Dear Cleo 18 06 11

Dearest Cleo

The last task of the course is to do a drawing that takes a passage of time to come to fruition I have invented a game and called it “Kandinsky” as it is about points and lines and planes. I suppose it is a bit along the lines of Exquisite Corpse, a game the surrealists were fond of, except that it takes longer to play as we will be using the postal service to pass the playing piece between us. It needn’t require great thought, it can be instinctive as you like or be carried out with much thought and take longer, whatever suits you.

The rules are exceedingly simple and are on the next page and the playing piece is enclosed. There is no wrong or right answer. Just enjoy it, I think it will last for three of four rounds, and I have gone first to get us going.

When the game is over we can have a chat about it but we won’t speak of it till then for fear of influencing the outcome.

My love as always

Mickos xx


Rules of the game

  • There are two players, yourself and your collaborator.
  • At each turn a player is allowed to make three marks on the paper the three types of mark possible are a point, a line or a plane.

Figure 1 examples

  • You may take as long as you like provided you complete all your marks with 2 days.
  • You may use any mark making tool or colour to make your marks.
  • Once you have made your marks, as a minimum put the date of your marks and your signature on the attached sheet and return both sheets to your collaborator in the envelope provided.
  • Your collaborator will make three marks and return the drawing to you.
  • If you feel the drawing is complete say so on the attached sheet before you return the drawing to your collaborator.
  • You may write anything you like on the attached sheet but do bear in mind that the end results will be posted on the internet

Figure 2 First Round first leg charcoal graphite and sharpie on A5 cartridge


Figure 3 First Round second leg charcoal graphite sharpie crayon and biro on A5 cartridge


Figure 4 Second Round First leg charcoal graphite sharpie crayon and biro on A5 cartridge


Figure 5 Second Round second leg charcoal graphite sharpie crayon and biro on A5 cartridge


Dear Cleo 18 05 06

Dearest Cleo

It is supposed to be the best weather since 1996 so make the most of it, I was cooped up all day drawing for the start of the book, I did venture out but only to sketch the concrete plant.

I worked out the size of the book to make it easy for the printer and made a template for the size of the images. Them I drew the first of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

The English translation has Death riding a pale horse, but it is a poor translation of the Greek word that means literally a greeny horrible sickly colour or a horse of a different colour.

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Figure 1 ( Death and War graphite Sharpie and coloured pencil on A2 grey sugar paper

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Figure 2 ( Serpent graphite Sharpie and coloured pencil on A2 grey sugar paper.

I am beginning to understand why Botticelli never finished his artist’s book, at this rate I may never finish Drawing 2, still each one completed means there is one less to do.

Enjoy the fine weather.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 05 05

Dearest Cleo

It was great to see you this morning, I missed seeing you last weekend and it was good to catch up, the weather looks set fair for a great bank holiday weekend. I hope you have a fun weekend.

I have been carrying on sketching and drawing horses and they are beginning to look something like real horses I think these are the last sketches before I start drawing the illustrations for the book.

Figure 1 ( Horse proportions graphite on A4 cartridge

Figure 2 ( Horse movement 1 graphite and ink on A4 cartridge

Figure 3 ( Horse proportions graphite on A4 cartridge

Figure 4 ( Horsemen graphite and ink on A3 cartridge

Like I said before, have a good bank holiday weekend, you can tell me all about it next time we meet up

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 18 05 04

Dearest Cleo

Writing is as time related as art, recently the doing has been overtaking the writing in a kind of Pulp Fictiony way, your mum can explain. I missed seeing you at the weekend because I went on the Study visit to Copenhagen. I met lots of new people, some I had known virtually beforehand, and I learned lots of new things and I hope that by the time you have read this you will forgive my absence.

Figure 1 Smoking area Stanstead ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 2 Airport lounge ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 3 Queue for plane ink on A5 cartridge

My arrival in Copenhagen was a little bit rushed as I already had to be somewhere else before I landed. I speedily checked into my hotel, they never said on the internet that my room was five floors up in the attic and they didn’t have a lift, but it was clean and warm and bright and the staff were helpful, so that I almost didn’t notice the stairway to heaven the whole trip.

I headed off to the guided tour of the SMK National Gallery where I met up with the rest of the group. The tour concentrated on the current exhibition but before the start proper the guide touched on some of the problems of curatorship and how galleries were unable to sell things off and were responsible for preserving their artefacts. I have never spoken to gallery staff before and didn’t realise the importance of the work they do.

When the tour started proper we concentrated on the gallery’s current exhibition “Art in the making”, curiously and fascinatingly the exhibition was focussed on the collaboration of artists in their ideas for their work and the development of the initial ideas through the sketching and squaring up process, the tracing and redrafting and finally arriving at the final painting. Of particular interest to me was how, through their working processes, artists juggled with the composition changing the balance and tension in their work. Most of the changes of course took place in the thumb nails and early sketchbook work but there were some quite radical changes between the final cartoon and the finished piece.

One of the main things that interested me was that two of the Danish artists in the exhibition Edvard Weie (in 1941) and Nick Larsen Stevns      (before 1941) both of whom were influenced by the fauvist works of Matisse, were both using cut out pieces of paper as compositional aids, it was not until the late 1940’s that Matisse began “introducing a radically new operation that came to be called a cut-out”, a collaboration of artists that was perhaps overlooked by the exhibition.

The guided tour ended in front of Kirstine Roepstorff’s enormous Desolation of the Beasts with the curator highlighting the collaboration between Roepstorff and earlier artists.

After that we were free to wander the museum’s permanent collection for the remainder of the afternoon and what a collection, amongst the collection of Matisse’s work was the Green Stripe and I was particularly taken with the cubist works by Picasso, Braque, Metzinger and Gris, I spent a long time in front of Trees at Estaque.

The gallery also had a fine collection of Danish paintings. Since discovering the Italian Impressionists on a trip to Florence I am interested to discover what each nationality’s art was whilst the French were dominating the art world. The Danes did not disappoint with Hammershoi leading the field as an amalgam between Vermeer and Manet. I found the drawing room and spent a happy time sketching the magnificent bronze horse head.

Figure 4  horses head graphite on A6 cartridge

Figure 5 Street outside Riz Raz ink on A6 cartridge

The group reconvened before closing time at the Gallery to arrange to meet later in the evening for dinner at Riz Raz. We ate great food and talked of art and other things until late in the evening and I sketched the roses on the table as I drank the last of the wine before going up the very long wooden hill, exhausted after a great day.

Figure 6 Day of wine and roses ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 7 Girl smoking in a bar ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 8 Drinkers in a bar ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 9 Drinkers in a bar 1 ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 10 Drinkers in a bar 2 ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 11 Bicycles morning ink on A6 cartridge

The next day I woke with the early Danish light and met with the group at Norreport Station for the trip to the Arken Museum. We were lucky in having Inger from Denmark with us to teach us how to deal with Danish trains, We had been joined overnight by Bryan the tutor who took it upon himself to explain some of the vague stuff that is hard to get to grips with from reading books, discernment with examples is easy to understand, we also talked about the assessment procedure and our own processes, each learning from the other.

From the outside The Arken, a modern building, was long gallery that seemed to cut through the dunes and wet lands like a ship trailing a long wake.

Inside were vast four storey high spaces that somehow through the use of large windows that capturing the outside light gave an airy feel to the spaces. The permanent exhibition consisted of around ten pieces by Damien Hirst that seemed at home in the large slightly curved gallery.

In a second gallery the floor was covered with multicoloured life sized clowns created by Ugo Rondinone titled Vocabulary of Solitude you could walk among the clowns each one feeling separate and alone and silent. There was a feeling of being backstage at the circus, almost like Degas’ ballerinas, the clowns were pensive, awaiting their turn in the big top.

In a more conventional gallery space there was a retrospective exhibition of Alfonse Mucha, for this we had a guided tour. The exhibition consisted mostly of Mucha’s Poster and commercial work and photographs he took of his models. In the workshop that followed, we were invited to create a Mucha poster, I made the drawing below, there is a faint graphic underdrawing that has all but disappeared below the ink work, and I think I managed to achieve a sense of rhythm with the flowing lines.

Figure 12 Poster girl ink on A2 cartridge

The discussion on the train back to Copenhagen was as lively as on the way to Arken and we each went back to our hotels before reconvening in the evening to eat dinner seated around a triangular table where we talked of many things, of art and education, toilet roll and Kings. Particularly interesting was Gwyneth’s description of her process of painting her giant boulder.

We reconvened early the next morning and took the train up the country to the Louisiana Museum. Again we had a guided tour by a curator of the gallery who explained the building and how the foundation of the permanent collection was derived.

Figure 13 Sculpture park ink on A6 cartridge

The museum grew from a manor house with sculpture in the garden to include a series of long glass walled extensions so that you could see the sculptures from inside the building, the galleried Giacometti room overlooking the pond was stunning, the Yayoi Kusama installation was breathtaking and the Cindy Sherman’s were everything I ever wanted them to be. The current exhibition, held in a more conventional gallery space, was of Picasso’s Ceramics. I don’t think I have ever seen any of his ceramics’ before but I think i would have remembered if I had, some were functional, but many were wildly distorted and the array of colours was dazzling.  I have seen a video in black and white on you tube of him making some of them but in real life even the monochrome ones are Technicolor.

Then it was time for the last lunch together we discussed our impressions of the day and the weekend which were all very positive, except for the reality of my own five storey stairs and we went our separate ways, but not without more art related discussion on the train back to Copenhagen.

After we separated I went to the Ny Glyptotek, which, with its winter garden easily won building of the weekend. The Danes seem to have a thing about glass and airiness with regard to buildings and when the weather is good like it was the whole weekend, the glass buildings are spectacular.

Figure 14 French eagle ink on A6 cartridge

I visited the French collection 1800 to 1928 and the Danish golden age galleries, viewed a full set of Degas’ sculptures and a roomful of Rodin’s. There was only one Cezanne still life, but it allowed me to look close into his brush mark’s to see how the modelling matched the words in the book I am reading by Earl Loran. I missed the crew to discuss my impressions of this in the cafe

I am not the biggest fan of sculpture, but sculpture somehow had seemed to tie the weekend together, from the statues in the SMK to the cage with mirror, rocking horse and Gormley outside the Arken, Hirst’s cows, ecorche and the clowns inside, the sculpture park and the Giacometti’s at the Louisiana and then finally the Degas’ and Rodin’s at the Ny Glyptotek.

Figure 15 Girl in a bar ink on A6 cartridge


Figure 16 Drinkers in a bar 3 ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 17 Drinkers in a bar 4 ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 18 Girl in a bar 2 ink on A6 cartridge

On Monday morning I went to draw the boats at Ny Haven before catching the plane home.

Figure 19 Boats 1 ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 20 Boats 2 graphite and ink on A4 cartridge

Thank you very very much to Hayley, Therese, Anna, Asa, Bryan, Caroline, Celia, Gwyneth, Inger, Joanne, Linda, Cecillia Sybille, Deidre and Renata for a beautiful and educational long weekend in Denmark.

You now know where I was, what I was doing and why I wasn’t there for you on Saturday, I’m really looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

My love as always

Mikos xx

Dear Cleo 18 03 26

Dear Cleo

Well we both got the first day of the short week over hope yours went better than mine, it was harder than I imagined, but it is over now and I can carry on with my story.

I bought a new orchid, some orchid food and decided she should be called Blanche because she is fairly white with a touch of Naples yellow. I sat her on the coffee table a drew this;

Figure 1 ( Graphite and liquid chalk on A5 cartridge

Blanch had a better structure than her predecessor she was easier to draw and the experiment with the liquid chalk was beginning to produce some interesting mark making. Again I flipped the drawing over in photoshop assessing the composition.

Figure 2 ( Digital image

I tried again this time trying to break down the clumsiness of Blanche’s blooms giving her a more elegant look

Figure 3 ( Graphite and liquid chalk on A5 cartridge

Figure 4 ( Digital image

I liked the way it was going and was beginning to be happy with the design. I tend to speed up as I near my quarry so I solidified the design a bit with a Sharpie. And then did a quick notan.

Figure 5 ( Sharpie on A5 cartridge

Figure 6 ( Digital image

Figure 7 ( Sharpie on A5 cartridge

Figure 8 ( obverse Sharpie on A5 cartridge

I was nearing my goal I when disaster struck, I was side tracked by the marks that had bled through on the next page of the sketchbook.

Figure 9 ( Imprint Sharpie on A5 cartridge

While I could still join the dots mentally to form Blanche I was fascinated by how the meaningless dots had an independent volume and space, and space was where I went next. The beginning of It’s a Wonderful Night or any of the Star Wars films, we like to look at stars, the Hollywood moguls know that, a tip they picked up from Vincent, maybe it is the way home. Just like Leonardo staring at an old wall or looking into the fire for inspiration, men and women since time immemorial have looked for patterns in the stars, the fates, ancient sailors and wise men from the East, there is a lot of History in the stars.

A major theme this section of the course is time and what could be more timeless than stars. I am not sure how long a light year is, but it seems like a very long timesince my underpants and tights were destroyed on my passage through the stratosphere and because of that I was unable to be a superhero. I became a builder and part time artist instead, forever condemned to wear the mild mannered glasses without the freedom and thrills of interstellar lycra. If you find any for sale on ebay, please pass on the link.

I used early space age tools such as Microsoft and Photoshop to create the Blanche constellation in the galaxy Orchidae, I felt like Smartiblartflast on a good week.

The resultant images appear below so please feel free to redraw your own star sign from them so that you can make it up as you go along, without listening to those charlatans in the newspapers and on the web. I have named the working drawings again, but everybody seems to think it important that constellations and galaxies have names. Look slowly at my images of Constellation Blanche and appreciate the light years of depth I have created on a flat peice of paper of A5 size.

I have just noticed the sinilarity between the words Gallaxy and Gallery, I looked them up on the internet, they are both decendeded from the Greek, the “x” denotes the God or Supreme Being the “r” denotes a supreme creator possibly from another planet or dimension.

Figure 10 ( Constellation Blanche in the Gallaxy Orchidae digital image

Figure 11 ( Constellation Blanche Digital image

Well my dearest we came a long way from home on this post both in time and distance perhaps tomorrow we will come back to earth with a bump or maybe I have enough control over this ship to give us an easy landing.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 11 26

Dearest Cleo

Here are this weeks life drawings. I have had a busy week, as you know .the house next door burnt out on Wednesday night. I think my life is turning into films, Mickos I Attacked by Damiens Dog three weeks ago and now Mickos II, Flaming Hell.

To be fair the EFD did an excellent job saving me and my house from the inferno, all that got burned was a bit of the back garden fence  and the kitchen windows cracked in the heat.

Now that the fire has gone out the back of the house next door is not so scary in fact in a sureal way it is kind of pretty. I took two photographs.

Figure 1 (17 11 26 01) Fire exit, digital photograph

Figure 2 (17 11 26 02) Gutted, digital photograph

It happened in the middle of the night and it was very emotional, but nobody died and life goes on.

I digress here are the life drawings;

Figure 3 (17 11 26 03) ink on A2 grey sugar paper

Figure 4 (17 11 26 04) charcoal on A2 grey sugar paper

Figure 5 (17 11 26 05) charcoal on A2 grey sugar paper

I hope you like my drawings, catch up with you next week, dont forget your letter for Santa so I can give it to him when I see him in the pub.

My love as always

Mickos xx