At the University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, where there is a fine collection of Ernest Zobole paintings, art historian and Zobole expert Ceri Thomas discusses the work of this member of the Rhondda Group of artists. Very early in his career, Zobole began to use colours in the way used by avant-garde European artists - this was due partly to viewings of London exhibitions of artists such as Van Gogh, but also through the influence of Zobole's tutor Ceri Richards. The way that he limited his palette to blue also had an influence. This is illustrated in Zobole's early 1950s painting, 'People Crossing', which has a limited palette much the same as Ceri Richards's Trafalgar Square painting. By looking at the painting In the Valley No.4 we see how, as his work progressed, his paintings became more stylised transforming the Rhondda into an abstract and simplified universe. In a clip of archive film, Zobole talks about putting different viewpoints into paintings of the Rhondda at night with illuminated objects set against a black curtain. Howells and Thomas discuss one of Zobole's last paintings, 'Painting about myself in a Landscape' from the mid 1990s when he knew he didn't have long to live. In it he paints himself inside a rectangle, which probably represents a coffin, surrounded by a kind of bubble, the Rhondda, with three hundred and sixty degrees of sky around the perimeter of the painting which makes it seem almost like planet Rhondda.
Ask students to discuss the work of Zobole in groups. Students could create a sketch of a townscape near them in pencil or charcoal and experiment with viewpoints and perspective. Using a limited palette, students could create an image of a town or landscape at night choosing the paint colours with care to create a different atmosphere. Students could write a tribute to the work of Ernest Zobole, describing a few of his paintings and giving a personal view of what is thought about them.