Dame Judi Dench likes Mark’s “beautiful” portrait of her


Mark Ward was working as a graphic designer when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.

And that changed his outlook on life.

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So in April he left his stressful job and moved to the Borders to follow his dream.

An artist since childhood, he now feels privileged and honored to earn his living as a full-time professional.

His ArtyMarks studio in Kelso, he produces original, contemporary art and takes private commissions for portraits and animal portraits.

His work also includes landscapes, wildlife, abstracts, caricatures, cartoons, as well as selling prints, limited edition prints and he uses a wide variety of media, working mainly in oils, but also in acrylics, graphite and digital.

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Mark is inspired by the masters, especially the giants of the Renaissance, but also by more contemporary maestros such as Sargent, Bacon and Van Gogh.

His portfolio includes paintings of famous personalities, such as Sir David Attenborough, Will Smith and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

And on Tuesday, August 8, he was invited to present a portrait to Dame Judi at her ‘I remember it Well in conversation with Gyles Brandreth’ festival show at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Mark said: “I was honored to present my portrait of Dame Judi Dench to the legend herself at the Edinburgh Playhouse, following her show with the beautiful Gyles Brandreth.

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“We expected a quick meeting to hand over the painting but we were taken to her dressing room which was great

“She is such a warm, kind and beautiful person, inside and out, it felt like I had known her for years.

“My wife Jacqui and I spent a good 20 minutes with them and the champagne was nice too.”

Upon receiving the gift, Dame Judi said, “Gosh, that’s such a beautiful painting, thank you.”

Brandreth suggested hanging the painting in the National Portrait Gallery.

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