Dear Bryan

Dear Bryan

Thanks for bearing with the computer problems I was having at the start of our hangout for the third part of the course. When I posted the assignment I was pleased with the amount of work that was in the portfolio and also pleased that there were one or two bits in it that were quite good.

The blind drawings for Project 1 were interesting but were perhaps not carried to a finite conclusion there is a sense of doing and ticking a box rather than a complete investigation.

You, like I, was pleased with the change in my practice initiated by the stick drawings in project 2, drawing at the easel and using more of my body in my mark making, the drawings are now a record of a performance piece where I have danced at the easel. I think the music helped to bring this out but I was especially impressed by the photographs of Cezanne light footed before his easel. It has given the drawings a sense of airiness and space that they somehow lacked before. Pollock is famous for his dancing around his paintings maybe I need to take the drawings off the easel and put them on the floor and dance around them as if they were my handbag, steady lad you don’t have a handbag.

My series thing is Girls at the Bar, there is a painting in there somewhere, but it isn’t there yet, they will take a further bow in part 4 when hopefully they will be finally resolved. For series, you quoted Jim Dines, Roger Hutton and Morandi, from a quick look on the internet, I think Amazon will be delivering a Jim Dines book sometime soon, I have Morandi books already.

Project 3 was where I became Butada’s creator, I made her, I named her, I curated her drawings, and then became jealous of her success, her Giotto curves and her freewheeling attitude to creativity. I tracked her down, turning her drawings into believable aspects of realities that even she could not imagine and lived deep inside of me. You were glad of my interaction and collaboration with her but felt I was ticking boxes rather than pushing the game to its absolute limits.

Project 4 was perhaps my greatest success, the drawing of my tigress was part inspired by a double visit to the once in a lifetime exhibition of Raphael’s drawings, coupled with my new found drawing  practice of drawing at arm’s length, brought the project work to a successful conclusion. Being aware of my mood when I am drawing was not something I used to think about and I can see now how I can induce my mood to suit the subject or mood of my drawing.

The assignment piece allowed me to incorporate many of the techniques I had practiced in the earlier part of the course.

The sketch that you picked out from the moleskin sketchbooks was one I did in a Venetian restaurant with particularly slow service, I will take that as a nudge to do some more considered work in my moleskin sketchbooks.

I really enjoyed this part of the course and had lots of fun doing the work but the interaction and collaboration aspect of my work is as you predicted getting stronger and I am interacting with more things and different types of stimulation which in turn is I think making me more creative, it is like a win win thing and is resulting, I think, in better end results.

I think the work in progress shots and breaking down the work into visible steps is letting you see my process more and over this part of the course my sketchbook work has influenced my other work in a much more positive way.

My background reading is going well and in informing my work and I feel in the written pieces that I am coming to grips with being critical of my own work if only in a positive way.

With regard to a submission date for the next assignment I think if we leave it until mid-December it will give me the time to get a substantial amount of work done on the parallel project and the critical review.

All the best

Mickos

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Dear Cleo 17 08 21

Dearest Cleo

Here is a little secret that you didn’t know, last night while you were sleeping your mummy came over and I drew her for part of my course.

The room and the lighting were just about ready, Carly chose the music, Laura Marling and we settled down quite quickly.

The first part of the portrait was completed while we were going through the usual daddy daughter thing and lasted a good ten minutes because I am the type of guy who does more than the usual amount of bad and crazy things that I need to be scolded for on a regular basis.

It didn’t help much that I was trying to concentrate on the drawing, I think it slowed it down a bit, and the initial marks are a bit stilted and crotchety and there was a twist in the drawing of her face that I was not keen on. When I took the ten minute photograph it changed the mood somewhat and we began talking of other thing starting with the recent holiday we had shared

Figure 1 (17 08 21 01) When are you going to? Why don’t you? Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

 

When I took the ten minute photograph it changed the mood somewhat and we began talking of other things, starting with the recent holiday we had shared that we had both thoroughly enjoyed.

Figure 2 (17 08 21 02) Didn’t we have a lovely time? Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

The marks are softer and more flowing and the twist is coming out of her face. The second photograph didn’t interrupt the flow too much and we carried on talking about good things. This and that, hopes and dreams and how easy life was going.

Figure 3 (17 08 21 03) How are things going for you anyway? Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

The twist in her face has been banished, there are lots of smudgy marks appearing. We were both quite relaxed now, talking only sporadically, unimportant stuff, like the movies you have seen and those that you want to see the music was carrying the mood.

Figure 4 (17 08 21 04) Relaxed and easy Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

 

This photograph was taken at the cigarette break around fifty minutes in there was only a mild tut, the lecture had finished earlier. I can see that I am more relaxed with the marks but I can see the cigarette anxiety creeping in in places.

Figure 5 (17 08 21 05) Settled, Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

This is the hour mark,she was completely at ease now reading the articles in the film magazines rather than flicking the pages as she had earlier. I had about five more minutes to concentrate on the final tones and soften a few edges.

Figure 6 (17 08 21 06) A conversation with Carly, Charcoal on A2 sugar paper.

 

Critique

Concentrating on other things rather than what is going on with this bloody drawing certainly helped, I can feel the relaxation creeping into the stages of the drawing.

The lighting helped a lot and I claim full credit for positioning the light.

The conversation really helped me to capture Carly, the bundle of what she is, or what she seems to be to me, and although the conversation wouldn’t be nearly so intimate with other sitters, it is something to remember for the future.

The tones are good enough to paint from, there are a few sharp edges to the piece but I think they bring out the character of my sleeping tigress, I could have carried on for another hour polishing it but I think that would have taken the intimacy out of it.

I was pleased with the end result and so was my sitter I think that is what she looks like in real life and for those of you that don’t know her, this is what she looks like in a photograph.

Figure 7 (17 08 21 07) Carly my tigress, digital photograph.

Well I hope you like my portrait of your Mum and I know she has something special planned for you for tomorrow.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 08 20

Dearest Cleo

Dorset is only three or four sleeps away and you will be back by a seaside where you can swim at will, Be sure to check out Durdle Door and see how close it is to the painting you did.

I am closing down on this part of the course, this is the last bit of Project 2, I still used the music but I reversed the order of doing. First I drew the sketch standing at the easel, if nothing else my drawing is inproving.

Figure 1 (17 08 20 01) Sketch enlarged from Sketchbook, Ink in A2 sugar paper

I then put Brams Piano concerto nr 1 on the Youtube and blindly followed the music with first he blue crayon then the red and finally the yellow I only took the photo with the blue so you will have to guess the other two.

Figure 2 (17 08 20 02) going with the music, Ink and conte crayon on A2 sugar paper

I then set about the image with Conte crayons and an eraser while listening to the end of the music and then listening to it one more time, this was the result.

Figure 3 (17 08 20 03) Back entrance to the school, Ink and conte crayon on A2 sugar paper

An artist is a child of his time and cannot recreate the past (Hegel) but is forced to stand on the shoulders of giants until his own feet can touch solid ground (Mickos).

Critique

The blind musical bit gave much movement to this drawing which has not been lost in the final realisation of the piece. The colours are bright and in your face, the shadows are cool, whilst the overall piece is warm. The tones induce recession which is emphasised by the linear perspective. the chimneys are out of proportion but in real life they grab the eye and seem in the end analysis to dominate in the scene.

I think I have one too many ears for this drawing to be a sucess, or maybe I was born a century or so too late.

Have a good time in Dorset and I will see you when you get back.

All my Love

Mickos xx

 

 

Dear Cleo 17 08 19

Dear Cleo

How are you today? I Hear that you are going to Dorset to see Granny C next week, I hope the weather stays fine for you and that you have a good time when you go.

I was quite busy today, I completed exercise 3 by seeking inspiration from the last of Butada’s drawings.

Figure 1 (17 08 19 01) Butada III.I Miranda and the singing fishes, Sharpie on A4 photocopy paper

Figure 2 (17 08 19 02) Butada III.II Stranger go tell the Spartans, Sharpie on A4 photocopy paper

Figure 3 (17 08 19 03) Butada III.III Madonna with the cat, Sharpie on A4 photocopy paper

Figure 4 (17 08 19 04) Butada III.IV Dance of the Tuesday Moon, Sharpie on A4 photocopy paper

Figure 5 (17 08 19 05) Butada III.V I really tried to please her, Sharpie on A4 photocopy paper

Figure 6 (17 08 19 06) After Butada, Dance of the Tuesday Moon, Conte crayon on A3 sugar paper

Critique

This is not something I would normally do but as Butada suggested the design and the composition I went with the flow. It reminded me of a Matisse so I decided to use bright colours. I deliberately didn’t refresh my memory of La Danse until I was finished and was surprised to find how blue Matisse’s was.

I was quite pleased with the figures without access to a model, I think it may have been easier at A2 with the chalks. I think the mark making is pretty varied, the marks on the male figure is the result of a bit of frottage on a drawing board that had become thick with fixative spray.

It is bright and happy even if the dancers are a little stiff and I like the negative shapes made by the limbs and the horizon.  I think with a little more sketching and models it would make a good painting.

Have a good time in Dorset and I will see you when you get back.

All my love

Mickos xx

 

Dear Cleo 17 08 19

Dear Cleo

See you in the morning, looking forward to it, maybe we will have a lazy brunch after class. I guess we will take in the Bookshop as well, all good girls deserve plenty of stuff to read.

