Monthly Archives: January 2012

Great Expectations Day 8

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Joe notices that Pip’s bread is gone and he thinks Pip has swallowed it whole (“a bolting his food”). Mrs Joe gives Pip Tar-water to drink to make him either digest the bread better or to help it come up and out. Poor Pip. The bread is in his pant leg! She also makes Joe drink some too, just for good measure, I suppose. She calls Joe a “staring great stuck pig!”

Tar-water is a Medieval medicine consisting of pine tar and water. It was foul tasting and so slowly dropped in popularity, but was revived in the Victorian era. The use of the medicine is mentioned in Great Expectations, Chapter 2 by Charles Dickens. Young Pip and his brother in law Joe were often force fed it by Mrs. Joe, Pip’s elder sister, whether they were ill or not, as sort of cruel punishment.” (Thanks wikipedia.)

I whipped out this very quick little watercolor of the Tar-water bottle. My son is having difficulty reading the book. In other words, he just can’t get into it. So I got him the audio book from the library ( He’s not using it. We’ll see what happens! Hopefully something will click and he’ll start to like it. I’ll be back tomorrow for Day 9.


Great Expectations Day 7

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Just a quick little sketch of what I imagine Pip’s humble house to look like. If you are wondering why his right leg is bulging, it’s because he has stuffed his bread down his pant leg to hide it from Joe and Mrs Joe! He plans to sneak it out of the house and give it to the convict that he met by his parent’s grave site in the marshes. He’s very afraid of getting caught!


Great Expectations Day 6

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Day 6 and it’s Sunday. Pip’s sister bursts in and finds Pip cowering from her. She grabs him and throws him to Joe, who pushes Pip into the chimney to protect him from Mrs Joe Gargery – and her hand with the Tickler. (Interesting how Dickens gave “Ticker” a capitalized T.) The Tickler is a cane used to rap little Pip when he’s been bad, when seen fit by his sister. She complains some more about having to raise Pip (and being married to a blacksmith) but then she starts to prepare the night’s dinner.

I used some collage papers and graphite pencil to depict this scene and how Pip might be scared of that “hand” that has been raising him. He has a lot of fear in him right now… fear of his sister and fear of the convict. He’s torn between doing what’s right (not stealing) and afraid of having his heart and liver cut out!

Day 7 tomorrow, and page 10 out of 412 pages in my book!


Great Expectations Day 5


Day 5 and Chapter 2 starts with Pip describing his sister, known only as Mrs Joe Gargery. She is NOT happy about having to raise Pip, “by hand.” She seems to be raising her husband, Joe, also “by hand’. Pip describes him as a fellow-sufferer, sweet-tempered and easy-going, but also foolish.

The page ends with Joe warning Pip that his sister is out looking for him and she is still NOT happy. (Is she ever happy?)

I chose to doodle with a pen for this page, drawing whatever came to mind. (I have read ahead a little. It’s very hard to read only one page a day, I’m finding. But I have only read a few pages, I promise!)

Great Expectations Day 4

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Marshes at Nightfall

On this page in the story, not too much is happening. But Pip gives a beautiful description of how he sees the marshes at night as he watches the convict lumber away from him: “the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a row of long, angry, red lines and dense black lines intermixed”.

I used a page from an old book (can’t remember which book) and tried to create a little landscape of the marsh at night as Pip was seeing it. I used acrylic paint. That’s it! See you tomorrow with Day 5!


Great Expectations Day 3

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Heart & Liver

Day 3: I’m still reading and the convict is HUNGRY! He tells Pip that a friend of his, much younger and meaner, will cut out and eat Pip’s heart AND liver if Pip does not bring a file (for cutting off the iron shackles on the convict’s leg) and some food (whittles or vittles). This got me to wondering where the word vittles came from. No one seems to use it any more and no one seems to know whence it came. (OK, now I’m starting to talk weird after reading this book!) I did find out two things: 1) that it is slang for victuals, which means the same thing: food useful to humans (What kind of food isn’t useful to humans?!) and 2) that the Beverly Hillbillies spoke it a lot! So funny… loved that show! Jethro and his giant bowl of vittles!


Great Expectations Day 2

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!

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Great Expectations Day 1

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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.