Thursday, 12 October 2017

Under The (Her) Thumb: Or: The Life Of A Well-Trained Stepdaughter

"...Maybe a few more years in that mental hospital would be GOOD for you, straighten you out a little and stop your complaining.  But perhaps that's where you belong - in a mental hospital - PERHAPS this time I'll just leave you there...PERMANENTLY!"  You can imagine her coughing haughtily or perhaps adding a little mocking laugh, the calling out to her visitor by way of greeting: "...just come on in, Edith - ignore the girl; she's just a servant!"

People often ask what is likely to happen to the girl after a few years spent incarcerated in a suitably secure institution (I always think in terms of a few years rather than months). Well I came across this image and it immediately suggested one particular scenario I am fond of - I think it was the girls facial expression of (not QUITE total) resignation. 

Of course it is important she wear something designed to keep her firmly in her place, both in her own mind and in the eyes of others who might see her around the house, scrubbing floors and so on. This outfit wasn’t QUITE perfect - I had to fiddle around with it a bit - but close enough to suggest what might be going on (and NO: I don’t want to know what is really going on!) And I kind of like the colour for some reason (which I've enhanced a smidgen): I’m sure we don’t ALL want to see those same old black and white maid’s uniforms ALL the time; and somehow THIS looks just that bit more demeaning, being I think suggestive of its suitability for a girl expected to be carrying out only the most basic of menial tasks around the house.

I’d imagine, incidentally, that by this stage psychologically speaking she’d be something of a cripple, virtually incapable of making any kind of decision for herself - even simple ones - and near totally dependent on others to give her orders for her to obey without which she’d be lost.  All this having been said: she might not quite realise herself to what an extent all this is true (I’m not sure where this bit is going  - I need to have a think about it, and the ramifications for my character’s future development, if ‘development’ is quite the right word!)

( Title with more than a nod to a certain song lyric, which spawned many an early thought back in the day!)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Upstairs - Downstairs: As If To Prove a Point: Domestic Discipline Has Never Been Like This!

My vision: DOWNSTAIRS there is a party - music and laughter rings out; perhaps it is Christmas; perhaps it's our heroine's Guardian's birthday; perhaps it is just for the hell of it. UPSTAIRS the only sound is the rhythmic swisssshhh crrrack of the cane - five - six - seven - eight  - evenly spaced, timed to mechanical precision by synchronisation to a swinging metronome, one stroke for every four clicks, applied plum on that fourth click with each click one second apart.  There is of course a sobbing mewing and sharp intake of breath interspersed with a softly-spoken counting of each stroke, the count to be given on the second tick of the metronome after each stroke. There are floods of tears even on the mere setting of the metronome swinging nowadays, even in the ABSENCE of the cane. 

Nurse Hilda does many things to the beat of the metronome - or rather she requires her charge to do many things, perform many actions, to the insistent never-varying beat of the metronome; she has turned that simple measuring device of musical tempo into a punishment in its own right; she has been known to leave it running all night, on the side by the girl's bed; the irony tickles her pink; you see the girl was all set to become a music student; she'd earned a scholarship; she'd studied hard; she'd LIVED by the beat of that metronome; and now she DOES live by the beat of that metronome; she even has the girl chew her food to its rhythm.  

Nurse Hilda - clever woman that she is - has even developed her own modification of the timing device, a truly diabolical modification, although to appreciate HOW diabolical - unless gifted with the sheer imagination of the good nurse - one would have to experience it in conjunction with the straitjacket for a few days and nights; it simply rings a bell, a simple 'ding', every certain number of clicks, the number of which she can set at will; THAT'S how you produce docile acceptance of the cane, strap or even over-the-knee hand spanking (Nurse Hilda always uses a leather glove) - you create  an even worse experience, something your subject can be encouraged to develop quite literally a PHOBIC dread of...

So there is the rhythmic clicking, there is the muted cries of the girl (she knows not to cry out loud or beg for cessation for fear of an increased number of strokes), there is the girl's counting of the strokes - although that will cease at twelve this particular day , since that is the number Nurse Hilda has prescribed, to be replaced by lavish heart-felt thanks for having been corrected in this manner - and of course there is the creaking of the leather straps securing the straitjacket. And there is something else too... 

Bang on the eleventh stroke - so near, but so far - a little bell has sounded, a tinkling little bell - and the girl's weeping redoubles; she has just earned another six strokes.  She has failed to keep absolutely still, and her wriggling and jerking has been given away by a tell-tale bell, actually six tell-tale bells. She has six little silver jingle bells sewn around the reinforced neck and collar of her tough PVC straitjacket; there is a similar arrangement around the neck of the pyjamas that she usually wears, and the cuffs at her wrists and around the bottom of each leg (outdoor clothes are never worn when you're a mental patient - as Nurse Hilda often tells her) - it is an arrangement that make for a wonderful enhancement to deportment training; and all manner of other forms of discipline; and deportment training IS important, even FOR a mental patient.  

And that latter point is her great fear of course - that Nurse Hilda will one day succeed in convincing her guardian to allow her to have her 'put away' in that secure psychiatric care home she says she knows of, where no questions would be asked and where she - Nurse Hilda - could, as she likes to say "REALLY get to grips with the girl".  Not that she has actually SEEN her guardian for a VERY long time; the woman might not even still live in the same house any more for all she knows; Nurse Hilda is very jealous of being in TOTAL control of her care; Nurse Hilda is adamant her face should be the only one her charge sees and her voice the only voice the girl hears; obedience is everything; and dependence breeds obedience; and Nurse Hilda demands TOTAL obedience. Her guardian knows what is going on though; there are cameras.  And her Guardian DOES enjoy watching proceedings; and that is something else Nurse Hilda is always fond of reiterating...

Discipline Under Medication?

This just a jumble of images - a sort of collage - at the moment; and ALL of it needs more work.  In particular the shortcomings with my isolation of Roger Benson's woman figure (originally holding a hair brush but now equipped with a wickedly pliable looking punishment cane) - but also the girl figure once removed from her grey shading layer - are made more apparent once backgrounded by the nurse's uniform dress and now I realise there is still a fringe of her original shaded background here and there, which is irritating.  

So this is all a bit experimental and if you click on the image and check out the file name you'll spot the word 'socks' in there which is how this started out, by my playing around and considering putting socks on the girl.  But I also wanted to play around a bit more with acquiring a halfway decent colour pic of the so-called 'National' nurses' uniform dress of the 1970s, which I have a personal love affair with and which was the inspiration behind by trying to apply that particular check pattern and that particular shade of blue (which I still haven't got right) to Mr Benson's wonderfully drawn 1950s / late 60s woman.  

The thing is that there seems to be a number of fairly high quality B&W photographs around but none to speak of in full colour (I have myself scanned a couple of colour pics in from an old Alexandra Workwear catalogue in the past but they were not very large and didn't scan very well - I seem to remember an even older edition had a full page colour pic but I don't have that one).  So basically I have found myself attempting to colourise the best monochrome pic I colour find - and trying to get that bloody shade of blue right; and trying to get the belt right too, which in my mind ought to be white, and is VERY important for some reason which I cant quite put my finger on.  

Much effort on my part was also expended on creating the spoon and medication, which is intended for another image.  In my mind our young heroine has just had an absolutely agonising and will-sapping caning for refusing her medication.  Now I now of at least a few visitors here who much prefer to think of such discipline taking in the domestic environment, to whom I would say that for my part I don't think the presence of a young woman in a nurse's uniform dress definitely marks out the scenario as necessarily institutional.  Actually I am quite enamoured with the idea of some part of the home having been set aside in some way, isolated from the rest and furnished with all the paraphernalia required to keep a headstrong young lady under control.  

As for the stockings: I quite agree their presence is anything like perfect.  On the other hand, I am not at all sure socks would be right either (white or otherwise).  Surely bare feet are the order of the day?  But have you considered (particularly in the the institutional environment) that on occasion she might be required to wear girdle, stockings and 'heels' for a short while (perhaps while undergoing one-to-one psychological appraisal and counselling) as a sort of cruel reminder of the 'normal' world outside the secure high-walled confines of the care home she has found herself detained in and which she is no longer part of and of her old life?  

Views anyone? For example: Pyjamas with a PVC or latex tabbard worn over the top - perhaps labelled with a 'diagnosis' designed to influence the way people treat her? Pyjamas alone?  Or a one piece dress type of thing such as seen on the girl here?  Or something entirely different? And does it matter whether she is confined at home in some way or institutionalised somewhere nice and isolated?

You'll have to wait a little to see your words in print - not my fault; it is the fault of those who would plant there spam here - but I'll get 'em up and also responded too ASAP.  The trouble is that when I am out and about - as I will be in a moment or two (going down the pub - The Tollgate anyone?) I am at the mercy of the WiFi providers and nowadays blogs and websites such as this one of mine are often blocked.  Bye for now!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Another Roger Benson Recolouring Job

Another Roger Benson recolouring job - well, colourising job really. I created the rubbery-looking polythene dress some time ago, but it took an entire day getting the girl figure into it. I hope it was worth it - let me know what you think! 

