Dear Cleo 17 04 01

Dear Cleo

Well now you are on your Easter Hols, I hope the end of term went well and you are excited by what lies ahead in the next fortnight.

Me, I just found another exercise at the end of the course which is a sort of self critique to see if you are smart enough to agree with your tutor’s impressions of your work so here goes.

Demonstration of visual and technical skills

Mickos used a wide range of materials including graphite, ink, Conte crayons, charcoal and acrylic paint, unfortunately he used canvas for the support of one of his acrylic works which technically makes this work a painting it will need to be redone if he intends to submit it for assessment as a drawing. He is confident in his technical ability but needs to get more of the immediacy from his sketchbooks into his final pieces. He displays good observational skills but has a tendency to tighten up in his final pieces to achieve a sense of realism, however, the realism of the crushed cans in the Blackadder response is quite free and loose, and the apples in the assignment piece are not really apples but a symbol for apples and as such work well. His design and compositional skills have come on in leaps and bounds since studying Blackadder and recognising the importance of pattern and the edges of the painting, this was a skill that he developed well in the assignment piece. (31%)

Quality of outcome

The content of Mickos’ blog reflects well the issue he is grappling with at the time he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of art of the past and applies it well to his work, even if at times it causes his work to have a derivative feel, for instance the assignment piece has a distinct feel of not very close follower of Cezanne. His Blog is clearly written and easy to navigate, I am not too sure about the Dear Cleo format, but given time, it may develop, and it worked for another madman didn’t it. Mickos has no concept of the word discernment, so I shall refrain from commenting until he understands the word, let alone the concept, however, he is well able to conceptualise his thoughts and express his ideas. (15%)

Demonstration of creativity

Mickos showed a good sense of imagination experimentation and invention in his responses to projects 1 and 3 of part 1 of the course using the framing angles to good effect to investigate his  own drawings to produce new compositions and imaginative landscapes. I would suggest that he buys more framing angles and incorporates them into his work on a permanent basis rather than as computer generated prints.  I look forward to him experimenting with collage because I sense he may have an aptitude for it. With regard to personal voice, at this time it feels like Mickos is doomed to be a bad Karaoke singer but with effort and application this could change, his raw natural talent could mature into something quite distinctive and tuneful. (19%)


Mickos reflects well on what he is doing and what he has done in terms of art history and theory but lacks politicisation. He needs to rediscover his Trotsky roots and make art that has verve and feeling and impact. I was impressed by the connection he made with Blackadder but it somehow lacked a sense of anger. Mickos needs to rediscover his sense of anger and outrage and channel it into his work. Perhaps his critical reviews and essays should come as post scripts to his letters to Cleo and should have proper Harvard referencing. Otherwise, I can see he has read widely around the subject and his written work is easy to read (16%)


Mickos has scored an astonishing 81%. I think this reflects more my high opinion of him, rather than his actual achievement on this part of the course, however, it is a strong beginning ,and bodes well that with full application, Mickos will complete the course,  if not to his full expectations, with at least a creditable pass.

Well there you go Cleo; I can already hear you saying “this Mickos is full proof that you are the student and not the teacher”. It is good to dream, but not let dreams to be your master (Kipling),  have given my all, I now give part 1 to my tutor in the hope he looks upon  it as kindly as I.

My love as always,

Mickos  x