revisiting Kevin and the Blackbird

Study for Saint Kevin, 11/04/14

No exhibition of my narrative paintings would be complete without an example of Saint Kevin and his blackbird. Starting today on the easel, a new Kevin composition, with the saint standing facing the viewer, his left hand raised with the nest cradled in it. I’ve loved the subject matter ever since having been pointed by my friend Sigrid Muller toward Seamus Heaney’s beautiful poem.

Studies for Saint Kevin, 11/04/14

Since then I’ve painted Kevin many times and in many ways, from a boyish saint gazing with infinite love at flower-wreathed bird, one hand tenderly cupping a nest of unhatched eggs, to a an older, weary man, his skin stigmatised and turned foliate with the imprint of the branches and leaves he mimicked for the good of the long-since-flown bird and her brood, clutching her empty nest to his heart.

Study for Saint Kevin, 2009

Study for Saint Kevin, 2010

Study for Saint Kevin, 2011

Today I’m starting over, and the saint has changed yet again. I’m like a director casting the same play over and over, and finding that every actor brings entirely different insights to the role.

Studies for Saint Kevin, 11/04/14

7 thoughts on “revisiting Kevin and the Blackbird

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