Dear Cleo 18 09 18

Dearest Cleo

Happy Quarter Day !! You are getting to be quite a big girl now. I had a great time at the park on Saturday and I am looking forward to celebrating Auburns Birthday next weekend. Today I am putting together a GDrive for my course and I have almost finished it, I am just adding the finishing touches with a selection of 25 of the best works from my sketchbooks. It is only at a time like this that you realise how many sketchbooks you have filled during the period of the course there are lots really but these are what I think are the best 25 in no particular order.

Sketch 01

Sketch 02

Sketch 03

Sketch 04

Sketch 05

Sketch 06

Sketch 07

Sketch 08

Sketch 09

Sketch 10


Sketch 11


Sketch 12

Sketch 13

Sketch 14


Sketch 15

Sketch 16

Sketch 17

Sketch 18

Sketch 19

Sketch 20

Sketch 21

Sketch 22

Sketch 23

Sketch 24

Sketch 25

Well I quite enjoyed that, all of them bring back pleasant memories of the last 18 months and some of them will grow up into paintings I think. Look forward to seeing you on Thursday after school.

My love as always

Mickos xx






Dear Cleo 18 09 17

Dear Cleo

I trust you are still enjoying your summer holiday. It was great to watch Coco with you at the weekend, It was a really good film, and yes I will buy the popcorn next time. I am coming to the end of this part of the course and this is probably the last entry.

Parallel Project Assignment piece

I have done around twenty projects on this course of study so far and I know that a project is not complete without an assignment piece. So I thought long and hard about a suitable assignment piece to complete the Parallel Project.

I had treated the assessment process as an exhibition and had provided a hard copy catalogue to accompany it, but I was concerned that the catalogue is read either before or after an exhibition, and only the pieces in the exhibition make a true impact. If I could make a work that encompassed the whole parallel project, that would be quite something.

I thought long and hard about it and remembered my investigations into Cornelia Parker who used everyday objects in her work similarly to the way Duchamp did but with a subtle twist.

One of the reasons that Cornelia Parker came to mind is that she carried out a collaborative work with her seven year old daughter entitled “World on the edge of tricky small print”. The whole of the Parallel project is based on collaboration and the art of children, which has featured in both the Parallel Project and the Critical review and where is most children’s art displayed? On the fridge Door. There probably isn’t a fridge door in the world that doesn’t record the travels or artistic endeavours of the offspring of its owners.

A fridge door proved problematical due to the practical need for it to be posted so I constructed a facsimile Fridge door that could easier fit in the post.

Collage operates by sticking things to a ground, a fridge door operates as an art object by sticking things to it with magnets. There isn’t a name for this but I think aimantage is suitably French sounding to express the technique. Google has just pointed out that magnage isn’t even a word, I corrected her but I had better start with a definition.

Oxford English Dictionary

Aimantage: noun proper; a term describing a work of art created using an artistic technique invented by Mickos in the early twenty first century. It is essentially the use of magnets to produce an image on a flat metallic surface using elements of collage. The intention was that whilst the component pieces of the work remain constant they may be rearranged at will to suit the sensibilities of the viewer.


Almost every home in the world has an aimantage, it is a work of art constructed on a metallic surface such as a fridge door with the use of magnets. It is tactile and moveable by the viewer to suit his or her aesthetic sensibilities.

The first Aimantage was created by Mickos in 2018 and was entitled “Collaborations with my inner Child”

Figure 1 Collaborations with my Inner Child, Aimantage 60 x 90 cm on sheet steel


The beauty of the work is that it is easily rearranged to suit the sensibilities of the viewer with an infinite number of combinations almost like a Rubik cube.

It is a very tactile piece somewhere between sculpture and painting that allows the full engagement of the viewer in completing the work of art, rearranging it as seems necessary within the constraints given by the artist.

I have made some assembly instructions (Using drawing as instruction, probably the only form of drawing still missing from the coursework) so that the piece can be reassembled in accordance with my original intentions but I would be interested to receive photographs of any alternative arrangements proposed by viewer’s interventions.

Have a good time at Granny C’s and we will catch up when you get back.

My love as always,

Mickos xx

Critical review

Critical review

The drawings of Raphael and Picasso in relation to the drawings of children: An investigation

Roland Penrose famously quoted Pablo Picasso saying to Herbert Read when they met at an exhibition of children’s drawings “At their age I could draw like Raphael but I have spent all these years learning to draw like them.” (Petherbridge 415). 

