November 1, 2016

All Saints’ Day:

The martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer (1487–1586)

8.30 am: I began an initial rumination on the nature of blogging (and my activities in this regard) in preparation for a short talk on the theme that Mr Iliff and I will present to the Research and Process in Practice students on Friday. ‘Why do I do it?’, I ask myself. (‘It’ being the blog.) It’s a worthwhile question; one that needs to be asked periodically, and one for which the answer changes over time. 9.10 am: Off to the School and the beginning of a day of MA teaching, principally.

9.30 am: MA fine art tutorial #1. Another followed, before the Vocational Practice session began. This week we dealt with Part 2 of ‘Delivering Lectures’. 12.30 pm: An undergraduate dissertation tutorial. It was Hell. (That was the student’s chosen subject.) 1.00 pm: Lunch on the hoof, as I made my way to the Old College for a further MA fine art tutorial at 1.30 pm. Thereafter, it was back to base camp; I had a little time to catch up with my emails before resuming PhD Fine Art tutorials with one student who has returned from temporary withdrawal. 3.50 pm: A micro-tutorial with one of my second year painting tutees: how to use masking tape on canvas, superbly well. 4.00 pm: My weekly Personal Tutorial drop-in hour. But would anyone turn up?

The martyrdom of William Tyndale (c.1494–1536)

6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: I returned to the morning’s opening project: notes towards, and a PowerPoint presentation illustrating, a discussion on blogging.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Some of us paint what’s unnameable. And then we go and title the work. Strange. Rothko’s paintings deal with transcendence. But he often gave them only the names of the works’ dominant colours. That’s to say, their titles stress the paintings’ materiality and objectness, rather than their spiritual ambience.
  • No one artwork can tell the whole story about your interests. At best, it can relate only a page from the book.
  • The quality of the answer is proportional to the quality of the question.
  • In art, there’s no shallow-end; the pool is 12-feet deep throughout.
  • When teaching students is equated with pleasing students, the game is up.
  • Those aspects of our character that irritate us most are often invisible to others. Likewise, those aspects of our character that irritate others most are often invisible to us.
Gayle Williams: martyr (1973–2008)
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