January 31, 2019

7.50 am: Dawn: feminine, healing, soft, reassuring, beguiling, sensual, surprising, awakening, and yielding to the day. 8.15 am: A communion. 8.40 am: Into the frosty air, travelling towards Old College. From 9.00 am to 11.00 am, I conducted two contrasting PhD Fine Art. The discussion ranged from archaeology to theology to blood-pressure tablets and Viagra (which women aren’t allowed to buy at the chemists, I’ve discovered).

The Llyn Peninsula was usually visible today. The snow-covered caps of the mountains gave to the vista a depth of field that isn’t, ordinarily, appreciable. It felt so much closer:

11.30 am: Back at the mothership, I commenced a day of third-year painting tutorials. This is the beginning of an arduous journey towards the final exhibition. Every working week counts for twice as much as it did last semester.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s encounters:

  • The sufficiency and economy of the object should inspire the same characteristics in the painting thereof.
  • Come to the same object, again and again, as though for the first time.
  • A colour that’s as pervasive as silence.
  • The more defined the problem, the more defined the solution.
  • T: ‘I want you to do your best, and for you to know that you can do your best.’
  • Let yourself down this semester, and you’ll be kicking yourself for the rest of your life.
  • Work: ‘when a force is acting, and there’s a displacement of the point of application in the direction of the force.’ (Exertion, action, reaction, and direction.)
  • Narrow the frame of reference, develop an economy of form and action, exploit their potential, and do more with less.
  • Settle to what needs to be done.
  • Determine to outdo yourself and up your game. Make the challenges more demanding, and take greater risks with greater confidence.

1.00 pm: A working lunch before returning to the fray at 2.00 pm:

I was conscious of needing to infuse students with a sense of urgency while, at the same time, assuaging their anxiety. I want to inculcate pressure (which is motivating) but not anxiety (which is paralysing). Every week, I’ll deliver to each a reality check. 5.30 pm: Homeward:

7.30 pm: In a day, one can do so much and yet appear to achieve so little. I suspect that’ll also be my overriding conclusion at the close of life. However, it’s not for me to judge. We don’t know what impact a word, an act, a life (however short) may have had upon another. We, each of us, live in hope that someone might say something in the future that’ll interpret what has either perplexed us in the past or dogs us in the present. Such a word comes as a revelation and, with it, a consolation and the power of acceptance. There’re are so many things for which I desire an answer.

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