CoWCP: Schools workshops

A Celebration of Welsh Contemporary Painting: Schools Activities 

(In memory of Pete Goodridge)


Schools project with Caedraw Primary School, Dowlais Primary School, Edwardsville Primary School and Ynysowen Primary School.

Students at each primary school visited Cyfarthfa Castle to view and discuss some of the collection, focusing on work produced by artists who were part of both the Merthyr and Dowlais Artists’ Settlements, where local residents would attend various classes, led by artists with international reputations like Cedric Morris and Heinz Koppel.

The students then visited their local libraries to explore the Local Studies Collection, and look at how their local areas were built and laid out historically, and, in the present day. Images from the Local Studies Collection were used as research for the students’ artwork.

I visited each school, where the children used references to their own communities, and the paintings they’d seen from Cyfarthfa Castle’s collection. This gave them a starting point; an anchor to explore their own visions. In keeping with the spirit of the Merthyr and Dowlais Artists’ Settlements, the sessions focused on self-expression, where the children were encouraged to work immediately with paint, rather than drawing pencil outlines. Emphasis was put on experimentation with mark making and surface texture. Pupils used sponges, to produce interesting surfaces to represent the various surfaces they wanted to depict (brick, tile, etc.), and the backs of brushes to score into layered paint. Colour was used expressively, rather than purely descriptively, so that brown walls could instead become red, with yellow or blue flashes. The varied responses from each individual demonstrated a unique work of art from every child, in keeping with the spirit of both the Merthyr and Dowlais Artists’ Settlements and today’s Celebration of Welsh Contemporary Painting.

Gus Payne

Caedraw Primary School

Edwardsvill Primary School 

Ynysowen Primary School


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