On being compared to Frida Kahlo

On being compared to Frida Kahlo

I’ve just unwrapped one of the large canvasses I bought at the start of this year and put it up on the easel. A vast 28×28 inch sea of blank canvas faces me. And as always, staring that huge expanse down is a little bit scary.

Does that fear ever go away, I wonder?

I think not. Because painting is no longer just a hobby, something I do to fill the hours or just for fun. It’s much more than that. Much deeper.

My painting practice is my vein of gold – my conduit to healing, spirituality, wisdom, and breakthroughs.

And so I’ve been noticing, more closely, my responses to paint, to how my work is received, and to how it wants to grow.

One thing that’s easy to see is that I have a thing for vibrant colors. Bright. Colourful. Luscious fields of color. I don’t bat an eyelid butting rich reds and vibrant oranges and yummy blues and purples next to one another. It’s only more recently than I have started adding a lot more white to my paintings, but I have also used it very sparingly and loved the crazy riot of colors.

Someone once told me my paintings look Frida Kahlo-esque in their vibrancy.

I mumbled an unintelligible response and wished I could hide. Because comparing my art to Frida – even if only for their vibrancy – seemed blasphemous.

But then I realised, this person had no reason to say what they did. No reason to flatter me, or say something nice just to be polite. They could have just nodded and passed on by.

It’s only recently, many many moons later, that I finally allowed myself to feel the warm glow of that compliment, without my stomach twisted up in knots feeling like I was an impostor.

I’m noticing, also, how very difficult it is for me to accept compliments. My first instinct is to brush them away. And I have to consciously stop myself from doing that.

Because it’s just silly, isn’t it? When people make the effort to drop a comment on my work, it isn’t something to be swept away.

How many of us take the time to pause during the infinite scroll and leave a comment for someone?

Not many. I know there are many times when I don’t.

So when someone takes the time and makes the effort to appreciate my work, it isn’t something I should just be brushing off, refusing to believe the sincerity of it.

Noticing, and promising to accept these comments with much more ease and grace.

What have you been noticing recently?

Posted in Mindset for artists.

15 Comments

  1. You said it, Shinjini! Accepting a compliment is a graceful art that we will learn to pick up only after many failed attempts. My kind friends when compliment on my poems I feel the same way. It’s hard not brush it away as an act of extreme kindness. But when they take their time to pass a compliment, it is our responsibility to receive it with some elegance instead of trying to prove them wrong.
    Your artworks are a class apart, Shinjini. I need to improve both my vocabulary and my knowledge in art to give you a compliment that your arts deserve. 🙂

    • Yes, even if its only an extreme kindness, we still do need to learn how to accept compliments with grace! And thank you so much for your kind words – they warmed me to the core! xx

  2. I love this painting. The purple, mauve and blues are so enticing.

    You are right. We all tend to shy away from compliments. A dear friend who is an energy coach once told me how pertinent it is to accept compliments gracefully and if it still bothers you, in your heart give gratitude to the universe for bestowing upon you those qualities. Like many people do say, “Uparwaley ki Kripa hai.”
    So the energy that you are receiving stays with you, and doesn’t bounce off.

    It’s a learning curve I know. 🙂

    Lovely post. And so relevant to most of us.

    Thank you for sharing with us on #WW. 🙂

    Have a befitting week ahead!

  3. I think many of us struggle with compliments. To some extent, I think it’s an Indian thing. We’re trained that way.
    Deflecting compliments is what most of us do.
    I’ve only recently started discovering Frida’s work and I love the colours she uses and yours are brilliant too.

    • You know, you may be right, Corinne. There are quite a few ways in which we Indians are taught to not appreciate ourselves enough, and also to put ourselves last. We really need to break away from this cultural conditioning!

  4. I used to feel embarrassed of compliments and often thought people were just faking. Honestly, I am still wary of them but gradually I am learning to see the beauty of compliments and to learn to be grateful for those compliments.

  5. I love the colors you use in your paintings Shinjini and especially the fact that they compliment each other so well. All these colors send such calming vibes. I do not understand all art types so will not comment on the painting as such, it is not right.

    It is said that giving as well as receiving a compliment with grace is an art. We all react to it differently and most shy away. With time we all learn……

    Have a colorful weekend 💜💙💜💙💜

    • Thank you so much, Monika!

      And you’re right – both giving and accepting compliments is an art. And it’s interesting to see how many of us tend to shy away from it!

      Thank you for dropping by! xx

  6. I feel quite uncomfortable accepting compliments, the main reason being I think I am an impostor. I think pretty lowly about myself and therein lies the reason I feel I am not worthy of the compliments people give me for my art. I know I need to love myself, but I don’t know why I can’t, and also how I should? I hope I am not alone in feeling this way about myself!

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