Great Expectations Day 50!


Pip is still exploring Miss Havisham’s neglected courtyard and the deserted brewery next door. He peers over a short old wall into the weedy overgrown garden of Manor House. He sees Estella walking there down a worn path. He then starts walking on top of overturned beer casks, and sees Estella also doing the same thing off in the distance. He enters the large empty brewery and looks up to see Estella climbing some very high iron stairs. To his right, he spots someone else. It’s Miss H hanging by her neck in all her faded-wilted glory. GRUESOME!

He realizes he is imagining these things. Whew! Is it the beer impairing his vision and mind? Little kids shouldn’t drink! Is it illegal for children to drink alcohol in private homes? In the States? What about in Europe? I’ll look it up!

The laws apparently vary widely by country determining legal drinking age and where it can be consumed, in public places or private homes, and different kinds of alcoholic drinks. Most laws apply only to drinking in public places. The U.K. is the only country that has a minimum legal drinking age for drinking alcohol in the home. That’s interesting. In England it is against the law for any child under age 5 to be given alcohol unless under medical supervision or an emergency. (What emergency?) For ages 5-17 in England: it is legal for them to consume alcohol at home or a friend’s house with parent’s permission. In the U.S. before 1984 it varied by state. But a national law was passed in 1984 that made the legal drinking age 21. Only a few states have laws prohibiting under age children from drinking in private residences.

Enough about that! There are so many different laws, even within the U.S. and each state, that it is very confusing! (17 states do not ban underage consumption at all! Can that be correct?)

Anyway, here is my little art for today. I did a complex collage yesterday, so decided to go with simple today. Just black ink on white bristol board: a sketch of the overgrown garden, Manor House and a ghost of Miss Havisham floating above in her wedding gown.

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!

Great Expectations Day 47


(It’s actually still day 46, but I finished another one today and will take the day off tomorrow.)


This is my daughter posing as Estella. I keep saying over in my head “eSTELLA!!!” (from A Streetcar Named Desire – haven’t seen that movie in a long time!)

Pip notices that everything in Miss Havisham’s room has stopped, frozen in time: the clocks, the one shoe never worn, nothing moved on the dresser, with dust all around each object. Estella criticizes Pip for his course hands and thick boots. She is very rude to him as they play cards. Pip whispers to Miss H that he wants to go home. He tells her that he thinks Estella is very pretty, very proud and very insulting.

I had fun drawing over this picture of my daughter in Photoshop…VERY quick sketching with my tablet. I drew a red curtain to cover up the bookshelves in my living room. I looked at old drawings of girl’s clothing from the 1860s for this dress and hat. My daughter loves it!

Great Expectations Day 41


Here is my finished sketch for this illustration. I wanted to do something that takes me longer than 30 minutes to complete for a change! So I will be working on this one over about a week, a little every day. And I will post my progress daily.

Page 45 (I still have a looooong way to go!):

Pip is to meet Miss Havisham tomorrow after spending the night at Mr Pumblechook’s in town. Since he is covered in soot, he is “soaped, kneaded, towelled, thumped, harrowed and rasped” in order to make a good impression. He’s dressed up in his finest, stiffest clothes and brought before Mr P before heading off in his chaise-cart to his house in town. Pip has no say in the manner… in his future. He’s still pretty young, and I guess most kids don’t at this age.

At Mr P’s corn-chandler/seed-handler shop and home, Pip is mesmerized by all the drawers and containers of interesting things. He notices the corduroy’s that Mr P and his shop-man seem to always wear.

I want this illustration to be fun and almost child-like. It’s a view of the town where Mr P and Miss Havisham live. I am creating it on Crescent Illustration board. I love the texture – not too rough or smooth. It’s 12×10 inches and I think I will use acrylic instead of watercolor. Not sure though. I will probably start painting today, so I need to decide soon!

Great Expectations Day 39


Day 39: the 6th (and last) panel of my altered book triptych. I will take some photos tomorrow of the whole thing, both sides, to post. It all looks good together!

I am addicted to art supplies. Obsession:Confession

Mrs Joe has been out all day at market with the bumbling Mr Pumblechook helping him select household goods. (He’s incapable of doing this himself?) Joe has been cleaning and telling Pip his life story, mainly his childhood. They hear her coming up the road on Mr P’s chaise-cart. It’s very cold. (Remember, it’s winter, a year after the incident with the convict.) Once inside, warming by the fire, Mrs Joe remarks that Pip had better be grateful for something being offered by a woman. (Exact word used was “she”.) “SHE???” Pip and Joe remark. Who is this mystery woman and what is she offering Pip?

On this panel, I freehand painted a little portrait of Dickens and added the title of the book. There was this odd shaped red satin bloop in the middle so I turned that into a speech bubble. For the next few days (maybe a week) I plan to work on one larger piece, spending more time on it. I’ll post my progress daily though!

Great Expectations Day 35


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!

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.