, coloured tissue papers, sequins, beads etc; yet again representative of the complex layers of Kahlo’s life. Inside there are also  photographs, medallions  and  artefacts in memory of both Frida and Diego.

Inside back of the wardrobe has an image of the sophisticated wealthy skeleton icon known to all Mexicans as La Catrina.

My metaphor for the things each and everyone of us hide in the cupboards or drawers.

I Drown My Sorrows But the Bastards Learned to Swim

Beneath the glass top of this coffee table are dozens if not hundreds of tiny images relating to Kahlo, her work, her words, intermingled with images from the Day of the Dead. Frida’s quotes have been cut and separated forming a little game of search. I imagine sitting at the table having a cup of coffee and looking and peering at words, pictures and beads; one’s eye wandering from one to another, drawing one in.

The Fly

A pretty Little Velvet Victorian style chair and Standard Lamp and Shade.

Detail I have taken from Kahlo’s ’The Flower Basket’ 1941 which she painted for an ex-lover of Rivera’s, as proof of Kahlo’s forgiveness, (after they had remarried).

The ‘Fly’ is a piece of jewellery shown inset of the white flower.

La Catrina

A Rag - Rug Wall Hanging, depicting ‘La Catrina’ is the skeleton of an upper class woman and one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations, which occur over the two days, November 1st and 2nd, corresponding with the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints Day and all Souls Day.  La Catrina was brought to notoriety by Jose Guadeloupe Posada a well known Mexican cartoonist 1852-1913 in his etchings.

This Rag - Rug took many, many hours to complete; working with black I found distorted my vision and was most difficult to work with; 

...and of course I am her namesake.

Bird in a Gilded Cage

Acrylic on satin; Rag-rug surrounding on seat, on barley twist early 20th cent. dining chairs with basket weave panel at the back and gold leaf embellishment.

Sunflower taken from Kahlo’s ‘The Flower Basket’ .

In these works I decided to try something different with the rag rug process, I found it quite delightful, I have never seen chair seats covered with this technique; together I feel these two pieces represent small thrones, each has a small pendant, F for Frida, D for Diego.

Through the basket weave backs of the chairs, tiny gold birds peep as if they are confined in a cage.

Kahlo often used birds in her work as metaphors it seems to me she often felt as a trapped bird would.

Maybe Diego also felt entrapped.

‘Feather Chair’



The Two Fridas








Inset Left: The Two Fridas 1939.

Inset: Me & my parrots 1941.

Inset: Tehuana 1943.

Inset: Self portrait  with Thorn necklace and Humming Bird. 1940.

The Two Fridas

This is a dressing table which I  have named ‘The Two Fridas’ after Kahlo’s work of the same name.  This was probably one of Frida’s largest pieces, and is regarded as her masterpiece.

The painting shows two images of herself; the one depicting her sadness due to the separation from Diego; the other Frida is dressed in traditional costume; the amulet in her hand is giving life; in the other the scissors are shown cutting the artery and therefore draining her lifeblood away.

In my depiction one half of the dressing table has a different skirt to the other. Red velvet lining the drawers representing ‘Blood, Life and Love’. Upon the table surface we can see letters, and personal possessions, that the artist would probably have used; painting utensils and photographs of herself and Diego. I layered images and artefacts representing the complex life and loves of Kahlo.


Inset Left: I am a poor little deer. 1946.

Inset Left: What The Water Gave Me. 1938.

Inset Upper Left: The Basket of Flowers. 1941.

© 2011 Katrina Atkinson