8.30 am: To school. ‘Look to the heavens, John!’:
9.00 am: The residue of last week’s second year painting tutorials needed my attention. The next time I meet my contingent will be at their feedback assessment tutorial. As we move towards finalisation and the period of exams, the pressure builds. It’s evident among students and staff alike. A discipline of mind, body, and emotions is required. We’ll all be taken to the teetering edge of our ability to cope. And, there’s the risk that, in all the busyness, an appreciation of the glory of the finale will be missed. One must ensure that there’s time to rejoice in the success of others.
10.00 am: A Skype tutorial with one of my PhD Fine Art tutees:
Such discussions are not a substitute for one-to-one (in the flesh) tutorials. They’re, rather, supplementary, and promote continuity of thought in-between visits. My PhD Fine Art tutees have stretched me in directions that I would not otherwise have reason to travel: archaeology, earth science, climate change, NHS policy, the still life tradition, landscape, the sense of place, portraiture, sculpture, painting, and other topics and media beside.
11.15 am: The final year Art History dissertations had arrived in my pigeon hole. I began a preliminary examination. The best students are those that avail themselves of teaching as a matter of necessity and courtesy. 12.00 pm: A trip to the studios to survey exhibition developments. All is well. The anticipation (like the work) mounts. (‘There’s no business like show business’.):
12.20 pm: An MA Fine Art tutorial with one of our Exhibition 1 finalists. 1.10 pm: A hurried lunch before pushing on with the afternoon’s PhD Fine Art tutorials beginning at 2.00 pm.
Pound Place: ‘But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light’ (Ephesians 5.13):
2.00 pm: First off, an induction into Adobe Audition editing. Playing with sound can be a revelation in regard not only its own nature but also, analogically, to vision and imaging. The one teaches us about the other:
3.00 pm: To the Old College for the final tutorial of the day. At PhD level, art is always more than that. 5.00 pm: The final Vocational Practice presentation of the year. Unfortunately, I was the only audient. The talk deserved a wider hearing.
7.30 pm: An evening of marking, assessing, and postgraduate admin. My list of ‘to dos’ is getting longer by the day.
Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:
- Chickens always look as though they’re mildly shocked at the world in which they find themselves.
- Pressure may force to the surface issues, problems, and ideas that would otherwise remain out of sight and knowing.
- Repetition need not be mindless. But change and stasis can be mindless.
- Surrender the part in order to save the whole, where necessary.
- ‘What is the point of making art?’ Art is the point or, properly speaking, the pivot upon which much of the rest of your life turns.