April 22, 2021

8.45 am: A short walk/communion, taking in the cemetery, Plascrug Avenue, and the Vicarage Field:

8.30 am: I made ready for my day of third year painting tutorials held, first, online and afterwards at the School. The temperature was rising. Things were coming into focus. 9.00 am: ‘Camera. Sound. Action!’ Online teaching does have some advantage over face-to-face encounters. Tutee and tutor aren’t battling to be heard behind masks at twenty paces; on screen, the tutor can get close to the image without the tutee having to back themselves into a corner in order to maintain a distance; and there’s no need to clean every surface they’ve been in contact with before the next tutee arrives. 11.00 am: Off to School, under the cherry blossom, to 216 for the beginning of an encounter in three dimensions.

The smell of emulsion paint should be in the air, and the dull thud of 8 x 4 boards being walked across the studios above my room, audible at this time of year. The quietness was unnerving. 3.00 pm: The Thursday afternoon respite, lubricated with Lucozade and a walk into the School’s front garden. Were it not for the pandemic, I don’t think I’d have grown in my appreciation of its trees so greatly:

5.00 pm: A conclusion. Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • T: ‘We each have our bug to bear’.
  • T: ‘Aim for quality, consistency, coherence, and continuity as you develop a criteria by which to discern your “best work”‘.
  • T: ‘The most ordinary objects can be invested with an incomparable significance by association with events, people, moments that have meant a great deal to you in the past’. But significance can also be imparted to objects by the very act of seeing and representing them’.
  • A melancholy that’s between joy and sadness, sweetness and bitterness.
  • T: ‘So often we understand what we’ve done only after we’ve done it’.
  • I wondered what type of work the students would be making now had the pandemic not occurred. In other words, how has this period imprinted itself upon their psyches and, thus, their creative imagination and motivations?
  • T: ‘What do you want to do after your degree?’ S: ‘Make stuff and sell it!’
  • There was a moment of realisation (the sound of the penny’s drop), when the student’s interests across their joint-honours subjects, and between the modules they were presently studying, along with aspects of their home-life, coalesced in a remarkable way.
  • T: ‘You need produce only as many works as are required to persuasively prosecute the case that you’re making through those works’.
  • T: ‘You don’t have to give the works titles, but you do have to justify not titling them’.

6.30 pm: Practise session. 7.30 pm: The Thursday round-up, followed by a review of tomorrow morning’s final Art/Sound lecture, and the continued updating of my main website’s contents.

‘This is passed and seen this every time I walk to the School of Art. But I’ve understood its implications only now, following the conversation we had yesterday’ (JH > AB, Teams chat, April 22, 2021).

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