Mexico City Part 1: 2016 Frida Freak Tour

I’m a Frida Freak. Full on, no apologies. I’ve studied, learned from, and been inspired by her for years. I’ve created artwork with her image…     …regularly gathered images and quotes on a Frida Freak Pinterest page… …honored her along with my mentor, Ilene, with a Day of the Dead altar… …and even embodied her for an afternoon to create this gem. So what is it about this Mexican goddess that grabs me? You can click on any of the links above to read my thoughts in full. To summarize, I am enthralled with… Read More


Have you ever looked back on your life’s collection of experiences and opportunities and wondered how things would be different if they hadn’t occurred? Most often, almost always, I have the ‘if one door closes, another opens’ mentality. That is, we can learn life’s lessons and insights about ourselves via multiple paths. There are a few times in my life though, where I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was a one-time offering. A ‘take it or leave it’ proposition. Ilene is one of those times. I knew it… Read More

An Artist’s Fieldtrip – Eli and Edythe Broad, Arthur Secunda, and Frida and Diego

A couple of weeks ago I went on a little fieldtrip and gathered up a dose of inspiration. The destination was a short jaunt north to Michigan, starting on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is there in all of its modern glory. A stark contrast to the typical college bricks and mortar that fills the rest of MSU. The building itself is a work of art with its angles and sharp edges. Let’s just say it took me a bit to… Read More

Honoring Ilene and Frida

Ilene Satala July 13, 1951 – May 16, 2014 Ilene Satala was a beloved teacher, artist, mentor and friend. Her life’s work and teaching resonated with me from the first time I attended her art class in 1994. Through the years, her patience, unconditional acceptance, and investment in me allowed me to explore and manifest the healing power of leading a creative life. Ilene’s extensive body of artwork focuses heavily on cross-cultural images of the Sacred Feminine throughout time. She had a passionate interest in mythology, archeology, psychology, and anthropology. From the… Read More

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) 2014 – Ilene Satala and Frida Kahlo

Written November 10, 2014 The Fort Wayne Museum of Art held their annual Dia de los Muertos festival highlighted by an exhibit of several altars honoring the lives of departed loved ones. I enjoyed being a part of that celebration and exhibit with my altar to honor my friend and art mentor, Ilene Satala, and her deep connection to Frida Kahlo. You can see lots of pictures of the altar and read about the process of creating it in the Gallery section – Day of the Dead 2014. 

From Start to Finish: The Creative Process

A few stray pictures offer a glimpse into the creative process involved in bringing to life the altar to honor Ilene and Frida. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon an essay that Ilene had written and sent to me years ago called “Saint Frida”. I recall reading it, loving it, and then tucking it away in my computer files. When I found it again a few months after her death, I immediately had the vision of an altar to celebrate her creative life and how it had been influenced by… Read More

Saint Frida

Written November 6, 2014 My art mentor, Ilene Satala, had a close connection to Frida Kahlo. She always spoke of her admiration for Frida’s honesty in her paintings. Her willingness to show her pain, joy and soul was a guiding force in how Ilene lived and created. Ilene shared a powerful story, Saint Frida, she had written about her discovery of Frida. It is as follows. “My connection to Frida Kahlo, the great Mexican woman painter, began almost by accident. People that know me know how passionately I feel about her and… Read More

Frida’s Open Heart

Written November 6, 2014 I recently purchased this painting from Ilene Satala, the artist. Soon it will be framed and hanging in my home, but recently it adorned the Day of the Dead altar in honor of Ilene and Frida at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Ilene’s writing about this piece is below and its Spanish translation follows. Frida’s Open Heart “I love and celebrate the life of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. This painting captures her love of life and her vitality. She painted herself in all works of art because… Read More

Lily’s Collage

Susan Lily Lash created this collage for the altar with the following writing: Cannot Stay  Ilene rises into the mysterious, mystical world we call the ‘other side’. Her toe touches the last time this earth. Behind, the earth plane of existence fades, but the Divine presence does not. Shining her love Light as she ascends to take the hand of Mother Death, to only leave the body back into innocence of a child, back into the bosom of pure Love and Compassion and in her vulnerable surrender, carrying the undeniable, untouchable Light of… Read More

Frida’s Diary

Diane Schafer-King added this book to the altar with the following writing: Frida Kahlo: Diario Autorretrato Intimo (Diary of the Intimate Self) Ilene, several others from the Conrado group, and I had just finished touring el Museo Frida Kahlo, La Casa Azul (the Blue House) in Mexico City. As we sat in the garden area ready to enter the gift shop, Ilene was sharing about this book. I remember her saying something like this: “It’s Frida’s sketchbook, sketches of her art but also the expression of her feelings and words about her art… Read More

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