A couple of weeks ago a parcel arrived through the post from the painter Graham Ward. In it a beautiful painting of a bird perched on a chalice. Graham and I are swopping works. He chose a ‘Gawain’ study that I have yet to send him because I want to make a copy of it for myself before it goes, and I chose his little yellow bird bearing a sprig of berries.
Bird with Dark Vessel. Graham Ward. 2007
(A clear link between us here, this iconography of the fruit-bearing bird.)
Detail from my own Kevin and the Sunflowers. 2009
I think Graham’s Bird with Dark Vessel the most tender little thing I’ve seen for the longest time. The chalky beauty of a Pierro coupled with a heartrending fragility and balance. The photographs here don’t do it justice. The painting is glazed and therefore hard to get an image of in daylight without setting up lamps in a darkened room. (I shall do this later.) It lives in the new ‘Winter’ sitting-room here at Ty Iasf. I took it down from the wall to get a better angle on it.
There’s something in the eye of the bird that makes me want to weep. Graham has captured the sense of a universal truth in the painting that makes the heart swell whenever I look at it. Work of the highest artistry, his gift gives me the greatest pleasure.
This week I’m up in the studio painting for the forthcoming Martin Tinney ‘Christmas’ exhibition. I hope to have something to share with you about that shortly, but today in the absence of a finished painting, I offer this instead.
Autumn flowers and seed-heads picked this morning from the garden…
… set on the window-seat of the downstairs sitting-room…
… that is currently being stencilled with a congregation of blackbirds!
I came across Graham’s paintings by accident and was at once smitten. I tried to find out more expecting him to be in some swanky gallery but alas no?! I do find them enchanting and have a wonderfully mysterious Eastern European quality about them…. that is also oddly moving. I understand he has opened a cafe now? I do hope he still paints ould be a massive waste if he didn’t!
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You are so right about that eye.
That choice seemed inevitable–the combination of bird with berries and the chalice, all being motifs with you. And they only gain meaning in the context of your paintings and what those things mean, so it’s nice to see them in your setting.
Lovely glimpses of your house and garden, as always.
It’s lovely getting the decoration of rooms completed. Everything begins to fall into place. The careful restoration of the old sash windows has hugely improved appearances both inside and out. Sometimes I just find myself staring at them with a sense of huge relief!
thank you for the lovely flowers! 😉
what a beautiful painting–i like the style very much, it has a delicate, fairy-tale feel to it. excellent choice!
Glad you like Graham’s painting Zoe. I think it so beautiful. He definitely has the touch. (And the insight!)