8.40 am. Off to the Old College in a heavy downpour and a driving wind. It was miserable. But we are comparatively well-off here, for the moment. Elsewhere in the UK, the weather has been a matter of life, death, and considerable loss. I held my final third year painting tutorials for the semester. The emphasis was upon preparations for the January assessments:
10.20 pm. I made my way back to the School to fulfil the same agenda. Some principles and observations derived from today’s tutorials:
- The best things happen somewhere between intent and accident.
- To see the way forward we need to look backward — at the work that we’ve done and the life that we’ve lived.
- There’s an uncomfortable middle ground that all dedicated art students have to walk over; it lies between where they’ve been and where they’re going.
- There’s no going back; one cannot return to either a subject or a way of doing things other than by encountering it again in the future and further down the road.
- Self critique: weigh up the credit and deficit, determine the strengths and weaknesses, and establish the head and tail of your work before you get the feedback assessment. Demonstrate your awareness. Be in command of your studentship.
- Modules are merely containers; it’s the content which the student pours into them that’s important.
- Bless your limitations. Better to be remarkably good at one thing than merely competent in many.
- Better a modest success than an overambitious failure.
2.00 pm. More third year painting tutorials …
… the, finally, the last Abstraction lecture. (Note to self: This should be spread over two lectures, next time around.):
The lecture highlighted one of the principles that emerged from today’s tutorials, namely, that to determine the way forward, abstract painters often look back at, and learn from, earlier artists’ practice. We can grow only when planted in the soil of a tradition.
7.00 pm. Practice session 1. 7.30 pm. I finalised some teaching admin, closed the books on the Abstraction module, and posted off my good wishes to the bunch:
Winding down a term is a slow and deliberate business. And this has been a particularly heavy, complex, demanding and, yet, an encouraging one.