Today’s prompt is “educational toy” and my mind strangely leapt to the unlikely candidate known as a Lite-Brite. This little invention came along in the late 60’s and allowed you to create artistic masterpieces that literally glowed by jamming multi-colored translucent plastic pegs (shown in this doodlewash) through black paper. All of this happened on top of a rather unsightly box that housed a standard lightbulb to produce a glowing effect through the pegs. As a kid, I ended up playing with a Lite-Brite long before I ever took my first drawing class, so this was my first experience learning to find the contours that make a thing look like the thing you intended. The pixellated creations didn’t allow for much detail, so you had to learn how to abstract them into their basic shapes while choosing the appropriate hues. And no matter what you made, the end result glowed in vibrant color and so it was guaranteed to look cool!

Although this little game could hardly qualify as painting, in my little mind at the time, I was indeed painting masterful luminescent art. Each little glowing peg I placed was like a stroke of the brush and, diligently popping in my pegs, I would eventually manage to make something amazing appear. Mostly, again, because of the glowing nature of my medium, but I was certain nobody had ever created a sailboat quite as incredible as that one. Interestingly, I was proud of everything I created as a child, but today, I’ll consider some things a failure and hope the next painting is a little more successful. Little Charlie never once worried if what he made was wonderful, because he already knew that it was. It wasn’t there before. I’d made it appear there, and therefore it was magical and amazingly good. There was never any doubt.

I’m not sure quite when I managed to lose this extreme level of confidence in my art. Perhaps it was that time later in art class when I was told there was actually a proper way to draw and paint. Maybe it was even before that when my creations where not just lauded by my mother, but actually seen and judged by my friends. Whenever it happened, today when I’m feeling uncertain, I just like to think back to my time with those little Lite-Brite pegs. Everything was possible and nothing could stop me from creating that stunning glowing fish or that perfectly symmetrical flower. I had no concept that this wasn’t real art and felt the power of my creativity with each little colorful glow. Many, many years later I would discover watercolor and once again enjoy the fabulous effects of a luminous palette. Still never worrying too much if what I’d created could actually be considered art and simply letting myself get lost in the wondrous experience of painting with light.

Join us for the January Doodlewash Adventure: Childhood Memories,
Click Here to Learn More!

About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Sennelier Red, Red Orange, Phthalo. Green Light, Phthalocyanine Blue, Ultramarine Deep  and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
Day 3 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Educational Toy Lite-Brite pegs vintage toys retro

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie

37 thoughts on “Painting With Light

  1. What a wonderful story of uninhibited creation! We all need to get some of that fearlessness of youth back (not too much or we’d hurt our sorry older asses…LOL!). You got a beautiful glow in the painting! 💙

    1. I didn’t remember that there was a jingle, so I Googled it. And now I, too, have it playing in my head. At least I brought it on myself. hehehehe

  2. Marvellous! Now comes the bit where you tell us you did all this with just two colours? 😉

    What a fantastically retro toy! And not the Speak ‘N’ Spell that I immediately predicted, given the prompt – this looks much more fun. 😛 I can vaguely recall similar, non-flourescent toys that did a similar job, but the introduction of light just takes it to another level, and I’m sure little me would have enjoyed it. A google for some of the stuff people have made is joyous!

    1. Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 Lol… nope… not 2 colors on this one… I’m not that magical. But it could have been done with only 3 instead of the 7 I actually used. (I was lazy…hehe). I actually thought of the Speak ‘n’ Spell, but then the Lite-Brite ultimately won out. It’s definitely fun to see what people can make with it though. Fun when things you had as a kid are still around. Makes me feel less old.

  3. As soon as I saw the Doodlewash, I knew what they are though Lite Brite is a toy I’d otherwise forgotten about. We bought sets for our sons and they had a great time creating pictures. It was one of those toys that I wondered why it had taken someone so long to think up. Of course the little pegs were always all over the house, and were they ever a pain to step on – literally. I think there are still dents in my feet from them.

    You’ve got a little kid in you, Charlie, the one who keeps getting you to be creative, loving, and upbeat. But you’re also an adult, capable of looking at the world through a mature lens. It’s the one that tells you have more to learn and practice and keeps you trying new things. Like a new Doodlewash every day. Great job!

  4. I so loved creating, “art” on my lite brite!! Thanks for reminding me of those sweet childhood memories, Charlie!! 💕🎨 Great post today, friend! 🌈😃 And who cares if it is art as long as you have fun creating it!! Cheers🍷

  5. I remember that toy, I always wanted one, but sadly in never entered our house, but my friend had one, so I did have a few goes…..directed by her! I was not allowed to do it on my own, because it was her toy, that she knew how to use, and so I just obliged, I was happy to stick pegs where I was told, just to see the end result of the light show.😀

    1. Yeah, there have been quite a few changes lately and some seem a little clunky. Actually, I followed myself just to be sure my posts even showed up in the Reader. This one didn’t until I republished it. I think my Reader works pretty similarly though. What’s the change you’re not liking?

    2. Beverly… I just realized what you meant on how WordPress displays in the Reader! On the Web version, it’s totally different. I was using the Desktop app and everything looked the same. With the Online version… everything is cropped oddly and condensed. Yeah… not a fan! Doesn’t work for artwork at all!

  6. I have to admit that I remember this toy from commercials in the 1980’s. The great thing about that product is that it combines education and entertainment. If you could be so kind as to check out my blog and tell me what you think that would be greatly appreciated.

Leave Me A Comment!

%d bloggers like this: