Dear Cleo 17 07 04

Dearest Cleo

Well there has been a lot of writing in the last week or so now sit back and chill out with some sketches.

Figure 1 (SK 02 09) graphite and ink on A5 cartridge

Figure 2 (SK 01 74) graphite on A6 cartridge

Figure 3 (SK 01 75)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 4 (SK 01 76)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 5 (SK 03 01)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 6 (SK 03 02)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 7 (SK 03 03)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 8 (SK 03 04)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 9 (SK 03 05)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 10 (SK 03 06)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 11 (SK 03 07)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 12 (SK 03 08)  ink on A5 cartridge

Figure 13 (SK 03 09)  ink on A6 cartridge

Figure 14 (SK 03 10)  ink on A5 cartridge

Figure 15 (SK 03 11)  ink on A5 cartridge

Figure 16 (SK 03 12)  blak chalk on A6 cartridge

Figure 17 (SK 03 13)  graphite on A6 cartridge

Figure 18 (SK 04 01)  Charcoal on A3 cartridge

Hope you liked them, see you at the weekend.

Love Mickos xx


Dear Cleo 17 07 03

Dear Cleo

I missed you this morning, you were still asleep when I called to drive Auburn to his Nana’s, no problem, I will catch up with you at the weekend. I have finished part 2 of the course and this is how I think it went.

Demonstration of visual and technical skills

Again Mickos has used a wide range of materials, his visual skills are increasing and it was good to see the development of his sketches into fully worked pieces and great that he managed to retain the immediacy of his sketches in the worked up pieces. He needs to concentrate more on transferring his memories allied with his sketches to make believable three dimensional spaces and figures perhaps using models to fill in the gaps in his memory. Over this part of the course he has loosened up in his final pieces, striving less for realism and more for atmosphere. The portrait piece was a little tight, which is only to be accepted when striving to achieve a likeness, but there was still an exciting range of mark making techniques in the piece. He is starting to master the techniques of Charcoal and chalk and it is about time he begins to try ink to see if he can carry his developing expressiveness across into this medium. He has not forgotten the compositional skills he learned at part1 but maybe the assignment piece could have benefitted from the edge on the pool table I suspect the mount to perform this function. (30%)

Quality of outcome

Mickos is growing into the Dear Cleo format of his blog which remains easy to navigate and well written. There is also signs of discernment beginning to appear I think this may be due to Mickos being less afraid to show his thinking process and his faltering steps that add depth to the final resolution. He is beginning to feel original in his work and is slowly developing a voice that whilst still firmly based on a continuum is worthy but still needs more exercise in a Karaoke forum to help it develop. (11%)

Demonstration of creativity

I am pleased with the creativity that Mickos has shown in the assignment piece, he has shown that he fully understands the creativity of Cornelia Parker and has transferred it to his own work with ease, showing that he understands many of the concepts of what a drawing is or can be. There is a slight experimentation with collage in the assignment that I feel needs to be fostered and allowed to bloom to bring on Mickos’ efforts going forward. I was a little disappointed in the quantity of his work for this part of the course but I have a distinct feeling this is a temporary blip (12%)


Mickos’ reading of twentieth century texts is increasing his ability to follow the progression of art history into contemporary art, he appears to be taking his time with this, which in the long term can only be beneficial and deepen his understanding. Mickos has gone through a tough few months but he has harnessed his emotions and is beginning to release them in his artwork. His new found interest in the futility of politics will hopefully bear fruit in the future.(12%)




Mickos’ overall score is well down at 65% on his previous best of 81% and apart from the distraction he has been through, I tend to feel he is laying solid foundations for the course going forward. With more regular practice and maybe slightly less theory he may realise the promise he is beginning to show.

Well Cleo, Mickos has overcome the trials and tribulations of part two of the course by the skin of his teeth, but I am back on the horse now, and relishing the challenge again.

My love as always,

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 07 02

Dearest Cleo

How are you, I have a surprise for you at the weekend to make up for me missing your quarter day, I am sorry I missed it, but things have been a little hectic lately, but I am sure the surprise will make up for my missing it.

Assignment 2

Well although this is the day 1 post for assignment 2, it is not the day one of thinking about it nor even the day 1 of doing it, but it is the day 1 of writing about it. After much thinking I decided the subject would be pool and the drawing would be done with my pool cue. I taped a piece of XL charcoal to the end of my pool cue and drew this;

Figure 1 (17 07 03 01) Pool 1 XL charcoal on A2 grey sugar paper

The drawing bit was not so hard as I thought it would be, I am quite used to the balance of my pool cue and as an aerobic exercise I often do Jedi training with my light sabre so I am a bit used to the cut and thrust of a weapon and I was able to brandish the pool cue with ease, even if it was a little longer than my light sabre.

