Cacao, or chocolate, was sacred in ancient Mesoamerica. The Mayas, Toltecs, Aztecs, and other tribes ascribed cacao to their gods, and prepared cacao drinks from ground, roasted cocoa beans. For my painting I envisioned a chocolate deity emerging from a cacao tree. The pods, which contain the cocoa beans and change color as they ripen, grow on the trunk. The tree produces fruits and flowers at the same time, and the flowers often have to push through thick layers of moss on the trunk. The trees grow in the lower stories of the hottest, most humid tropical rain forests, hence the dense mat of cacao leaves in shades of green and blue in the background. I drew inspiration from colors and forms in ancient Mayan frescoes, and put sacred quetzal feathers in the deity’s hair. Cacao flowers have both male and female characteristics, so I pictured a god who is also a goddess. The new museum in Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania has acquired a print for their collection.
Original painting: 16” x 20” Watercolor, gouache and 23K gold leaf on paper.
Giclée fine art print: Archival inks on watercolor paper.
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