April 21, 2016

Thursday. Another day of teacherly intensity. Arrival. I was out of sorts from the outset … out of sync … apprehensive. A disciplined emotional life is a huge boon in this job:


There are times in teaching when, as though, some third consciousness is present. (Perhaps, this is what’s known as inspiration.) On these occasions (which are not so rare as one might imagine), tutor and tutee may experience revelation, vision, and a joy in beholding what may yet come to pass. And, there are other times when teaching is like trying to pass electricity through a non-conductive material. Neither participant may be at fault. Paradoxically, some of these ‘dry times’ can prove to be, in the long-term, just as productive as those engagements that were singularly ‘blessed’.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements and reflections:

  • Never despise your failed works. They’ll teach you as much, if not more than, your successes.
  • Indiscipline, tardiness, laziness, irresolution, and immaturity, and not the absence of significant talent, are more often the cause of our undoing. While we’ve no say regarding the amount of native talent that’s been given to us, we can work on our other deficiencies.
  • Don’t resent chastisement. It’s given to reform, rather than to punish, you.
  • In the artwork, seek to visualise not the subject of your interest but that which lies behind the subject — its ‘soul’.
  • Art is not so important. The older you get, the more you come to realise this. Friends, family, health of body and mind, and a happy longevity rank above it.

Julian Ruddock (alumnus, PhD Fine Art student, artist, and foundation studies course director at Coleg Ceredigion) was the guest lecturer on the British Landscape module:


It was good to have him close the module, and several of his own students among us too. He would have been among the first students to take this module, if my memory serves me right.

An afternoon of Art in Wales and the remaining second year painting tutorials. My new toy arrived: ‘EeRrRrRrRrRrRrRrRrR!!’ So begins my address to the ‘vision‘:


The afternoon closed with a mixture of module admin and an MA Fine Art tutorial with other than one of my regular tutees. Confronting new work and having a new conversation with someone else is refreshing … for both participants.

Evening. The final British Landscape essays needed to be marked (with three days to spare before the deadline), and a response to the Tell Us Now module survey, dispatched. Not that any action can be taken in response to comments. This is the last time that the module will run. It’ll be scuttled after the exam.

This was a tough Thursday. Two successive days of end-to-end tutorials and lectures have proved a drain on my resources. (I’m not as young as I was, but I work harder and longer now than when I began teaching.)

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