Sunday, November 29, 2009

The clams, the clams, they made me mad you know.

A finished clam. Enjoy.

Got rid of the rubbish scan and uploaded a better one.

THE Book 6

I'm having trouble with my clam shells.

No, start again.

I'm having a struggle with the source material for my clam shells.

No, still wrong.

I'm totally skint and my flipping printer has run out of ink and I can't print off any decent pics of clams shall from which to work to find the right image for my altered book.





Enough whinging.

I'm actually making some good progress with what I have, but I have this stupid idea that I could do better if I had more of them, and if they were full colour, and I could work at my desk instead of in front of the computer monitor. You see my problem, I'm making excuses for not actually getting the work done.

Less of the excuses. Wanna see what I've done so far on my sketches and drawings of clam shells? Not going to do hundreds of them, but I'm looking to do a couple of larger pieces to add to the general portfolio of work for THE Book.

The raven is not proving to be as difficult, and I got a lot of books from the library with some very good photos and illustrations. I even managed to do really rather interesting prints using foam board as a printing plate. Not very sturdy, so it's rather falling to bits now. One last print run from it I think before it goes to the great press in the sky, (well OK the bin).

So here we are, some finished and nearly finished drawings and prints. Be kind, I'm delicate.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Everyone should carry a sketchbook with them, to draw impressions they get of the world around them, involve themselves in the narratives that surround us.

Aside from that I'm supposed to be an artist, interested in the human form, so I really need to be sketching people wherever I see them. To this end I always carry a sketchbook with me and at least 1 pencil and a pen. Sometimes it becomes a notebook because i forgot to bring my filofax, but mostly I am sketching in it. I'm not great, but I am improving and beginning to develop a style of my own, which is more important that accuracy, apparently.

Here's a selection from the past couple of weeks. Feel free to laugh, it's ok to laugh honest, I'm listening to Leonard Cohen, so i can cope with anything! Now where did I put the Prozac?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love sweeties

Today I am mostly obsessing about sweeties I ate when I was a child and doing something artistically interesting with the yards of videotape I have been given with the challenge of making a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl with it. If you get that film reference you deserve a sweetie. Let me know what you like and I will go to the magic sweetie shop and buy you some.

I think I may be suffering from a technology overdose, having been deprived, and I mean deprived, of the internet for 4 days. 4 DAYS. FOUR WHOLE DAYS!!!!!!!!

Calm thoughts, calm thoughts.

OK back to ( not quite approaching) normal.

Sweeties, I love 'em. I found a sweet shop in Hillsborough, which is the bit of Sheffield that thinks its quite posh, but it not really that posh 'cos it's in the North of Sheffield, and the proper posh places are what used to be Derbyshire and feel aggrieved that the boundary reshuffle in 1972 made them part of Sheffield, and in revenge they keep electing the Liberal Democrats instead of, well, a real party.

Bit of politics there.

Where was I? Oh yes, sweeties. I was, literally and figuratively a kid in a sweetie shop today. They had everything including sherbet in big jars, cherry lips, and my old faves, aniseed balls and the really hard sticks of liquorice you have to suck for a week to make it soft enough to chew. The stuff that leaves you with a brown tide mark around your mouth and chin. Numma numma numma.

As for the video tape, I'm crocheting with it. It's a bit strange to do it with, but it works and looks quite cool. Try, go on now you've got all your video collection replaced with DVD's and Blu-rays, crochet those old video tapes into beautiful items of jewellery and handy shopping bags.

I'll return to being a boring person soon, promise. This is what happens when I am cut off from technology. Let this be a warning to you all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The canvas 10

Interesting that all the work I've put into this piece is summed up in 10 posts.

It is done, stretched on its frame and ready to be delivered to college tomorrow or Friday morning.

I am now very tired and very, very pleased with myself.

On top of completing the canvas, as yet untitled, I have also been asked to send a proposal for providing art workshops to young people at risk of offending. Dream job! I was so excited when I got the phone call I jumped up and down on the spot. Not a thing to do in public with my breasts!

Would love to say more, but need to get head into gear over the next couple of days to write business plan for life drawing and to start writing the proposal for the art workshops.

Here is the finished work, just for the hell of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I don't do boredom, I've got nothing to do. Well actually I do, but I'm tired and need a day off, should I take it? I did the pots, and the accounts, and I'm modelling later, then on to a meeting after.

