By Flashlight


With winds blowing at 40mph, the fear of fires was intense. Electrical lines spark, grasses and brush catch fire, and before you know it, the world is lit, not with electricity, but with flames. As a result of this – PSPS (Public Safety Power Shut-off) – we had no electricity for about 36 hours. What do you do when the sun goes down, there is no phone, no TV, no electricity? You read, you chat, you play games by candle, and paint by flashlight.

Rather than try to be creative, I got out a couple of art instruction books, one by Geoff Kersey, and one by Ted Kautzky. All of these paintings were done with limited palettes and by following some instruction to create a painting from the book.

The one above is from Geoff Kersey’s book, using only red, blue, and yellow. No more. It was the first one I did, and there was still some daylight, but very little, in my darkish studio. It was evening, and the studio window faces east. I used manganese blue, cadmium lemon, and cadmium red.

This one is from a Ted Kautzky study. Less light and more moving my little flashlight from book, to watercolor paper and drawing, to palette. Colors were verditer blue, cadmium red, Hooker’s green, and raw sienna. Verditer blue doesn’t seem to mix well with other colors, but is a lovely blue by itself. Four colors!

Now we are moving into big time! Here, five colors. Payne’s grey, ultramarine blue, aureolin yellow, Hooker’s Green, and burnt umber. Another study from Ted Kautzky.

I enjoy doing studies from books – it helps focus a bit. I also realized that daylight is a better way to paint, or using diffused electrical lighting. Flashlights are good to see with, but their light is not diffuse, but sharp and focused. I think I would have had better lighting with a few candles. Anyway, it was a good way to pass some time when the sun set and the vampires weren’t yet out.

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