I spent a very fruitful year organising educational projects at Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen. During that time I met and worked closely with Sophie Hadaway, then Arts Adviser for Carmarthen. Sophie organised a project that would allow us to see a project through from initial meetings with teachers, gallery visit, to the final production of artwork produced by the pupils, assessing the usefulness and relevance of the whole experience.

After the death of my friend and colleague the artist Tony Goble I arranged an exhibition thanks to Sybil Crouch at the Ceri Richards Gallery at the Taliesin Art Centre, Swansea University. It was called Passionate Pilgrim and was part of Swansea International Festival of Music and the Arts. I had used Tony’s work in many schools and had indeed worked with him in many schools across South Wales. I could talk about the work and the man with first-hand knowledge.   

Tony’s work is easily accepted by the young. It is colourful, it has a naivety that hides a great cleverness and sophistication – it draws you in with its intriguing signs, symbols and characters and you find that it encourages you to see the story, or better still read your own story into the work. He is a Narrative painter, a storyteller.

Brief outline of the project:
We met with and discussed the project with the teachers, discussed the gallery visit and our aims and objectives. Looked at mediums, materials and processes we would employ back at the school.

Day 1
A gallery visit took place where we talked of Tony’s work, offered ideas of a story line. We looked at the mediums used, paint on canvas, handmade and coloured paper, collage and watercolour. We observed his many sketch books and looked at and discussed the nature of his drawing and information gathering. We made our own drawings and looked at what interested us. We came away with a visual resource that we could use in school.

Group work: We used pastels to colour paper. We agreed the use of various signs, symbols and characters for our artwork which was to be a large collective collage. We cut paper into shapes that could be the curve of a hill, a cross, a stair, the Sun or Moon, waves, a boat, a bird and a figure.We arranged and re-arranged the cut shapes and when perfect as a design, we stuck all together.

Individual work: We made our own individual Goble influenced work on approximately A3 sized paper.

Paper tissue and collage relief artwork
Tony’s work like several other artists I have used extensively in schools can be used to explore several media. These works of layered images are constructed of tissue applied to malleable wire and decorated with paper collage coloured with watercolour. They provide a “relief” or three dimensional development of two dimensional explorations.

Posted by:Keith Bayliss