If you know my Cactus Queen series, you know the Southwestern icon Frida Kahlo was just the perfect candidate to be adorned with cacti and local wildlife. I started painting this small 8x10 panel as a study for a larger Cactus Queen Frida, but then became quite endeared with it and gave my best to finish a little gem capturing her many contrasts. Frida has been a colorful woman in many ways, an artist that clung to her painting to keep her sane in the toughest times. Life has treated her quite abrasively, and her strong passions led her sometimes to decisions that may not have served her best. Trying to keep her head over water she expressed her struggles as well as her love for critters and color in her art. I am looking forward to portraying her in royal Cactus Queen attire.
The original painting is a 8x10 oil on linen panel.
Originally inspired by my arrival in AZ and an awkward 50s campaign, the title ‘Cactus Queen’ invoked my imagination to ask ‘What would a real Cactus Queen look like?' Apart from wearing her cacti with pride, and at home between saguaro and prickly pears she would be holding audience to the critters and inhabitants of her empire. And in the background the sculpted pillars of the Sonoran Desert would serve as her audience hall. A series was born that gave me the opportunity to present the inhabitants of the desert in all their beauty, quirkiness and whimsy.
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