August 23, 2016

6.15 am: Run! At the Vicarage Fields, a band of glistening mist, diffused with sunlight, hung over the grass, as though in suspended animation. 8.15 am: I took a sunlit path to the Old College, past a council worker who has mechanically blowing sand off the promenade and back onto the beach. (The displacement had been caused by the high winds and tide that struck the vicinity over the weekend.)

9.00 am: An initial, pre-course tutorial with one of our PhD Fine Art newbies. They have amassed more brushes than an art shop. (I’m too easily impressed, I know.):

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After one further PhD and one MA Fine Art tutorial, I sped back to the mothership to conduct another of the latter:

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At this time of the year, the School’s interior is touched by moments that seem as though to momentarily break through the veil dividing the visible and invisible realms:

This world of ours, and worlds unseen,
And thin the boundary between (Josiah Conder (1824))

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Lunch (which was largely absorbed by the return journey to the Old College) was taken in one of the seafront shelters, looking seaward, while holidaymakers promenaded. Only with my eyes closed could I smell the sea:

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2.00 pm: Another PhD Fine art tutorial, this time in my capacity as second supervisor. An hour later, I retraced my journey to the School in order to undertake two more MA Fine Art tutorials. 5.15 pm. I was taught out!

Evening. I had a raft of postgraduate and professorial admin to sail upon the ocean of routine, duty, and necessity.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s encounters:

  • Teaching is dancing.
  • Our work may speak its mysteries to others, but not to us. Therefore, speak to others about your work.
  • Ideas and preoccupations from our distant past often catch up with it in the present. But they recur, like revivals in art, not in exactly the same way; they’re coloured by the life we’ve experienced and the history of art that have occurred since their last appearance.
  • Aim to work with as little effort, and as quickly, as possible. This is an exercise in economy and efficiency, rather than a manifestation of laziness.
  • You are assessed not only on the quality of the artwork produced but also on the evidence of sound judgement, wisdom, and discernment exercised in its conception and execution.
  • What we cannot do defines us as assuredly as what we can.
  • If you cannot decide what to do then, first, determine what you don’t want to do.
  • Sometimes, you need to walk in fog for a long time. It will lift eventually.
  • It’s quite possible not to see the virtue of our work until long after it has been made.
  • What any artwork means is never straightforward. Therefore, don’t be tempted to offer your public a simple explanation when they inquire.
  • Learn to say ‘enough’ to an artwork; learn to let it go … to let it be (with all its defects). Resolution should not be confused with perfection.

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