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 18 06 23

Dearest Cleo

I am glad that you liked the Panda and the DVD but more importantly congratulations on being seven and a half, you are getting to be a big girl now and clever as well.

Parallel Project Collaboration

1.2 Drawing with Auburn

Today while you were at maths class I gave Auburn my A5 sketchbook and sharpie, he gleefully produced the following while stopping on the second drawing to get mummy to draw an owl, a train, a bird and an umbrella. Drawing is a game to Auburn, and he wants everyone to play, but is it art? Picasso said “Every child is an artist, the problem is to remain an artist once they grow up”.

Eric Ericson a child development psychologist said much the same thing but in more words “You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play.”

Figure 1 Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

Figure 2 Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

Figure 3 verso Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

Figure 4 Sharpie on A5 Cartridge by Auburn

If it is art, I should be able to write about it as art, so considering figure 4;

The work is full of energy and the strong diagonals lead the eye through the work and give it a sense of depth, whilst the work as a whole retains and respects the flatness of the picture plane. The work extends beyond the picture plane at both the left and right hand edges, so that the viewer is aware that the work is a part of something much larger, this cropping technique was much practised by the Impressionists.

The varied marks are extremely fluid and the planes formed by the linear marks, some of which are not completely enclosed allowing the planes to breathe, are irregular and non repetitive adding to the movement within the work.

The work ignores the classical compositional guidelines and instead introduces a sense of tension in the conflict between the two closed and one open form in the upper right that is somewhat unnerving.

If you read that on the gallery wall you would think that you were looking at the work of the great artist, Auburn Roughton Whyte, maybe Picasso was right and every child is an artist.

Once again Happy Half Day

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 12 31

Dear Cleo

While you were doing maths this morning, I spent time watching Auburn draw on his new drawing machine, I don’t know what it is called, but you can draw on it and then erase the drawing by sliding a button across.

Parallel Project Collaboration

1.2 Drawing with Auburn

Figure 1 (17 11 10 01) Drawing 001 by Auburn progress stylus on drawing machine

Auburn’s attention span is quite short, there are so many things to capture his attention and his developing mind, so it was not so difficult to catch progress shots of his work.

Figure 2 (17 11 10 02) Drawing 001 by Auburn completion stylus on drawing machine

Figure 3 (17 11 10 03) Drawing 002 by Auburn progress stylus on drawing machine

Figure 4 (17 11 10 04) Drawing 002 by Auburn completion stylus on drawing machine

Figure 5 (17 11 10 05) Drawing 003 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 6 (17 11 10 06) Drawing 004 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 7 (17 11 10 07) Drawing 005 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 8 (17 11 10 08) Drawing by Mickos stylus on drawing machine

One thing that struck me was the ephemeral nature of this type of art, you can’t stick a drawing machine to the fridge door, but there was something else as well, I am stopping analysing Auburns art as a psychological measure of his progress but beginning to look at it as Art with a capital A.

Twombly and Picasso for instance created art that resembled childlike drawings, but this was something they had to learn how to do whereas Auburn is a natural. People find the drawings of children delightful, could there be something in them that appeals to our DNA, primitive and childish art was incorporated into 20th century fine art, there could be more to this than meets the eye. It will definitely take more research I will report back when I have considered it some more, so many questions and so few answers

Congratulations on the hundred percent at maths class and I will catch up with you in the week.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 11 27

Dear Cleo

I hope you are well, me, well there is always something new to do at the OCA, today’s new thing is the parallel project, I m not really sure how to deal with this but I think if I Keep going with the head down it may turn into something good.


Parallel Project Collaboration

1.1 Drawing with Auburn

The start point for my Parallel Project is to chart the growth of drawing in human beings from an early age, I am going to collaborate with Auburn and chart his drawing ability. At eighteen month he has only just started to hold a pencil so I think that by charting his progress, I may discover some of the secrets of drawing.

For three months I have collected Auburns drawings and watched Auburn draw. This is the first drawing that he produced during that period.

Figure 1 (17 11 09 01) Drawing 001 by Auburn 25 March 2017 ink on A5 Cartridge

This, the first drawing I collected is particularly impressive, Auburn was new to drawing and seemed keen to impress his adult friend who had trusted him with the pen and a sketchbook. What did he know, not an awful lot. I didn’t interfere being careful not to disturb the tabula rasa that was Auburn except to invert the drawing. What can Auburn see in it? I will never know, he had not yet the vocabulary to explain.

What did I, his collaborator see in it, Joseph and Mary on their way to Nazareth with an embryonic infant Jesus X rayed in the Virgins womb, complete with a shadow of the cross. That is probably the problem with no longer being a child, the tendency to over think things. I also thought it reminded me.

It also reminded me of Head of Germaine Reynal by Juan Gris and it was from Gris that I collaborated with Auburns drawing to produce this.

Figure 2 (17 11 09 02) Star Wars character inspired by Auburn and Gris, ink on A5 Cartridge

As an aside, Juan Gris was the first student of cubism, although Gris was an early cubist, it fell to him to provide rules and explanations that assimilated Picasso and Braque’s intuitive cubism into the continuum of the Western Art Cannon.

Hope you like the drawings of Auburn, Gris and me and I will catch up with you at weekend.

All my love as always

Mickos xx