November 25, 2014

8.30 am. A battle with the central printer in the School’s office. This was inevitable. The machine holds a grudge against me. (I once described it as looking like Darth Vader’s toaster.) In Art/Sound, we dealt with the principles underlying the construction of the PowerPoint essay. 11.00 am. The Vocational Practitioners were on good form. Each presented a 500-word, pre-prepared text with the aim of hearing (and finding) themselves in public speaking. The emphasis was on talking through their respective personalities. That’s the hard part — speaking comfortably and authentically.  Tweaks to the tone, volume, and speed of the voice are minor matters, and easily implemented.

2.00 pm. Susan, our PhD Fine Art student from Vancouver, is at the School setting up her exhibition of large-scale drawings, entitled Corbels:


2.30 pm. Two consecutive 1-hour MA painting tutorials. There is a pain at the heart of painting — not of the order of birth pangs but, rather, of a teenager’s growth spurt. Maturation is achieved incrementally, without warning and, sometimes, without any effort on our part. As we move closer to artistic adulthood we become increasingly aware of our adolescence, unpreparedness, and the weight of what lies before us.

4.40 pm. One of those consoling sunsets that grace Cardigan Bay during November:


6.15 pm. Practice session 1. 7.00 pm. I prepared the slides and text for Thursday’s Art/Sound lecture on Millet’s The Angelus.

I have one of Steve Chilton’s paintings hanging in my bedroom:


The title is Little Miracle in the Corner, by which I referred to it when visiting his studio space. My intention was to encourage Steve to acknowledge the painting’s modest merits and to redeem it from possible oblivion. He did, and gave it to me as a ‘thank you’ gift on completing his MA Fine Art degree. Since Steve disappeared, the picture has taken on the additional identity of a relic. He was once present before it and, in a sense, is still present in it.  I see his decision making, as well as the movement of the brush which, in turn, describes the gestures of his hand and arm. My eyes, following the path of his own, survey the support’s terrain, trace the length of the strokes and the boundaries of the format, and peer through the white overpainting into the picture’s layered history. Had I not intervened, I suspect he would have re-gessoed the whole surface and buried the image with the zeal of some sixteenth-century iconoclast wielding a charge of limewash. This painting was saved from vanishing. I pray that Steve will be too.

9.40 pm. Practice session 2.