November 2, 2017

6.30 am: I was awoken by distant voice – unfamiliar and yet fully known. 7.15 am: Having showered and breakfasted, I sat down to review the day before me and set my heart in order. These days, my internal landscape is constantly reconfiguring; landmarks move in and out of focus; the furthermost distances are lost in a haze; the frame at first broadens and then contracts alarmingly, and without warning; and I no longer have a sense of where due north lies. But ‘through all these changing scenes of life’ (to quote the hymn), there are constants, certainties, assurances, and reasons to be grateful. These are the days. Days I’ll always remember. Days of change (so long in coming), maturation, deepening, opening, knowing, and of being known.

To work:

9.00 am: The beginning of a long day of teaching covering third year painting, the Abstraction module, and PhD Fine Art teaching. A small still life: one needs very little from which to create something of significance:

12.10 pm: The Abstraction double-bill, once again. Into socio-historical territory for the first time. The second session looked at the module essay, followed by a discussion about where we should travel to undertake the Exhibition Report submission. The students’ financial limitations are decisive. I took lunch on the hop. (Rubbish food!)

2.00 pm: I’d half an hour respite, before blundering into third year tutorials again at 2.30 pm. 4.00 pm: Off to the Old College for a final tutorial with one of my PhD Fine Art tutees. 5.45 pm: Homeward:

6.30 pm: The Thursday diary routine, wherein I endeavour to clear the decks in preparation for a studio day tomorrow. This means addressing all incoming email and reconciling my teaching timetable (something which is become increasingly difficult to achieve).

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • T: ‘I don’t actually know what I’m doing’. J: ‘But just acknowledging that is sufficient for now. Think off yourself as being within a dark room. All you can do at the moment is bump into furniture as you establish a mental map of the interior. There’ll come a time when your hand will find the light switch’.
  • The future always emerges from the present. What you’re doing presently is unlikely to be what you’ll be doing in a year’s time. However, what you’ll go onto do is dependent on what you’re doing now. So commit yourself to the present and to the work at hand wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, and without reservation, and walk with it towards the future.
  • For every creative project that we engage, there must a game plan – a let of rules by which to play and delimit our possibilities. Without them, anything and everything is possible and, as such, nothing will happen.
  • Her middle name, in Welsh, is Grug [Heather]. That name tied her to the landscape she painted.
  • T: ‘I think of the Llyn Peninsula as being like a long arm stretching towards an apple’.
  • The motif is the fixed element in the series – like a wire hanger; each painting is like a different shirt that’s hung upon it.
  • J: ‘What are you searching for?’ ‘Would you know what it was if you saw it?’ ‘What is searching for you?’
  • Frequently, the game plan that we establish for one work can generate a variety of permutations. Realise the full potential of an idea, therefore. Make many works – all the same, yet all different.
  • The integrity of a set of works is predicated upon the integrity of the individual pieces and their shared identity.

 

 

 

 

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