This brief quotation links Raphael, Picasso and children’s drawings in a rather surprising way and bears consideration as to why Picasso believed he could draw like Raphael and why he felt the need to draw like a child and what it was about children’s drawings that so attracted Picasso.

The quotation does not reveal the ages of the children whose drawings were being viewed, but Picasso’s earliest surviving drawing Bullfight with Pigeons, done when he was nine, does have a childlike feel to it.

Figure 1 Bullfight with pigeons by Picasso

Probably the reason that the pigeons are so good is that Picasso’s father José Ruiz y Blasco was a painter who specialised in bird paintings and tutored his son in painting from an early age, ignoring the advice from Ruskin “I do not think it advisable to engage a child in any but the most voluntary practice of art,” (Ruskin 1837)

Figure 2 Plaster male Torso 1893 Picasso showing the Bargue heavy shadows where Picasso has chased the light rather than the form influenced by his tutor Isidoro Modesto Brocos.

Figure 3 Study for a Torso 1892 Picasso.

Here Picasso has retained the classical lightness of the shadows allowing the form to glide around and through them.

By the time Picasso was twelve he was drawing from the cast and the drawings at figure 3 was more akin to the works of Raphael. Picasso claimed to have a classical education it was lucky he received his education in Spain. In France a true classical art education was no longer possible, it had petered out in the nineteenth century, Degas being amongst the last of the classically trained artists. This was mainly due to the fading of the French Academy system and the rise of the Salon de Refuses. With the advent of photography, Impressionism and Bargue’s drawing course, the light rather than the form became more important in art and art education (Leigh 2012). In Spain, however, the classical training of artists persisted and the Bargue influenced drawings produced by Picasso at this time probably emanate from the sketchbook that Picasso was given by Isidoro Modesto Brocos  one of his professors at the Corunna School of Fine Arts who had spent some time in Paris. (Richardson 45)

In the drawing at figure 4 by a youthful Picasso it can be seen that Picasso is searching for the form in the manner of Raphael, ignoring any Bargue influenced light searching that the young Picasso may have been exposed to.

Figure 4 Profile of Human Rights 1892 Picasso

How favourably this compares with the drawing by a youthful Raphael at figure 5 with both artists chasing the form rather than the light.

Figure 5 Self portrait 1499 Raphael

Figure 6 The head and hands of two apostles 1519 Raphael

In what is probably Raphael’s finest drawing at Figure 6, The Heads and Hands of Two Apostles, Maev Kennedy in her review of the 2017 Raphael exhibition at the Ashmolean said “considered by many, including the curators, to be more beautiful than the finished painting in the Vatican, which had to be completed by the artist’s studio after his untimely death” (Kennedy M). Note how light the shadows are compared to the detail of the form of the figures within the shadows.

That Picasso believed himself to be a better artist than Raphael was borne out by his comments to Gertrude Stein following the publication of his portrait of Gertrude Stein beside La Donna Gravida by Raphael in The Burlington Magazine edition 31 by Roger Fry in 1917.

Picasso confided to his friend Gertrude Stein “They say I can draw better than Raphael and probably they are right” (Stein 1938). In his review of the recent Raphael Exhibition, Johnathon James said “Picasso profoundly admired Raphael and the way he painted the pity of war in Guernica owes a lot to his study of  Raphael”

Figure 7 Comparison between Raphael and Picasso by Roger Fry in the Burlington Magazine issue 31 1017

This comparison was made some ten years after Picasso had completed the portrait of Stein. In this work there are no fashionable Bargue and photography influenced dark shadows the form is king, and it is possibly the nearest Picasso came to emulating Raphael.

Picasso’s quote regarding Raphael is akin to comparing apples with Mount San Vittore, or the Beatles with Jesus, whilst each is outstanding in its class, different classes do not bear comparison, greatness may be stood side by side but it is difficult also to compare oneself with the giant upon whose shoulders you are standing. Whilst “Pablo Picasso was one of the world’s greatest draughtsmen,” (Galassi 2011) “Raphael is one of the most exceptional and fascinating draughtsmen of all time” (Whistler et al 2017)

Now, like Picasso, let us concern ourselves with the drawings of children, what was the attraction of drawing like a child to Picasso? By observing how children draw, maybe it is possible to understand something of what Picasso sought.

