November 19, 2019

7.15 am: The remains of dawn were a salmon-pink sky that within fifteen minutes had faded into grey. I’d missed what might have been the best part of the day. ‘Thou sluggard!’.

8.30 am: Off to the Old College along a Promenade that was eerily quiet. This time last week, waves beat against the walls and surmounted the railing, and a window at the West Classroom blew in. The breach has been sealed temporarily. Soon all the windows will be enclosed behind Perspex.

9.00 am: I called at the door at my first PhD fine art tutee:

There’s always a cup of tea and a piece of fruit on offer. At this time of the day (anytime of the day, actually), their generous sustenance is welcome. Another cuppa was presented (as always) at my 10.00 am appointment. I don’t take these gestures of hospitality for granted. (‘You’re milking the system, John!’, the voice accused.) From 11.00 am to 12.00 pm, I dispatched a BA and an MA fine art tutorial, before heading to a watering-hole around the corner to catch up on admin. Today I sat at ‘my’ table, again: it’s far enough from the action to be peaceable, but not so far as to be isolated. And it’s where the WIFI sweet-spot is focussed. I remembered past conversations, times, and people who’re no longer in my life:

Following a hurried lunch, I headed to the School via the egg shop. Only half-a-dozen were on available. The chickens hadn’t been up to it this week. Lazy lot. 2.00 pm: An afternoon of MA fine art tutorials commenced. My endeavour at this phase in their development is to encourage the students to circumscribe their activities within the bounds of a general and flexible conception.

Throughout many of my conversations today I’d touched upon matters that lie outside the bounds of art, strictly speaking. The School has, once again, suffered a bereavement – the loss of one of its own. Their absence is conspicuous and deeply felt. Inevitably, such times as these encourage up to consider our own mortality, beliefs about the afterlife, theology (if we possess one), and life’s significance and uncertainty.

4.00 pm: I returned to admin, a growing column of inbox emails, preparations for a demonstration tomorrow morning, and a PhD text submission for that day’s afternoon.

7.30 pm: Mr Iliff had completed his work on my main website; it remained for me to tidy up and check for omissions and malfunctions.:

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • Art may not be able to change the world, but it may (in some small way) change the outlook of those who may go on to change the world.
  • Be grateful for what benefits and opportunities to do good each day presents. There’s no guarantee of another. All our plans are provisional.
  • T: ‘Think of drawing as an interrogation towards understanding.’
  • T: ‘Allow the ideas to emerge from the object under scrutiny. Don’t place a straight-jacket on it by imposing preconceptions and limitations.’
  • T: ‘Through drawing we enter into a relationship with an object. It’s an intimacy that we never forget. Thus, if, many years later, I encounter an object I’ve drawn, I still know it in a way that I don’t know those objects that I’ve not drawn.’
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