Mona Turnbull

Face and Body Painting Artist

Who is Frida Kahlo –

I was telling Illusion Magazine how the Frida Kahlo artwork came about. Below is the blog I wrote for them.


Below is full excerpt but you can also read it directly from the illusion managazine website here: –


The new issue of Illusion Magazine has a fabulous front cover painted by the super talented Mona Turnbull. We asked her how she came about painting this unusal design and here is what she told us

I’ve always been interested in impressionism art but lately I have found my new passion ‘surrealism and pop surrealism’. To me, there are some darker elements in this type art.  I came across a black and white photograph of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who was born in 1907 and I told myself she was very strong yet beautiful.  She had prominent set of brows!  Since then, I have been fascinated with her and her work, trawling through internet doing some research about her and her art. In my opinion, she was well before her time; she was intelligent, poetic, modern and open. She was well known for symbolic self-portraits but in her own words she quoted ‘I never painted my dreams, I painted my own reality’.

Over the years there are so many version of modern artists painting portraits of Frida Kahlo in various different style. So I decided to paint Frida using my beautiful living canvas; Liesl.  Prior to the painting day, Liesl also did some research about Frida.  It took me around 4.5 hours to complete the artwork with a bit of home cooked Thai lunch in between.  We then started shooting to see if we could get any images we like.  Liesl was amazing she would come up with different poses.  She said ‘How would Frida feel?’ ‘How do I feel?’, ‘I feel sad…’.  That was when this image came about; Sorrow.

A couple of weeks ago, Claire Pick from Illusion left me a voicemail asking me to return her call; nothing urgent she said.  I rang back as soon as I could when she told me the news that our Frida piece will be on the cover.   I was jumping up and down in my head! I couldn’t do it physically because I was at a swimming pool waiting for my children to come out from their lessons!

Well this very morning, coming back from the school run, a brown thick juicy envelope greeted me at the doormat.  I cut open the packet urgently but carefully. Oh wow! It was glossy and shiny. It makes my house smell like a bookstore. What is it with freshly printed ink on new shiny magazine? They are my crown jewels!

I would like to thank all my beautiful models, everyone involved for working with me and supporting me.  Illusion Magazine, Charles Fox/Kryolan, Cameleon Paints, Façade Body Art for having faith in me.  I am determined to keep creating and painting some crazy whacky stuff hehe hee heee!  Until then, keep dreaming in colours!

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