March 28, 2017

8.15 am: A pox upon morning admin.  8.50 am: MA day. I approached the Unitarian Chapel, situated close to the Old College. It had been redecorated. ‘I don’t like it!’ At the most fundamental level, the façade should be a different colour to that of the main structure of the building. Moreover, the classical motifs on the façade needed to be distinguished one from another by different colours. As is stands, this chapel had been painted as one would spray a car. I was reminded of a tube of antiseptic ointment:

9.00 am: The first of the day’s MA Fine Art tutorials.

The problems of painting are often only in our head — not imaginary, but theoretical. However, when we engage with the materials, support, and tools of the practice, many of those difficulties dissipate. Painting in search of a subject rather than in response to one. As in life, so in art: ‘so much to learn’. ‘You can’t do it, or you haven’t done it?’ These two conditions are worlds apart. Consider the moods of the sea: from quietness and racousness. Likewise, consider the dynamics of your painting. To have a choice, you must be able to do more than one thing. Aim for nuance and subtlety in the work. Sitting in a gallery, on a comfy chair, discussing a student’s work, surrounded by art. This is a good way to earn a living (MA Fine Art tutorials, from ‘The Black Notebook’ (March 28, 2017) 241).

11.10 am: I recalled the Vocational Practice class to apprise the students about the assessment regime and alternative final project. I’ll miss this group. They’ve jelled well and been immensely self-supportive:

1.20 pm: There was a coding error on one of the AberDoc forms that I’d submitted to the Institute. This required a quick fix and dispatch.

2.00 pm: Further MA Fine Art tutorials and admin:

‘You make a mark everyday day!’ ‘1–46’. ‘Is this an anomalous way of working?’ Like Braille. Like arithmetic. There are things that you should do, rationally, but which you can’t do, temperamentally. Stripping back one’s practice to its DNA. Precious areas of the painting can handicap the progress of the whole. Eradicate them. Paintings as the slosh-bucket of one’s life experience. If the soul could be seen, it would look complicated. Resist a straightforward explanation of your work. Baudelaire — the poet-critic (MA Fine Art tutorials, from ‘The Black Notebook’ (March 28, 2017) 241–42).

Brigitte’s brushes (asleep):

B. and I were lost for words. One in particular. (Such lapses comes with age.) The word was ‘cuneiform’. Things return to you when you’re not searching for them. Now, there’s a lesson for life. The farmers are manuring the fields around Pen Dinas. The is an olfactory fact.

2.30 pm: I’d an hour and a half to address a back log of postgraduate admin before heading to the Old College for the final MA Fine Art tutorial of the day. Alysia’s table:

5.00 pm: Homeward.

7.30 pm: My Lent talk beckoned. I began in the middle, with the text: ‘Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden’ (Jn 19.41).

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