For my second attempt I zoomed out and got the whole pool table in;

Figure 2 (17 07 03 02) Pool 2 XL charcoal on A2 newspaper

I had included some of the tracks of the balls in this attempt and I decided that this introduced a bit of movement so I tried again to depict the energy of making the break at pool;

Figure 3 (17 07 03 03) Pool 4 XL charcoal on A2 grey sugar paper

Over lunch I decided that it would be better if I could depict a whole pool match in my work. I opened a bottle of Chardonnay, found a suitable pool match on YouTube and proceeded to watch it several times in slow motion so that i could watch the movements of the balls and plot them with a set of ten different coloured Inktense pencils onto a sheet of graph paper. Mapping the break was the hardest, after that it became easier

Figure 4 (17 07 03 04) Inktense pencils on A3 graph paper

I was on more familiar territory now I had a sketch to work with and a modicum of experience with my tools and was able to produce this;

Figure 5 (17 07 03 05) For those of you watching in charcoal and chalk, the green is behind the blue XL charcoal and chalk on A2 grey sugar paper

The final piece works well on several levels, firstly it works as a diagram of a game of pool, secondly it records the passage of time while the game was taking place, thirdly it performs as a history painting recording a great event in the world of pool, fourthly it works as a map, fifthly it has a definate sense of movent to it for the eye to discern and follow a sequence and finally it was drawn with a pool cue and chalk to intensify the feel of the piece, using the materials of the piece to draw with.

I hope you like my drawings and I will see you at the weekend.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 07 02

Dearest Cleo

I hope you are well, I was sorry to hear that you had had a virus in the week and had missed a day at school but you looked fine yesterday so hopefully you are now back to your best.

The unseen university have asked that I hold on to someone I love through an object that reminds me of them, I have chosen your Great Granddad Jimmy. I kept the, I don’t know what they call them, but it’s the booklet that they give you so you can sing along with the hymns, when you go to a funeral, and the last thing he gave me, a bottle of Tullamore Dew.

I drew a portrait of him in charcoal from a photograph taken about a year ago and this is it.

Figure 1 My old Fella, Charcoal on A3 Watercolour paper

He has been sitting on the wall for a week or two now and his smile seems to me to get a little bit brighter when I play music, especially Irish music.

They say it is an ill wind that blows no one any good, and when I think about it now, it has put me more in touch with my emotions; my Dad would have liked that, that he could teach even the smart one things.

The tears are drying slowly but the expressiveness will remain with me forever.

Don’t fret for me girl, you seen me yesterday, so you know I am back on the horse, but occasionally I think of the part of me that died when I am alone and it feels happier with each passing day.

All my love

Mickos xxx

Dear Cleo 17 06 26

Dearest Cleo

I hope you are well it was good to catch up at the weekend and I hope you are enjoying the book I got you, I hope you will let me read it when you have finished it. Me? I have just fished reading the book I was reading on Cornelia Parker so I will try to tell you a bit about her.

Cornelia Parker

I am charged with giving my opinion on a drawing entitled Poison and Antidote drawing (2010).

Figure 1 (17 06 36 01) Poison and antidote drawing (2010) Cornelia Parker

Figure 2 (17 06 36 02) Poison and antidote drawing (2010) Cornelia Parker

These are the two drawings that are easily available on the internet both look like lungs, I suspect there are others with exactly the same title. These two are reminiscent of lungs. Cornelia seems to have a fixation for breathing with her squashed musical instruments in Breathless and the loss of breath would accompany rattlesnake venom poisoning.

Cornelia has been making Poison and Antidote drawings since at least 1996 and maybe still does. I sense she may only return to the series when she is in need of a few new pieces for her latest exhibition for surely the original joke must be wearing thin by now, unless she has other reasons to return to what has proved to be fertile ground

I can understand the basic concept relies on opposites of the black and the white, texture and smoothness, a sort of yin and yang, good and evil relationship, and even the allusion to danger and poison pen letters introduces by the use of ink in her process, these facts are almost a given.

Parker is prone to repetition but with subtle variations in the theme as can be seen in the various reincarnations of Thirty Pieces of Silver as Thirty Pieces of Silver Exhaled, Thirty Pieces of Slver (with reflection),Alter egos Still life with Reflections and Rorschach. Similarly Cold Dark Matter, Mass (Colder Darker Matter) and Anti Mass all of which are destroyed buildings The flattened musical instruments that have made at least two appearances as Breathless and Perpetual Cannon, It goes as far back as her early works with lead models of miniature cities but with each new reincarnation comes a new Slant on the original context, and a new title to explain the reincarnation. The Poison and Antidote drawings have never changed their title except once, when the two became one.

The two drawings in the British Museum are an early incarnation and the poison and the antidote are on two separate distinct drawings, only the black poison drawing is a Rorschach blot, the antidote drawing is an uncontrolled abstract piece, they are noted as a pair and said to represent Hitler and Freud. As a further difference the back venom of death is combined with silky smooth ink whereas the white antidote is combined with correction fluid to give it texture.

