Dear Cleo 18 01 01 02

Dearest Cleo

I was just tidying up the computer when I realised that I had forgotten to post the last life class drawings from 2017 so here they are in all their glory.

Figure 1 (18 01 01 01) Charcoal on A2 Sugar paper

Figure 2 (18 01 01 02) Charcoal on A2 Sugar paper

Figure 3 (18 01 01 03) Charcoal on A2 Sugar paper

Figure 4 (18 01 01 04) Charcoal on A2 Sugar paper

I hope you like the drawings and I will see you in the week.

my love as always

Mickos xx



Dear Cleo 18 01 01

Dearest Cleo

I hope you are having a good time at Granny C’s and I will catch up with you in the week when you get back. In the mean time I am carrying on with my parallel project.

Parallel Project Collaboration

Collaborating with Cubism

The original cubists, Picasso and Braque, worked by intuition to produce the cubist vision, it is worth noting that around the same time another genius in an unrelated field formulated the theory of relativity and Einstein, like Picasso and Braque, was concerned with the distortion of the space time continuum.

That space is distorted in cubist works is beyond doubt with multiple views of the subject from different viewpoints exacerbating Cézanne’s vision so that space is distorted almost beyond reason. What is not immediately apparent is the time aspect of cubism, the time that the artist spent walking around the subject, changing his viewpoint and selecting from the subject aspects to form a coherent whole. The viewer of the work must invest the time so that they can see the objects depicted in the work defined usually by the title of the work.

It was of vital importance to Picasso and Braque that their work did not tip into the realm of abstraction but remained in the sphere of reality. Braque introduced stencilled numbers and letters into his work for precisely this reason, there is concreteness in numbers and letters, that draws an image back into the realist sphere, for the same reason colle and papier colle reintroduced reality into their somewhat abstract vision, grounding their subjects in the realist sphere. A way in, if you like, for the viewer to invest the time to see how the cubists distorted the single point perspective view to create an alternative space time continuum.

With the above in mind, I embarked on a series of cubist style drawings to investigate the how to of cubism.

Figure 1 (18 01 01 01) Have you read the news today 1, collage and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

My first effort was using a still life set up concentrating on the collage aspect I found the introduction of the collage particularly helpful in organising the composition of the piece and the addition of the mild cubist distortion to the bottle, glass and newspaper has produced an easy on the eye style of cubism beloved of Sunday supplement editors. It also calls to mind the work of Patrick Caulfield, I would not have previously connected Caulfield with cubism but it is surprising who you encounter when you embark on a journey. I was unhappy with the apples, as an apple is round from whichever angle you look, I switched to pears for my next experiment.

Figure 2 (18 01 01 02) Have you read the news today 2, pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

I felt that starting with the collage restricted the freedom of the piece, after all Picasso and Braque did not start to use collage until after 1910, Gris later used collage extensively in his preliminary compositions but the constructive feel was not what I was looking for. The pears were a definite improvement on the apples, the objects are becoming more cubist like but in colouring and high viewpoint it reminds me of a Cezanne which is no bad thing, didn’t Picasso once say “Cezanne is the father of us all”

Figure 3 (18 01 01 03) Have you read the news today 3, collage, pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

By the third attempt I was becoming aware of the need to introduce tonal graduation across the planes to flatten out the image. It is still heavily influenced by Cezanne but there are vast areas of space broken only by the post added collage, a tighter crop is required to get rid of the vast areas of empty space. Picasso and Braque both acknowledged that it is difficult to make cubism work in the corners of the picture plane by using oval frames for their works.

Figure 4 (18 01 01 04) Have you read the news today 4, collage, pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

The objects are becoming more obscure requiring the viewer spending time reassembling them. This time the crop was closer and I spent a lot of time incorporating the table cloth as an object within the group. I like the way it writhes and steps up the picture plane, however the modelling on the apple on the left owes a little too much to Durer’s modelling of planes centuries earlier. I experimented with cropping in Photoshop and felt the below image busier and flatter and constricts the picture plane. I am becoming conscious of the influence of stained glass on cubism, maybe it is because of the flatness of both of the forms, or maybe because of the proliferation of stained glass in Paris and throughout the childhood of Picasso it was indeed a direct influence.

Figure 5 (18 01 01 05) Have you read the news today 4 detail, collage, pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

That the crop works brings forward another problem that I have never seen discussed or reported, it is well known that Picasso received a “classical” art education, how does this or does this not impact on the composition of his cubist work? That is a problem I will have to research later because I am currently avoiding looking at cubist works in order to get an intuitive feel for it.

Figure 6 (18 01 01 06) Have you read the news today 5, collage pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

Figure 7 (18 01 01 07) Have you read the news today 5 detail, collage pastel and sharpie on A2 sugar paper

I was quite pleased with this, the final colour work before deciding that the process may be a whole lot easier without colour.