Today, I wasn’t so overawed by Butada, perhaps because her drawing was less Giotto like without the perfect circles, or it could have been Khatia Buniatishvile playing Chopin’s Sonata number 2 opus 35. Whichever, today’s drawings were much more successful, and had an ease and freedom that yesterdays didn’t.

Figure 1 (17 08 18 01) Butada II.I Madonna of the tattooed arm, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 2 (17 08 18 02) Butada II.II Is it a half of larger then girl? Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

I like how Butada’s influence destroys the perspective here and I am happy that the speed and style of drawing is transferring from my sketchbook into more finished work.

Figure 3 (17 08 18 03) Butada II.III Welcome to my pavement, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

The door off the pavement allows the eye to escape through the back of the drawing, reminiscent of Velasquez’ La Minores.

Figure 4 (17 08 18 04) Butada II.IV Untitled, Ink on A4 Photocopy papee

Figure 5 (17 08 18 05) Butada II.V Still life with cigarette, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 6 (17 08 18 06) Butada II.VI Still life, Ink on A4 Photocopy paper

Figure 7 (17 08 18 07) After Butada, Still life with cigarette, Ink and chalk on A4 Photocopy paper

Critique

This is obviously an early twenty first century piece it is modern in its feel but has strong debts to both cubism and surrealism almost as if the artist is trying to build a bridge back to the roots of those movements. It could sit quite well in an exhibition of French work from the 1920, the Conte crayon in particular is a typically French medium, but what immediately puts the piece in the Twentyfirst century are what I believe to be the traces of Sharpie marks. The Sharpie although invented in 1964, did not become popular for use by artists and designers until the early 2000’s.

We are extremely lucky to have the title of the piece, Butada is of course the Corinthian Maid recognised as the invention of drawing so I think it is safe to say that the artist was extremely interested in the history of art itself. There is a great deal of variation in the marks almost as if the artist was over experimenting with his mark making techniques so I am going to stick my neck out here, and say that this, although very accomplished, is a Student’s work.

I carried out an image search on Google and turned up what I believe to be the original sketch for the piece. This was interesting on several counts, although the sketch is executed entirely in Sharpie pen there appears to be a second hand at work in the sketch, this second hand has a much more mechanical feel to it compared to the flowing almost rhythmic lines of our original artist. My computer assistant advised me that the image size was 274kb indicating that it had been through a digital sizing process such as Photoshop and that it was originally uploaded using WordPress on the 20th of August 2017. So now we have a much more specific date to work to which is good. The image size leads me to believe that the sketch was somehow part of a correspondence or distance learning course and WordPress was of course the platform of choice for the OCA. I made contact with the OCA and visited them in Barnsley to examine their archive. With the information I had already, they were able to pin point that the sketch and the original piece were photographed by the University in their July 2018 assessment event and that the artist was of course, some of you may have guessed it already, Mickos.

Now that we have our date and out Artist we can with a little further research add a little more biographical detail and now that e know that it is a Mickos what better place to do this than the Tate gallery.

Professor Trumpington Maxwell, head of Twentyfirst Century art, was extremely excited to see the lost Mickos, he of course knew of its existence but feared it had been lost forever in Mickos’ house move in late 2018. The good professor, from the archive had the tapes and transcripts from Mickos and his tutor, the celebrated Doctor Bryan Eccleshall, discussing the piece on a Google hangout in September 2017.

It is a matter of fact that Mickos was heavily influenced by his tutor in this period, as he turned from producing more classical pieces and ventured into his now familiar modern style. We are all mostly familiar with the later parts of Mickos’ life, I will allow Professor Trumpington Maxwell, to fill in some of the fine detail of Mickos’ early career as an artist.

In 2017 Mickos began studying for the second year of his OCA painting degree, he studied under Dr Bryan who encouraged him to look for the results and the way forward in his sketchbooks. Mickos had a serious setback in May 2017 when his father died after a short illness, from May to August is known as the monochrome period as Mickos drew exclusively in black and white and it was only after a short holiday in Northern Italy in early August that Mickos returned to colour you can see from this work in particular his gifted use of colour, the reds in the form shadows of the green apples and the greens in the form shadows of the red ashtray. It was about this time that Mickos was awarded the MBM (Member of the British Museum) as that was the only possible way to see the oversubscribed Hokusai exhibition, Hokusai seems to have had a profound effect on Mickos, as you can see there are no cast shadows on this piece, it is only the second piece that Mickos eliminated the cast shadow, the first being A Music (opus number 17 08 08 09) which on loan at MOMA. Since Quentin contacted me I have pieced together a provenance of the work.

