November 2, 2016

8.30 am: To the School, then, to the Old College for the first half of the morning, to work with the MA Fine Art painters. Tutorials, when at their best, are always a collaboration between the tutee and tutor towards the common end of understanding, discerning, improving, enabling, and humbling:

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11.30 am: Second-year painting. Light is beginning to break-in at both postgraduate and undergraduate level among the painters. It’s visible on their faces: the mild shock of realising something that now seems to them to be so startling obvious that they wonder why they’d not noticed it before. Of course, the ‘revelation’ (as one student referred to it, today) was always there, on offer, but they weren’t yet ready to receive it.

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Lunchtime: I caught up on emails and a little module admin before settling down for two hours on the conference paper. The paper’s aims and the underlying questions required my attention. Get these wrong and the whole enterprise drifts like a stricken space craft. The revised proofs of the CD content had arrived. I’d need review these in the evening.

4.10 pm: I returned to School to conduct a final MA tutorial, with a student with whom I was at Newport art college, back in the late 1970s. We share a common sensibility derived from ethos and values of that period. 5.20 pm: Homeward:

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6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: The record company requires more images with which to illustrate the CD booklet. I searched and prepared files while reviewing the revision of ‘Image and Inscription’. The project is within site of port.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Spend much time looking at the works of great artists. Because that’s what they did.
  • Discipline the problem: attempt to define it in the simplest and most straightforward terms … to yourself. Divide the problem into manageable parts. Discipline the process: explore each of the parts independently. Discipline the product: discern the relevant parts and combine them artfully.
  • Potentially, you may be a more interesting and idiosyncratic artist than the one that you imagine you’ll become.
  • Periodically, you should review work made earlier in your training. We find ourselves in our past.
  • Distrust your taste, your predilections for certain colour combinations, and what you enjoy doing. They may prove to be false friends.
  • The problems of art are, in part, the problems of the heart; attend to one and you’ll attend to both.
  • Just once, try and paint like you’d never picked up a brush before.
  • The important things always return to the centre of our attention.
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