February 25, 2016

8.00 am. A thin week for morning emails. What a mercy. 8.40 pm. To School, and a day of second year painting tutorials, plus one lecture (plus all the unexpected bits in between).

Like petals, cast upon the wind:

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Some principles and observations derived from today’s exchanges:

  • This applies only to the very few: If you turned up to catch a train as late as you do to a tutorial, you’d miss it.
  • Don’t assume the outcome before you’ve begun the process. Be open to the unexpected.
  • Don’t assume the relevance of a process before you’ve first engaged with it.
  • Signing your work: there’s no surer indicator that it’s already too precious for its own good. Resist.
  • At this stage of your development, concentrate on developing a way of working, an exploratory mentality, and a professional working ethic, rather than on the finished product.
  • More often than not, a tutorial discussion has no defined objective, no fixed agenda; rather, it’s an open-ended negotiation, a mutually responsive exchange — a collaboration of sorts. Think of yourself in ‘conversation’ with the work that you’re making. Let the dialogue determine its own path and ends.
  • There’s usually some virtue in everything you make, so don’t either rush to judgement or reject anything wholesale.
  • Joy is one criteria by which we may assess our work.
  • Listen to other people’s opinions about your work with a finger in one ear.
  • The most fruitful subject matter lies closest to your heart.
  • You can’t talk and listen at the same time.
  • When you get stuck, visit the School of Art Gallery, choose one work and look at it intently for 10 minutes. The work need not be relevant to your own, and you don’t even have to like it. But I guarantee that the experience will help to unstick you.
  • Left unchecked, our failures can consume us with the same ferocity as our weaknesses. Therefore, look to your best and highest.

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11.10 am. The British Landscape lecture was on Peter Lanyon. He has always something new to offer. 12.00 pm. The practice of transcription (which is not the same as copying) has much to commend it still — for some types of painterly practice. The process of walking in the footprints of another artist (what we’d today call ‘reverse engineering’), at the very least, instils a greater awareness of the achievement of the artist copied. In transcription, the personality of the transcriber is not in abeyance, rather, it’s synthesised with that of the artist copied. If one were a music student, composing in the style of a past musician is likely to be a mandatory part of one’s education. Art education has a great deal to learn from music education in many other respects besides.

2.00 pm. Further tutorials interspersed with end of the teaching week module admin. 4.00 pm. Tutorials completed, I engaged the final round of uploading, registering, timetabling, and filing.

7.00 pm. Switch. Into sound mode; on to section 8 of Image and Inscription. This comprises the an account setting forth hundreds of other laws, the ascent of Moses and the elders together, an epiphanic and, on this occasion, a visual encounter with God, and his presentation to Moses of the two tables of the law (Exodus, chapters 21 to 31). The narrative is curious mixture of the mundanely administrative and the visionary. I began with a blank ‘canvas’:

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I proceeded to review my library of source sounds for one that would break the deadlock and create an opening onto an idea. ‘I love tomorrow!’

 

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