Catholc Hill First Communion (24"
Picture to Return
When I seriously began painting in the early 1970's, I
ran around with a Polaroid camera making pictures of local things I
thought I'd like to paint. The date on my picture of the church at
Catholic Hill is 1972. The picture was filed away until I began to
re-organize my studio in 2016. I decided I'd make this painting my
first one of the year. My picture was small and a little faded, so I
drove out to the church for some fresh references.
Since my first photo was made, St. James The Greater
Catholic Church at Ritter, S.C. has been registered on The National
Register of Historic Places. Religious properties are not usually
eligible for the National Register; However, St. James the greater has
a rich cultural heritage in the African American community it serves
both as a church and an educational institution. It also has a very
unique Gothic Revival architectural style with wooden shingles.
first church on the site was established in 1826 by Irish Catholic
Planters and their slaves, one of the earliest rural Catholic Churches
in South Carolina. An earlier church burned in 1856. The present church
building was constructed in the late 1930's.
against new photographs for my painting. New improvements had added
handicapped access and new steps with outdoor carpeting. It simply
would not work with my concept of an old fashioned “dinner on the
grounds” celebration complete with vintage cars. I went back to my old
Polaroid snapshot and spent the entire year “developing my picture” in
my brain. That's a good way to describe my works in progress. The
church was the foundation for the painting, but then all the little
figures I have in the painting came together as I worked.
communion is such an important event for Catholic families. I made the
title “Catholic Hill First Communion” in order to incorporate the
family event and the colloquial community reference to the crossroads
where the church is located in Ritter, S.C