Encounter with enclosed nun leads to best painting award

A NUN IN the enclosed order of the Adoration Sisters in Bride Street, Wexford is the subject of an award-winning portrait painted by a Russian artist.

Many people attending the recent Art in the Open exhibition in Greenacres Gallery were intrigued to know how Natalia Dik was able to paint Sr. Joseph of the Adoration Convent.

The portrait was voted best painting by all the artists who participated in the successful Plein Air Festival.

Natalia who lives between St. Petersburg and Amsterdam travelled to Wexford specially for the event.

She was fascinated by the Adoration Sisters when she saw them at their devotions through the glass in Bride Street Church.

Natalia who speaks no English called to the convent door with her husband Peter to ask permission to do a portrait of one of the nuns.

She was told it would require written permission but she could paint the Nun's Garden, if she wished.

She was shown through the convent halls to the walled orchard inside.

Natalia was about to begin when she noticed Sr. Joseph (formerly Mother Joseph) seated quietly on a garden bench.

The artist gestured to her and indicated 10 minutes on her watch.

The elderly nun smiled her assent and the resulting portrait, painted without second thoughts or corrections, records this encounter with one of Wexford's best loved religious figures.

Natalia has since returned to St. Petersburg with her 'artists' favourite' prize from the festival, but the picture is still in Wexford and can now be seen in the Pigyard Gallery at Spectrum in Selskar.