Much of the research into children’s drawings was carried out in the latter half on the twentieth century and is educationally or psychologically based ignoring the creative aspect. Even though one of the foremost authorities, John Matthews is a practicing artist, who studied child art by observing his children and grandchildren, his research is essentially science based.
The original theory was that the early scribbles of a child are a sensory motor practice only, often “dismissed by adults to be a meaningless result of musculature activity” (Kellogg 1969) the pen moves in an automatic way as the child moves its fist. However the slightly more modern and enlightened theory is that the child is “using visual media for four interrelated purposes; for an investigation of visual and dynamic structure in itself; for the representation of shape; for the representation of movement and for the representation of emotion” (Matthews 1999)

These, however, make the assumption that a child, when first introduced to pen and paper is a tabula rasa, whereas its movements and action have been organised by months of play and interaction with its immediate environment without mentioning the inbuilt DNA inherited from time immemorial or alien about what constitutes art. (Mathews 1999)

The child has three senses of arm movement,(Mathews 1999) the vertical arc which will produce stabbing dotty marks, the horizontal arc which will produce linear marks, and the push pull action which will produce rudimentary planes.

It has been suggested that a child’s drawing develops from this early stage to one day in the future when figurative stick people or tadpole people fortuitously appear (Piaget 1951) or that the child repeats successful scribbles and discerns those that form realistic images (Kellogg 1969)
In any case, the study of art directs one along the line that “drawing is not dependent on the linear derivatives of objects” (Rawson 1982), and of course “drawing is not concerned with the representation of objects at all, but is to do with an interplay of forces” (Arnheim 1986) or “drawing is not concerned with shape as such, but with actions and their trace making effects” (Smith 1993). It can be seen, that there is much debate and divergence regarding the psychological and educational aspects of children’s art. There are always conflicting opinions about art and art-making whatever subject area is discussed. To resolve some of my own concerns in this area and as part of the basis of my parallel project I decided to collaborate with my grandson’s developing artistic abilities and observe his progress with the pencil. He is the Artist and I am his curator.

Since Auburn was 12 months old I have observed his progress with pen and paper, his progress was followed avidly from his first marks with the pencil in a fist like grasp when circles seemed to dominate. He is now two and thanks to his Tiger Mum, Auburn can distinguish a line, a circle, a square and a triangle. This does not accord with Ruskin’s views but who am I, his grandfather, to intervene.

Perhaps the greatest pity is that these early childish drawings are never saved or stuck to the fridge, so that a thread of the development of child’s drawings can be established. Auburn will hopefully be in the vanguard of such a tradition in the hope that that should he attract problems in his later life, an analysis of his early year’s drawings would be helpful in this regard.
It must also be remembered that leaving a trace on paper is but one form of drawing and that drawing also consists of dance and three dimensional movements in space and that in developing his drawing skills, Auburn has created a powerful communication tool that far exceeds his verbal skills.

Figure 1 (CA 01) Granddad Mickos, (leaving room for the fridge magnet,) Ink on A6 Cartridge paper.

Auburn’s drawing above, produced at the behest of his Tiger Mum, and is a portrait of Granddad Mickos, one Saturday morning, in Costa Coffee. One of the things that Auburn is getting used to is the shape of the target. Notice how his mark making techniques no longer meander off the edge of the page, he did, however, intently make a mark on the front cover of his reading book Noi and the Whale, that elicited howls of derision from the Tiger Mum. Also, as can be seen in the bottom right of the image tadpoles are fortuitously beginning to appear, an obvious display of Auburns discernment. Note also the variation in the pressure of the mark making tool resulting in a wide range of marks, a further example of Auburn’s discernment. The dominance of the push pull movements in the sketch maybe significant of Auburn’s particular awareness of his own developing omnipotent sense of self, or could be an early onset of the terrible two’s.

Not once during the production of the drawing did Auburn look at his model to discern proportion or likeness, this is also part of the practice of both Raphael and Picasso, the drawing came straight out of his head and or his arm. The arm movements described by the experts are all present in this rapid sketch, and from his triumphant gleeful “Granddad Mickos!” as he handed over the sketch, this can only be presumed to be his title of this extremely expressive work. It is the trace he has left of his movements at the table, movements learned over two long years since emerging from the womb, is he dancing at the easel already as Cezanne did? Can a two year old really do this? If you see any resemblance, you could be either related, biased, five and three quarters, Picasso or maybe even Raphael.

