Dear Cleo 17 10 22

Dearest Cleo

Great to see you yesterday. I really enjoyed the film that you chose for us to watch and it was great to draw together, I really learned a lot.

It is Sunday. and life drawing class day, these are what I did this morning.

Figure 1 (17 10 22 01) Ardrea one, ink and pastel on A2 sugar paper

Figure 2 (17 10 22 02) Ardrea 02 ink and pastel on A2 sugar paper

Figure 3 (17 10 22 03) Ardrea 03 ink and pastel on A2 sugar paper

Figure 4 (17 10 22 04) Ardrea 04 pastel on A2 sugar paper

I hope you like the drawings

Love as always

Mockos xx

Dear Cleo 17 03 27

Dear Cleo

It is two days since we met, I hope you have got over the cold you had and are ready to go back to school tomorrow.

I have been looking some more at the Clough Archive at the Tate website. Many of the pieces are reworked postcards on a postcard of Cloughs own work Small Stacks (1996). While I was in Florence the hotel I stayed in was quite arty, everything in Florence is quite arty, but the artwork in my room consisted of a Picasso advertisement for an exhibition, a Morandi print and a Lorella Ciampelli print. The reproductions of these at A1 and A3 left white space around the artwork, in the case of the Picasso exhibition advertisement the white space was used to give details of the exhibition but in the Morandi print and the Ciampelli print the space was left blank. It is the same compositional device that Clough used in her reworked postcards. The artist spends a great deal of time working out the composition of a painting and the printer then fits the square painting on to an oblong ground as he sees fit, totally altering the composition and dynamic of the piece. Both the Morelli and the Ciampelli appear to have a table cloth hanging down over the edge of the table that is catching the light and wiyh the Picasso the words fight with the image.

Figure 1 (17 03 27 01) Pictures in a hotel room 1 Digital photograph

Figure 2 (17 03 27 02) Pictures in a hotel room 2 Digital photograph

Figure 3 (17 03 27 03) Pictures in a hotel room 3 Digital photograph

Clough’s photographs in the archive were very insightful and seemed to group into two distinct periods, the fifties and sixties when she took black and white photographs of big important stuff like factories and industry and the eighties and nineties when she took coloured photographs of pretty patterns.

Florence is a very pretty city and well worthy of the 350 photographs I took while I was there, I won’t bore you with the whole set, but here are the photographs I took of pretty patterns.

Figure 4 (17 03 27 04) Pretty patterns Florence 1 Digital photograph

Figure 5 (17 03 27 05) Pretty patterns Florence 2 Digital photograph

Figure 6 (17 03 27 06) Pretty patterns Florence 3 Digital photograph

Figure 7 (17 03 27 07) Pretty patterns Florence 4 Digital photograph

Figure 8 (17 03 27 08) Pretty patterns Florence 5 Digital photograph

Figure 9 (17 03 27 09) Pretty patterns Florence 6 Digital photograph

Figure 10 (17 03 27 10) Pretty patterns Florence 7 Digital photograph


Figure 11 (17 03 27 11) Pretty patterns Florence 8 Digital photograph

Figure 12 (17 03 27 12) Pretty patterns Florence 9 Digital photograph

Figure 13 (17 03 27 13) Pretty patterns Florence 10 Digital photograph

Figure 14 (17 03 27 14) Pretty patterns Florence 11 Digital photograph

Figure 15 (17 03 27 15) Pretty patterns Florence 12 Digital photograph

Clough was using photographs to inform her art in black and white, long before the advent of Photoshop, she would have had great fun with Photoshop but she is a great example to be totally aware of what is going on around you, particularly the mundane and obvious.

Have a good week at school; it’s the last week of term so you should be able to relax a bit.


Mickos x


Dear Cleo 17 03 26

Dearest Cleo

I was really pleased to hear that you were awarded student of the week and from what your Mummy and Daddy told me you aced it in the play, concentrate on that because actors get paid a lot of money, more than footballers I think. You had a good report at Parents evening so keep it up and keep paying attention one day soon you will be cleverer than your granddad and not just with  technology.

Well, for better or worse I have spent some time with some apples and created a still life that I will submit for Assignment 1. Still life seemed to be the theme for this part of the course so I stuck with it. I set up a still life on the kitchen counter, and did this sketch.

Figure 1 ( Still life graphite on A4 cartridge paper

I looked at it for a day or so and reduced it to this.

Figure 2 ( Still life graphite on A4 cartridge paper

What I was trying to do was to give a lead in to the picture from the left hand edge and leave a margin at the right hand edge a la Blackadder to stop the eye wandering out of the picture, and also to isolate a composition from my original sketch that was more pleasing to the eye.

The next step was to change the scale, double size apples are quite imposing, so I used a piece of A2 sugar paper and enlarged the A4 sketch to suit. For the final piece I used charcoal and Conte pastels, i did not follow my sketch slavishly because the final drawing seemed to be calling out for space and depth and I invented the window and the curtain to give the composition depth and an illusion of greater three dimensionality.

Figure 3 ( Still life with apples Charcoal and Conte crayon on A2 gray sugar paper

That, I think, has managed to capture three out of four points from the brief and for the fourth I will have to rely on Cezanne who was known to extol his human sitters,”Why can’t you behave more like an apple”.

The finished piece could be a study for a painting or it could be a finished drawing in its own right, with the preliminary sketches forming the studies, I think it will have to be the latter as I do not have the time to do the painting.

Keep up the good work at school darling, it will save your nails when you grow up.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 03 23

Dearest Cleo

Happy quarter day my dear, you are getting to be a big girl now, congratulations and I hope you enjoy the book.

