“The Physician” – Plague Doctor Painting

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Finished Work, Gallery Shows, Oil Painting | 8 comments

“The Physician” – Plague Doctor Painting


It was around winter when I first laid paint down on this piece. The world was dark and silent at that time and seemed quite suiting when it came to creating this painting. “The Physician” was a very personal piece, which evolved slowly, each element being thought of in succession. The basis and the thought of the painting however has always been the same. What if you could remove the sorrow and damage from within your heart – would you then be pure?


girl stitches on heart chest plague doctors woods fog surreal candle christina ridgeway plantiebee art painting pop surrealism

I am not convinced really that humans are born evil, like some religions may state. However, I think through experience and conditioning it can come about – like a vicious cycle which has been on going since our earliest records (hence my digging into ancient and biblical stories). But what if that could be removed? What if you could take away the experiences that created you to feel pain and therefore react…


girl with zipper stitches chest heart white dress forest black hair christina ridgeway plantiebee art painting

This painting, though sorrowful and perhaps even frightening at first glance, shows something deeper. The truth of the matter, from where I stand, is that if you do remove the pain you remove a very significant part of you. You can never show great kindness or compassion had you not witnessed its opposite. Though at times it seems almost idealistic, the thought of being able to banish all the gnarly memories and marching forward in life as a clean slate, it isn’t realistic.


grey white dress candle brass flame painting art christina ridgeway plantiebee


One of my favorite aspects of this painting are the plague doctors. I have long had a fascination with their beaked costumes… giving them an almost other worldly appearance. That is truly why I picked them, despite their intriguing history, I think they look like rather mystical and dark healers. Originally, the girl was stitching herself up but that did not seem quite right to me. No, there would be an almost solemn ceremony for an act such as this and no one better to perform it than the plague doctor.


plague doctor woods moon forest grey foggy spooky christina ridgeway plantiebee art painting

So, to conclude. This painting, for me, is incredibly heartfelt. It is a reminder that the pain that we carry is there for a reason, it makes us who we are. Whether we let it create a monster inside us or make us stronger and more compassionate to our fellow man is up to us. I would hope for the better, but don’t I always.


plague doctor stitching woman forest woods grey fog art painting christina ridgeway plantiebee

This painting had quite an impact on everyone who came to see it during both the private and public openings of the show. For some, it was the plague doctors, for others it was the expression and the feeling. I think that the emotion I felt when I first thought of its concept truly seeped through into the paints and created exactly the painting it needed to be –  heartfelt and solemn. But hope, nonetheless, is there.

girl stitches chest plague doctors woods forest grey candle sorrow moon christina ridgeway plantiebee pop surrealism art painting


“The Physician” is 60 x 75 cm (24 x 30 inches), oil on masonite. It will be on view at Slice of Life Gallery in Malmö from May 14th – 22nd 2015.


  1. Great post!

    Really makes you think—many people have questioned why they have had to go through certain things and who they could have been if they hadn’t gone through them. Often times they’ll blame or reject God. I like to remind myself that God is constantly working on my purpose, and sometimes we have to suffer to be who we were meant to be. After all, joy wouldn’t be so great if it weren’t for pain.

    On the other hand, if we let what we have gone through weigh our hearts down for too long, we’ll never be truly free. That’s why I think forgiveness is not to free the perpetrator–it’s to free the victim. You don’t have to forget what happened, but you have to forgive–for yourself.

    • Wonderful thoughts Vic! Perhaps you are indeed right – the key to freedom and compassion is forgiveness. Definite food for thought!

    • Fascinerande målning som väcker många tankar!

      • Tack Mona! That’s what I wanted all the pieces of this show to do – inspire thought and also feeling. How does the painting make you feel, if you know what I mean. I appreciate all the kind words you’ve given me, you are a real sweetie ^_^

  2. Hauntingly beautiful. Such a solemn feeling from this painting, with just a spark of hope. I love everything about this painting: the color pallete, the girl’s expression, the forest and moon, and the Plague Doctors. The painting definitely feels mystical, and the doctors have such a dark, mysterious quality. I always liked the dichotomy of plague doctors in themselves, as healers who are so separated from their patients by their haunting masks and cloaks.
    My uncle actually makes leather plague dr masks, and they have such a presence to them…
    I’ve always loved your work, but this one really shines.

    • Thank you so much JuJuBee! Such a beautiful and kind comment 😀 Your uncle makes plague doctor masks?! Wow, you have one cool uncle 😉 You’ll have to send me a picture of one, that would be awesome. I am really happy you appreciate all the little elements in this piece, it means a lot to me xx.

      • He does pretty amazing work. His website is http://www.tombanwell.com I’m not sure if I can put pictures on here…? I apologize if this looks like gibberish! 🙂

        • Wow, he is so talented! Such amazing work! I can’t imagine it is easy to make masks like that of such good quality. I hope you get one for yourself one day 😉

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