May 23, 2019

8.00 am: A communion. ‘The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down’ (Psalm 145.14–16). There’re times when either falling or bending under the weight of some heavy burden seem to be our prevailing condition.

8.30 pm: Off to School for the second and last day of third-year painting assessments. Dr Forster and I haven’t begun to assign marks yet. We’ll do so only when all our students have been interviewed. At this stage, we’re focussed upon understanding what the students understand about the nature and quality of their work.

Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:

  • Beauty in unexpected places. Places of unexpected beauty.
  • Texture ought properly to be the gradual and natural accretion of layers, and not an exercise in Artexing.
  • T: ‘What has the work made of you?’
  • Some art schools ought to be closed for dereliction of duty.
  • The subject matter you should choose is often either close at hand or within you.
  • T: ‘What do you have to offer to your audience?’
  • S: ‘Art is work, I realised … not fun-time’.
  • Art as the ‘anticipation of a better world’.
  • It’s the artwork that makes us sensitive; it teaches us to see both itself and what we’re making.
  • S: ‘I learned to be brave enough to let the artworks be what they wanted to be’.
  • T: ‘Take a leap of faith and abandon your intent. Instead, respond to what’s taking place before you’.
  • T: ‘What you’ve achieved was very difficult, but you made it look effortless. This is the art of art’.
  • T: ‘Make art for yourself, principally. And if it never draws an audience, then, make it for yourself exclusively. But make it, nevertheless!’.

By 1.00 pm, Dr Forster and I had completed the initial sweep of our cohort. In the second sweep, we began assigning provisional marks based upon the work on the walls, quality of studentship, and the criteria outlined in the module. In terms of the general bandings and their significance: 1st Class (60–100%) = Excellent; Upper-Second Class (60–69%) = Very Good; and Lower-Second Class (50-59%) = Good. All are commendable achievements. Third Class and Fail sit below the latter. (We rarely talk about them.) Excellence always shouts at you. It’s an easy call.

2.30 pm: Back at homebase, I addressed my inbox and incoming assessment submissions. Thereafter, I began writing up my summary of feedback comments following the morning’s exchanges. I’ve been experimenting with the dictation software. In theory, it ought to save time. (I’m not a competent typist.) And the technology has developed apace in the last decade. I recall announcing ‘Gregynog‘ (the ancestral home of the Davies sisters in Newtown, Powys, Wales) on one occasion. What the application thought I’d said was something too rude to relate.

The fairies attended the School today:

7.30 pm: I continued writing-up reports and finalising the provisional marks and evaluations for all my third-year painting tutees.

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