A Ramble through January 2017

Hey, forgot to post this. Better late than never…

Gerhi Janse van Vuuren, 2016, Gradus Uno, oil on canvas
One of the paintings I managed to finish in 2016 titled Gradus Uno

At the end of last year, 2016, it started bothering me that I have a website but I rarely update it. Or if I do get inspiration I fire of a series of five posts in three days and then nothing happens again for three months. This year, 2017, I am aiming for a little more consistency.

I plan to do a monthly update on all the things I am busy with, working on, finished working on, abandoned or restarted in the past month. I will write this update somewhere between the 25th and the end of every month and it will mostly be a ramble around things. Yes, I know that instead of banging it all together in one post I can create a whole slew of shorter posts but I am going for consistent and regular updates here, not the posting championship of three short posts a day for every day of the year.

School

School started. With a bang. Last year I started the year working on a Class 11 play and I am doing it again this year. But I did not start there, I started with a Class 10 Main Lesson and as usual I have been unraveling the whole thing so that I am putting together a patchwork cloth rather than presenting a finely woven carpet. Not that it hasn’t been interesting and fun so far, it has been, and we have been making wonderful discoveries about colour.

But what I am really looking forward to at the moment is starting on the Class 11 play. We have our first workshop this coming Saturday and today I spent a fair amount of time working out a first draft for a complete rehearsal schedule. On the other hand, my colleague has worked out a detail plan for this Saturday’s encounter.

Between the two of us I am beginning to feel over prepared. And at the same time I started wondering whether getting prepared on this level might not help me get a whole lot of other things done.

Drawing

I finally figured out how to delimit the essay I have to write for my Teacher Training. I have been gathering information but it was all over the place with no clear focus. This past week I had a brainwave regarding what is said about teaching art in the high school. No matter what at some point when art is explained somebody will say: “…and in class nine we teach black and white drawing.”

Well yes, we do, kind of. But why? And how? And for what purpose? And how? And…?

As you can see, I have been thinking deeply about this. And I will explore it much deeper while I construct an essay about drawing in black in white in class nine. Don’t hold your breath for revelations however, I might still be as muddled about it when I am done as I am now. Though the current class 9s are doing swimmingly in their first forays into drawing in the high school, though it is more grey than black and white.

Painting

I have had great success last year with the class 10s and painting. But I felt that I had to take it a level deeper because I was a bit all over the place and I wasn’t sure where we managed to make the most progress. In flailing about for direction I came across the teachings of Herman Hersche.

Even a cursory overview convinced me that here was a method that is not only teachable but will also be able to produce significant progress and lasting results. The only problem is, I am as much a novice at applying the techniques as my students. This past week I attempted a demonstration of the first exercises and failed rather dismally to produce anything valuable.

…and I ended it somewhere in limbo.