Richard A. Ward: artist and uncle


I have been back in the Philippines exactly one week now and I simply could not have returned if it weren’t for my Uncle Richard A. Ward.

For many years uncle Richard existed only as a name at the bottom of letters and a faded little girl memory. It seemed very exciting to have an uncle who lived in England and had been to university, but the disdain of youth somehow turned to decades of silence and sadly it took the death of his brother for us to really start to know one another.

Uncle Richard is primarily a musician but he is also an accomplished painter, pipe organist, bell toller and published author. I had no idea of the range of his  talents until one afternoon last year, alone in his eclectic house, I began to notice walls of beautiful water colours, crayon drawings and mosaics. Later he would show me through his art works including the materials he uses to teach water colour classes at a local gallery.

This blog has been sitting in draft for months, originally I just wanted to capture these wonderful paintings to share with you. It is more than that now. To read a description of each piece, hover over the image or click inside the gallery to open individual pictures. Also my apologies for somehow deleting my favourite piece:  Roman Honeyeater.

For many years Richard Ward was the head teacher at the Inverell TAFE (check out this old clipping I found amongst mum’s stuff). I also found out from another clipping that he was the recipient of a commonwealth scholarship while in high school. I was a bit impressed actually.

Richard Ward teaching computers at the gaol

richard ward commonwealth scholarship

Uncle Richard displays the latest in modern techology of stamp selling.
Uncle Richard displays the latest in modern techology of stamp selling.

Now retired you can find Uncle Richard regularly at the local library (selling stamps to help me with my aid work), volunteering his time as an art teacher, choir keyboard master, church organist.

This post is only an introduction to an extremely talented individual and I don’t think in any way represents the full range of his achievements. Perhaps one day he’ll exhibit some of his art in a gallery and start that blog on all those historic characters he has been researching. And that truly is another story.

10 responses to “Richard A. Ward: artist and uncle”

  1. pearlz Avatar

    Love the many stories about people on your blog!

    1. mel irvine Avatar

      thank you June, somehow I will find the way back to writing more of what I see … appreciate your support and belief so very much!

      1. pearlz Avatar

        Looking forward to it Mel. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  2. Anne Holden Avatar
    Anne Holden

    I was amazed to find this site tonight, I had just watched a television programme about New South Wales and it reminded me of my old friend Richard. I googled his name and found this. I worked in the English civil service with Richard in Corby. He was my supervisor and brought such fun to a dull office job. He took a group of us one Christmas in the 1980s to his cottage in our lunch break, we all had makeshift musical instruments and sang “The twelve days of Christmas” while tasting the festive fruit cakes made for him by the ladies of the village and giving them marks out of ten. He frequently had us helpless with laughter at work, I particularly remember his rendition of a thigh slapping Bavarian folk dance around our desks! We had an Australian themed party the day he left and were so sad to see him and his Morris traveller car leave – we tied Australian lager cans to the back of the car I remember. I am so pleased to see that he is busy and happy. Please give him my best wishes and thank you for making my day! He would know me as Anne Tomlinson.

    1. mel irvine Avatar

      dear Anne

      thank you so much for sharing these lovely memories. uncle Richard will be thrilled. I can’t wait for my cousin maya to see this, and so lovely to know more about our Uncle’s adventurous spirit.

      mel xx

      1. Maya Avatar

        Thigh slapping Bavarian folk dancing?! If only there were smartphones with video when he was doing that! Thank you so much for sharing this Anne – some magic happening for Mel to post this and you to find it. Makes the world suddenly seem magical and wonderful.


      2. mel irvine Avatar

        This website has opened up a whole new world to me and to have anecdotes like this shared amazing. I would love a photo of the Morris with the aussie beer cans. I don’t remember seeing too many cans of VB in the fridge ever 🙂

  3. Maya Avatar

    I’m pretty sure my love of water colours comes from Uncle Richard and I love the pastels. I’m very lucky and have an oil painting he did of the farm when he was just a youth – it’s one of my special things that evokes a lot of memories and emotions.

    I wish I had half the artist talent the Ward family seem to have inherited! I’ve been ferreting art supplies and putting them into a box for the last 5 years instead of just using them. After visiting Uncle Richard this month I’ve set myself a 30 day challenge to draw something different for 30 days. Wish me luck!

    1. mel irvine Avatar

      oooh that sounds wonderful. of course you have the talent, you are a ward, you just need to let it out. i hope you had a great visit and had some smiles and fun times and not just stress.

    2. sandy Avatar

      I so enjoyed reading this Mel – and seeing Richard’s art work again!