25 January 2013: dear London, on working in the studio … day 16

Found a wonderful passage about art teaching in Josef Alber’s  book ‘Interaction of Color (sic)’.

In the introduction, he explains that his book does not follow the academic conception of “theory and practice” but reverses this order and places practice before theory ,which after all is the conclusion of practice.

So simple.

His theory about the teaching of colour is inspiring:

[after a trial and error study of colour theory] ‘It comes as a pleasant surprise in step-by-step learning that the further the course proceeds, the more each succeeding problem is accidentally if not actually presented among the studios shown at the beginning of a class. The teacher may prefer to present the new problem with this ‘step ahead’ (thus evading his own prepared presentation), as a new direction emanating from the class … all thorough study is basic, and that all education is self-education. This indicates that we expect from every student several solutions to each problem.                                                                        In the end, teaching is not a matter of method but of heart. Therefore. the most decisive factor is the teacher’s personality. His enthusiastic concern with the student’s growth counts more than how much he knows.                                     It is well-known that “the teacher is always right”, but rarely does this fact elicit respect or sympathy; even less often dos it prove competence or authority.

But the teacher actually is right and will always gain confidence when he admits that he does not know, that he cannot decide, and, as it often is with colour, that he is unable to make a choice or to give advice.

Besides, good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”

In a nutshell,  this is what I am trying to do to myself, and also how the themes ought to stimulate questioning alongside the teachers in great art departments!


Visited the Estorick Collection in Canonbury Square today for a Morandi exhibition with a lovely title:

Lines of Poetry

Morandi pencil drawing

Morandi pencil drawing


Morandi detail
Morandi detail – do look at the lines which pause to create the invisible right edge of the jug handle, then the actual breaks for the light shining on the enamel surface ….

Morandi etching

Loved these two Boccioni charcoal drawings, which  I couldn’t buy reproductions of, so these will have to do:

Boccioni charcoal

Boccioni charcoal

Boccioni charcoal

Boccioni charcoal

You can get the general idea – a eureka moment for how I ought to be making real drawings at St Hilda’s East next time (see yesterday’s blog).

Spent much time up scaffolding, trying to make sense of the big studio drawing, with its awkward curves. Happily, Nick Mortimer has built an installation in the middle of the studio (as planned) which gave me the perfect excuse to rework the drawing:


details are possible paintings:

IMG_2666 IMG_2665 IMG_2664 IMG_2663

Started a large white painting on black, see tomorrow’s blog ….


2 thoughts on “25 January 2013: dear London, on working in the studio … day 16

  1. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

    1. 18 months late, but thank you so much for your comment – it meant a lot at the time, when i was working in a freezing studio, on a sabbatical that has now become ‘what I do’ – very best wishes


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