A child draws with energy, confidence and conviction and instils a sense of verve and life into the page. Children, Raphael and Picasso do it differently, the whole of life is live, it always works, if it doesn’t work in the eyes of others, change the narrative or insist on the narrative.

There is little doubt that Picasso could, as a result of his artistic training, draw as well as Raphael, but Picasso lived four hundred years after Raphael and it had been almost a hundred years since figurative work had begun to be less important than expressive work.

That Picasso claims to have sought inspiration for his expression in the work of children is of no surprise. In the child there is true expressionism, two gleefully expressed words from a limited vocabulary proclaim Auburn’s expressionism. It is only by watching children draw that we can learn to be truly unique. Picasso knew this, watch them slowly and learn, play is the greatest expression of freedom and genius and of course Picasso was also renowned for his playfulness.



Arnheim, R. (1986) New essays on the Psychologies of Art. Los Angeles: University of California Press

Galassi, S.G. (2011) Picasso’s drawings, 1890-1921:Reiventing Tradition. New Haven and London: Yale University Press

Kellogg, R. (1969) Analysing Children’s Art. Mountain View California: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Matthews, J. (1984) Children Drawing: are young children really scribbling, Early Child development and care. Padstow England: T.J International.

Matthews, J. (1999) The Art of Childhood and adolescence. Padstow England: T.J International.

Petherbridge, D. (2010) The Primacy of Drawing. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Pouncey, P. and Gere, J.A. (1962) Italian Drawings in the British Museum: Raphael and his Circle’. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rawson, P.S. (1982) A talk on drawing given to the art teachers certificate course Faculty of Education Goldsmiths College University of London. London: London University Press.

Richardson, J. (2009) A Life of Picasso Volume 1 1881-1906. London: Random House Group Ltd.

Ruskin, J. (1837) The Elements of Drawing. London. Smith Elder and Co.
Smith, N.R. (1983) Experience and Art: Teaching Children to Paint .New York: New University Press.

Stein, G. (1938) Picasso. London: B.T Batsford Ltd.

Whistler, C. Thomas, B. Gnann, A. and Aceto, A. (2017) Raphael the Drawings Oxford: Ashmolean Museum.

Internet research
Andreae, C. (1990) The Mature Picasso Found Rejuvenation in Childlike Art. At: (Accessed on 19.10.17)

Ashmolean. (s.d.) Study of the heads and hands of two apostles and their hands. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.) editors (2014) Pablo Picasso Biography. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

British Museum, The. (s.d.) Collection online. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Butterfield, A. (2017) Raphael up close. At: (Accessed on 13.10.17.)

Graphics. (s.d.) Picasso. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Honan, D. (s.d.) See like a child, paint like Picasso. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

James,J.(2017) Raphael: The Drawings review – a magnificent, mind-opening exhibition.At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Kennedy, M. (2017)‘Extraordinary’ Raphael show to be big draw at Ashmolean in Oxford. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Kim, E. (s.d.) 10 lessons Pablo Picasso can teach you. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Leslie Rankow Fine Arts. (2016) The Art of Childhood: Predicting Artistic Brilliance. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Leigh, C. (2012) Could Picasso draw better than Raphael. At:  (Accessed 21.10.17)

Neuendorf, H. (2017) Forget His Paintings, Raphael’s Drawings Reveal His True Genius. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)
Pablo (s.d.) Pablo Picasso; Paintings, quote and biography. At: on 24.10.17.)

Smith, R. (2014) The Paintbrush in the digital era. At: (Accessed on 19.10.17)

Sparknotes. (s.d.) Picasso’s Childhood. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)

Tucker. (2011) Picasso on painting like a child. At: (Accessed on 23.10.17.)



Dear Cleo 18 08 09

Dearest Cleo

It was good to see you in the week, I am glad that you enjoyed your holiday in France and I am looking forward to drinking the bottle of Bordeaux at the weekend. Before then though I get to babysit, so choose the film well, I will bring the popcorn.

I have continued to draw from the casts, I think I have now drawn all the casts in the house. I collected them mostly from the gift shops in the galleries and museums, I am getting quite proficient at drawing them, perhaps someday soon the master will allow me to draw from the model.

