I haven’t camped in years, so when I came to a prompt about camping equipment my mind went blank. Truth be told, while I thought camping was cool as a kid, as an adult I really can’t stand to go that long without a proper bath. Even a long camping weekend felt like coming in out of the wild and all I wanted was a shower and food that didn’t taste like smoke. But when I was little, any type of camping was fun. Once we were hit with an ice storm that knocked out power to much of the city for an entire week. Schools were cancelled, which was awesome, and I got to stay home all week. With no electricity, my only light in the evening was from a kerosene lantern. It was one of the coolest, most memorable weeks of my life, with nothing to do except write stories by lantern light, next to a crackling fireplace.

I mentioned this particular incident in a post last year, as it’s one of my favorite travel memories. Granted, I never left the house, but the house itself was transformed into a different time period which was almost better. I spent most of that week in the rec room as the roads were too treacherous to even walk outdoors. We were technically “trapped in our own home,” which is a phrase I think I heard my mother use, but I didn’t feel like it was such a bad thing. I felt transported. It was like time had stopped, with no rules and no school work to get in the way of doing whatever I loved most. At the time, it was writing stories, so that’s what I did. With my little camping lantern, I would lose all sense of time and stay up writing story after story until the oil burned out.

Today, I often dream of that time and it’s almost made me wish for another ice storm. Though as an adult, I now understand how my mother must have felt. A time like that, so completely free of distractions, never really came again. But, whenever I feel overwhelmed or too busy to do what I love, I go back to that time in my head. Even if it’s only 30 minutes to an hour, and not an entire week, I try to let things slip away and fall into that zone. Far away from everything I must do, and simply focusing on that which I want to do. Each little bit of time I take to paint every day, is still for me, like camping through an ice storm. I’m right where I need to be in that moment. Lost in doing something that’s dear to me and thoroughly enjoying being trapped in my own “home.”

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors:  Pyrrol Red, Azo Orange, 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 15 #WorldWatercolorGroup Camping Through An Ice Storm Red Kerosene Lantern
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!

53 replies on “Camping Through An Ice Storm

  1. I truly enjoy seeing and reading your daily posts and admire that you find time each day to sketch and paint.

    I like to zoom in to see your strokes, choice of color changes, etc. On my iPad and iPhone, your heading ALWAYS enlarges and gets in the way any time I try to zoom in to see your image. It’s the only site that does it for me. Sure wish the “doodlewash” banner didn’t interfere with a zoom. Sorry about the complaint. Just wanted to let you know…..it’s like an ad that covers half the screen. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Deb!! I’m glad you enjoy my posts! 😃💕 As to the banner…this is a new design and for some reason the featured image isn’t clickable. So you’ll always find a thumbnail in the About The Doodlewash section at the end of the post. Just click that and you can zoom banner free! 😉👍🏻


      1. I should have asked the question about 60 images ago! Ha! Now, I’ll know to click and view the thumbnail at the end! Worked perfectly. The banner “GROWTH” has just always gotten in my way. Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This painting is amazing and I love your story. What a magical time! I have never been “trapped in my house” having always lived where it doesn’t snow, but I have experienced being without power for days. It is kind of nice to be without electricity for a time. You don’t realize how loud the world is until electricity is gone. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you described that ice storm moment so well, I have been transported to that place, with my perfect red oil lamp, I’m all set….I would spend the whole time stuck inside, put to good use, a no distraction, full on painting session…who knows what the art would look like when using candlelight……colours become hard to see, but it would be so fulfilling 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A red lantern – what a bright beacon in the dark, and a luxury by Scouting camp standards – I loved hiking with my dad who took us through the New Jersey woods to spot all the wildlife. Love hiking with our sons’ Scout group, but at night, please lay me down in a bed in a hotel. One hike I met up with a six foot rattlesnake blocking my path. I’m certain you heard me scream. That same night, as we slept in our tents surrounded by boulders the size of small cars, we were woken by an earthquake. Fortunately none of the boulders rolled over on anyone. Hiking back to the trail head, we were forced to build new trail ways as it was blocked in several places by fallen trees.

    Such a fun bunch of memories you’ve reminded me about. As usual, your story is as colorful as your art.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The way you see the world is like my way, I think perhaps it,s the way of an optimist and sometimes a dreamer in the good sense of the word.
    Make the world more beautiful with art and creativity although you know the reality too of this world.
    The lantern is warm and nicely painted!
    Well now I red your story about being trapped in your home, it,s time for me to do some extra shopping like food you can store and don,t forget the t.p.
    I like the Doodlewash Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Evocative post.
    After reading the comments – had to go back and look at your glass. Yep, agree! You do glass well 🙂

    Guess that’s why I’m travelling right now :- “It was like time had stopped, with no rules and no school work to get in the way of doing whatever I loved most”. I”m painting, knitting, spinning a yarn (occasionally) and enjoying the outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So glad I found your blog. So often you are describing “feel good” times I’ve had in my life! Being snowed or iced in (I try to find good in everything) was one of them. The silence of the snow was so peaceful, to read, or to use my crayons and coloring book, huddled in blankets near the warmth of the fireplace. Ah, good childhood memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This red lantern is so beautiful Charlie and so the story that comes with it! It is always nice to read your stories!
    Btw I love lanterns and when I think about camping is a red lantern just like yours that comes in my mind! ❤ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beauty. I’ve always wanted a lamp like that! They do take you back, even just the word lantern has a cosy charm to it (though that might just be me). I’ve never experienced such outages, but I can totally get how cathartic it would be – far from being trapped. The longest we’ve ever been without electricity is a few hours, I think; just as mum would start lighting candles, it would all come back on!

    Liked by 1 person

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