Month: January 2015

January 20, 2015

8.30 am. Into the School. The anticipated order of the day had to be changed. Consequently, I had time to begin settling my teaching diary for the semester and the dates for the final delivery of the Chapels in Wales module:


9.45 am. An MA Fine Art tutorial in the context of a productively messy studio. Painting insists upon its own space:


11.00 am. Sourcing and, then, a return to the relative cleanliness and order of my own studio space (appropriate to the work). I continued with the fourth panel in the ‘Image & Superscription’ series, added a layer to ‘YHWH‘, and primed a board in readiness for ‘Chi Rho‘:


4.20 pm. Like Moses’s bush: the houses burned with fire, and the houses were not consumed:


6.30 pm. Practise session 1. Right and left hand coordination exercises. 7.30 pm. Back to writing. There’s an art in knowing just how how much to explain and what must remain obscure.

January 19, 2015

8.45 pm. I began the day by writing references for two very good students. (Always a pleasure.) Then I undertook a little exhibition admin, including a proposal for a sound-art adjunct to The Bible in Translation project, which I’d like to create in situ at the National Screen & Sound Archive in early March. Everything is moving forward by degrees. (Tall walls are from small bricks built.) Then … back to the studio and the black sea of ‘YHWH‘:


Thereafter, I gessoed the final panel for the ‘Image & Superscription’ series and laid out the compositional diagram for ‘A Wordless Gospel: Mark’:

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12.00 pm. The publicity machine is turned on. One must consider who might be the interested parties. Not easy. In one sense, I’ve always been on the high road to nowhere with this trilogy of projects. Secularists aren’t much interested in biblical content, while few Christians, for their part, have an interest in, or an understanding of, abstract and conceptualist procedures in art. ‘For in many things we offend all’, as the apostle James would say.

1.30 pm. After updating the Holy Trinity Church website, I began applying the oil-based matt black to ‘YHWH‘ and marking out the panel for ‘Mark’ in the ‘Image & Superscription’ series. I suspect that the difference between the two mediums’ ‘black’ will be less than envisaged (which will be better than anticipated):



6.20 pm. Practise session 1. (An exploration of overdriven tonality.) 7.30 pm. I returned to writing the catalogue and preparing two images for high-definition printing. My Excel images will not convert into PDFs (contrary to expectation). 9.45 pm. Practise Session 2.

January 17, 2015

8.50 am. To town, and the somewhat diminished Farmers’ Market. (Inclement weather has prevented some stall-holders from arriving). The air bristles with cold — at one of the same time numbing and invigorating:


10.00 am. Into the studio and onto ‘YHWH’ and and the remaining elements of three of the four ‘Image & Superscription’ panels. Clouds bloom; darkness thickens:


A photograph from my hometown, received via Facebook:

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1.45 pm. The three panels are complete at their first stage. Now, the slow, careful removal of glitches and spills that attend even the most careful application of masking tape. 2.20 pm. On with the exhibition catalogue. The design layout had already been established by the catalogues for The Pictorial Bible I and The Pictorial Bible II exhibitions (2000; 2007), so there’s not much to think about on that score. The content is quite another matter.

5.00 pm. Sufficient unto the day. An evening with the family.

January 15, 2015

7.15 am. The morning ‘star’:


9.00 am. My final day of assessments. Again, there was evidence of much potential, many problems, solid achievement, and some disappointments. It’s not talent that distinguishes the stronger from the weaker student so much as a commitment to persevere, put in the hours, take risks and knocks, and a sense of personal vision:


2.00 pm. After lunch, I had several short consultations with colleagues regarding frames, mounts, and television sets. 2.30 pm. At the studio, I continued painting the three panels and testing the process of printing on bible paper. The technique involves piggy-backing this very lightweight paper on a sheet of standard photocopying paper, and gluing both the top and bottom sides of bible paper to the sheet so that they don’t get separated in the rollers. Thereafter, I assessed whether a sheet of the bible paper could remain flat (having been compressed by the rollers) when placed on a horizontal plane. Initial success is apparent. Tomorrow will declare.

6.30 pm. Practise session 1. 7.30 pm. I completed reports on this morning’s assessments, and made trial of a gluing technique for annealing bible paper to card without cockling or discolouration. I’ll leave it to rest overnight before making a final evaluation. 9.45 pm. Practise session 2.

January 14, 2015

8.30 am. I began the next verse from Matthew before the first of the morning’s feedback assessment tutorials. A cold wind blows in from the south west. It enlivens. Cumbersome clouds move sedately. 9.30 am.  We commenced with two of my own second-year painting tutees, and with three MA Fine Art students in observatory mode. (They’re like a Greek chorus commenting upon the main action. And they do so, well.) 10.00 am. A brisk walk to the Old College via the Promenade for a further assessment:



Aberystwyth is never more itself than on a grey day. 10.55 am. Back at the School, my colleague and I engaged two other students. In the background, I’m in discussion with a DVD production company. I need a medium that will accommodate the not inconsiderable length of The Floating Bible sound artwork.

