Saturday, 29 April 2017

Spring chicks and artworks

A lazy Saturday morning, with just a sermon to write, then lunch in the sun in the garden. Clare had heard from artist friend Fran Whiteside that Llanover Hall community arts centre in Romilly Road was hosting an art exhibition featuring work by some of the people who teach classes there. As it opened today, with a little ceremony by ex-First Minister Rhodri Morgan, we thought we go over and take a look. The vernissage party was in full swing by the time we arrived and Rhodri had gone, but we enjoyed looking at what was on display, and chatting to a few people. Fran's contribution to the exhibition was a remarkable work reminding me of the style of William Blake. It's called 'The Divine Wisdom', and here's the photo of it which Fran sent me.
I must be careful to chose the right words here. Use of the word 'iconic' has been debased and misued in recent decades. Moreover, Fran is a practitioner of Byzantine 'icon writing', as it's called in Eastern Orthodox, producing very beautiful traditional sacred images, fit for use in any place of prayer and worship. The above is equally the fruit of study and meditation, and its very title would be familiar to an Eastern Christian, but it's the fruit of a occidental contemplative eye. Marvellous.

Also in the exhibition was a painting of  railway station platform which I immediately recognised, but couldn't identify until I looked at the label - it was Treherbert station, end of the Cwm Rhondda line. I stood in exactly the same place as the artist on a visit there nine years ago, and taken a photo. In the background is a pyramidal shaped tabletop mountain, which according to locals is a global rarity, Phil Watkins the artist told me. Here's my photo, and after it, courtesy of Phil, a photo of his oil painting,
I love the misty atmosphere in this painting. It'd be hard to take a photograph which equals this.
 After this we went for a walk around Pontcanna Fields. We bumped into Jan and Peter walking their new dog. I don't think I have seen either of them since Peter retired last year, so it was good to catch up, and share appreciation of the new episcopal appointment. We spotted a Mallard family on the east bank of the river Taff a few hundred metres down from Blackweir Bridge, parents and six tiny chicks, moving so swiftly as they paddled against the flow to keep up with each other, that it wasn't easy to distinguish them, or get decent photos at full lens length with the Sony HX300. This was about the best of the bunch.
I sent this to Peter later, who responded, saying that Jan had been wondering if or when any chicks would be seen on the this year. They walk their dog in the Fields a couple of times each day. Amazing really, this is the first time we've met there, when I also walk along the Taff several times a week. In the evening, I didn't fancy watching the BBC Four scandi-noir offering, preferring to continue with another episode of Inspector Borowski. There are eleven in the series - over half way now.

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