As an invited artist to the Redwood City Chalk Full of Fun 4th of July event, Mariah Quintanilla stopped crowds with her memorial image of Frieda Kahlo.  Mariah spent hours of research before she sketched and formatted Friedas image for a 10’ x 10’ chalk square, her largest chalk to date.  She was heartbroken to learn of Frieda Kahlo’s physical suffering from childhood polio and a horrific accident where she was impaled. Frieda endured a life of pain…and painted her own “selfie” as she was bed ridden much of her adult life.

Mariah noted some other points of interest…as Frieda’s heritage was of German/Mexican descent….two of several of Mariah’s ancestry countries. She also noted that Frieda died on the same month and date as her own birthday.  Frieda became a great figure with a great story, which includes her marriage to Diego Rivera, considered the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century.  Mariah’s interest in Frieda caused her to chalk an amazing likeness of her, in spite of the challenging medium and environmental factors.  

Mariah first, rolled a black tempera paint in a circle and using a contractors tool, worked to grid off the 10x10 square on night #1. The next morning with coffee in hand, she sketched her composition in white chalk. She began a nonstop 10 hour day in the hot sun on her hands and knees scrubbing the chalk into the image and blending every stroke with her glove tipped fingers.  She allowed her apprentice (aka Mom) to work on the base coat of the leaves that she would later add detail and texture to.  She walked away from day two satisfied with her progress.  

Day 3 (4th of July) as thousands of onlookers came by…she kept her head down to add thorns around Friedas neck and decided to add blood, not in her planned sketch.  She textured beautiful flowers on her head and cleaned up any lines that needed her professional attention.

  Children in the crowds recognized Frieda from their textbooks and many had clothing with her likeness.  Mariah’s art was appreciated and admired by thousands…and though exhausted, she drove back to Foresthill with new fans, Instagram followers and pride in her work.  Check out Mariah’s work at @mariah_quintanilla on Instagram or at

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