December 14, 2016

Yesterday. In the evening, staff gathered at Professor Meyrick’s home to celebrate Dr Pierse’s retirement, after 24 years of service to the School, with speeches, good will, and a parting gift:

8.00 am: On, then, to Le Figaro’s for the staff Christmas dinner, waited upon by one of our third-year students, among others. What a fine bunch of colleagues!:

Today. 8.45 am: The Promenade:

9.00 am: The beginning of the final MA fine art tutorials of the semester. Some of the students will be assessed in January; so, the period from now until then will be crucial for them — a period for consolidation, rather than resolution, for comprehension rather than decision (necessarily). The arc of development for the part timers is by no means leisurely; they’ve more time to enjoy the view en route, that’s all, Intentional (above)/Non-intentional (below) painting:

11.30 am: I returned to the School to deliver a trio of second-year painting tutorials and cram in some preparations for a postgraduate meeting on campus this afternoon.

1.40 pm: Up the tarmac hill to the campus to join the committee. I was drawn to red (Caradoc Road):

I was drawn to red (Penglais Hill):

2.00 pm: The postgraduate teaching and research committee: anachronisms, acronyms, acrimony, advocacy, and AQRO. The committee comprised a sensible, honest, and straight-speaking bunch of hard-working academics who have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous bureaucracy. You cannot run education as a business! You just can’t!:

4.10 pm: Down the hill and back to School …

… to my final appointment — a PhD Fine Art tutorial with one of our finalising students. A magnificent end to the afternoon: vitalising, enriching, challenging, and potent.

7.30 pm: I returned to my Advent composition, which I’ll deliver at Holy Trinity Church on Friday lunchtime: a reflection on Matthew, Chapter 2, verses 1 to 12.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s encounters:

  • ‘Contained euphoria’; ‘happy melancholia’: states of mind that lie between states of mind.
  • At times, the process will determine the subject of the artwork; at other times, the subject will determine the process.
  • Any degree of pre-visualisation of an artwork’s outcome will constrain its natural, intrinsic, and organic development to that degree.
  • Leave your bad moods and legitimate grievances at the door of the committee room. Be open. Be hopeful. Be constructive. Be supportive.
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