October 26, 2016

8.30 am: Forward to the Old College for a morning of MA Fine Art tutorials. There was one moment of illumination: a realisation so strikingly obvious that neither the student nor I had seen it before. But it had always been there, waiting for us to catch up.

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Throughout the day, I moved through a series of contrasting situations. Some students were making a modest breakthrough, others were ploughing-up fallow land, others were revisiting terrain upon which they’d walked in the past; and yet others were marking out new territory. No one of these activities should be envied above the other. Each was suited to the needs (although not necessarily the desire) of the individual. And each student will, in time, pass – phase by phase – into the experience of the others.

11.30 pm: I holed up in the Quad to catch up on the day’s emails, before taking lunch with one of my cohort. Socialising helps both the tutor and the tutee to discover the person behind the role:

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2.00 pm: A change of gear (upwards), as I engaged a PhD Fine Art tutorial. It’s very stimulating to enter into a discussion at this level. Afterwards, I trekked back to the mothership for a final MA Fine Art tutorial, followed by a Personal Tutorial. I was empty:

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Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • In the moment you realise you cannot do a thing, you’ve turned a corner in the direction of being able to do it.
  • Cubism was a discovery made in the process painting, rather than an invention, a priori.
  • Seedtime and harvest. There’s a time for ploughing, planting, watering, and waiting. And, there’s a time for reaping the fruit of your labour. You cannot enjoy the latter without having endured the former.
  • To begin, the seed grows underground and out of sight. The first shoots may not be evident for a long while. Therefore, exercise patience, and trust in the process.
  • Sometimes we have to broadcast the seed broadly, not knowing where the fertile soil lies.
  • In terms of the format or support on which you work, bigger is not better. Establishing an appropriate relationship between either the scale or size of the artwork and the artist’s intent is better.
  • Art will always remain loyal; it’ll never desert you in your time of need.
  • We see the virtue of our work only in retrospect, on occasion.
  • Teaching = empathy + intelligence + knowledge + restraint
  • People can be magnificent.

6.30 pm: Practise Session 1. 7.30 pm: The Art/Sound module needed further, clarifying documentation to cover the footnote conventions for the PowerPoint presentation. My website’s ‘News’ page required updating too. This evening, in our neighbourhood, candles were placed at windows in honour of Eifion Gwynne, and in solidarity with his wife and children:

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A candle for Eifion

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