March 23, 2017

In memory of PC Keith Palmer’s sacrifice: ‘Earth has not anything to show more fair’ (William Wordsworth, ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, 3 September 1803’).

8.40 am: Helen and I met on Llanbadarn Road, and walked to the School while discussing choirs and why so few men join them. 8.50 am: I ensured that my PowerPoint slides had integrity in readiness for the morning’s ‘talk’ (the genre lacks precise definition). I needed a better image of a piano interior. Jakob’s recent purchase of a sad, old upright provided a source:

9.15 am: Admin catch up before the beginning of my second and third year painting day. My office is stiflingly hot.

Focus the subject; determine the priorities of the painting. Turn your eye to your circumstances — class, conditions, family, interests, and lifestyle. ‘Everything I paint is a vessel’. Metaphorically, the vessel is a body. ‘Your soul is the content’. Be aware of the personal associations of objects. Set yourself precise goals for each work. Observe yourself learning as you learn to observe. Concentrate on expressing the object rather than yourself (Second and third year painting tutorials, ‘The Black Notebook’ (March 22, 2017) 239).

Before the morning’s … whatever, I returned to the School of Art Gallery’s print exhibition, to ‘talk’ with Richard Allen’s (1933–99) Iconocross I (1979). Richard was a hero of mine when I was an undergraduate. I had the privilege of being his colleague at the School of Art, during my stint as Head of Department. By his own admission, he wasn’t a religious man. But the cruciform was too potent for him to resist:

For Lent: John of the Cross

11.00 pm: The Forster & Harvey double act. None of my tutors shared their undergraduate work with me (and for good reason, perhaps). We may yet live to regret this. A readying:

June — in authoritative and bookish mode:

There’s always something vaguely self-serving and discomforting about making oneself the subject of a lecture. On this occasion, however, the demands of the higher good prevailed. June presented a measured, engaging, and encouraging account of her experience. The distance that she has travelled since her first degree is astonishing. I’ve no idea if or when painting will move towards the centre of my attention once again. Having played an ‘end-game’ with my last exhibition, it’ll have to return with a rather different sense of its own territory. However, I suspect that there are clues to its future identity in both what I said today and the Image and Inscription sound composition. Since I cannot any longer locate painting, painting will have to find me.

1.40 pm: I needed to keep up the pace today. Tutorials continued:

Pentimento (Italian: Repentance). A visible, historical, and sublimated encoding of the process of construction and obscuration. Perhaps it’s that awkward and unyielding painting which’ll get you through the door to the next stage in your development. If you paint a subject repetitively, it becomes neutral. Then, you’re free to concentrate on the process of painting: seeing, translating, and rendering. The grass is always greener on the other side. But what shade of green is it? (Second and third year painting tutorials, ‘The Black Notebook’ (March 22, 2017) 240).

5.20 pm: An end:

7.30 pm: An evening of reckoning, reflection, tidying, uploading, irate letters, and planning for next week’s teaching.

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