Me, Following on from the previous research on Prunella Clough I have been checking out etching. I watched a video following Norman Ackroyd for a day. He is a master etcher and produces beautiful work, but it takes so long to achieve a result. Maybe this is one of the reasons that the Clough achieve is so small, because she spent eons of time etching.

I have seen an etching proof that Rembrandt adjusted with a brush and oil paint. In the time of Rembrandt up until Turner and maybe beyond the etcher was a separate craftsman, highly skilled but separate from the artist in a similar way that with modern art the creators are skilled craftsmen and the artists are called Warhol, Hirst, Cornella Parker and Koons. This is not to denigrate these artists, they are the people with the idea, as were Turner and Rembrandt, it is just that the etchings from Turner and Rembrandt had no exclusivity, were a mass production thing with no exclusivity.

I would buy Ackroyd’s sketches but I could not aspire to buy an Ackroyd Print, simply because of the enormous amount of time Ackroyd spends in turning the sketch into a print. In the olden days, the etching was a big print run, mass media thing, now it is a limited edition exclusive print.

I will not attend an etching workshop but hopefully one day I will collaborate with my etcher.

All  the best

Mickos x

Dear Cleo 17 03 22

Dear Cleo

I hope you are well, I am back from Florence and I had a wonderful time, I saw lots of things that I have only ever seen in picture books and I learned so much. I have given you links below to the things I was able to see so that you can check them out for yourself.

I learned about the flood of the Arno in 1966, and witnessed firsthand the results of the restoration works that has been carried out in the last fifty years. I saw the wall size preliminary drawings (sinopie) for the frescos of the Cemetery in the Field of Miracles that were destroyed by allied bombing in 1944. I learned about Sister Plautilla Nelli the first female artist of the Renaissance, two generations before even Artimesa Gentileschi, by the time you attend university, art history will have been rewritten to include all the women who had wings back then. I learned how to convert a small clay sculpture through a plaster cast into a monumental sculpture in bronze or marble, I don’t think I have the lifetime left to do this but you never know. I learned the names of countless Italian artists of the nineteenth century, who, while overshadowed by French art of the period produced some fine pictures. I wrote their names down in the back of my Florence sketchbook and will report back when I have researched further.

Last, but not least, I completed my education in how to build a Renaissance cathedral, I could build one now if I had the time, maybe I will, I am still young enough to climb to  the top of the one that Brunelleschi built.

To fill the time in the evenings and whilst on the plane, I read “Writing on Drawing” and my initial conclusions are that the line is a human invention and that tone is divine. I need to do a little more research, but I will and let you know.

I will send the thirty sketches from my sketchbook at the weekend, but I will see you before then. and I picked up a few little trinkets for you on my  travels. Don’t forget to check out the links below so you can ask me questions at the weekend.

My Love as always

Mickos xx

Day 1 Florence

Santa Maria Novella

San Lorenzo

Ponte Vecchio

Day 2 Florence

Medici  Chapels


Pallazzo Pitti

Piazzale Michelangelo

Torre de San Nicolo

Day 3 Florence

Opera del Duomo

Basilica of Santa Croche

The Baptistry

Giotto’s bell Tower

Il Duomo Brunelleschi

Day 4 Florence


San Marco


Santu Spiritu

Day 5 Florence and Pisa

San Marco Museum

The Medici Library

The field of miracles

The leaning tower of Pisa

Museum delle Sinopia

Dear Cleo 17 03 08

Dearest Cleo

How are you, well I hope, give my love to your Mummy and Daddy and give your baby brother a kiss from me. I won’t see much of you over the coming weeks because I am going to be busy this weekend and I am going to Florence next week, don’t worry, I will see you before I go to Florence and I haven’t forgotten your quarter day.

What have I been doing? Well i have started researching Prunella Clough for my assignment. I have ordered the customary book from Amazon which probably won’t arrive until after I am back from Florence so the actual essay will be delayed until after that but in the meantime I have been doing my research on the Tate website here. The Tate bequest contains 196 items including letters, dairies Journals and photographs and only 29 works of art, considering Prunella was an active artist for eighty years that is a small haul when one considers that a selection from the Turner bequest fills an entire gallery. Perhaps most of the works of Art are in private hands, I will understand about this a little more when the book arrives.

I have been through most of the online archive and two fascinating fact have appeared, Prunella made no observational sketches, preferring to rely on her memory and photographs she took on the spot almost like a latter day Degas. Secondly the photographs she took and the postcards she collected are evocative of a lifetime of looking at things that are of themselves interesting and would become more so if developed into paintings. I have chosen a couple of the photographs to develop in my sketchbook as a response to Prunella, but more of that later when the sketches are complete.

The written work in the archive I largely ignored, on account of the print being so small, even on a 49 inch screen, so as to hurt my eyes, also the bits that you can read are one or two pages out of a journal or diary so that you are unable to get a feel for the whole thing.

I concentrated on the works of art in the archive. They consisted of 10 oil paintings, 8 lithographs, 6 etchings, 3 screen prints, 1 monotype and 1 woodcut. I am sure we both know what an oil painting is, but a lithograph? Lithography was invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796 and was the preferred process of Toulouse Lautrec. It turns out that a lithograph is a drawing on a prepared flat stone that is fixed using a vast array of chemicals, oils and mediums and then prints are made from the stone with ink. Whilst I would quite like to do the drawing bit, the rest of the operation sounds tedious and best left to professionals. Perhaps as photography has overtaken realist painting photocopying and Giclee printing has overtaken lithography. I did, however, Google a nearby weekend course in lithography for only £150. When I get back from Florence I will try to sort that out, just so that I really know what it is like hands on.

Thank you my dear for having the patience to read my ramblings


Mickos x