Figure 8 (18 01 01 08) Have you read the news today 6, pastel and charcoal on A2 sugar paper

Figure 9 (18 01 01 09) Have you read the news today 6 detail, pastel and charcoal on A2 sugar paper

It was easier but gave rise to a further problem. I can see tribal masks and artefacts in it. I am an aficionado of neither, it cubism merely an offshoot of an earlier vision of an African Shaman? Whilst I am sufficiently experienced to examine at sufficient length the problem of composition raised above, I would not know where to start to research this new problem and anyway it would probably take a lifetime or two to establish any plausible link, maybe it is better to accept the conventional wisdom that Picasso was influenced by tribal art and leave it at that, but I do hate an unfully answered question.

Have fun at Granny C’s and we will talk in the week.

My love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 12 31

Dear Cleo

While you were doing maths this morning, I spent time watching Auburn draw on his new drawing machine, I don’t know what it is called, but you can draw on it and then erase the drawing by sliding a button across.

Parallel Project Collaboration

1.2 Drawing with Auburn

Figure 1 (17 11 10 01) Drawing 001 by Auburn progress stylus on drawing machine

Auburn’s attention span is quite short, there are so many things to capture his attention and his developing mind, so it was not so difficult to catch progress shots of his work.

Figure 2 (17 11 10 02) Drawing 001 by Auburn completion stylus on drawing machine

Figure 3 (17 11 10 03) Drawing 002 by Auburn progress stylus on drawing machine

Figure 4 (17 11 10 04) Drawing 002 by Auburn completion stylus on drawing machine

Figure 5 (17 11 10 05) Drawing 003 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 6 (17 11 10 06) Drawing 004 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 7 (17 11 10 07) Drawing 005 by Auburn stylus on drawing machine

Figure 8 (17 11 10 08) Drawing by Mickos stylus on drawing machine

One thing that struck me was the ephemeral nature of this type of art, you can’t stick a drawing machine to the fridge door, but there was something else as well, I am stopping analysing Auburns art as a psychological measure of his progress but beginning to look at it as Art with a capital A.

Twombly and Picasso for instance created art that resembled childlike drawings, but this was something they had to learn how to do whereas Auburn is a natural. People find the drawings of children delightful, could there be something in them that appeals to our DNA, primitive and childish art was incorporated into 20th century fine art, there could be more to this than meets the eye. It will definitely take more research I will report back when I have considered it some more, so many questions and so few answers

Congratulations on the hundred percent at maths class and I will catch up with you in the week.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 12 19

Dearest Cleo

I hope you are getting excited about Christmas, I am, it’s only a few days away now before the magic begins. In the meantime I am carrying on with my parallel project.

Parallel Project Collaboration

02 Dancing at the easel 

There is a famous photograph taken by Ker-Xavier Rousse of Cezanne at his easel and for all of the world you would swear he was dancing. I have been taking an easel to life class and am beginning to understand this phenomena, the tendency to dance at the easel seems to be a natural human reaction to an easel. There is another famous photograph of Cezanne by Gertrude Osthaust where he is dancing with a chair, maybe that day the easels were all busy, dancing with someone else.

Continuing with the theme of collaboration, when Cleo came round, I gave her my easel to play with along with some pens and some pastels. Having command of the easel, Cleo assumed the role of teacher, which was illuminating but far more important than that, she danced at the easel. Being young she is not so conscious of the camera and was quite natural in her movements.

Figure 1 (17 11 27 01) Cleo dancing at the easel 1 Digital photograph

Figure 2 (17 11 27 02) Cleo dancing at the easel 2 Digital photograph

Figure 3 (17 11 27 03) Cleo dancing at the easel 3 Digital photograph

Figure 4 (17 11 27 04) Cleo dancing at the easel 4 Digital photograph

Figure 5 (17 11 27 05) Cleo dancing at the easel 5 Digital photograph

Figure 6 (17 11 27 06) Cleo dancing at the easel 6 Digital photograph

Figure 7 (17 11 27 07) Cleo dancing at the easel 7 Digital photograph


Figure 8 (17 11 27 08) Cleo dancing at the easel 8 Digital photograph

Figure 9 (17 11 27 09) Cleo dancing at the easel 9 Digital photograph

Figure 10 (17 11 27 10) Cleo dancing at the easel 10 Digital photograph

Figure 11 (17 11 27 11) Cleo dancing at the easel 11 Digital photograph

Figure 12 (17 11 27 12) Cleo dancing at the easel 12 Digital photograph

While all this performance art was going on, some traditional art was produced as a record of the performance.

Figure 13 (17 11 27 13) Perspective pastel on A2 grey sugar paper

I think this is lesson one in perspective from one who could only intuitively know the meaning of the word, the close up flower, the middle distant tree and the far away sun. You can see from the dancing above that the tree came first, the flower pushes the tree into the background by overlapping and chroma and the sun though small asserts its power through colour.

Figure 14 (17 11 27 14) Freya charcoal and pastel on A2 grey sugar paper

I watched this being drawn and was overwhelmed by the single shapes that were drawn, Cleo drew the legs and tail with a single lines encompassing both sides of the contour, it was breathtaking to watch.

