Month: November 2016

November 1, 2016

All Saints’ Day:

The martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer (1487–1586)

8.30 am: I began an initial rumination on the nature of blogging (and my activities in this regard) in preparation for a short talk on the theme that Mr Iliff and I will present to the Research and Process in Practice students on Friday. ‘Why do I do it?’, I ask myself. (‘It’ being the blog.) It’s a worthwhile question; one that needs to be asked periodically, and one for which the answer changes over time. 9.10 am: Off to the School and the beginning of a day of MA teaching, principally.

9.30 am: MA fine art tutorial #1. Another followed, before the Vocational Practice session began. This week we dealt with Part 2 of ‘Delivering Lectures’. 12.30 pm: An undergraduate dissertation tutorial. It was Hell. (That was the student’s chosen subject.) 1.00 pm: Lunch on the hoof, as I made my way to the Old College for a further MA fine art tutorial at 1.30 pm. Thereafter, it was back to base camp; I had a little time to catch up with my emails before resuming PhD Fine Art tutorials with one student who has returned from temporary withdrawal. 3.50 pm: A micro-tutorial with one of my second year painting tutees: how to use masking tape on canvas, superbly well. 4.00 pm: My weekly Personal Tutorial drop-in hour. But would anyone turn up?

The martyrdom of William Tyndale (c.1494–1536)

6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: I returned to the morning’s opening project: notes towards, and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating, a discussion on blogging.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Some of us paint what’s unnameable. And then we go and title the work. Strange. Rothko’s paintings deal with transcendence. But he often gave them only the names of the works’ dominant colours. That’s to say, their titles stress the paintings’ materiality and objectness, rather than their spiritual ambience.
  • No one artwork can tell the whole story about your interests. At best, it can relate only a page from the book.
  • The quality of the answer is proportional to the quality of the question.
  • In art, there’s no shallow-end; the pool is 12-feet deep throughout.
  • When teaching students is equated with pleasing students, the game is up.
  • Those aspects of our character that irritate us most are often invisible to others. Likewise, those aspects of our character that irritate others most are often invisible to us.
Gayle Williams: martyr (1973–2008)

October 31, 2016

All Hallows’ Eve/All Saints Eve

7.45 am: My habitual morning time of reading and prayer, and, today, an initial meditation on the Magi, in preparation for an Advent talk. Love makes light the load. 8.30 am: My weekly set up: tutorials, lectures, seminars; I’m endeavouring to rationalise and compress the timetable further, in order to fit more in. After the mild temperatures, sombre-grey tone, and torpidity of last week, the crisp sparkle of sunlight and tingling cold air uplifted and enlivened (like an Easter morning, full of resurrection promise):


9.40 am: I returned to the conference paper to: cut and cull (mercilessly); extend and explain (rigorously); read and reckon on the writings of others (attentively); stutter and stall (haplessly):


12.15 pm: Off to School to attend a meeting at which the marks for MA Art History dissertations were confirmed. Over lunch, I made some preparations for Pedalboard IV, and dug out my levelling pre-amp to place at the end of an effector strand on the Live Art: Dialogues 4 project rig.

2.00 pm: Back to the morning’s regime. 2.30 pm: The conference convenor fired a flare in my direction: ‘I’ve just heard that the person you were paired with can’t make it (visa issues) — would you like to do your paper as a longer talk (40 mins)?’. Yay! Twice the work, but double the canvas on which to paint. But no more time in which to do it. I sent a message to one of my knowledgeable sons, who I commandeered to serve as a topic-specific research assistant on this occasion:


Out of nowhere poured emails in related to the forthcoming CD release and other conference arrangements. Some of these would have to wait until evening before they were batted back to the senders. 4.45 pm: Evening closes as though by stealth, now that the clocks have been turned back. The harbinger of Winter to come:


6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: Email responses lobbed over the net, I strapped myself back into the conference paper and drove off at high speed. Premonitory noises associated with Bonfire Night were heard in the far distance. Close by, children chatted excitedly in the street as they toured those houses that were most likely to relent under threat.