February 6, 2018

He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day (1 Chronicles 11.22)

7.45 am: The first snow:

8.00 am: I posted weather warnings to my class and tutees. Getting to Aberystwyth is one thing; getting home again, today, might be quite another. 8.30 am: A communion. 9.00 am: To begin: postgraduate admin and teaching preparations for the day ahead. My muggy mind and more general debilitations persist. Snow quietens the world beyond my window (a hush); makes people and vehicles proceed more slowly (a sanity); and softens the turbulent heart (a blessing).

10.20 am: Off to School. The snow was still falling; things appeared as though solarised. Wonderful!:

10.30 am: I prepared the classroom for Vocational Practice. A number of otherwise loyal students were, wisely, not taking to the road today. Beauty and danger go hand in hand on these occasions:

11.10 am: Commencement. I reached for the reserves, yet again. We discussed the students’ recent experience at the undergraduate assessment observation, and looked forward to the implementation of the principles of higher-education teaching that we’d learned in semester one.

12.10 pm: A re-routed MA fine art tutorial (due to the prospect of the weather declining), followed by an early lunch (over which I tied up the loose ends of the morning’s business). 1.45 pm: A thaw:

2.00 pm: From then until 6.00 pm, both at the School and Old College (both achingly warm today), I conducted further MA tutorials:

By the time I got home, I was a wash out. After dinner, I snoozed on the settee. (Either I was having a reaction to something I’d consumed today or a cold was in the offing. Neither scenario was welcome.)

7.30 pm: I began to align the slides of the PowerPoint with my conference paper. Having clear markers to indicate transitions aids a confident, fluid, and professional presentation. It has always been worth putting in the effort.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • ‘I continue to tread the road. Broad steps’, the student said of their endeavour.
  • What has the beginning to do with the end, and vice versa? So often, our practice runs in circles.
  • There’s a ‘deep structure’ (to borrow Chomsky’s phrase) underlying creative practice that’s common to all medial manifestations. Thus, we’re, at this level, artists before we’re painters, printmakers, photographers, or whatever.
  • We cannot succeed without enduring some cuts and bruises.
  • Extend generosity to the work of other artists. It may not be what you like but, if it has quality, then, acknowledge that the virtue has been hard won.
  • There are sections of the mountain that we must climb alone.
  • I’ve not taken a hand mirror into my tutorials for years. The device enables both the tutor and tutee to see an inverted version of the artwork. It’s like experiencing the image for the first time. The compositional imbalance is made conspicuously evident. I must revive the practice.



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