I needed a closing activity to wrap up our time with Frida. The perfect thing seemed to be a self-portrait! Big Sister was excited to paint for the afternoon while Little Sister napped. She warmed up with some free paint time, creating an abstract painting. Then we talked about Frida’s paintings and revisited the book ‘Frida Kahlo: the Artist Who Painted Herself.’ After that she was ready to create her own self-portrait. She very seriously chose her colors and brush strokes. It was fascinating to watch her at work! When she was done she added her sister to the portrait and some ‘me flowers,’ as she called them. She was on a roll at that point and decided that she would continue painting and now was taking requests. I asked for a painting of flowers. She got right to work and finished it before I got a couple of the shots I wanted, so I asked if she could add a few more flowers to the bottom of the page where it was a little blank. I thought this would buy me some more picture taking time. I had no such luck. She responded, ‘Painters don’t do bottom flowers,’ very seriously, and there was no persuading her otherwise. Her compromise was to add some dots to the bottom of the page to fill it in. She did tell me that she could paint another picture though, and that I could choose whatever I wanted because, ‘I’m a painter, I can paint anything.’ Except bottom flowers I guess. 😉
I’ll admit that part of the appeal of doing this project with my daughters was the opportunity to shop for cute outfits, dress up, and take pictures. It’s soooo much fun!! I can’t escape the former school teacher in me though, and there had to be more meat to what we were doing. So, we’ve spent some time reading, creating, and exploring Frida Kahlo’s life and her artwork through various methods. This aspect feeds my need to research and plan. 🙂
To start, we already owned the children’s picture book ‘Frida’ and had read it, but visited it again. The artwork is stunning, but the story is told in a bit of a depressing light(hard to avoid with her life at times) that required some discussion. It does do a good job of presenting true and accurate information though. I then picked up ‘Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself.’ This book is told from the point of view of a young girl learning about Frida Kahlo for a school project. It includes photographs of Frida Kahlo and her artwork, so it makes a nice reference book for young children. A great digital resource that we found via Mommy Maestra(a terrific site for lesson planning for Frida Kahlo) is a fun iTunes app called Frida’s World. It is a very cute story about Frida that you can read to your children or you can choose to have it read to your child. It also includes some coloring pages from the story. We really enjoyed this app and the story is very positive and upbeat. Speaking of coloring, we found some coloring pages online(a favorite and free download found here), and purchased a coloring book as well, but I have yet to receive it. Finally, we worked on some paper dolls. I ordered a book on Amazon of paper dolls, but they were too pretty for me to cut up! I instead found some online that you can order and print instead. 🙂 I may end up trying to scan some pages of the book to print and cut if I find the time. 🙂
Once we knew about her story I wanted to look a little closer at her style. A lot of who Frida was, she portrayed through her choice in clothing, hairstyle and decor of her ‘Blue House.’ La Casa Azul, is Frida’s house in Mexico City, Mexico which is now maintained as a museum to Frida. Last year they opened a temporary exhibit of Frida’s dresses and costumes(see video on the exhibit here). It is a fabulous website with a sections for Children and teachers here, and visiting the actual museum has been on my bucket list for some time now! We had a lot of fun looking at the website and seeing how the clothes we picked for the pictures corresponded to Frida’s own style.