Camping Through An Ice Storm

Day 15 #WorldWatercolorGroup Camping Through An Ice Storm Red Kerosene Lantern

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
Profile photo of 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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
53 Comments
  1. Laura (PA Pict) 8 months ago

    What fun memories! I always find it so cosy being trapped indoors by winter weather. So long as we have some source of heat and enough food and toilet paper to get by, we are all good.

  2. Laura (PA Pict) 8 months ago

    I got so caught up in your happy memories that I forgot to write about your painting. I love the way you’ve rendered the glass and all the shades of red.

  3. Andrew Baharom 8 months ago

    nice ! you handle glass so well…

  4. Deb DesMarteau 8 months ago

    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. 🙁

    • Author

      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! 😉👍🏻

      • Deb DesMarteau 8 months ago

        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!

      • Author

        Haha… So glad you asked!! Yeah… I saw that problem so I added the thumbnail. Sorry about the banner growth! Lol

  5. jadeart4 8 months ago

    Charlie, all I can say at this time is – you are one of THE most gifted people I’ve ever had the privilege to know. You are like my Master Yoda. – Cynthia

    • Author

      Awww…you’re too sweet to say that, Cynthia! 😊💕 Hehe… And wow… Yoda?! You have no idea how much that makes me smile, being a child of the 70’s….hehe… I’m also a total Star Wars fan! Best compliment EVER!

  6. jpeters6248 8 months ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah….the world is noisy in so many ways we just don’t realize until we experience a little time unplugged. Best time ever to create!! 😉

  7. Jill Kuhn 8 months ago

    Wow! Awesome Doodlewash, Charlie!!! 💕❤️👍 I often thought it would be fun to “camp” indoors just for the fun of it… And pretend we are camping outdoors. Guess it is the child in me! 🌟🌈🌌

    • Author

      Thanks, Jill! 😃💕 I knew you would appreciate this concept! hehe… I think it’s totally fun and still love being snowed in… but that hasn’t happened for a couple years now. hehe

  8. M. L. Kappa 8 months ago

    Both the painting and the story – just lovely!💕💕💕💕

  9. 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 😀

    • Author

      Thanks, Rebecca!! 😃💕I totally agree!! It would be so awesome to have that time to just paint and make things. I bet the bad lighting could create some cool color combos we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise! Hehe

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 8 months ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks, Sharon!! 😃💕 Wow! Those are great memories…except the rattlesnake. That would scare the crap out of me! lol But yeah…I prefer a nice bed at night to a tent for sure. A way better way to spend an evening!

  11. Margriet Bierens 8 months ago

    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!

    • Author

      Awww thanks, Margriet! 😃💕 Hehe…cheers to being dreamers! Nothing wrong with that! But yeah…I actually went to check the toilet paper supply after writing this. One can never be too careful when it comes to that! Hehe

  12. Even by your high standards this is a truly lovely post with a wonderful painting, Charlie. Your memories of the ice storm are very moving and show that the child is indeed father to the man! Made my day.

    • Author

      What a wonderful comment, Michael! Wow! Thanks so much! 😊😃 I’m so happy you enjoyed this one. It brought me back to such a great time.

  13. Terri Bate 8 months ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Terri!! 😃💕 And cool!! Sounds like you’re enjoying your own little ice storm right this minute!! Perfect! I bet it’s amazing!

  14. memadtwo 8 months ago

    I love the tone of wistfulness. It’s so hard to escape life, especially as an adult. Isn’t it great that words and images can bring back such good times? thanks Charlie!

    • Author

      Thank you!! Yes…I didn’t realize when I started how much more writing I would be doing. It’s been fun illustrating things and seeing where the memories take me. Or visa versa!

  15. creatingincolors 8 months ago

    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.

    • Author

      So happy you’re enjoying my stories! 😃💕 Yeah…those were such great times. I love going back to relive childhood memories!

  16. creatingincolors 8 months ago

    Oh, and I forgot to add in my prior post how much I love that red lantern!

  17. brygydmyry 8 months ago

    I really like this painting! All your stuff is good, but this one is particularly cool looking.

  18. Harrison Monahan 8 months ago

    Sounds so cozy! Great work! I like the way you painted the glass on the lantern. I share the same opinion as you about camping. I need civilization!

  19. Jodi 8 months ago

    what a lovely thought!

  20. whitefeatherfloating 8 months ago

    Your last couple of sentences in this post is exactly how I feel every day! I love your lantern and your story, Charlie! My favorite place to be is “in the zone” while I am painting! 🙂

  21. YesterdayAfter 8 months ago

    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! <3 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks, Carolina! 😃💕 Yeah…this kind of lantern always makes me think about camping, indoors or out! Hehe

      • YesterdayAfter 8 months ago

        Yes there is something about this kind of lantern! 😉

  22. Jacob 8 months ago

    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!

    • Author

      Wow! You’re lucky! Or the electricity is much improved across the pond. That and better weather. Hehe But being trapped is so fun. No need to deal with “real life” and just play for awhile!

  23. Cynthia Jobin 8 months ago

    The painting is masterful, but I also love the reminiscence…..I still have a red lantern exactly like that….

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Cynthia! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this one. That’s awesome you have this lantern. It’s such a beautiful icon. Love it!

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