8.30 am: To the School and the Old College for a morning of postgraduate teaching and the serious business of living and being. 9.00 am: My first MA Fine Art tutorial:
Two of my charge are moving towards their second and final exhibition and another to their first exhibition of the scheme. Each exhibition has a very different trajectory and expectation. The second is completed in half the time allotted for the first, and must evidence a movement and improvement in one or more dimensions. In short, the students need to best their best. No mean feat. The second MA Fine Art tutorial:
10.45 am: Off across town to the seafront studios at the Old College for a further MA and a PhD Fine Art tutorial. In our conversations, art spills into life spills into art. I never teach the subject; rather, I teach the person (and they, me). Trust, acceptance, empathy, openness, a measure of intimacy, and a willingly vulnerability (on the part of both the tutee and tutor) are the necessary conditions for a fruitful exchange and artistic growth. And that exchange can change either or both participants, profoundly and for the good:
1.30 pm: Homebase, and a speedy lunch: domestic and academic admin required some immediate attention. 3.00 pm: I got back to the ‘double blind’ texts (Matthew, chapters 9 and 20) in order to extract keywords and phrases for the playback-only sampler’s banks ‘A’and ‘B’. The objective was to render those concepts that were significant and encapsulating and, more often than not, occurred in both narratives (‘M9’ and ‘M20’):
7.45 pm: The extraction of the same from the digital rendering of the records was begun. This was aural surgery.
Principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:
- What we cannot do and who we aren’t significantly shape what we can do and who we are.
- Where possible, view a work in progress in the context in which it’ll be exhibited.
- There’s a difference in quality, and there’s a difference in character. They shouldn’t be confused.
- Difference and similarity, separation and cohesion, in tension, in unity. This is what we’re aiming at.
- Make freedom a constraint; in other words, a necessary condition for practice.
- It’s as abstract as it needs to be; no more, no less.
- An inquisitiveness and an enthusiasm to discover something new (for you) in the object of your inquiry and in yourself are at the heart of the creative enterprise.
- Find an idea in the process of painting, rather than paint an idea.
- Speak to yourself, often. Listen to yourself, occasionally.
- Your path through art will appear strange in progress but obvious in retrospect.
- The prospect of joy to come makes our present difficulties bearable.
9.45 pm: We attended a ‘Jazz Jam’, held as part of the MusicFest Aberystwyth, at the Arts Centre. It was encouraging to see enthusiastic young people exploring standards – such as ”Round Midnight’, ‘Freddie Freeloader’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’ – with such gusto, evident pleasure, and sense of nostalgia (even though this was a period in music that they were too young to have experienced):