Monthly Archives: February 2012

Great Expectations Day 34

[Page 37… a year has passed since the events on Christmas Day with the convict.]

On the page before we found out that Pip attends a night school taught by Mr Wopsle’s great-aunt. She also has a general store in the same room as the classroom, which is run by Biddy, her grand-daughter. (I’m confused by everyone’s relation to one another, and I believe Pip is too!) Biddy is an orphan like Pip and needs some “tending to”… cleaning up. But she does look nice on Sundays for church and she helps Pip learn to read and write.

Pip writes a letter to Joe to show off what he has learned. (It’s really pretty bad… poor spelling and grammar. But at least he’s making an effort.) In the letter he tells Joe that he soon hopes to teach him reading and writing and mentions something about becoming an apprentice to him also. It’s written so poorly, it’s hard to understand!

My next few pieces will be part of an altered book; a triptych using old children’s board books. They start out like this:

As cute as they are, these books have been chewed on, slobbered on, scribbled on (by babies and dogs) and it’s time to give them a NEW life! I took several different ones, of varying sizes and cut them apart. Then coated the pages with the primer Gesso, let dry. I coated some panels with black acrylic paint. Then chose three panels to tape together. I used black electrical tape.

First I glue on a page (page 37 that I scanned and printed from the book that I am reading). This gives me a base to work with and the text adds some texture. I use Matte Gel Medium to adhere the paper items on.

To start the really fun part: I glued on an old “Old Maid” playing card that I found at an antique store. It has a picture of a little boy that looks like Pip. Then I drew a picture of Dickens as a young lad with pencil and black pastel. Next, stamped a pig (since a few days ago Pip was likened to a swine) and some other designs. Then some black paint and blue scribbles to finish it off! I’ll work on the other panels over the next few days. This will be fun!


Great Expectations Day 33

Day 33 and Page 36! Since Pip is not old enough just yet to apprentice with Joe in the blacksmith shop, he is relegated to doing odd jobs around the shop and for neighbors. The piddly money he makes from these jobs goes into a box on the mantle to help pay off the National Debt (or so he thinks). Anyway, he is not allowed to spend his own earned money. Poor Pip!
Dickens goes on to tell us that Mr Wopsle’s great-aunt “teaches” a night school for youth in the area at her home. Pip attends this school. He claims that they just watch her sleep for an hour! But they do sometimes get to hear Mr Wopsle, who lives above her, reciting literature quiet loudly.
I created a little watercolor of the money box where Pip’s money goes. I finished it off in Photoshop drawing on top with a brush, using my tablet and stylus.

Great Expectations Day 32

Pip decides not to confess to Joe. He is worried that if Joe knew, he’d always be suspecting Pip of watering down his beer and wondering what is missing from the pantry. They are on their way home through the marshes after the convict is put back on the prison-ship. Pip rides piggy-back on Joe. It’s very late and everyone is tired. Mr Wopsle has a hard time of it, sitting often to rest on the wet ground. This soaks his pants through and through.

Back home, Pip awakens fully when his sister, Mrs Joe, gives him a heavy thump on his back. They all sit around discussing how the convict broke into the house and stole the wittles from the pantry. It is decided by Mr Pumblechook that the convict climbed onto the roof and came down the chimney into the kitchen. Lucky for Pip, no one suspects him of aiding the convict at all!

A quick contour drawing with marker: mostly one-line, not picking the marker up (once or twice maybe) except to switch to a blue marker to show the convict’s hand in the pantry. This was a fun, easy one! I love doing contour one-line drawings.

Great Expectations Day 31

A coooollage! Day 31 and on page 34. Seriously thinking about reading 5 pages at a time, but still creating art daily and posting daily.

The convict and solders are still hanging around in the hut with Pip, Joe and Mr Wopsle. The convict tells Joe he is sorry for eating his pie. Joe says it’s OK. (He feels sorry for the convict.) Plus, to Pip’s relief, the convict does not blow Pips cover and tell how he got the pie and other wittles. They watch as the convict is taken out on the water and put back on the prison-ship.

Chapter 6 starts with Pip thinking of confiding in Joe about all that has transpired. But he decides against this because he doesn’t want to lose Joe’s confidence or love. Awwww…. I have not figured out how old Pip is. (Was it mentioned anywhere?) But he is still small enough to ride on Joe’s back so he can’t be too old.

Tune in for next installment!

Great Expectations Day 30

Hello! Yeah, It’s Friday! Here’s what is happening on page 33:

The group of soldiers, the two convicts, Pip, Joe and Mr Wopsle continue along through the marsh, walking along the river. There are tiny windmills on a dyke. (What is a dyke exactly? I checked  an embankment or wall built to confine a river to a particular course; to protect, enclose, or drain (land) with a dyke.)

After an hour or so of walking, they come to a hut with soldiers stationed there and a fire going. They stop off here. The soldiers there send off the “other” convict to be taken to the prison-ship. Next, it’s Pip’s convict’s turn. But before he goes, while warming himself by the fire, he tells everyone that he took some wittles, a dram of liquor and a pork pie from the blacksmith. Joe is alarmed and looks at Pip saying ‘Hollo, Pip!’ Will the convict rat Pip out? He’s the bad guy, not Pip!

