Art Expectations 297 Gruff & Grim


297 GreatExp Gruff 150

I’ve been “gone” for a while. From my blog, that is. But I’ve been busy working on a few other art projects. I completed the on-line Doodling class with Diane Culhane. Created lots of doodles and sketches to use in future artworks, some for this blog. Can’t wait to incorporate those! I had three workshops at the Richardson Public Library, where I created several other fun pieces: ink resist paintings, a personal color journal and an illuminated letter (I have my example of that below). Now, back to Pip!

{Day 297, Page 318}
We left Pip at Herbert’s finance’s (Clara’s) family home in the shipyards. Herbert, his best friend and roommate, is there. He tells Pip about Clara’s gout-riddden, alcoholic, abusive father upstairs. Pip can hear him growling and screaming at Clara. Herbert also says, “To have Provis (Magwitch) for an upper lodger is quite a godsend to Mrs. Whimple.” Mrs. Whimple is the landlady. WHAT?! Maybe I got confused by Dickens’ language, but I thought just Herbert was hiding out here, not Magwitch too.

Also, apparently Mrs. Whimple knows about Herbert and Clara’s engagement, but not her father. He does not approve of Herbert so they have kept this a secret from him. He thinks Herbert doesn’t make enough money. Herbert calls her father, real name of Bill Barley, Gruffandgrim. After receiving this information from Herbert, Pip meets Clara for the first time as she comes downstairs. He describes her as a captive fairy, a most charming girl.

About my work above: I have started creating some very small artworks on old playing cards, an experiment for an upcoming workshop. These are artist trading cards, which are very popular for artists to make and trade but are never sold. Some people have huge binders of the ones they’ve collected. Maybe I will start making and trading them too. I can see how this is addictive, as they can be created very quickly, being on such a small scale. I glued on some vintage cash register keys that my daughter gave me. Love those! Below is the illuminated Father’s Day card I created this week for my husband. I hope he likes it!

illuminated letter E cropped


Mid-Century Modern Mad Men Martini Table





My final piece! An altered drawer for Chartreuse auction on June 6. I loved Mad Men. Too bad it had to end! I created this from a discarded drawer (from a kitchen or bathroom). I printed the ashtray on a 3D printer. Used glass paint on the martini glass and baked it on. Acrylic paint and paint marker on the rest. Created some wild psychedelic neon patterns all over. Do you dig it, Daddy-o?

(I’ll get back to Pip very soon! After school ends this week and my son graduates from high school!)

Art Expectations Day 102



Pip discovers that Orlick has a crush on Biddy. He is not happy about that and tries to intervene. It seems he doesn’t want anyone else to like her, even though he has already confessed his love of Estella. He is confused by these emotions. Why does he care what happens to Biddy? She tells Pip that Orlick’s feelings for her should make no difference to him. But they do.

I did this very quick sketch on another board book panel that I painted black. Remember as a kid when you would color very hardly on construction paper, then paint it black all over on top? After the paint dried, you’d scratch designs into the black, revealing the bits of color underneath. That was always so cool and created a nice, surprising effect every time. Well, this is similar to that childhood art technique. I used the end of a paperclip to scratch in Estella, trying to make it unpleasant looking. Then tried to paint Biddy in pretty, sweet, innocent colors on top of pure, white rose sketches. This got me thinking, I bet Estella isn’t really so bad. Or maybe she is also a puppet of Miss Havisham and her choices in life are limited too, as Pip’s are. Who knows her back story… what tragedies she’s encountered. I am sure some of this will unfold as the story goes on.

(Are you wondering what the weird shape is on the board? I believe this was from a kid’s book about snow or penguins. I thought the snow window was fitting underneath Estella’s name.)

Art Expectations Day 85

Altered Book

Pip flies away

I really had fun creating this altered book piece! I worked on it for about 5 days, a little every day.  I trimmed out the pages to be the profile of a bird’s body. LOTS of cutting, and had to replace the knife blade once. I then did some drawing, painting and collage on the inside covers. Coated it all with matte gel medium. And… ta da… done!

Pip is still considering a visit to Miss Havisham’s. (He hasn’t seen her OR Estella in a year.) Joe seems to be talking him out of it. Or at least making sure Pip understands that she may think he is expecting something more from her. Joe suggests that Pip take a thank you gift, something that he himself has learned to make in his first year of training as a blacksmith. Joe suggests some horse shoes, a toasting-fork, screws or perhaps a gridiron. Pip does NOT want to make or take her a gift at all! He is like a little bird wanting to fly away.

Have you tried altering a book? If so, send me link to see what you’ve done!

Art Expectations 82


Pip now sees his former life as coarse and common. (Partly because Estella called him this.) He no longer sees the forge “as the glowing road to manhood and independence.” But sees it as weighing him down and holding him back from the finer things in life, of which he got a taste of at Miss Havisham’s. He never mentions this to Joe, but continues on with his blacksmithing apprenticeship. A heavy, blank curtain has dropped upon his life as he looks toward his future as a blacksmith. This is a dark time for Pip. So bleak!

I took a piece of unwanted junk mail, gessoed it and then drew and collaged on top. I really like the Dr. Suess quote at the top. I won a contest on Carla Sonheim’s blog for a $25 gift certificate to Joggles With it I purchased some Derwent Inktense colored pencils. They are really great! I just recently started using my watercolor pencils, even though I have had a nice set of Derwent ones for more than 20 years. These Inktense ones are… well, more intense, of course. It’s so much fun to play around with new tools!

Great Expectations Day 49


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!