I’m on Day 86. I had originally planned to read a page a day of Great Expectations by Dickens and create a piece of art a day that somehow relates to what I read. This project has been more of a commitment than I had originally planned. Well, I just didn’t think it all the way through. The book is 412 pages after all!
My original goals were to read the whole book along with my son, carving out a little time each day to be creative, learning some new techniques and trying a few new styles of art and illustration. Even though I am not working on this every day, I feel I am accomplishing those goals. Can’t wait until I finish the book so that I can watch every Great Expectations movie ever made!
Back to the story, page 95:
We are introduced to Orlick, Joe’s journeyman. I wasn’t sure what a journeyman was so I looked it up.
noun, plural jour·ney·men.
1. a person who has served an apprenticeship at a trade or handicraft and is certified to work at it assisting or under another person.
2. any experienced, competent but routine worker or performer.
3. a person hired to do work for another, usually for a day at a time.
I believe in this case, it’s definition No. 2 or 3. (Thank you Dictionary.com)
Orlick and Pip do not like each other. When Pip was young, Orlick told him that the Devil lived in a dark corner of the forge. How scary is that?!? Orlick also told Pip that every seven years they have to start the fire in the blacksmith shop with a live boy! Poor PIP! He probably lived in fear of when the next 7th year would be. Orlick is no friendlier with Pip now that Pip is an official apprentice. In fact, Orlick still beats his sparks in Pip’s direction.
Pip feels many emotions – humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry and sorry. He starts to cry, but when Estella notices and smiles, he forces himself to stop. That is, until she leaves him alone. Then he wails, pulling his hair and kicking a wall behind a fence gate. He thinks of how his sister raised him, by hand, cruelly, never showing any love. And Pip, never knowing the love of a mother. He gains control of himself and starts to look about the deserted brewery next door to Miss Havisham’s house.
Here is a collage I created yesterday on top of an old watercolor painting I did many years ago. I had grown tired of it and it needed a new life. It was of a bee hive with some pretty flowers growing around it. There are pieces of it peeking through the paper I glued on top to give myself a new working ground. I was thinking of canons firing, the new birth of factories popping up in England at this time, Pip’s sister and his loneliness. I think things are about to seriously change for Pip… for better or for worse!
Pip watches as Joe tries to read his letter. He remembers that at church last Sunday, he (Pip) accidentally held the Prayer Book upside down and Joe seemed perfectly fine with it. Apparently Joe can only read two letters: “J” and “O”, for his name Joe. Pip asks Joe if he got any schooling at all as a child. Joe starts to explain his childhood to Pip. His father was an abusive drunk who treated his mother and himself badly. (I think he continues explaining on the next page.)
On my second panel of the Altered Book triptych, I glued a copy of page 38 of my Great Expectations book down on top of a board book page with a flap on it. (I had previously painted this whole panel including the flap with black acrylic paint.) I cut out the part of the page where the flap was and glued it down under the flap. I use an acrylic matt medium for gluing paper.
I then scratched out a little humble house and two primitive-looking letters “J” and “O” on the outside of the flap. On the inside of the flap I started drawing swirls with a 6B pencil. I was listening to Adele on my ipod while working. (Love her! Who doesn’t?!) In her song came the phrase “time flies”. I felt that this was appropriate for this part of the story as Joe describes his childhood to Pip and Pip is growing up. My own two children are growing up WAY too fast! I am happy with how this spread of the altered book came out. Today, I’ll work on the next panel. There will be six altogether, since I am doing both sides of the triptych. See ya tomorrow!
Page 2: Enter… the CONVICT! Pip is scared, knees knocking, still in the graveyard at night by the grave sites of all his family members. Poor Pip! I got off to a rough start with this project. It’s harder than I thought. I do not intend to “illustrate” each page. But that is so hard not to do! We’ll see how it goes. This piece like the first piece from Day 1 is a collage. Soon I will break out into something different! Since I am a working mother, I have just a teeny bit of time each day to devote to this endeavor. So my art pieces will be quick studies, done in about 30 minutes or less. Having fun so far… see you tomorrow!
So, my teenage son, like many kids around the country right now, is being forced to read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I remember feeling the same way he does when I was told I had to read it…. oh, so many years ago. But when it was all said and done (and after memorizing the Cliff Notes), I loved it! Since I remember very little about the story and to commiserate with my son, I have decided to read it again. I am excited to re-read this wonderful tale. It will be “like new” to me since, seriously, I do not remember much about it! For an additional challenge, I have decided to create a work of art a day reflecting how I feel about what I have read. I’ll be reading one page a day (boy, this is gonna to take a while!) and creating one “some kind of art” per day. I hope that this challenges me to try new media and styles! I’m excited… so wish me luck! This is Day ONE.