Drawing from the cast was part of an artist’s training from the Renaissance to the beginning of the Twentieth Century, there are cast drawings by Vincent in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and the Picasso museum in Paris. Casts formed the basis of the Bargue drawing course and all artists with any form of academic training drew from the cast.

Casts seem to be making a bit of a comeback, the newly extended Royal Academy has put some of their casts on display, they are old and careworn, but still magnificent. The academies of realist art produce magnificent cast drawings some of which are used in Nitram charcoal’s advertisements on the internet.

One of the problems with drawing the casts in the house is that rather than being casts from the original, because of size, they are casts from models and you are reliant in the skill of the original modeller and his or her interpretation of the original sculpture.

The drawings that follow are of the casts I have drawn in the house over the last couple of months, having a three dimensional model makes capturing the form relatively easy and of course the models remain perfectly stationary.

Figure 1 The Three Graces, charcoal and chalk, A2 sugar paper

Figure 2 Venus graphite 15 x 40cm cartridge paper

Figure 3 Angel white pastel pencil on black A3 cartridge

Figure 4 Greek Statue charcoal and pastel pencil on A2 grey sugar paper

Figure 5 Athena Charcoal and white pastel pencil on 15 x 40cm sugar paper

Figure 6 Stop Dad, it’s just a sculpture of a Wooden Horse, Charcoal on A2 Watercolour paper NOT

Maybe Athena with a cell phone is just a figment of my imagination or maybe I am beginning to make a small creative leap, however, perhaps the more plausible explanation is that Deus ex machina were time travellers complete with cell phones and teleporters.

I will see you on Friday night and if you don’t choose a good film it is my turn next time and you have to buy the popcorn.

My love as always,

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 07 28

Dear Cleo

I hope the weather in France is better for you than it is here in London, for the past two weeks I never thought I would say that ever again after all the beautiful weather we have been having, but true to English form we have descended into rain and thunderstorms again. Do you think if Brexit goes ahead we won’t get European weather again and we will be left to wallow in our rains and winters?

Parallel Project Collaboration

Girls at the bar has come along a bit, it has haunted me throughout the course and Bryan suggested I added it to my Parallel Project.

This version started with a quick sketch of girls at the bar done in my A6 sketchbook

Figure 1 Girls at the bar ink in A6 sketchbook

I developed the sketch using a lay figure into this.

Figure 2 Girls at the bar charcoal in A2 sugar paper

I then zoomed in a little to get a closer crop.

Figure 3 Girls at the bar charcoal in A2 sugar paper

I switched then to tracing paper to do a more careful drawing.

Figure 4 Girls at the bar charcoal in A2 tracing paper

I then turned the tracing paper the other way around, conscious of the right hand edge I had learned from Elizabeth Blackadder

Figure 5 Girls at the bar charcoal and ink on A2 tracing paper

I then further cropped the composition so that the viewer was closer to the action and allowed the composition to fill the frame. I worked quickly with a Sharpie standing well back from the easel to bring a sense of looseness and vigour back into the drawing now that the proportions had been resolved.

Figure 6 Girls at the bar ink on A2 tracing paper

The final Drawing has a good sense of volume within the shallow picture space.I am pleased with the final result because it brings the image, although developed, back to the sketchbook albeit reversed. It has retained the immediacy of the sketch despite being a developed piece.

I hope you are having fun in France.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 07 10

Dearest Cleo

What is it with this weather it thinks it’s 1976, when in reality we all think and hope that it is 1966. This is the story behind the Fairytale of New York, behind every good fairytale, somewhere there is hard work and effort. Now six months later after the euphoria has gone I remember the hard work that was invested into the fairytale.

Parallel Project Collaboration with the MoMA

The Fairytale of New York

The painting that went to New York was one of a series of eight, here are the paintings and drawings that didn’t even make my cut.

Figure 1 After Barnet Newman Acrylic on A3 canvas

Figure 2 After Yayoi Kusama Acrylic on A3 canvas

Figure 3 After Ad Reinhardt oil on 350 x 350 canvas

Figure 4 After Wilhelm De Kooning pastel on A3 tracing paper

Figure 5 After Agnes Martin pencil and acrylic on 360 x 350 canvas

Figure 6 After Mark Rothko acrylic on A3 canvas

Figure 7 After Wilhelm de Kooning acrylic on A3 canvas

Not only that, here is a link the research syllabus for the course.