It was completed by Mickos in early August 2017 in his studio in Grosvenor Road, Edmonton. Butada was the name Mickos gave to his drawing machine which is still part of the Tate archive. There is a photograph taken by Frank Johnston(e) where the piece is on the easel presumably awaiting fixative spray. August that year was very wet, and although Mickos was a smoker at the time it is well documented that he hated the smell of the fixative. Mickos gave up smoking when he downsized to Hertfordshire in the autumn of 2018 at the insistence of his Granddaughter and long time Correspondent Cleo. We have evidence that Mickos made contacted his childhood sweetheart Angela Foster (nee Gormley) on Face book early in 2018 following her return from Australia after the death of her husband. The piece was sold at auction by Ms Foster’s daughter at Sotheby’s in Sidney in 2037 for 327 Australian Dollars, the buyer was one Joe Aubergast. Joe Aubergast moved back to England in 2045 to live at number 14 Church St, Kensington. Following the death of Mr Aubergast in 2054 the house in Church St underwent intensive renovation carried out by Daubit and Scratchit Ltd., the piece was bought at a boot sale for £14 by Quentin in 2056 from Dmitri Andrevskivitch a former employee of Daubit and Scratchit. Ironically Mickos was 100 at the time of this purchase.

Quentin has paid the University loan of Dmitri’s daughter and has generously allowed the piece to be on permanent loan to the Tate where it will be on permanent display at the Tate South Yorkshire Eccleshall wing which I think everyone will agree is a suitably fitting place for it to be.

I an extremely happy to have filled in a gap in the Mickos Archive but the Holy Grail, The Dolphins of 2013 remains elusive and I shall continue my search.

It was great to see you this morning and don’t forget that a woolly jumper is a sheep or a drawing we wear and that dinosaurs are close relatives to chickens, and the reason that your Granddad is only Fourteen and three quarters is that there is only a November the 15th every four years.

Love you lots

Mickos xx        

Dear Cleo 17 08 17

Dearest Cleo

I just spoke to your Mummy on the phone she has to go to Exeter on Saturday which means I get to drive you round to where you are going then, so we will probably get to do something good on the way. Bythe way todays date is the same backwards and forwards, I think it is called a palindrome.

I have been looking at Butada I for a couple of weeks now, I made some A4 prints and experimented with them, I am not overly happy with the results, but I suppose as an experiment they are worth looking at. I felt curiously deflated after completing them; maybe it is the fact that I have become Butada’s curator, everyone who has seen them think Butada’s work is original and exciting. Maybe also, I feel like Mr Derwent, I have fashioned the drawing implement but I can take no pride in the creation of the artist in using that implement.

Perhaps I should take a more connoissurial approach to the mastery of the given materials available, but it still somehow feel a bit Ikea flat pack as the actual design has been done by Butada.

I worked on A4 prints as I was fearful of destroying the beauty that Butada had created, and my and her ability to recreate the same. Anyway for what it is worth these are what Butada I inspired me to do.

Figure 1 (17 08 17 01) Butada I.I, Forms, Ink on photocopy paper

Figure 2 (17 08 17 02) Butada I.II, Her biggest movement, Ink on photocopy paper

Figure 3 (17 08 17 03) Butada I.III, Sketchbook restaurant in time, Ink on photocopy paper

Figure 4 (17 08 17 04) Butada I.IV, The boxer, Ink on photocopy paper

Figure 5 (17 08 17 05) Butada I.V, Landscape with hieroglyphs, wax crayon on photocopy paper

Figure 6 (17 08 17 06) Butada I.VI, Pieta with slipped halos, ink on photocopy paper

Figure 7 (17 08 17 07) Butada I.VII, Dream of the future of drawing, collage on photocopy paper

Figure 8 (17 08 17 08) Butada I.VIII, The Black hole Bull, ink on photocopy paper

Of all the foregoing, the one that excites me the most is the last one, with all our modern technology we can now map the black holes in the heavens, but the poetry has left the science of astronomy and astrology is a thing of the past. Do black holes influence our lives or do the ancient poetical signs of the zodiac overrule them? I think in my inability to be fully inspired by Butada I, I have fallen into my own personal black hole.

Don’t worry my darling; the old familiar Mickos will be back on the horse by the weekend.

All my love as always

Mickos xx

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Cleo 17 08 15

Dearest Cleo

I missed being around you today, never mind we will catch up at the weekend.

Today I got Butada back out of her box, changed her batteries and let her loose again. She drew these;

Figure 1 (17 08 15 01) Butada II Sharpie on A1 cartridge

Figure 2 (17 08 15 02) Butada III Sharpie on A1 cartridge

I hung them on the wall next to Butada I while I think about them some more. She now has a whole wall to herself.

I hope you enjoyed your day out today with Daddy before he goes back to work.

My love as always

Mickos x