1.30 pm. Back at home, I completed the morning’s verse. Another page ticked off:


2.20 pm. After making a number of temporal calculations for the conjectural DVD project (which has grown into a triple-disc affair), I went back into the studio.  The final panel for the ‘Image & Superscription’ series has arrived from my expert carpenter in Ipswich:


On with masking/painting and framing the object-based work ‘Presentient: My Mother’s New Testament’. This, against the background of a further series of email exchanges with the DVD masterer. What will all this cost?

7.30 pm. I completed ‘Presentient’ and returned to the caption compositions, which I’d begun yesterday evening. A caption further authenticates the work’s identity.

January 13, 2015

The pain that drains like an endless day of rain (Pete Sinfield, The Song of the Sea Goat):


9.00 am. Matt. 20.18 underway. A moderate-sized verse. I was engaged it (along with a palette of other assessment related tasks) until 10.30 am. 11.05 am. I complete my only feedback tutorial assessment of the day. Then — a walk to town to purchase materials for mounting and framing.

1.30 pm. After an early lunch, I set up one of the seminar rooms in readiness for the afternoon’s third year Research and Process in Practice presentations:


Two of our MA Fine Art contingent observed and assisted in the final reckoning. Their contribution was much valued. The presenters acquitted themselves well. 5.00 pm. I dispatched marks to the module co-ordinator.

7.30 pm. An evening of caption preparation. It’s slow, meticulous work. There are so many ways in which inconsistencies can slip in. 9.00 pm. Hail crackled like a firework on the Velux windows at the top of the house. Snow may fall.

January 12, 2014

‘Redeeming the time, because the days are evil’ (Eph. 5.15).

8.45 am. I processed Matt. 20.17. Not too many to do now. In the studio, I continued with another phase of masked painting before a trip to town for resources, followed by another  to the School of Art. The final part of the morning and lunch hour was given over to feedback assessment tutorials. Another satisfying ‘batch’. Their commitment is thorough; each gave a clear, critical account of their semester’s work for the painting module.

2.15 pm. Back at home, in the studio, more masking:


In between the lines, I finalised the designs for the constructions of plinths, an equipment box, and supports related to the two manifestations of The Floating Bible project. These will be executed by Phil, our genius tecky, in the next month. If you want something done … give it to someone in good time:


All the works are, now, on the homeward stretch; all plans are now firmly in place; all assistance commissioned and assured; and almost everything is paid for.

7.30 pm. An evening of assessment report form filling while pondering the logistics of developing a double-stereo sound field for the sonic manifestation of project:


January 10, 2015


During the last few days I’ve been occupied with four paintings, simultaneously. My sense is that I shall not pass this way again for some time to come. In my head, on the margins of this activity, other dimensions of the project, and other projects, begin to take shape. (Often, good ideas occur amid times of intense busyness.) A sense of coherence and completeness is, now, more tangible. Yesterday, I began assessing the the third year painting students. I’m encouraged by their progress. All whom I’ve so far seen are in a solid position to embark on preparations for their own show. Last night and earlier today, I disposed of a number of pressing assessment admin tasks before returning to the studio.

Forward with the set of three boards, soon to be a set of four. During the next few days, several works will be completed simultaneously. There are periods when progress is uncomfortably slow. Then …

An afternoon of the same — masking and painting and masking and … sanding:


A gessoed surface is prepared for painting the tetragrammaton ‘YHWH’ — the largest and the simplest of the works to be shown. A butter knife turned versatile tool in the art of applying and compressing masking tape to board:


5.20 pm. Enough! I am where I wished to be by the end of this day. An evening with the family.

January 6, 2015

9.00 am. Mopped up emails and dispatched Matt. 20.13 before beginning a day of masking and painting. There’s little time to ruminate upon the process; this is a time for work not words. Pray, and keep your pencil sharp:


The rolled gold technique worked for four out of five of the text units. One will need to be repeated tomorrow. The paint’s fumes are a little alarming. I’ll not be making a habit of this:


I returned to the painting supports and commenced masking. Each painting (the design of which is undergirded by a grid) has to undergo this process at least four times. On occasions, the tedium is dispiriting. I’m working with Farrow & Ball water-based dead-flat colours. Its link painting with single cream and dries to the surface of an unmodulated area of gouache:


An evening marking the Art/Sound module’s PowerPoint essays. The end is nigh:


January 5, 2015

A night of vivid (fulsome and plausible) dreams involving places where I’d lived and travelled between. 9.00 am. I eased my way into the day by processing Matt. 20.13. Thereafter, back into the studio and my first experience with Liquid Gold. It’s expensive, but the best. Other brands are far too brassy in their colour and lustre:


Due to the uneven absorbency of the paper, and the progressive separation of the gold pigment from its medium, brushing on the paint fails to create a surface that one might associate with the application of gold-leaf. Back to square one, therefore. Rolling on the gold may do the trick:


In between phases this procedure, I masked and began painting one of the four board supports. In the between the drying periods, I mapped out the composition for the other three board supports:


The drawing up of all three was completed by 8.15 pm. I, then, addressed matters related to caption design and exhibition board information. A good outcome for the day.