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