June 14, 2017

8.30 am: Off into a surprisingly warm (given the hour) day towards the Promenade and Old College, for the first of two PhD Fine Art tutorials:

Stone circles; rock surfaces; Irish politics; and the novel form. Sail your boat in different waters. The pressure of inner necessity. Distinguish between what is essential and what is desirable. We each have a finite resource of creative energy; therefore, we must invest it strategically and focally. Our past interests and experiences form the bedrock of our present activities and attitudes. We are each more capable, rounded, and interesting than our academic study alone might suggest (Tutorial notes from ‘The Black Notebook’ (June 14, 2017) 250–51).

10.00 am: Back at the mothership, I caught up with emails and prepared for the finalist board meeting:

I find the marking practices of my colleagues to be always instructive and formidably rigorous. The triangulation of the perspectives by the first marker, second marker, and external examiner guarantees (as far as it’s possible) an equitable and justifiable outcome, where marks and degree classifications are concerned.

Mrs Macklin’s course is developing in leaps and bounds. Joy is not the end of art; but without it, art will end. Her students’ enthusiasm and commitment appear to be palpable:

12.00 pm: I went back to homebase – in order to perform some preparatory domestics – before turning my feet towards the Old College, once again, to give the second PhD Fine Art tutorial and two MA Fine Art tutorials. Small, found, abstract landscape painting (West Classroom):

A mysterious post-birthday present from an enigmatic postgraduate student:

‘As soon as I open it, the mystery will unravel’, I mused. (Hesitation.) I was reminded of Man Ray’s L’Enigme d’Isidore Ducasse (1920).

Encouraging oneself is far, far harder than encouraging someone else. Our lack of confidence is fuel for the engine of determination. We may begin a painting in ignorance and end it in enlightenment. The time in which we allow ourselves to complete a painting can be just as clearly prescribed as the dimensions of the support. ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself’. Likewise the problems that you face with painting presently are more than a match for your attention and ability. Fight tomorrow’s battles tomorrow, therefore. What is the nature of the pleasure that you feel when painting? It’s the things that we discover for ourselves that have the most lasting value. Some good teachers were once poor students. The degree is called a Masters of Art for good reason. The acquisition of mastery is hard won. Which is why the MA Fine Art is such a challenge (Tutorial notes from ‘The Black Notebook‘ (June 14, 2017) 251–52).

5.00 pm: Homeward via a shoe shop and Boots (coincidentally). 6.15 pm: The evening was absorbed in resolving the last of the admin (for now) and domestic preparations. 8.30 pm: A rest from work, and the beginning of the annual diary sabbatical.

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