November 26, 2020

7.45 am: A communion. 8.15 am: Off to School via the town and the supermarket to set-up my tutorial room. Again:

This will be the final week for face-to-face tutorials. Thereafter, the teaching provision will be entirely online for the remainder of the term. We’ve all done well to get this far without coming a cropper. This week, the third year painting tutorial discussions focussed on a rationalisation of the subject matter and a determination of the student’s motivation in pursuing it. I wasn’t expecting immediate answers. The objective was to stimulate a conversation that they’ll need to have with themselves over the next few weeks.

11.00 am: Breakout, into our splendid garden:

1.40 pm: After lunch, I caught up on incoming missives and began planning next week’s teaching tutorials. I indulged the School office’s box of Quality Street, deposited there by an anonymous donor. The strawberry creams have always been my favourite. The pancake toffees risk removing my filings, these days.

Painting, like anything worth doing well, is darned hard. ‘There’s nothing wrong in getting it wrong!’, I remind my tutees. Success is won slowly by those who persevere (regardless of their native talent). If you really want to master painting (or anything else for that matter), you will. If you don’t, you won’t. 5.15 pm: ‘An end of words’. Homeward.

Signs of the times:

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • What do you believe about the nature of reality when you paint?
  • Many things are possible. But there’re only a few things that are necessary.
  • Avoid working within a closed-loop between you and the painting alone. Read around your subject, consider the broader implications of work, and enter into a discussion about it with both your peers and works by established artists.
  • If you lean upon the intrinsic interest of the subject matter for your painting’s integrity, then the game is lost.
  • There’s a time for receiving advice from your peers, and a time to be deaf to it.
  • There’ll be times of cautious and tentative progress and times for bold and reckless abandon.
  • T: ‘Are you saying that you can’t do it because you don’t have the skill, or because you have the skill but not the motivation?’
  • T: ‘From now on, play to your strengths and run from your limitations.’
  • T: ‘Look at photographs of “haunted” rooms. The images show no one, but imply their presence by their absence.’
  • T: ‘Making a good painting on a budget canvas is rather like serving a gourmet meal on a paper plate.’

7.30 pm: The Thursday evening round up.

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November 25, 2020
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November 27, 2020

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