She is dressed in black to mourn the death of her father. Frida also paints her beloved parrot Bonito on her shoulder who had also passed. Unlike other portraits, Kahlo does not wear any jewelry or the characteristic flower in her hair to bring out the cloud of sadness in her life at the time. Though mourning, Frida creates a lively background that is depicted by plants and insects, a pretty common Life and Death theme that Kahlo used in other paintings.
Kahlo never attended school to train in artistry. Most of her work was largely influenced by her father's pieces, Renaissance masters and renowned European artists like Amedeo Modigliani. When creating this painting, Kahlo had developed her style, drawing her inspiration from the Mexican folk culture hence, the many small self-portraits that exhibited Catholic and pre-Columbian mythology.
While Kahlo's champions like Andre Breton claimed her work was inspired the Surrealist movement, artifacts from the Pre-Columbian period had a significant effect on her paintings. In the earlier years, Diego had collected idols and sculptures while Frida had collected jewelry related to this period hence, the tremendous effect the Pre-Columbian period had on her painting style.
Andre Breton was Kahlo's greatest fan. He claimed Kahlo used a sort of naive Surrealism style, and in this belief, arranged her first solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1938. He also claimed Frida's work was a delicate balance of artistry and politics. Subsequent years saw Kahlo participate in many exhibitions in the United States and Mexico.
Self Portrait with Braid - Kahlo used this painting to express her feelings about their marital reconciliation with Diego. Prior to the creation of this painting, Frida had cut her hair to portray her deep frustration in Diego who had cheated on her multiple times. After their remarriage shortly after her father’s death, Frida made this portrait; this time with a new braid, which in its shape of an endless loop, shows their never-ending love for each other.