I am excited about sharing this painting as it was the first time I ever got the chance to paint my step-daughter Dharma! Back in the creation phase, I sketched this out quickly the day before we were heading out to the woods. It was a half fledged idea but the moment she stepped in front of the camera – she brought it to life!
communion magical realism blackberries cross chest portrait figurative art christina ridgeway oil painting
Both the title and the image came to me at once (I wish naming a painting were always so easy). This painting to me is a lot about Mother Earth once more and the bounty in which she gives us. Ultimately, no matter the religion or deity you choose to believe in, it is our Earth which sustains and provides life for us all. The right climate, the right atmosphere, the right conditions to provide life. The definition of the word communion is: “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level.” What a beautiful word! The imagery it inspires however is usually Christian. We imagine taking the body of Christ in the form of bread. In my painting, I wanted to paint the image taking blackberries in communion in honor of Mother Earth.
communion berry cross chest portrait magical realism forest christina ridgeway art
And in true communion fashion, Dharma is offering a bowl of blackberries to the viewer with a cross painted on her chest with blackberry juice. Imagine if the Earth was our religion? It goes way back to a time when we didn’t have artificial growing tunnels, irrigation systems and pest control. When we were very much at the mercy of the planet and her ever changing nature. But where is the balance in this? Through the manipulation of food sources and resources, we often forget where our sustenance comes from. No matter is it is wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store or picked right from the bush – everything comes from nature. How do we respect this more and care for the amazing resources we have around us?
detail blackberry bowl painting communion magical realism oil painting christina ridgeway
I wish I had all the answers. It is such a complicated subject – we all take our food for granted in the western world in one way or another. We all take the bounty for granted as well – everything, even your tap water, has a limit. It can be so easy to forget. What are your own thoughts on the subject? Do you believe change starts with the people and companies will follow or is it more complicated? This painting will be on view at the Jula Hotell in Skara between May 31st to June 6th. She is currently available – if you’re interested in adopting her, feel free to get in touch via the Contact link up above!