Here we are, already closing in on the end of the series now! This painting was the 7th out of 8 paintings made for this collection and it is the only up close and personal portrait in the series. It is in fact the largest face I’ve ever painted – and I gotta say – I loved painting it!

portrait girl mud dirt green eyes forest woods striking brunette nordic viking magical realism christina ridgeway art

The image of this painting came to me when thinking about the show Vikings and the memorable portrayl of Ragnar Lothbrok by Travis Fimmel. He had these piercing blue eyes and was constantly covered in mud and grit which made them shine even brighter. I thought, “what a striking image” and immediately thought of my model Frida, whom I knew had such striking eyes in person as well.

up close portrait oil painting dirt mud green eyes forest woods christina ridgeway art

Speaking of my model – I have to give her props as she was such a good sport out in the woods that day. I knew she would be working with a different element than all of the other girls – mud. When I told her I wanted her to walk along the creek bed to get mud all over her feet for the “Spirit Guides” painting, she did it without hesitation. When I said I was going to be painting her face with dirt she didn’t even bulk. That will always stick in my head as all the photos turned out amazing, as did her paintings. So thank you Frida!

It in turn makes me think about the meaning behind the painting and the title “Salt of the Earth”. This is an expression I believe originated from the Bible. It was used to describe a good, honest and reliable person. 

Salt, up until very recently with the widespread use of refrigeration, was essential for storing food over the winter. It was crucial and valuable as are people with these traits. As we all are on this planet.

With the mud and the forest, I wanted to express my own connection to nature. One I think we all share. We come from this planet and we will all return to it one day. We often see ourselves as separate, due to intellect, technology, you name it… but we are not.

When I think of “Salt of the Earth” I am reminded that we all really truly want one thing. To love and to be loved. We feel good when helping others, it is in our own nature to be kind. Cruelty, deception, greed – these “human traits” stem from the opposite emotion. Fear. Fear is not a state we are meant to live in, learning how to shed it is one of our greatest tasks during our lives here on Earth.


That’s a lot of text tongue-out But you can see the portrait very clearly for what it is without a bunch of extra photos! However, in person, this painting really does glow – so I recommend you check it out while you can!

She will be on view from May 31st to June 6th at the Jula Hotell in Skara!

The original is already sold <3