So I had every intention of painting a quintessential view of a lighthouse and as I was looking through various images of lighthouses my mind kept drifting, as it’s prone to do. All I could think of was Pete’s Dragon. The original, not the remake, as I’ve not seen it. Philippe saw the trailer and said, “hmmm… looks like they kept all of the story, but forgot to add any of the fun.” Then that Helen Reddy song, Candle On The Water, kept running through my head, amazing ear worm that it is, and I couldn’t get it out. All of this lead me to thinking about the “candle” itself inside the lighthouse, so I decided to travel deep inside the Fresnel lens and this doodlewash happened. It’s weirdly complex, sketched quickly, and I’m not sure many could name what it is without a description, but this is apparently what the rather extreme interior of a lighthouse looks like.

The original Pete’s Dragon movie was one of my favorites when I was little. Watching it as an adult, it’s campy and admittedly bizarre, but I still love it. From what I can tell in the current movie they used their advanced CGI skills to make a very furry and realistic looking dragon, but what made the first one so magical was that the dragon was actually a cartoon. The idea that a cartoon character could be your secret best friend is incredibly cool! I’ve often wondered what it would be like to hang out with Bugs Bunny, for instance, who’s another one of my childhood idols. But one thing is true. The very fact that there are so many remakes made of stories I enjoyed in my childhood means I must have had a pretty good childhood.

But since I live in the middle of the United States and have only seen one lighthouse in person, I’ll always think of Pete’s Dragon. Having an imaginary friend as a child is a relatively normal thing, so to see that friend burst colorfully to life is a pretty extraordinary thing. It’s true, I wanted my own dragon to visit me. As a kid, I didn’t even understand what Helen Reddy was babbling on about. I just wanted a dragon. And maybe a lighthouse, as I’ve always fancied spiral staircases. But as I grew older and life started becoming more complex and tiresome, I tended to appreciate that song. She sings, “Don’t give up, you have somewhere to turn” and I could now realize the lighthouse is a metaphor. And we’re all simply on our personal search for our very own Candle On The Water.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors:  Cobalt Teal, Gamboge, Perylene Maroon, Azo Orange, Sap Green, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
Day 7 #WorldWatercolorGroup Fresnel Lens Lighthouse Interior Candle On The Water
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

37 replies on “Candle On The Water

  1. There’s some impressive technical drawing in there as well as lovely painting. I can’t believe you’ve only seen one lighthouse! I guess because I hail from an island nation – and a peninsula at that – for me lighthouses were so commonplace that I can’t imagine not seeing them more. I love American lighthouses so now that I live in the US I have to be careful not to develop an obsession with them. This summer I saw my first ever Great Lakes lighthouses which was pretty cool. Fingers crossed you get to see more lighthouses in your future. Maybe you can fly to them on your pet dragon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HOLY SHMOLY detail Charlie O! Wowza! Absolutely amazing doodlewash!!! But once again – I want to tell you – as beautiful an artist as you are – your words….your stories….. well – you know….. they melt my heart. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You gotta write a book, Charlie – Candle of My Mind, Illuminating the Dark One Doodlewash at a Time – complete with illustrations and commentary about all the things that impress you. And us.

    The very first lighthouses were probably tall poles with flames at the top and they likely burned down frequently, so we have none left. Had no spiral staircases, anyway.

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  4. WOWZA!! Amazing Charlie has done it again!! 🌟😄🎨👍 Your details in your painting are fantastic! I have difficulty believing this was done quickly… 😉 Enjoyed your writing today too, friend! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jill! 😃💕 Hehe… don’t look too closely… it’s rather “faked in” on the details. Big shout out and thanks to my Urban Sketching friends for tricks and tips on fast sketching. 😉 The watercolors make it seem more finished. And so glad you liked the post as well! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great detail Charlie. I have never seen the movie you speak of but I have seen a few lighthouses. FYI…..There is a little red one at the foot of the George Washington bridge on the New York side.
    You never know when this bit of trivia will come in handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve done it again. Your paintings so often bring wonderful thoughts and memories to my mind….. climbing many many steps for the rewards of a close-up at such a lens and the 360 view of beauty for miles….. especially on a Fall day. Charlie, some day I hope you can visit us on the East Coast for such rewards….. and bring extra sketchbooks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful painting :-)! Such a cool subject and you illustrated it so well! Captivating story too – your train of thought made me laugh and so interesting that you associate lighthouses with Pete’s Dragon. I don’t think I watched Pete’s Dragon. But I did enjoy watching How to Train Your Dragon recently.

    Liked by 1 person

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