December 3, 2020

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: A readying. 8.45 am: Ready to go:

The first of the day’s online third year painting tutorials. In the background, our students are being tested for Covid-19 and, if their result is negative, beginning to ship-back home over the next week. It’s like a military manoeuvre. Their return to university will be a further challenge. The agenda for the day was work that had been not only accomplished since the last tutorial but also slated for development over the Christmas holidays. It’s useful to test the students’ morale and motivational pulse along the way too.

1.30 pm: Online teaching enables me to drink endless cups of tea and ‘potch’-around the studio where there’s a ‘no-show’ for a tutorial. I’d several small maintenance tasks at my elbow. Again, simplification, economisation, and rationalisation are the key words. Cut away the excess; remove the unused; and disassemble duplication.

5.00 pm: Finished! Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • The more you’re interested in the work of other artists, the richer your own will become.
  • T: ‘You’re treading too tentatively on the pond’s thin ice. Run across its surface, believing that the ice will support you.’
  • T: ‘What’s wrong with small?’ What’s wrong is not either the size or the scale of an object, but the inappropriateness of such to the artwork’s subject matter and intent.
  • T: ‘As you begin to contemplate your final exhibition, you must learn to push harder and deeper within a narrower frame of reference.’
  • T: ‘The problem is not the work (which is exemplary); rather, it’s you (who cannot yet see that it’s exemplary).’
  • T: Is the work that you’re showing me part of your history or your future?’
  • If I ask a question to which the answer is ‘I don’t know’, then, make it your business to find out by the next tutorial. I ask, because I need to know. How much more should you, therefore.

7.30 pm: Admin catch-up and desk clearance in readiness for a day in the studio tomorrow.

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December 2, 2020
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