Figure 15 (17 11 27 15) Trace of an Artists book Sharpie on A2 grey sugar paper

Cleo made an artist’s book from her third piece, and together we drew around the holes in the page to trace the holes onto a new sheet of A2 Sugar paper

Figure 16 (17 11 27 15) The Boxers Sharpie and pastel on A2 grey sugar paper

A collaboration later in the evening inspired by the earlier work

What did I learn? Lots really, the perspective and linearality of the cave paintings is maybe an inbuilt human trait, needs more experiments and investigation really but it feels like a truth. I learned to have more confidence in my contour drawing, perspective is more relevant to the mind than the eye and dancing at the easel is the future and the past.  These are very big truths to draw from a single observation but are not to be forgotten lest a recurrence should occur.

Thank you darling for your help in my investigations and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 12 02

Dearest Cleo

Hope you are well, after Damien’s rottweiler and the fire next door I thought life was going to calm down a bit, no such luck, Last night at I was researching Pierrette Bloch on the internet there was a thunderous noise as a meteorite crashed through the ceiling.

I didn’t get a chance to look at the roof yet but thankfully the damage to the ceiling is fairly minimal. They say things happen in three’s and whoever they are, they are quite right.

I took a photograph of the damage to the ceiling to send to the insurers  but upon reading the policy I found the meteorite exclusion clause right next to the sanity clause, I guess I’ll just have to fix the hole where the rain gets in (TM Lennon McCartney) myself.

Figure 1 (17 02 12 01) The hole where the rain gets in, digital photograph

The living room floor held up so when the meteorite had stopped smoking I ventured close enough to take a photograph of it whatever it was made of, I don’t know and shudder to guess, but it had the power to reverse the perspective of its immediate surroundings.

Figure 2 (17 02 12 02) Meteorite, digital photograph

The dirt on the floor is a result of Freya playing in the burnt out building next door, I have already had two texts off the cleaner complaining about this, goodness knows what she would have texted if she had seen the meteorite in the middle of the floor.

I wrapped my hands in two plastic carrier bags that I had saved from before they banned them just in case a meteorite came to stay, picked up the meteorite and took it to the bins. I chose the recycling bin in the hope that someone at the recycling plant would recognise it for what it was and post it to Cornelia Parker who could make a proper job of recycling it.

Figure 3 (17 02 12 03) A meteorite’s tale, pastel and graphite on A2 grey and white sugar paper

On a more serious note, the “hole” in the ceiling is quite pretty, nodding not only to the renaissance but also to Lucio Fontana. It is not since renaissance times that ceiling art has been popular, but I think that the next time I decorate I will incorporate a meteorite hole in the ceiling, it makes a nice change from the boring white ceiling beloved by one and all. I have left my ceiling art in position, it is about time ceiling art became fashionable again.

It was good to see you this morning but you forgot to give me the letter to Santa so I can give it to him when he is in the pub, I will ring and remind you in the week so we can finally get it sorted out.

Love as always

Mickos xx

Dear Cleo 17 11 27

Dear Cleo

I hope you are well, me, well there is always something new to do at the OCA, today’s new thing is the parallel project, I m not really sure how to deal with this but I think if I Keep going with the head down it may turn into something good.


Parallel Project Collaboration

1.1 Drawing with Auburn

The start point for my Parallel Project is to chart the growth of drawing in human beings from an early age, I am going to collaborate with Auburn and chart his drawing ability. At eighteen month he has only just started to hold a pencil so I think that by charting his progress, I may discover some of the secrets of drawing.

For three months I have collected Auburns drawings and watched Auburn draw. This is the first drawing that he produced during that period.

Figure 1 (17 11 09 01) Drawing 001 by Auburn 25 March 2017 ink on A5 Cartridge

This, the first drawing I collected is particularly impressive, Auburn was new to drawing and seemed keen to impress his adult friend who had trusted him with the pen and a sketchbook. What did he know, not an awful lot. I didn’t interfere being careful not to disturb the tabula rasa that was Auburn except to invert the drawing. What can Auburn see in it? I will never know, he had not yet the vocabulary to explain.

What did I, his collaborator see in it, Joseph and Mary on their way to Nazareth with an embryonic infant Jesus X rayed in the Virgins womb, complete with a shadow of the cross. That is probably the problem with no longer being a child, the tendency to over think things. I also thought it reminded me.

It also reminded me of Head of Germaine Reynal by Juan Gris and it was from Gris that I collaborated with Auburns drawing to produce this.

Figure 2 (17 11 09 02) Star Wars character inspired by Auburn and Gris, ink on A5 Cartridge

As an aside, Juan Gris was the first student of cubism, although Gris was an early cubist, it fell to him to provide rules and explanations that assimilated Picasso and Braque’s intuitive cubism into the continuum of the Western Art Cannon.

Hope you like the drawings of Auburn, Gris and me and I will catch up with you at weekend.

All 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