October 22, 2015

8.15 am. The only new emails in my inbox were those I could delete with prejudice and fervour. (‘Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam’, as the song goes.) 8.45 am. Off to the Old College to fulfil my third year teaching obligations. The current ‘flu’ virus is debilitating students still. But they fight womanfully onwards:



10.40 am. I returned to the mothership. The School’s garden is resplendent at this time of the year:


The remainder of the day was given over to second year fine art tutorials. Some principles and observations derived from today’s tutorial engagements:

  • A personal style and a personal visual identity are not the same things. You may need to wait two decades to achieve the former (and there are no guarantees); the latter is always available to you … when you apply yourself.
  • If you apply yourself to anything consistently and for long enough, you’ll get better at it. That is a principle.
  • Eavesdrop on other people’s tutorials. It’s not rude. More often than not you’ll overhear principles that are applicable to your own work. Headphone culture robs you of this possibility.
  • One of the most important thing you can do at this point in your life, with these opportunities and resources, and those talents, is to study art. So do it with all your might.
  • Sometimes, joint-honours fine art students miss a trick in not exploiting their knowledge and expertise in the ‘other’ subject. For example, if you’re interested in the evocation of mood in landscape, study the depiction of such in the novels of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, and Margaret Drabble, among others.
  • You’ll start to find your way in painting only when you realise that you’re lost.
  • Don’t fetishize texture. Painting is not Artexing.  The texture of a painting is the sum of its accretion; the end product, rather than a starting point.


Overall, the students are moving forward —  some with hesitation, others more determinately. Thus is it ever. 5.10 pm. On my last legs; having taught without wavering since 9.00 am, I got a second wind and pushed on with the Abstraction lecture (a particularly heavy serving of theory that will set the scene for the remainder of the module).

7.30 pm. On with Blackboard updates and a PowerPoint reformatting for Monday’s Abstraction class. 9.15 am. Mercy!

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October 23, 2015