March 21, 2019

6.00 am: Rise. 7.30 am: A communion. 8.00 am: I responded to emails that’d been delivered yesterday evening, and organised next week’s teaching roster. We live in unusual and unnerving times. There really ought to be portents in the sky: comets, mysterious lights, dreadful sounds of tumult among the clouds, and strange aerial objects – like those dark fiery monoliths that were seen, so it was claimed, prior to the English Civil War:

There’re times in our own lives, too, when decisions of great import cannot be made easily and quickly. No one course of action is to be preferred; for they all involve significant compromise and uncertainty. Irresolution is uncomfortable and, if the condition persists for too long, can inspire a spirit of hopelessness. We make our choices on the basis of available information, prior experience, principle and precept, received wisdom, and advice of others. (One ought always to seek counsel.) There’re times when we must wait on time for more light and circumstances to change before casting our vote.

9.00 am: Off to town to fulfil some domestics before my engaging the day’s teaching commitments. I’m an inveterate list maker. A list is variously an agenda, a structure, a set of clearly defined commitments, and an objectification of responsibilities. Working through it keeps me on point and well paced. I itemise my tasks and allocate deadlines to each of them. The process makes me work faster and more efficiently. I prefer to work through the small and irksome stuff quickly, so that I’ve more than enough time for the large and elevated stuff.

11.30 am: The beginning of my schedule of third-year painting tutorials.

I sense a tiredness has descended on the students. It comes at this time of the year, as the finishing post comes into view. With the Easter vacation being unusually late this year, they’ll have to measure their energies with the wisdom of a marathon runner.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • You have to learn to quickly switch from one activity to another with the deftness of a railway signalman changing track.
  • Thinking with the eye. (Meditative perception).
  • Ideally, the work ought to draw you down a path that you never intended to go, towards a place that you’ve never expected to visit.
  • Only you can generate the sense of imperative.
  • No student has ever failed for want of talent. But some have, for want of application.
  • Just a small gesture, idea, or determination can lever a dramatic effect.

One student was working with the principles of colour and spacial separation using a pair of 3D-viewing glasses. The results were, well, spectacular. (‘Does my nose look big in these?’):

5.30 pm: Mission accomplished.

7.30 pm: To begin, I addressed the afternoon’s incoming mail and business. 8.00 pm: Studiology. I returned to active listening – attending to the overall balance of the voice samples across the, now, three sections of the Pauline narrative.

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