The question is, do I now finish off the canvas, fill the sketchbook with some of the mad polystyrene prints, make fish pie and treacle tart ready for tea when I finally get home (of course this is dependant on how hungry the boy is and whether he can manage to NOT EAT MY SHARE), or do I finally start on the books and bags I have to make for stock for the imaginary craft fayres I should be going to?

What to do........what to do.....oh and no-one's playing scrabble! Why?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Life Drawing

Been having a bit of a dissatisfying time at life drawing over the past few months, feeling like I don't get there often enough and I can't focus, and then people come who I've never seen before and they are just ace at drawing and I'm a complete waste of paper. Decided to really start working at developing my skills, to which end I have decided to try using a different method of drawing than my usual.

The method I'm using is the Giacometti method, which I read about in a blog ages ago, and if I can find the link again I'll post it.

Ah, here it is.

Very useful, even though I've only used it a couple of times previously, I have had some success with it.

So today, I consciously used the Giacometti technique and it worked really well, so in future I will be more considered in the way I draw the longer poses at the life drawing class.

Here's what I did today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The canvas 9

Finished it! Yay!

Well I say I've finished it, I've hung it on the wall to live with it a couple of days to see if it actually is finished and then I have to stretch and mount it. Plus I have all the sketchbook work to catch up on. I may also do some printing with the polystyrene plate I made yesterday. Always good to do some printing.

Plus I remembered that fun foam sheets are excellent printing media. So I may have a play with those too. Lots to play with.

Anyway here's the finished(ish) canvas. Answers on a postcard please. now!

Friday, November 13, 2009

THE Book 5

I have been making quite a bit of progress with this lately, although I've still not got all of the elements of the creation story together yet, I need a good drawing of a clam shell with legs and arms sticking out!
These are a couple of testers for the primeval gods that occur frequently in creation stories, variously vomiting, pissing, bleeding or extruding from nipples the stuff of life all over the planet. Although I quite like some of these stories, they are excessively complex and convoluted. I wanted a simple story that fitted with my own preferences and ideas.
So working from the chaos, I found a raven's eye, peering through the chaos, looking for entertainment.As he looks, the sun is formed and in the sky flies the raven, searching still for distractions. From here I am looking for an image of the raven that is both fairly natural looking, but at the same time mystical and stylised. To this end I have started to draw ravens.
Firstly I drew them from illustrations photocopied from books. Never a satisfactory way to get a good view of anything. Then I went back to the library and borrowed the books I needed. This was better because the illustrations are clearer and some are even photographs!
Then I traced over the outline of a particularly good drawing and have started to develop this image further in print.
This is the plate that came from it, using foam board of all things, which is rough and ready but meets my immediate printing needs. The plan is to explore this printing medium, with a view to using it on a smaller scale in the book. Probably using polystyrene as a printing plate, which gives a finer effect, but is still as immediate as the foam board, and both can be printed effectively without the need for intaglio inks or a press.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OMG, I've gone insane!

So, I pack my secure job in with the NHS and don't have a job to go to. The least of my problems.

I'm running out of money and the bills are mounting up. Not a problem.

I'm getting loads of life modelling work, for which I'm paid fairly well. Great news.

I've got to register as self employed and learn how to pay my tax, national insurance and do my books myself. Oh bloody bugger, how the hell do I do that?!

So I phone tax credits up, then I phone the tax office, who will send me an info pack, send me on a seminar to do my taxes and a self assessment form will be wending it's way to me. That's the easy part.

I now have to organise a set of books, a reciept file, and invoice file and at the same time model, got to college and sell my work!

Oh yeah, because I had to think of a name for me as a trading name, I am now Sam Dexter Enterprises! OMG! I'm an enterprise! One step closer to Star Trek then!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My journey with computers

I decided I wanted a picture on the back of my blog, like other people have so I added one, with the help of a tutorial and a lost of scary writing code and I did it! I'm so proud of myself for doing it!

Do you like it? It's a photogram i did last year.

Now back to the annoying sewing which is proving to be very frustrating and I'm getting increasingly annoyed at the crap cotton that keeps snapping everytime i try to sew for more than 2 minutes at a time.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The canvas 8

Gradually working on the stitching, but the sewing threads selected for their colour and sheen to provide the best stitched effect are pants and keep snapping. Argle, very annoying.

However, sat and watched 2 episodes of the big bang theory and laughed my pants off. Series 2 is a little slow to start, but the jokes are as good as the spherical chickens in a vacuum one from series 1. Sadly, and happily living with Josh is a little like living with Sheldon only without the good jokes!

