All posts by Faridi McFree

Faridi McFree was born Frieda Asmar on March 8, 1936 in Hillside, New Jersey. She married Michael Hanft in 1961 and the two purchased a home in Bearsville, New York, a rural suburb of Woodstock. The couple maintained an apartment in New York City as both worked for the William Morris Agency. As a hobby in the 1960s, Faridi refurbished old barns – including the now famous Midnight Ramble barn belonging to Levon Helm. While living in Bearsville, Faridi was also friends with Paul Butterfield, Libby Titus, Bob Dylan, members of The Band, and Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman. In 1970, the Hanfts moved to Santa Monica, California. Michael began work for Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas while Faridi was swept up by the blossoming New Age and Transcendental movements. At the time, their next-door neighbor was Jonathan Taplin. Taplin had been the road manager for The Band and would later produce the film, The Last Waltz. In 1975, Faridi attended Taplin's wedding, as did Bob Dylan. It was around this time (the exact date is unknown) Faridi began working for the Dylans. Among her duties, perhaps a self-appointed duty, was teaching art to the Dylan children. In 1977, after Bob Dylan divorced his wife, Sara, and Faridi and Michael separated, Faridi moved in with Bob on his farm in Minnesota. The love affair ended a year later. Faridi spent the next few years in California, promoting her *Healing Art" while working for Herman Rush, CEO of Columbia Pictures Television. Faridi then moved to New York City where she worked for Deloitte, Haskins & Sells at One World Trade Center. In 1982, Doubleday published her book, Celebrate You, featuring Faridi’s artwork, affirmations, and healing techniques. In 1983, Faridi became an Interfaith Minister. She worked with the underprivileged, the terminally ill, and children from broken homes. In 1987, William Morrow published her book, Peace on Earth Begins With You. After a short illness, Faridi McFree passed away on August 25, 2009. *In his 2001 book, Down the Highway: The Life and Times of Bob Dylan, author Howard Sounes writes, “Faridi had invented a concept called Healing Art.”

Framed Art by Faridi

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Three watercolors by Faridi McFree.  For Faridi,  paint and mat color were equally important in the presentation of her Healing Art.  She was a strong believer that color affected mood.  The text added to nearly all of her artwork was meant to be repeated as a mantra,  not only while viewing the art,  but many times throughout the day.  The final figure is most likely Bob Dylan,  who was often painted wearing a flat-brimmed feathered hat.  Here he is portrayed without the hat.

Eastern Airlines


One of Faridi’s first jobs was as a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines. At the table, from the camera’s point of view, a statue of the Greek goddess, Hebe, appears directly behind Faridi.  In the large b&w group photo, see if you can find her.  Hint: She loved being the center of attention.