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Josef Herman Art Foundation Award Artist

Short report about the project and the children's workshops - spring 2011

It was a great privilege to be selected as the resident artist for the Josef Herman Art Foundation. I first came across Josef Herman's work on an outing to the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea, in 1988 as a student at Cardiff's Art College. The large paintings of miners made an impact on me - these works combined my interests in northern European expressionist art with Welsh art.

I've enjoyed studying and learning about Josef Herman over the past 22 years as a professional artist - especially the time and the work he created while living in Ystradgynlais. The ever-present theme of the workers and their community is very close to my heart. Tamara Krikorian said of my work - "for her, the land is a place to be worked, to give succour, to animate, to offer a means of living, to be shared by the community. The concept of landscape so heartily embraced by generations of romantic painters does not enter into her language."

Over Easter 2011 it was a surprising honour to see my own personal work exhibited at Oriel Tegfryn Martin Tinney side-by-side with Josef Herman's work on the left and Peter Prendergast's work on the right. I was taught by Peter Prendergast and he always placed a strong emphasis on drawing from life and from the heart - those same elements are what appeal so strongly to me in Josef Herman's work.

The residency project went extremely well by starting at Oriel Myrddin where the children closely studied Josef Herman's work and later, by following in Josef Herman's footsteps in Ystradgynlais, experiencing at first hand the landscape and the community which influenced him. I wish to thank everyone at Oriel Myrddin for the welcome and their enthusiasm - it made the time I spent there very happy and pleasurable. My days at the Welfare in Ystradgynlais were always enjoyable and interesting and filled with humour - I learnt something new about Josef Herman each hour I spent there!

I really enjoyed the time spent developing work in the sketchbooks created firstly at Oriel Myrddin, then in Ystradgynlais and lastly at each of the six schools.

 

It was great to see the children of Ysgol Glan-y-Môr, Port Talbot, developing in confidence and in their ability to create exciting pictures through hard work.

The young children of Ysgol Pentrepoeth, Morriston, responded instinctively to Josef Herman's work and it was interesting to see how this became obvious in their own work - and the singing was fantastic as well!

The children from Parkland, Swansea, and their parents were enthusiastic and created a very high standard of work - it has been difficult to select pieces for the exhibition as all the work was so good.

It was difficult to select work by the children from Sir Gaerfyrddin as well: Ysgol Llangynnwr and Ysgol y Dderwen, Caerfyrddin. The children from Llangynnwr were extremely mature in their response to the whole project.

It was a pleasure to work with the children of Ysgol y Dderwen - the children were mature and talented in creating their own drawings and paintings and they had a genuine interest in Josef Herman's art and history.

I enjoyed working in Sennybridge, Powys - I was warmly welcomed by everyone and one of the teachers had close links with Ystradgynlais, I think he knew everyone who lived in the town! I left Sennybridge with an bundle of impressive drawings and paintings.

 

The project has been an inspiration to me - an unforgettable experience. Elements of the past few weeks will influence my work for years to come. A big thank you to you all for this opportunity.

Copyright © Catrin Williams
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