Right I've now eaten the yoghurt and will be continuing with the stitching shortly.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The canvas 7

More progress on the canvas, all the painting done and ready now for the stitching. Nervous about doing it, but I know what I want to do with it so I should be OK. At least this bit can be undone if it looks manky.I've also been making books the past couple of days, one for a present and I forgot to take a picture of it and one for an order book for me. Considering I'm starting to get people wanting me to make stuff for them, so I need to keep a record of what when and how they want their stuff making. Here's some pics of what I've done so far.
Spent the morning modelling and then food shopping after having a fab night over at my mate Angie's house for her birthday. We had a curry at the best curry house in Sheffield, the Kashmir on Spital Hill, then much wine, women and not a great deal of song at Angie's. She makes me laugh so much. Got to spend the night cuddled up to my mate Debbie.

It's funny actually 'cos when I was younger I used to stay over at friend's houses all the time and sleep in their beds, but haven't done it for years, and now suddenly I'm out overnight and spending nights cuddling my mates. It's really nice, even when they complain about my snoring. I do warn them, repeatedly. I snore like a fluey elephant. Real window rattlers. Oh well, it all adds to the fun.

Made fish stew with herring for tea, and big fluffy dumplings were also served with this culinary delight. Never used Herring before, full of bones! Nice though, it was a really nice thick and filling dinner. If anyone wants the recipe I'll post it later. Won't bore with it now.

Kinsey is on Film Four in a bit, but I think I'm too tired to watch it. Bit of an annoyance really, but I know I'll get half way through and either fall asleep or just not have any attention span.

I'm off to bed in a mo. Tired and busy day tomorrow. Got emails to send and sewing to do. Plus I may have to make a frame for my canvas.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Another night out

Over the past few years I have become miserable and antisocial, stayed in, hardly ever went to birthday do or other things, became a bit of a hermit. Not now. Oh no!

I was out last week for my leaving do, and this week I'm off to a birthday meal and next week I have another birthday do to go to. Gosh I wish I'd been this popular when I was young and gorgeous!

In honour of Angie, whose birthday do it is tonight, I have made a book for her. I was shown how to layer plastic upholstery sheets to make bags, and I decided, as I do, to use it to make and cover a book. It works great. It looks brill. Sorry can't add a photo, present not given yet!

I will post pics of the second one I have done later, when it is actually finished, so you can see the basic idea. It is also a useful technique for making buttons. I will demo this too.

Sorry this is a bit of a dull posting, just realised I'd not posted for a couple of days and I thought I'd share the dullness that is my life.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Submissions for Winter Open

Not a lot to say really. The works submitted to the winter open.

I am a bit knackered

I have been blogging a lot over the past few days, mainly because I have had a massive outflow of creativity, but as with all energetic outpourings, I have tired myself out and need to have a bit of a a rest.

I am close to finishing the painting part of my canvas, and the stitch work should go fairly quickly, as I already have the machine and the threads out and selected for the two tester pieces, and a very clear idea of how I want it to look and how I should proceed.

I also need to be making a birthday sketch book for my friend, Angie, and a wedding album for my friend Sharon, so I can put the photos I took on her wedding day into it.

In addition to this, I need to make a start on Christmas presents for the people I love, and to start building stock for the craft fayres I really need to start going to as soon as possible. Work? Sorry no time! Soon to have no money! Oh well, what's the worst that can happen, losing my house? Nah, been homeless before, it's a doddle! Lose my stuff? Easy peasy, done it. Lose my car? Oh no never! They can take my life but they'll never take my car! (In Hollywood style Scottish accent)




Sorry, back now, just had to blow raspberries on the cat's belly. He hates it when I do that, so clearly I have to keep doing it. He'll figure it out in the end. The big fat cat did. Now he loves it.

Listened to a radio 4, the Moral Maze today, what a pile of uninformed rubbish, allegedly a debate about the power of Twitter and Facebook and whether it is fed by a mob mentality or is a positive force for political engagement and change. Clearly biased as the chair wouldn't allow a positive example of what FB and Twitter can achieve, and they only wanted to talk about the "mob" reaction to Jan Moir's article, claiming that despite the fact we "claim" to want freedom of speech, we don't want other people to be able to exercise it. Tosh, piffle and bilge water! I want everyone to have freedom of speech, even that toss pot Nick Griffin. What I really want is for people to intelligently and articulately prove that he's talking bollocks and that he is an uneducated deliberately ignorant fool who doesn't deserve the air he breathes. This is the responsibility of freedom of speech. Rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin. Say what you like, but accept the consequences.