I applied modeling paste to a piece of cardboard for this piece. This gave me some strong textures to start with. Then I painted a marsh landscape with a hut (actually looks more like a nice house though) and a windmill with acrylic paint. The river runs down in front.  I’m happy with how this came out, even though it’s not my usual style. Just experimenting!

I’m thinking of switching to reading 5 pages at a time and doing art for those 5 pages. It’s just taking forever! And I want to find out what’s going to happen to Pip sooner. (I’m impatient.) Plus, readers might want the story to move along a little faster. We’ll see… I’ll decide this weekend. Have a great weekend yourself!

Great Expectations Day 29

Happy Day 29! I’ve been doing this for almost a month now! I’ll tell you what’s going on in the story (Great Expectations… I’m on page 32) first and then explain my work of art.

The soldiers have caught up with the convicts, whom they found fighting in a ditch. The sergeant orders the torches lit and they head off toward the prison-ship. (Night has fallen.) The convict finally spots Pip in the crowd and gives him an unusual look. Pip does not understand it, but is relieved that the convict does not expose him and reveal Pip’s secret. (The thievery.) As they march along in the marsh, three cannons are heard. The sergeant tells Pip’s convict that he is wanted on board.

I love Carla Sonheim’s approach to art and her book Drawing Lab. Recently she has been playing around with gesso and drawing into it while wet, creating work similar to mine above. Actually mine is similar to HERS, as I followed her tutorial on this technique. Check it out! Her book has some great ideas to help you play with your art, learn some new techniques and spur your creativity. My piece above represents the three cannons heard fired in the marsh. I made the piece a little gloomy, since it’s night-time while they march off in the marsh with two convicts in tow and cannons booming off! (I think it’s still Christmas Day in the story. What a long day this has been!)

Here’s a sample of Carla’s work:


Great Expectations Day 28

The two convicts (Pip’s convict and the “other” convict) have been pulled out of the ditch by the soldiers. They argue back and forth. Pip’s convict claims to have captured the “other” one for the soldiers. The “other” convict claims that Pip’s convict tried to murder him. This goes back and forth.

I’ve had this idea in mind for a few weeks now, since I started this project. Using white cutouts against a white background and letting the shadows create the art. I like the strings and the holes made. On the background is a scratchy pencil line and some large silver nails. I thought these added to the effect. Hope you like it! (My son, the one reading Great Expectations for school, helped hold up the letters while I took the photo.)

Great Expectations Day 27

In the marsh, it’s extremely windy and starting to sleet. The sheep and cattle stare angrily at Pip as he, Joe, Mr Wopsle and the soldiers pass through, as if to blame them for the miserable conditions. Shouting is heard not too far off. Sounds like two men arguing. “Murder! Convicts! Runaways! Guard!” Everyone starts running in the direction of the shouting, soldiers with their muskets raised and ready.

They find the two convicts in a ditch duking it out. Dickens didn’t use “duking it out” but I got to wondering where this phrase came from.  Here’s what Urban Dictionary thinks:

Urban Dictionary: Duke It Out

To fight, usually fist fight. Probably from John ‘the Duke‘ Wayne movies where he would always end up fighting with someone.
The soldiers drag them out of the ditch. Tune in tomorrow to see if the one convict recognizes Pip!
(I choose to do a little collage/watercolor of the animals in the marsh, cold and angry.)

Great Expectations Day 26

A very watery watercolor! Happy Monday and President’s Day, especially for those who have it off!

Pip, Joe, Mr Wopsle (having trouble keeping up) and all the soldiers are tromping off through the marshes looking for the convicts. They go through the graveyard by the church where Pip’s family is buried. (This is Mrs Joe’s family also. I keep forgetting she is his sister and not his biological mother!) Pip gets a piggy-back ride from Joe.

He is very worried that if they find the convicts, the one convict he fed will recognize him and think he lead the soldiers to him. The scenery is described as a “watery lead color.” The sun is starting to set and there is no mist as in the morning. (This is still the same day, right, that Pip took the food to the convict? Yes, it is… Christmas Day!)

I am not completely happy with this very quick little watercolor. I did one similar to this about 20 years ago, but it was much larger, spent more time on it and it was more abstract. Oh well, the way I see it, not every piece will be a “hit.” Some will be “misses.” I’ll post anyway. Tomorrow, hopefully better! (Maybe I will redo this and take a little more time on it.)

Great Expectations Day 25!

Hello, sorry I missed yesterday. I was off learning how to cook an entire meal outdoors, on a fire, in the rain! (Girl Scout training) It was fun but exhausting. Here I am back today… yeah!

The soldiers are still in Joe’s blacksmith shop. He’s busy hammering and clinking with the soldiers busy drinking up all the wine! Mr Pumblechook is offering it up freely. Even Pip gets a taste of wine in all the celebrating. (It is still Christmas Day plus there is much excitement with having the soldiers in the house.) Pip, noticing the murky shadows dancing menacingly on the walls caused by the flames, starts to feel sorry for the convicts.

When Joe is done with fixing the handcuffs, he, Pip and Mr Wopsle decide to tag along with the soldiers to see all the excitement of the capture (or killing?) of the convicts in the marsh.

This is a quick pastel sketch. I tried to convey the idea of dancing shadows produced from a fire. Hope I succeeded!