May 17, 2017

Yesterday. 8.15 pm: The starry field upon my window:

Today. 9.00 am: My second day of second year assessments (punctuated by excursions to the studios and gallery spaces to eye the progress). The second year of Fine Art studies is a crucial transitional period in each student’s development. From now on, they have to define the field of their studies more narrowly and get better and go deeper within it. The greatest need of the hour is commitment, which is often the fruit of confidence. And confidence will come not in the recognition that they possess enormous talent (which is the least of it) but through the hopeful anticipation that, with application, a distinctive ‘voice’ worth listening to will eventually emerge. (The student is of greater value than the gifts they possess.):

12.30 pm: Lunch was taken in and around assessments and studio monitoring. A response to a blog, written by one of our MA Fine Arts, regarding the expedience of sketchbooks, so called:

The problem with sketchbooks is the word ‘sketch’. It implies a precursory version of a finished work. More often than not, the work made in the context of these books is anything but. Think of them, rather, as a place to trial visual ideas.

Few students use sketchbooks well, some not at all (when they should), and some not at all (when they shouldn’t).

1.15 pm: Dr Forster and I conducted the final two second year painting tutorials of the day before taking divergent paths back to oversee the undergraduate and postgraduate exhibitions in progress. I got twitchy when I saw spaces that were yet to be filled. Tomorrow is the final day for hanging. There’s much yet to be begun. 3.00 pm: At the Old College, I looked in on MA students who were preparing with for exhibition or portfolio examination (all present and correct), before discussing the submission of research monitoring reports with two of my PhD Fine Art  contingent. Carmen’s draw of phrases:

3.45 pm: Back at the School (Phew!), I looked in on ‘Sparky’s Magic Piano‘ — which will, I imagine, draw the curious in great numbers at the show’s opening — and the MA exhibiters in the double gallery. The postgraduate exhibition looks particularly solid this year.  5.10 pm: The day concluded. I sensed ‘the melancholy of departure’ (to summon the title of de Chirico’s painting), as our third year students prepared for their final onslaught before leaving our family at the School of Art :

6.30 pm: After a quick dinner, I headed for the parish Rectory for a church committee meeting. (My other life.) 8.20 pm: Academic duties beckoned once again.

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