So Jan Moir, write what you like, but take the flak! We all know it was prejudiced, homophobic, uninformed ignorant crap, you just need to learn to read better, because clearly you didn't read the coroner's report AT ALL! Otherwise you wouldn't have made such glaringly stupid errors in your article.

Erm.....sorry I hadn't intended to rant, but I think I accidentally pressed the rant button. I've switched it off now. Normal(ish) service will be resumed shortly.

Oh yeah, here is a pic of the latest canvas, the full sized one, in progress.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Exit Questionnaire 2

It's set me thinking now, while I'm waiting for the paint to dry on the three things that I am doing at the same time, that an exit questionnaire would be quite useful in many situations. Also, do you get one when you die, as you are waiting to enter heaven/hell the next life? How would it look?

Oh I think I may have hit on something here.

Exit Questionnaire for the Recently Deceased

1. Why did you leave your last life

2. Did you have a satisfactory journey from that life to here?

3. Were your family aware of your impending departure?

4. Did you remember to make a will and if not would you like to witness the infighting in respect to your assets/debts?

5. Did you plan to live in eternal peace and harmony, or will you be surprised by what happens next?

6. If offered the option of reincarnation what would like to be?

7. Is there anything that we could do to improve your stay in heaven/hell/the next incarnation?

Just a few quick thoughts. Hey I could've done one for the end of my last relationship. Except of course that was already sorted out by the 3 page email.

Do we expect to understand every one's reasons for doing things when often it is simply impulse in most cases? Oh it's all getting a bit deep for me.

I wonder if the paint is dry..........................

Exit Questionnaire

When you leave the NHS, I'm not sure about anywhere else, you get a nice little form to fill out that asks why you left and what could be done differently.

This questionnaire has had me in tears completing it, telling the people at Human Resources how raw and painful I am about having no option but to leave my job, and how uncaring the Nursing profession is.

Rife with bullying Sisters and staff nurses, racism is a daily occurrence and the staff shortages are becoming dangerous to patients.

I have seen a staff nurse spend the entire day completing an essay for a course she is expected to do, while ignoring her patients and failing to order equipment needed the following day, and think NOTHING of it. I have seen people paid to maintain the stock i a department deny that it is anything to do with them in a corridor, because they don't care about what it means to have no stock in the clinical area. I have seen patients sent from one department to another covered in their own poo because the staff in the first area don't have the time or inclination to clean the patients. And the latest initiative from the Government is "Releasing Time to Care" because little old ladies are starving to death in hospital because no-one is feeding them. Anyone see the irony in this?

Sorry bitter, ex-NHS employee on the loose. All will return to normal soon. Well as normal as I get.

The Canvas 6

Finally finished the test pieces, number 2 is looking very good. I'll be getting on with the final canvas tomorrow. I know what I want to do and how to do it, it'll just be way bigger than the testers.

Here is the finished tester number 2. I'm off to bed now.

Monday, November 02, 2009


I think I may be having a bit of a bad day.

Please ignore any references that you may find miserable and complaining. I expect to have some work lined up by now, but nothing is happening. NHS Professionals are being positively obstructive, because their stupid online forms only give you 20 minutes to complete them, but they take at least 45 minutes to complete.

Whinge moan, complain, general grumbling and miserable noises. There that that out of my system.

Good news is I am actually getting on with the test pieces, and they are starting to look quite good. Going to go in the bath once my cotton on Farmville is ready to harvest and I can plant something new. More sewing in the meantime.

No photo today. Feeling grumpy. Sorry.

THE Book 4

Has a moment of total inspiration last night. Many thanks to Jan. Finally have the first page of the creation tale in the book. Yay. Probably looks dreadful on a computer screen, but here goes.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

THE Book 3

I think I may well become a bit of a bore with all of this posting just to show some progress to the three people who actually read my blog.

The title page is finally done, I have truly begun THE Book! At last! This idea has been kicking around my head for a couple of months and is finally finding itself to be a reality.

Here for your perusal is said page. Be gentle with me!

The canvas 5

Another test piece started, and the final canvas underway, but waiting for how the tester goes. Not a lot of commentary for this, but I have used watered acrylics in this, to allow the collage to show through. Starting to get there and I will have it finished by the deadline, only a week and a half away, but it will be close.

Here's the latest image. Thoughts please.


THE Book 2

Finally i have started to actually put stuff in The book. That's all nothing more to add. The image speaks for itself.