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


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


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

Dear Cleo 17 08 01

Dearest Cleo

It was lovely to see you up town on Sunday and great that you had enough patience to be a good girl whilst we took you around the BP Portrait Exhibition and then while I went to look at the Encounter exhibition. I am sure though, that your favourite spot on the day was Waterstones at Charing Cross. After we parted I went to see the Hokusai Exhibition at the British Museum, that my dear was sublime.

Anyway, enough of the small talk, although this post is called day 1, it is actually about day 14, I have spent the last 13 days perfecting my latest creation Butada, this is the feminine form of her father’s name, girls weren’t credited with invention in the old days but the daughter of Butades, the Corinthian maid, invented drawing (Petherbridge p19). History apart, my Butada is a drawing machine, she is a bit Heath Robinson involving plastacine and a sharpie but she works, albeit with a little nudge or two from her creator, the mad scientist Doctor Mickos.

The basic parts were purchased from the internet and were billed as a toy to teach your children basic electronics. It is easier to teach a machine to draw than it is to teach an adult electronics. After much struggle, the kit came without instructions, buying beers for my mates, watching Youtube for hours on end, and enlisting Freya the cat as my trusty assistant Butada was born.

At the flick of a switch on a full moon, with lightening crackling all around, Butada rose from her slumber to draw. Freya was terrified of what she had unwittingly helped to create and disappeared through the cat flap never to be seen for several days.

She had three wheels like Delboy’s van but not so yellow yet had the ability to draw like a demon. The enclosure I had designed for her proved inadequate and I was force to telephone the mill owner to move all flammable material away from the mill as a precaution. Once I had removed the batteries I was able to photograph her in all her glory, this is Butada at rest.

Figure 1 (17 08 01 01) Butada before the lightening

Figure 2 (17 08 01 02) Butada restrained after her first drawing

On her first outing she produced this;

Figure 3 (17 08 01 03) Butada untitled 1 sharpie on A1 cartridge

I have hung it on the wall while I think about it.

Your Mum has asked me to babysit for you on Friday night so choose a good film and choose wisely.

All my love as always

Mickos x