That was the hard work before I even thought of entering my painting for exhibition, but having been successful with my entry, I realised that there was no point resting on my laurels. In the last six months I have built, with help from Frank, Mario and Loz, a website and an Instagram account, more work and continuing.

Is the hard work worth it? Yes and yes again, more people have seen my work than ever saw Vincent’s while he was still alive, and although art, like football, is not about money, (football keeps knocking on the door this week not for money but because it thinks it lives here) it is beginning to pay for a few books and has given me a free ride on my next course.

Maybe with much much more work I will get to be good, and you my dear, after I am gone, will be a rich young lady, me I don’t care, I am just happy to know that people that I don’t know like my paintings and drawings.

I have a mountain to climb for no other reason than it is there.

My love as always

Mickos xx


Dear Cleo 18 07 09

Dear Cleo

Today is, I think, the start of your last week at school so when I see you next weekend it will be the first day of your holidays, how busy next weekend is, will  depend on the result in Russia on Wednesday so we will postpone our weekend away until later in your holiday. Last night I dreamed of the alien queen she wasn’t that scary and the explanation is below.

Parallel Project Collaboration

03 Der der der der der

The things that are in our heads need to see the light of day so that we can share our unique visions with others. Some things are buried deep within our heads and surface only within our dreams and nightmares, the Alien Queen is one of mine. She can be tempted to the surface with strong cheese before bed but brings with her a restless night.

Dreams and nightmares have played a big part in the history of art, one only has to look at the work of Goya, Redon and the Surrealists to see this. In a different way, however, all the great religious paintings of the past are products of artists imaginations brought to life. Their imaginations were helped by careful observations of the natural world as a tool to bring their visions to believable creations in much the same way that Hollywood has created the aliens from Star Wars.

While I did have a vision of the Alien Queen in my head she didn’t really look like how she has turned out. I began by forming the grid using some black quilling paper that I found in the art shop, then drew into the grid using Sharpie and pastels increasing and adapting the grid as necessary as I went.  

Figure 1 A dream of the Alien Queen collage, pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper.

Don’t be afraid of her and just in case, don’t eat strong Cheese before bed.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 07 08

Dearest Cleo

It was good to catch up this morning, even if things were a little bit rushed I hope you had a good time at your school fete and that it wasn’t too hot. England played probably the best they have played in the tournament so far, so something might be coming home, but I remain to be convinced that it is football.

Parallel Project Collaboration

1.1 Drawing with Auburn

Being Auburn’s curator is all very well but in order to collaborate I need to create, Auburns drawings are totally linear, this is an element that must be accentuated in any work I do that is inspired by the drawings of Auburn. I started by pinning a selection of Auburns drawings to the wall and out of these I chose this one:

Figure 1 Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

I studied the drawing some more, photographed it and cropped it in Photoshop leaving the part I felt most attracted to, I printed two copies of this one that I pinned to the wall and one that I folded into four and kept in the back pocket of my jeans.

Figure 2 Digital photograph crop

I didn’t do anything then for two or three days except look at the drawing when I had the chance. I followed the marks Auburn had made and as best as I could the directions in which he had made them. Memorising and internalising the process and way in which Auburn draws. With the sharpie in my clenched fist I practiced the energy that Auburn instils in his mark making and then I drew this:

Figure 3 Apple still life, Sharpie and charcoal on A2 sugar paper

For me the underlying drawing gives it a lot of strength and energy and it retains a sense of the cheeky monkey that Auburn is. I had another go working from this drawing by Auburn.

Figure 4 Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

My first attempt produced this;

Figure 5 Sharpie on A2 sugar paper

Although I have superimposed an invented still life on top of Auburns marks, the drawing still retains a sense of urgency from his marks and accentuating the linear qualities of Auburns mark making adds strength to the drawing. I placed a sheet of tracing paper over the drawing traced through the linear marks and produced this;

Figure 6 Still life with dancer Sharpie and pastels on A2 sugar paper

The linearality and the strength of composition derived from Auburn’s original drawing remains strong in the final piece. The tracing paper and pastels are a nod to Degas’ process, the dancer reminds me a little of Matisse, and I think, like Picasso, I am learning to draw like a child.

