Monday, January 31, 2011


Today began with the cat waking me at 2.30 am playing with motes of dust in my bedroom, skittering about the laminate flooring like a baby elephant. He then decided to pee in the bath and spent the next half hour sweeping in EVERY corner of the bathroom, my bedroom and the stairs.

At 4.30 after I had cleaned up any messes or presumed messes he had left I finally threw him - almost literally - out of the house.

My alarm clock goes off at 7 am. Long nights sleep then.

I finally scraped myself out of bed at 7.30, and started to get ready to drop the boy off at college and come to the studio. After throwing the cat out of the house again, off we go!

Halfway to college, I stop to let a bus pass me on a narrow stretch of the road and BANG! I am hit in the rear by a car skidding to a stop, using the rear of my lovely little van as a braking mechanism.

So today's early start, cracking on with the book and other things at the studio are now fully interrupted by telephone calls to insurance companies and garages.

We are both fine, just a bit annoyed, and wondering how much it will cost to repair the cracked rear body coloured bumper on my wonderful little Brian the box.

Monday, January 24, 2011

You Can't Change Your Mind Now

I did. I really did it.

I applied to Glasgow School of Art.


The selection of images to include in my e-folio took 5 days. Some went in, came out, went back in and came back out. Some didn't even make the first cut, then helpful friends asked why I hadn't selected such and such a picture it's their FAVOURITE.

Some were in until the final selection. Then were mercilessly binned as if so much rubbish.

One has gone in and I think it may have been a mistake to include it. And no Michelle it ISN'T the print of you. That was never in question. It is stunning and so are you!

Sketchbook pages montaged together in photoshop, life drawings crammed into one image, theming collections of drawings and paintings to match the completed works.

After which I had to write a folio statement. 12 hours of writing, rewriting, erasing and opinion gathering to get that looking like I actually know what I'm talking about and I have an idea who these artists are. Yeah OK, bluff and bluster.

Apparently its not good to admit that you think you blagged it onto your foundation degree when trying to blag your way into a really important art school. Huh? Who'da thunk it?

So now I wait. To see if I can hear the laughter from here, or to be invited for an interview.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Applications, alterations and augmentations

I have applied to university. That, I think, you all know.

I nearly didn't.

I went to uni a few years ago, but only completed 3 semesters. I had a major emotional collapse for many and varied reasons, but couldn't complete the course, didn't get the real support I needed to return and quit completely. It was, in short, a horrific experience.

And now I'm doing it all again. This time, however, I am not naively expecting everyone to be socially and politically aware. Or even intelligent. God forbid we waste education on the clever!

I put off applying, in fear and trepidation. What if I am rejected? OK, so I have put in insurance applications, just in case my first choice rejects me. What if something worse happens? What if they accept me and I fail all over again?

Right, Sam, pull your socks up, stop thinking negatively, you can and will do this, because this is the key to your future, you will be spending 3 years in a fantastic city in a historical building doing exactly what you love to do! How could it go wrong?

So the application went to my college tutor, who sent it back for corrections. Not the personal statement, apparently that was "so you", and was perfect in tone and expression. No some minor numerical details were needing adjusting.

At this point I could have completely chickened and 'just not got it done'. Failed by lack of time.

I made the corrections and sent it back. All that was needed now was a reference from my tutor.

It glowed, throbbing with bright fiery light that burned the eyes that looked upon it and the hands that held the flimsy copy, it was so good. I didn't recognise the person she was talking about. But at the same time, yes, that WAS me.


I might actually get in!

Ah but I still have to submit my portfolio. It will all go horribly wrong with that. bluff can only get you so far, but then you have to come up with the goods.

Looking at my work over the past 2 1/2 years I begin to see that, maybe, I may just about be able to squeeze a half decent portfolio of work out of it. Plus I have been printing a series of plates based on one drawing specifically for my portfolio. Just to show what I am capable of. That I can work in lots of different ways. I have ideas. I have skill. I have technical knowledge. I may even have talent.

And here is the latest addition to the portfolio. I really rather like it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Book, Chapter 2

First page completed of the next chapter in The Book.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Joy of Technology

I love technology. It can do so much for us. Look what I did with it.



I've not really animated anything before. I always thought it was far too difficult and time consuming to do it. Plus I didn't think I had the drawing skills needed. Ha! Little did I know!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

New Prints

I've been running 2 projects concurrently. I've not really got the time to do it, but I do it nonetheless.
The 1st project was highlighted in my last post, and that is moving along nicely, I spent 5 hours today working on that one.
The 2nd project is a printing project. I'm putting a print portfolio together, to tout around universities and anywhere else that seems like a good idea at the time.
Here are some of the prints I have been making recently.
Dry point on acrylic plate.
Lino print onto preprinted waste paper.
Lino print with scrim resist onto cartridge paper.
Reductive lino print onto print above.
Reductive lino print.
Reductive lino print onto pre-inked cartridge paper.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The First Chapter

I have finally finished the first chapter of my long altered book project, The Book.
The aim of the project is to retell the stories that are held in common between Judeo/Christian and Islamic stories from their holy books, most notably the Bible, but from other religious and spiritual perspectives.

So the first story is the creation story.

The one I chose to tell was that given to us by the Haida Native Americans. Look here for the full story.

Here are the illustrations. Please don't forget, however, that I am not an illustrator, and so I'll hope you are kind about the first book illustration project I have done.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Everyone who knows me knows that I am almost obsessed with corvids. Crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies and rooks. Love them and they appear in my work regularly.

I see them all over the place, greet them and have a good day when I see lots of them, but today is the best day ever for crows because on my way to the studio I saw one of the rarest sights corvid spotters ever see. A leucistic crow.

The image attached to here is a photo taken in July of the crow I saw today, by Pete Mella.

Leucism is caused by a reduction of the pigment in the skin, feathers and fur of the animals and differs from Albinism because pigment id present whereas in albinism the melanin pigments are not there at all.

To say I was amazed to see this bird is an understatement. I love to find wildlife in city settings, I love catching sight of urban foxes and hedgehogs and have always looked carefully for badgers and rabbits whenever I am driving on country roads at dusk, but to see such an unusual bird in a city setting has made me feel so blessed.

He looked fit and well fed, strong and so so alive in his surroundings.

To see such a rare creature this early in the year makes me feel positive for the year ahead and I hope his blessing stays with me and keeps him safe throughout the year.