Later the Poison and Antidote are combined in the same Rorschach blot, maybe she saw the video on YouTube about Hitler being kind to his Alsatians or read a damming text about Freud and made the connection that good and evil are not nearly as far apart as we would like to imagine.

By 2010 it would appear that the poisoned ink went on first and the antidote correcting fluid was administered to return the paper to its pristine state, just as would happen in the real life snake bite situation. What was she trying to do, who knows but Parker herself, but I would wager her thoughts being far away from Hitler, Freud and Alsatians. I just had a horrible thought that it could be rude to call a German Sheppard an Alsatian.

With regard to the fact that Cornelia uses bits of her subject in her works, well yes and no, when did you last call your shed Cold Dark Matter or your church Mass or Anti Mass. You only know that it is a shed or a church because Cornelia tells you it is. They could just as well have been called A pleasant Arrangement of Objects and Light l, ll and lll and you would be none the wiser. Knowing the process increases the interest of the interested viewer and also gives rise to the “my five year old brigade”, do you think they would put your church in a gallery if your five year old set fire to it? Cornelia is more interested in art as a process than art as an object, art as an object shaped by time or circumstance.

I have stood in front of and all around of the David, the Angel of the North, a cast of Degas’ Fourteen year old dancer, the Venus of the Rags and countless Moore’s and Hepworth’s, they all had a big physical presence that have never adequately transferred to two dimensions. Sculpture has a wow factor that two dimensional art always fails to capture purely, I think, due to the lack of the third dimension and that the light is always so perfect whatever the viewpoint. However, when I saw the Birth of Venus at the Uffizi they had a small bas relief of the painting so that blind people could understand the painting, whilst I can appreciate the sentiment, I could not be asked to judge between the two, at least not while I was in the same room.

Well Cleo you now know a little bit about Cornelia Parker, I will bring the book with me at the weekend and show you the pictures in it.

All my love

Mickos x



Blazwick I. (2013) Cornelia Parker London: Thames and Hudson.|34484,|assetId=554866001&objectId=691359&partId=1

Dear Cleo 17 06 14

Dearest Cleo

Hope you and your Mum and Dad and Auburn are well, I was up at Nana Betty’s, at the weekend, she was asking after you and promised to visit soon. While I was away my drawing dried almost and I went back into it with the charcoal. It looks like this now.

Figure 1 (17  06 14 01) The impetuosity of Youth, acrylic, oils and charcoal on A3 mixed media paper

I lost the proportions of the central girl in a kind of Ingres way, but apart from that it doesn’t look too bad, the layering scraping business is defiantly a way forward to create better paintings, because by the nature of it, it retains the structure of the drawing with interesting mark making techniques.

I look forward to catching up on Sunday, I guess we will go to Celica’s for lunch to celebrate Fathers day.

Love as always

Mickos x

Dear Cleo 17 06 14

Dearest Cleo

It must be nearly half term for you, I hope you are looking forward to the holidays. I have my swimming kit in the boot of the car, so bring yours with you on Saturday and we will catch a swim.

I found some more scratching the first is an old chopping board I like the idea that the scratching took place over a long time.

Figure 1(17 05 31 01) Knifed, scratch marks on a polyurethane chopping board 250 x 200mm

The second two are not really scratching but they are caused by removing the air from an inflatable bed so the act of removal is present but it is the internal removal rather than an external removal. The only way I can think of replicating this process would be to paint on a Mylar balloon or a zip lock bag let the paint dry and then deflate.

Figure 2(17 05 31 02) Flatbed 1, folds in a deflated airbed 2200 x 1500mm

Figure 3 (17 05 31 03) Flatbed 2, folds in a deflated airbed 2200 x 1500mm

I hung the painting I did yesterday on the wall and I have decided it would look better if I went back into it with charcoal so I did and now it looks like this.

Figure 4 (17 05 31 04) What is he doing with the bread? Last Supper in an Italian Restaurant, Acrylic and charcoal on A3 Mixed media paper

The last step was really pleasurable to do, it was like drawing on a cave wall, art pure and simple, and it was so easy to bring out the forms. It has I think a believable recession and sense of space, my eye is entering from the bottom right corner, swooping down through the arm of the jacket up into the group on the right, following their gaze to see what they are looking at back through the other figures and across the table top and back into the right hand group and round again. There are lots of interesting textural marks to linger over and try to resolve, it is animated and there is just enough detail for you want to construct the remainder of the scene for yourself, I am already imagining the bits that aren’t there from the title.

I was as you can probably tell extremely pleased with the result, so I had another go with oils over acrylics working from the same sketch; this is how far I got before I had to set it aside to dry but although I think I know where I think it is going to go we will both have to wait until the next episode when it is dry enough to work on again.

Figure 5 (17 05 31 05) Acrylic and oil on A3 Mixed media paper

I am looking forward to catching up with you at the weekend and it is Fathers day, so you can buy me a present for working so hard and being such a good boy.

Love as always

Mickos x