Robert Smith

I’d lost contact with Bob sometime before he had passed away. My friendship with him could be described as close but over the duration of 30 years it inevitably changed. When I first knew him he was embroiled in a legal wrangle with the Flinders University where he had started the Art History Department in the 1960’s. By the time he died he had become a nationally recognized scholar, one of the formative generation of Australian art historians. Personally, I think his greatest knowledge lay in English literature and the Italian Renaissance but his interests were broad. True to art scholarship he was fluent in Italian.

I was a student of his at Flinders University, a raw undergraduate with only moderate ability and motivation. One night he phoned regarding an overdue essay of mine. I was so surprised because I didn’t think it mattered or that he cared. He requested I forward what preparatory notes I had in regards the essay topic. I was touched and this really motivated me to knuckle down and study. I guess this was his intention. But more importantly, it started a life long friendship. His interest and fascination in life was infectious. I couldn’t write until I met Bob who basically taught me from the ground up. He led through example. Simply put, it is the interest in source material that drives the process and with the correct approach, results should follow.

So many years after that fateful night in the early ’80’s I have an extract reflecting Bob’s inimitable style. His request was a simple one: pose a monthly question on anything and he’ll give me an answer. Any opportunity to exercise his far ranging thoughts and interests. He surprised me to the end. I was lucky to have this enduring friendship.

6 Sept 2006

Re: I know why you didn’t ask about the poem

Me

Thanks again for the poetry Bob. Reading Olivier has enlightened me on Picasso’s literary efforts but the quote that gets me is “others talk, I work!” apparently in Souchere Dor 1960.

Yours Steve 

Bob

Hello Steve, Speaking of that poem, I once said to Alan Flashtig* “Say not the struggle nought availeth,” to which he replied “I wasn’t about to.”

The poem has been so widely quoted that its author is often referred to as “Poor Man’s Tennyson.” I always thought Tennyson was !

However curious you might have been, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to use up this month’s one wish from your friendly neighbourhood geni on something so simple to resolve.

So here, out of the kindness of my heart is an attachment with the whole four stanzas, and author’s name.

I recall that during World War Two Winston Churchill was fond of quoting the final line: “But westward, look, the land is bright.” Australian Labor Party Minister for External Affairs at the time, Dr H. V. Evatt, preferred the entire first stanza. But then he was the great champion of the United Nations General Assembly, while Churchill preferred the Security Council, dominated by “the big powers” (especially the “westward” ones). Evatt is the most impressive politician I’ve ever met (and I’ve met quite a few–thankfully not the current crop of police state advocates). Cheers, Bob.

*Colleague at Flinders

Also: https://westerlymag.com.au/vale-robert-smith/

https://amp.smh.com.au/culture/art-and-design/always-learning-was-his-motto-20200601-p54yb0.html

Narcissist

Narcissist personality disorder from the dark triad

Immediate sign is that of someone who acts in a ‘superioar’ fashion to others and this impression is manifested both publicly and privately. The slightest criticism of the narcissist is not tolerated by the individual, one of the protective mechanisms to sustain the persona.
Theirs is an idealized version of themselves or artifice. It’s a grandiose concept without normal checks and balances. This inflated idealised persona enables focus away from the insecurities lurking beneath. The difficult exterior is the manifestation of the effort needed to sustain the illusion.

The narcissist cannot function without biased, interpersonal support from others. The narcissist supply supports the attention demanded at both public and private levels. Without the supply the persona is unable to mask the vulnerability beneath.

Does narcissist tendency increase with social media use? There seems to be a complex relationship between the two. It appears that social media has substantial impact on users including younger users and that they can be adversely affected. But what is commonly defined as narcissism on social media is not necessarily the same as is formally defined as narcissism. Some of these social media accounts may display a genuine self like/respect that is not NPD. It appears that narcissists prior to taking to social media will be more attracted to texting based media (known as textual) such as Twitter whereas those yet to exhibit narcissistic traits will do so after using Facebook or other visually based media.
But so many conditions and variables exist and there is no conclusive evidence that social media actually creates narcissists.
From psychologytoday.com and other sources.

Different clay

Christmas presents pose more than a challenge for the likes of moir, especially for the younger family members. So I take thee over to the art shop hoping for random inspiration (or a welcome distraction). What’s going on? What are all these materials?  Aargh, I feel sidelined again. It’s all new to me. I beeline to the sculpture supplies and recognize clay and Plasticine. What is balsa wood doing in an art shop? It’s been a while. Now I’m overwhelmed. But I came here for some answers. Air dry clay? I search the internet and it’s so confusing. A week later I discover six types of non kiln firing clay.
Polymer clay
Polyvinyl chloride based oven baked clay. It shapes easily and seems to have become the Lego of new generation clay. Think Schleich figurines and plastic plumbing. PVC has a mid weight feel.  Compares favorably to earthen clay which is quite a claim. Takes equally well to fine detail.
Paper clay
Very versatile clay. While not replicating the qualities of earthen clay it is light weight and air drying. These advantages alone set it apart.
Cold porcelain
Main ingredients are corn starch and PVA. It has a unique semi translucency. Ideal for jewellery as it is heavier then paper air dry and takes to fine detail. But it’s food for insects so be prepared for potential damage down the track.
Epoxy clay
Two part epoxy. Has a fixed curing time so requires adequate preparation.
Earthen air dry
If you imagine regular earthen clay without any need for kiln firing. It is also mineral based and the most popular air dry clay. Could be seen as an alternative to traditional clay and has the same weight. Ideal for professionals and beginners  alike.
Magic clay
A relative newcomer to the shelves but a real competitor especially in the kids market. No kneading required and has a smooth consistency. While it doesn’t have density and body for complex form it takes to simple shape making. Remarkably light and flexible when dry.