November 30, 2016

8.30 am: Having deposited a parcel at Spar, I headed for Old College following my, now, well-trod path down Terrace Road and onto the seafront. It must have been -5°c this morning. The sea was demurely spectacular; beauty in restraint:


I’d a pack (or whatever is the collective noun for MA fine art students) of painters to unsettle and disrupt:


11.00 am: I pelted back to the mothership to conduct second year fine art tutorials. Dr Forster was holding forth at the weekly painting workshop. Today, Mr Garrett introduced the second year students to the craft of canvas stretching.

After lunch, I caught up with my incoming emails. My room was so hot that I needed to open the window wide to regulate the temperature. Madness! The radiator has been painted over so many times that it’s no longer possible to turn the regulator valve. Bonkers!

3.00 am: While waiting for a Skype call that never came, I caught up with postgraduate admin. ‘Catching-up’ is one of the dominant motifs of my life, presently. I feel as though I’m constantly racing to get on a train that’s already leaving the platform:


4.00 pm: My last appointment for the day was a PhD fine art tutorial. In the studio across from the Samuel Graham Laboratory (one of our postgraduate wings), a fiery pillar — recalling that which led the Israelites through the wilderness — presenced itself:


6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: The routine round of updating websites, a parcelling of effects devices for repair, and a finalisation and dispatch of the British Landscape track. My neo-cold lingers; the sinusitis has reasserted itself; and my limbs ache.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • The essence of teaching is that of setting traps for students to fall into. It’s how they extricate themselves, by themselves, from the hole, that’s the making of them.
  • Discipline your emotion as you would a wild horse, but without breaking it.
  • Art is a waking dream over which we can have complete control.
  • Student: ‘Futility is so tiring’. Indeed.
  • Avoid over-rehearsing an artwork (through an abundance of preparatory studies, etc.). Hold back some of your energy and problem solving for the performance itself.
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