The Spirit Of Art

Bert Isaac, who has died aged 83, was one of the senior artists of Wales. His creativity never faltered through more than 60 years. Even in the face of advanced Parkinson's disease, he drove himself to make some of his most original and vibrant works. There was one subject Isaac made his own: the return of nature to abandoned places. From overgrown quarries to tin-shacked moors, he was fascinated by the transformation back to wilderness. His energetic marks and vital colours echoed the redemption wrought by the cycle of nature. A remarkable outflowing of fresh, new work was represented in his final exhibition, just months before he died. It seemed impossible that the frail man in a wheelchair could have created this triumphant display, yet he filled three large rooms with recent pictures. He was working until two days before he was taken into hospital for the last time, his determination so strong that nurses found themselves handing him his brushes or changing his painting water. Even when the physical challenges he faced seemed unbearable, Isaac never referred to his illness and made work that was ever more vital and expressive. He and his paintings demonstrated powerfully that the human spirit - like the natural forces that were his theme - could be indomitable. For the full story - click the title Irish Art