You’re just a little girl with grey eyes
(David Bowie, ‘What in the World’, Low (1977))
8.30 am: Off to School for day 2 of third-year painting tutorials. Yesterday, I saw more examples of students engaged in abstract work than I did in the decade between 1990 and 2000.
Some principles and observations derived from the morning’s engagements:
- ‘Avoid using raw colour, straight from the tube. Be nuanced, subtle, and true to experience’.
- Colour – felt through memory; remembered through feeling.
- ‘What is a too-small painting? ‘Think of the possibility of an abstract-miniature.’ The size of a work has no bearing on its impact.
- It takes just one painting for you to turn a corner.
- ‘You lack only the capacity for work hard, without which nothing of consequence will proceed’.
- ‘If you’re finding it too easy … smell a rat’.
- ‘Your approach is not rational. By that I mean, not that it’s irrational … but something far worse: it’s arbitrary’.
- ‘You MUST be influenced by the work of other artists. You cannot invent a way of working from scratch’.
- ‘Tradition will enrich your practice even if, in the end, you choose to work against it’.
- The best students are those who’re desperately serious about the business of painting.
2.00 pm: I re-engaged the third-year Abstraction module marking. In the background: David Bowie’s Low. The album was released on this day in 1977 – the year in which I first went to art school. It has been played often ever since. This is one of the best albums of that decade, in my opinion.
On with marking. I needed to pick up a pace. (In the background: my own Nomine Numine (2018).)
7.00 pm: I put my shoulder to the plough and kept on going for the remainder of the evening.
A closing commendation: