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 29

Dear Cleo

It was great to see you this morning, and I had great fun watching you draw, you are such a natural at it.

Now that the aliens have gone home, I did two drawings from my imagination. This was the first;

Figure 1 (17 09 29 01) Untitled, so as to protect the innocent, XL charcoal on sugar paper.

Drawing is now teaching me things, my head is full of stuff that needs to get out and drawing allows them to escape. I know this part is about interacting with the landscape but there is a very personal landscape inside my head itching to get out.

It rained, I sat and thought a while and drew this still life from my head.

Figure 2 (17 09 29 02) Imaginary still life, XL charcoal on sugar paper.

Maybe, there is some kind of connection between the voices inside my head and my artistic voice, could it be that it is one of them?

Anyway enough of that, tonight Mickos is in charge because Mummy and Daddy are going out, I’ll bring the paper and the pencils you choose the film, see you later.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 09 27

Dear Cleo

I was having a quiet night whem these people landed in the back yard, they were friendly enough and they didn’t have any pobes, and they built a pyramid and then left, as suddely as they arrived. I was listening to classical music and was able to draw them as they were exiting thier ship, building the pyramid and leaving, it is going to take me ages to take their pyramid to the tip.

Figure 1 (17 09 27 01) The Visitor, XL charcoal on A2 Cartridge paper

Figure 2 (17 09 27 02) Der der der der der, XL charcoal on A2 Cartridge paper

Figure 3 (17 09 27 03) And I think I’ll build a pyramid today, XL charcoal on A2 Cartridge paper

Figure 4 (17 09 27 04) We are your friends, XL charcoal on A2 Cartridge paper

Don’t worry, they are gone now, their afterburner made a terrific noise and left a scorchmark on the pyramid, but luckily it got rid of the weeds in the yard. God knows how they got the stones for the pyramid, they look kind of Welsh but they should go easily into the rubble skip at the tip.

I will see you at the weekend and fill you in with all the details of their visit, let me know what film we are going to watch because I am babysitting.

Love as allways

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 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.

The way forward is to imbibe my impressions of the landscape in an expressionistic i style n the hope that everyone will slow themselves  down enough to slowly examine the piece of land cape 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







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