February 16, 2017

8.30 am: Adminy things. 9.00 am: A PhD fine art tutorial at the beginning of the day is a fine way of getting into top gear for the remainder. 10.00 am: The start of a day of second and third year painting tutorials. The interests of the vast majority of the students that I teach don’t mesh with my own. However, I’m not disinterested in their work. On the contrary, their endeavours open up possibilities and approaches that positively extend my own awareness of art. In any case, one teaches principles, and many of those principles are common to varieties of practice. The hardest thing to impart to students is neither method nor technique nor understanding but, rather, a love for the subject. Art is too difficult to do, too painful to endure, without it. We can each fall out of love with art. But the best of art students stick with it through hot and cold, passion and betrayal, because their relationship is based primarily on commitment rather than on feeling.

BA Fine Art, tutorial notes from ‘The Black Notebook’ (February 16, 2017) 227

A case study. ‘How objective can you be?’ Self-interrogation. Standing apart from oneself. Linus’ blanket. The number 7: no symmetry. Depression is the longest of the seven phases of grief. Method acting. The objective correlative. If it’s all hard graft, without any emotional return or sense of self-fulfilment, you’ll give up making art. Flat paint is not anti-paint. Seeing Mondrian ‘in the flesh’ for the first time — astonishing! So painterly. Fresnel lens. If you’ve something significant to say, say it clearly, singularly, and economically. Finding the right scale of work is so hard — scale has as much to do with your own body size as it does the needs of the subject. Sometimes, you find the edge of the table only as you fall off it. When is a memory not a memory? Repeat the principle rather than the practice. Do we remember movement? Utopian feminism. Visual mages are astonishingly unable to say anything specific. Elusive and allusive: what’s the difference? Coherence of theme. 

10.30 am: A black hole — so dark that I couldn’t discern whether it was either a black obstruction behind the aperture or a recessive, lightless space beyond it:

4.30 pm: A sizeable group of students undertaking the same module will exhibit a variety of successes and attainments and failures and frustrations. Those that are steaming ahead one week may be lagging behind the next, and vice versa. Progress and improvement are never linear or consistent. They proceed in fits and starts … like life.

5.15 pm: Done! Done in! 7.30 pm: My Thursday evening teaching diary in-fill session, related correspondence, and register updates. The students get packed in like passengers on a Japanese commuter train. My journey today: 7-stages of depression > hard-edged abstraction > images of memories > equine genre > utopian feminism > figure/ground/space > farm forms > natural forms >  bust by an oval window > Borth at night > second hand piano from ebay.


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