It’s still unfinished by the way - just a sketched out idea at the moment - and there is going to be some words added at some point. The colourised girl figure was part of something I knocked up for my own amusement and also practise and to test out different techniques when I was working with Roger Benson, manipulating some of his artwork and creating what I call ‘new Bensons‘.  The woman figure is another of Bension's I did a version of and I just cleaned it up a bit and stuck it in this pic here to give it some kind of context.  Ditto with the polythene or latex (you decide - which would YOU prefer? Why not drop me a line and tell me) dress; which you'll have seen before - right here!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A New Addition - And a Hint of Things to Come

This one is rather obviously based on one of Mr Wringer’s works - I do hope he doesn’t mind but I created this some time back primarily for my own amusement, based on something I was (and still am) writing (and the plot really isn’t as straight forward as it seems here - nothing is quite as it seems…no, it’s worse!).  The nurse figure is in three parts, not least of which is the belt buckle, which I found important (to me at least) for some reason but which took a little while to get right in terms of perspective. I was looking at this today and thought I liked it too much not to share it with you (it didn't have the belt buckle though - I added that in today, as outlined above. Click on it to see full size - otherwise you'll have difficulty reading it.

By the way: I added in the window simply because I like the idea of there being a beautiful sunset out there - albeit it grossly distorted by the frosted glass - which our poor unfortunate detainee is quite unable to enjoy; it is sort of a metaphor for the way in which time, life and experiences are passing her by and how her financial and other affairs have been cleverly placed out of reach and beyond her control.  I'm sure you get what I mean. 

See you next time. Garth

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

An Anatomy of an Image - Step by Step Evolutionary Progress: From the Innocent to the Decidedly Less So

 The interesting thing is, this dress was never - in so far as I know - intended for nursing and as part of a nurse's uniform.  It was a Bri-nylon style which appeared in the Alexandra Overall (later Alexandra Workwear) ( please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong)  All of which begs the question; What was going on in the original image?
 So - someone sent it me and asked me to colourise it for him (perhaps surprisingly I've never done that before, so had to work out my own techniques as I went along) and green is what he wanted (so green is what he got!)
 So then I tried to improve things a bit, trying to recapture that bri-nylon sheen that the original monochrome had (and also changed the pyjamas to blue - dunno why, coz they're always green striped in the stuff I've been writing of late).

Since it was a doddle, having got this far to change the colour of the dress I thought you'd like to see how it would have appeared in the Alexandra catalogue (or as close to the original shade of blue I could get - there's a little bit of artistic licence at work here: the original was a darker shade but would not have shown up well here).  I think other 'colour ways' would have been available (I'd imagine) but I've only ever seen blue - I'll try to find an original catalogue pic at some point to show you

And then I got carried away.. .off in my own little world. Now I've given her a brand new face (to protect the innocent from the ravages of my dodgy imagination) and posed her in a computer-generated background which was created by Angela Fox some years back (2010, for this set) for an illustrated version of my INSTITUTIONALISED 3 work (which I still hope to get completed) although it works well with the present written project I am working on.
And finally... Well, you get the idea!  See you again soon folks!  PS: 'Green Wellies': I've not abandoned that project I started back at the end of 2014 (with a bit of input from 'Das Flute') - I is mostly written but needs refinement and editing and stuff, but now that I'm a bit more sorted out I'm revisiting it on a near daily basis with the intention of getting something out before the Weatherspoons (a chain of cheap - ish pubs here in the UK) Autumn beer festival starts (October 11th - but I wont get involved to around half way through, perhaps the 16th)... See yo later, peeps!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Under The Care of a Very Special Nanny

At last, after a whole summer of all manner of personal trials and tribulations, I am back at the coalface and working away to try to do something with all those manipulations I did for Roger Benson.  This is NOT one of those, but I like it anyway.  It's SUCH  a shame you don't see those old-style nurses' uniforms any more though.  Any thoughts on colour? Those dresses didn't only come in blue or white. Personally I think for the role suggested here this sort of lavender shade works really well.  So... What is YOUR opinion.  Anyway suffice it to say that for our hapless young heroine here I'd imagine she's soon to be waving goodbye to designer wear and satin lingerie and saying hello to hospital-issue pyjamas, plastic pants and locking mittens.  Bye for now.  Garth