The exercises in the course have helped, bringing a piece of work from music or pixilation or improving on the random works of Butada, my drawing machine. Overall though I think that one of the best things the course has done is to give me the confidence to draw from my imagination and memory, which is of course another childlike ability.

It is good that you have now seen The Greatest Showman it is an old style Hollywood film but not nearly as good as the real old style Hollywood films. The next time I babysit we will watch The Greatest Show on Earth with popcorn, that really is a film.

My love as always


Dear Cleo


Dearest Cleo

It was good to catch up on Saturday morning the ice cream was excellent and we are slowly teaching Auburn to eat ice cream and walk at the same time, it is a very important Life lesson to learn but it is such fun watching his attempts to master the technique.

After I dropped you and Auburn off I went to the Ben Uri Museum to look at their current Bomberg exhibition I carried out some research on Frank Auerbach for the fifth part of the course and Bomberg was one of Auerbach’s Tutors so I was interested to examine the connection. I was not disappointed Bomberg’s late works were similar in style to Auerbach’s and both echo Bomberg’s mantra “to respect the spirit of the mass” One of Bomberg’s tutors was Sickert and it is easy to see this connection looking at Bomberg’s work.

The poster work for the exhibition features a magnificent self-portrait that is probably a meter and a half square and is but my favorite was a portrait of Bomberg’s wife Lillian entitled The Red Hat. The layering of the oil paint in this is truly magnificent.

If you like the paintings in the links I could take you to see them, it isnt far from your house.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 06 24

Dearest Cleo

Last weekend I went to see The Life in Motion exhibition at Tate Liverpool, it was a joint exhibition of the work of Egon Schiele and the photographer Francesca Woodman.

I had seen Schiele’s work previously in the Courtauld exhibition The Radical Nude in 2014 and did not need much persuading to go and see his work again. I was curious however as to why he was paired with an American Photographer of the 1970’s.

The link, from reading the catalogue, appears to be Woodman’s ability to portray the emotional state of the subjects and Schiele’s ability to depict the emotional tension in contorted human bodies.

I am used to going to galleries to concentrate on the images on display and not the story and emotions behind the images, and concentrating on this aspect of the exhibition was unusual but recalled part 3 of the Drawing 2 course where I was asked to consider how my emotional state affected my process of working. I have thought about this since, and I think I have decided that the work takes precedence over my emotions, if the work is not good in the first place there will be no one interested in considering the emotions of the artist or his ability to display the emotions of his subject or his emotional reaction to the subject. It is an occupation of the chattering classes to discuss how insane Van Gogh was as he produced each of his great works.

All that having been said the works on display are superb my favourite Scheile was Self portrait in a crouching position the hatching on the legs is reminiscent of a similar technique employed by Cezanne, the intention of which seems to suggest movement.

I was new to Woodman but fell in love with Untitled Rome Italy 1977-8  and I liked her use of delayed exposures to give a sense of movement and synthesising the body with the architecture .

Once I had seen the exhibition, there were two further exhibitions that I looked at, the first was Roy Lichtenstein in Focus. They have just invented a way of cleaning Lichtenstein’s pictures and there was a video presentation of the technique and one of the gallery staff was giving a talk on Lichtenstein’s process.

In the ground floor exhibition space Ken’s show Exploring the Unseen was a celebration of one of the gallery handler’s Ken having worked at the gallery for 30 years. It was an exhibition that was landscape based and included major works from the Tate collection.

By far the highlight of the gallery is its permanent collection. This is laid out on a constellation basis and covers approximately half of the gallery space. The constellation basis is probably best explained on the Tate Liverpool website here. The interactive website, like the real life gallery, traces the links between modern and contemporary art and artists. The website is a great tool and for a change, women artists are well represented, but like all of the internet it is built for surfing, you have to be there in the gallery to really appreciate the artwork on show.

Following our tour of the galleries, we convened in the coffee bar to discuss our impressions of the Life in motion exhibition and the gallery as a whole and to talk of other things including course related issues.

Thanks to Bryan, Catherine, Bernadette, Kym, Roselyne and Karin for a great and educational day out.

On the train home I read Bomberg in preparation for an exhibition I am going to see next weekend at the Ben Uri Gallery in London. I hope to catch up with you before then.

My love as always

Mickos xx