Dear Cleo 17 10 27

Dear Cleo

It was good to catch up this morning don’t worry that you haven’t got your letter yet it will probably come on Monday.

These are the pictures that nearly didn’t make it into project one but were too good not to include.

Figure 01(17 10 28 01)  A picture that is worth 25 words Digital photograph

Figure 02 (17 10 28 02) The snail, after Matisse at the Courtauld  Digital photograph

Figure 03(17 10 28 03) Costa Bananas Digital photograph

Figure 04 (17 10 28 04) Eclipse the Courtauld Digital photograph

Figure 05 (17 10 28 05) Stairways to heaven flights 1, 2 and3 Digital photograph

Figure 06 (17 10 28 06) Remembrance weak dawn Digital photograph

Figure 07 (17 10 28 07) Not one of Cornelias arsonist unknown Digital photograph

Since we met earlier, my right arm has been savaged by the dog from the Omen no treat, big trick the police and A&E had starring roles but I can still draw and the antibiotics accentuate my synthesesia


Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 10 03

Dear Cleo

I hope you are well. Carrying on from yesterday I have remembered the old songs for Friday and Saturday which only leaves Thursday and Sunday to find.

More photographs that inspired me, these are of paths and pavements I walked, the photography aspect of this part of the course is beginning to bore, so I have been experimenting a little crudely with the buttons on Photoshop.

Figure 1 (17 10 03 01) Paths 01, just a pretty picture, digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 2 (17 10 03 02) Paths 02, Suggestive, digital photograph cropped in Photoshop.

Figure 3 (17 10 03 03) Paths 03, a souk in Marrakesh, digital photograph with doors and windows added in Photoshop

Figure 4 (17 10 03 04) Paths 04, Dinosaur feeding adjacent to human latrine, cave wall in Santa Uritrino, Northern Spain, circa 8000BC, digital photograph cropped in Photoshop.

Figure 5 (17 10 03 05) Paths 05, a disturbance in the force, in a galaxy far far away, digital photograph cropped, black and whitened, posterised and gamma corrected in Photoshop.

Figure 6 (17 10 03 06) Paths 06, convergence of Edmonton ley lines, digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 7 (17 10 03 07) Paths 07, the constellation of the running fox, those born under this sign have wisdom and cunning, can draw like Raphael, have a tendency to drink copious ammounts of lager and eat out of dustbins (15 November12.30 to 12.42) Digital photograph cropped and adjusted in Photoshop

Figure 8 (17 10 03 06) Paths 08, ancient Viking map of Yorkshire carved in York stone, the insert, embellished in emerald, represents garlic and showing the lair of Dracula in modern day Whitby Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop,

I hope you enjoyed my journey into the ridiculous and we can catch up at the weekend in case you need further explanations

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 10 02

Dear Cleo

I hope you had a good day at school, Mondays are always the hardest. In the old days there was a song about Mondays, I’ll play it for you the next time you come over.

More photographs that inspire me, these are of the Hogan Stand when I went to Dublin.

The first one is about lines, the very straight man made lines of the stand structure and pitch markings, the drawing in the gold tickertape that is a record of the movements of the winning team on the pitch, I never knew pieces of tickertape were so long. I have had hours of fun with a pair of framing angles isolating sections of the crowd as well.

Figure 1 (17 10 02 01) Hogan Stand 01 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

The rest of the photos are of the structure of the stand itself, as you know, in my work, I am used to looking at drawings of structures and imagining what they will be like when they are built, I find it interesting to look at a completed building and strip it down into its blue print lines. There is probably a way to reduce these photographs to lines in Photoshop but you know me, never press more buttons than you need to.

Figure 2 (17 10 02 02) Hogan Stand 02 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 3 (17 10 02 03) Hogan Stand 03 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 4 (17 10 02 04) Hogan Stand 04 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 5 (17 10 02 05) Hogan Stand 05 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

If you still have the framing angles handy, they work quite well on the photographs of the stand. While I have been writing I thought of the old days Tuesday and Wednesday songs, I expect by the time we get together I will have the whole week sorted out.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 10 01

Dear Cleo

I hope you are in bed by now getting ready for school tomorrow. I had a great day with you yesterday and learned lots.

Today I have been putting together the photographs that inspired me, I often take photographs of bizarre things, well bizarre to other folks but not to me. Here are the ones I took of tarmac , tarmac is flat, textured and full of manmade cuts and interventions.

Figure 1 (17 10 01 01) tarmac 01 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 2 (17 10 01 02) tarmac 02 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 3 (17 10 01 03) tarmac 03 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 4 (17 10 01 04) tarmac 04 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 5 (17 10 01 05) tarmac 05 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 6 (17 10 01 06) tarmac 06 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 7 (17 10 01 07) tarmac 07 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 8 (17 10 01 08) tarmac 08 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 9 (17 10 01 09) tarmac 09 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 10 (17 10 01 10) tarmac 10 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

Figure 11 (17 10 01 11) tarmac 11 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop


Figure 12 (17 10 01 12) tarmac 12 Digital photograph cropped in Photoshop

The best impression of the roughness and texture of tarmac is when you fall over on it and scrape your knees.

My Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 09 26

Dear Cleo

I hope you had a good Monday at school, I have slept and worked and found a new horse, but I am going to keep riding in the same direction.

Going back to Merleau Ponty’s statement, I think we can now agree that Vincent was possessed by the unspectacular corner of a wheatfield with its incumbent crows in Auvers Sur Oise and in turn he owned it.

The corner of this particular wheatfield had been subject of several interventions, not least by the sower of the wheat, Vincent as Millet, was familiar with the sower and the religious connotations of the sower.

I own seven photographs of a playground that has been subject to innumerable interventions. The first intervention, believe it as you may, was in Genesis Chapter 1 verses 11 to 13.

“Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation, every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it” and so it happened; the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed- the third day.”

So now I am familiar with the tree and the religious connotations of the tree, so as a starting point, I am not far away from Vincent, or Millet or even Pissarro. All I need do now is dance at the easel.

Figure 1(17 09 26) Dancing in Eden, Winter, ink washes on A2 cartridge

It doesn’t really look like the photographs because I drew it from memory which is, I suppose, one way of possessing a landscape and making it your own and interacting with it.

Love as always

Mickos xx


Dear Cleo 17 09 24

Dear Cleo

How are you darling, having had two days off whilst I thought about things, I am totally astonished about how fast ideas can travel on the internet, and this is a perfect example of just how bad the photograph compares with a painting.

While the Van Gogh museum  were using their best marketing  brains to come up with that, without thinking the whole idea through, I was busy reading a book. I am one of those old people who believe that books trumps (I am unsure if that word is politically correct these days, maybe it is OK if you use a small t) the internet. I was reading Ms Petherbridge’s excellent book The Primacy of Drawing within which, she quotes Monsieur Merleau Ponty’s statement “he who sees cannot possess the visible unless he is possessed by it”. (Petherbridge p. 279)

I believe I am fighting a losing battle as Microsoft Word recognises neither Merleau nor Ponty. Maybe a part of Amsterdam is bereft of Dutch translations of either of these books. I think Microsoft Word only recognises Petherbridge because I keep banging on about it.

I am not being intellectual here because, whilst I have a copy of the good Monsieur’s book, I have yet to read it, preferring instead to read books with pictures in them. Maybe if I read more books without pictures I wouldn’t need to go on the internet at all.

It could be that this is the parable of the tourist, unless you abandon your mobile phone and sit down  and wait, and give things time, to interact with you, will never possess anything except an airline ticket and a kiss me quick hat.

I am sorry, my darling, for being so grumpy but I have just spent three hours on the M6, followed by three hours on the M1, coming home to a hungry cat and Amsterdam’s finest conclusions. Despair over, I will find the new horse as I sleep.

All my love, as always

Mickos xx

P.S. note for the Harvard educated amongst my readers,

Petherbridge D. (2014)The Primacy of Drawing, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Dear Cleo 17 09 22

Dear Cleo

Good morning, it is early on a Friday morning and the holiday is well and truly over, I guess you are still asleep. I will call over and see you this evening and bring some cards because I know it is Auburn’s and your daddy’s birthday this weekend.

I am on day one of part four of the course and starting to interact with the landscape, I have discussed interaction and collaboration before on the blog, especially with my tutor and while I find this relatively easy to do with people and animals, with a very big inanimate thing like a landscape it could be kind of tricky.

I have started gently enough with some photographs I took in the park.

Figure 1 ( Playground P1 Digital photograph

Figure 2 ( Playground P2 Digital photograph

Figure 3 ( Playground P3 Digital photograph

Figure 4 ( Playground P4 Digital photograph

Figure 5 ( Playground P5 Digital photograph

Figure 6 ( Playground P6 Digital photograph

Figure 7 ( Playground P7 Digital photograph

Having read a little bit about Goldsworthy, Long and Cragg, I can understand that these photographs represent several interactions with the landscape over many years. I am guessing that this was once a forest as it would take research into old maps to confirm this. The first intervention was when it was probably civilised by the landowner as part of his estate. Further interventions would have been carried out by successive landowners according to the fashions of their times until the land eventually passed to the council. The council intervened to turn the landscape into a park land and what we see here is probably the council’s last intervention, the introduction of the modern playground. The final interventions with the landscape are these photographs.

Each intervention has served to make special, in a different way, this particular landscape and draw attention to it. My intervention was to make special the landscape on a windy Saturday morning in April 2017 and take something away from it, digital images, so that I could share something of the landscape that I thought special with you and the viewers of my blog. You will have noticed that I said something because a photograph represents the experience of that windy Saturday morning but only to the eyes, you cannot feel the wind or hear the birds and the people, or smell the grass or touch the trees. You can imagine these things from your own memories and maybe impose the wind from the way the clouds look or the temperature from the way the people are dressed. Most people who see these photographs will not have the time to do that and will flick on with the mouse, such is the speed of viewing and life in the modern age. Only the special and the spectacular hold your attention.

But stop a while and blow up one of these unspectacular pictures to full screen size and imagine from your memories to fill in the gaps from your other senses, then further  wonder  who are the people in the photograph and why were they there that particular day. What were the names  of the landowners who decided  and the workers who toiled to make the landscape what it is today, then go back further and wonder what or who stalked these forests before they were civilised. If you do this you can realise that every picture tells a story, but you have to invest the time to read the book.

Another thing to think about is what I was thinking about to make this particular landscape special, for other people, what were my motives in taking the pictures.

Now from my unspectacular landscape lets go to look at a rather more  spectacular landscape.

Figure 8 ( Wheatfield with crows by Vincent, Digital image

Using a different sense of the word landscape this one is rather special. It is the culmination of Vincent’s life work, a painting he painted within weeks of his death that people read into with regard to Vincent’s State of mind. People have travelled the world to look at this landscape in Amsterdam, however if they went instead to Auvers  Sur Oise they would discover that Vincent’s inspiration was less spectacular that my own photographs of the playground.

In a curious way I have arrived at a similar point reached by John Berger in the first chapter of “Ways of Seeing”, unfortunately, I didn’t make the link until it was pointed out by my Tutor, who is far cleverer than I. Having relooked at the book I can see the comparison, Berger highlights the sensationalism of “the last picture that Van Gogh painted before he killed himself”(this is of course an untruth) and goes on to say “It is hard to define exactly how the words have changed the image but undoubtedly they have. The image now illustrates the sentence.”

Real life wheatfield with crows

Figure 8 ( Wheatfield without crows, Digital image

If somebody told you tomorrow that you were going to die next week, would you paint this corner of a field in Auvers and add a few crows to immortalise yourself? I  think  would find something a bit more special than a playground in Winchmore Hill but then given the context of the words, perhaps a playground in Winchmore Hill is something I could make special so that it would fully convey my angst.

The way forward is to imbibe my impressions of the landscape in an expressionistic style in the hope that everyone will slow themselves  down enough to slowly examine the piece of landscape that I have declared special.

I set about this task manfully using Photo shop to isolate and rotate the things I found interesting and produced these;

Figure 9 ( Monochrome sample Digital image

Figure 10 ( Monochrome sample Digital image

Figure 11 ( sample Digital image

Figure 12 ( sample Digital image

From these four samples I produced four sketches in anA4 sketchbook that looked like this;

Figure 13 ( A cave that needs something to happen in it, graphite on A4 Cartridge

Figure 14 ( Astronaut, graphite on A4 Cartridge

Figure 15 ( Geometry, graphite on A4 Cartridge

Figure 16 ( Standing in the shadows, graphite on A4 Cartridge

I was pleased with the distance I had come from the original photographs, but it is time now to go to work so this feels like a pleasant juncture to stop and take stock and remember the lessons already learned in part 3, upscale the work and dance at the easel.

I will see you later on in the evening my darling, I have much more stuff to tell you and I am looking forward to it.

All my love

Mickos xx

PS For the Havard educated amongst us, isn’t it about time that Havard encompassed Kindle. My hard copy of the book is somewhere in the house but then, so are lots of things.


Berger, John. Ways of Seeing (Penguin Modern Classics) (Kindle Locations 248-249). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.