Watercolors and Blackouts

one watercolor a day exercise one playing with watercolor marks

I joined a wonderful online Facebook group related to the book One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor. You share the exercises you do from the book in a closed group. At the right is the first exercise, sometimes known as Day 1. You were supposed to experiment with different colors and marks on a page, keeping a set palette with each watercolor. I did a lot of what is called wet on wet – you apply water, then a color, then another color – it’s not easy to control, but one sometimes gets lovely results.

So I was wondering when am I going to fit in doing a watercolor a day? Or even one watercolor a week? This past Sunday I learned if you have sunlight but no power, you can paint and paint and paint. At about noon on Saturday we (and thousands of other Edison and Highland Park residents) lost power (there was a damaging fire at a substation in Edison, New Jersey). We did not get out power back until 4 pm on Sunday (others got power back at varying times). It was a totally unexpected blackout. Those who had bought generators after miserable Hurricane Sandy were happy(satisfied?) to use them.

I learned (again) how much we depend on technology and power. Indeed, I had a pile of work I needed to do, but it all had to wait. Happy to have a little space and time to paint with watercolors.

There is also a Facebook group for the book One Drawing a Day (see my review called One Drawing Per Week). I’ll try that one later – one can only do so much.

What would you do if you had no power?

20 thoughts on “Watercolors and Blackouts

  • There was apparently some problem with the fiber optic cables leading to our neighborhood yesterday, and we had to make do [gasp!] without our landline and home Internet connection for about 7-8 hours. Of course, we have cell phones (including smartphones). But nevertheless, it still felt like we were living in “Little House on the Prairie”… 😉

  • There have been a few time when we had issues with electrical outages. This past summer we had on a day of triple digit temps. The company said it would take about two hours to repair. Although we have a generator, we decided to all get into the car and go to the mall for a couple of hours. When we returned it was back on.

    Other times we just had to make do as best we could…read a book, whatever.

    • We have been researching generators. The prices vary from $80 to more than $8000. My neighbor used her in-house automatic, hooked to the gas line generator for the first time – nice.

      Maybe it’s the lack of control that I hate. We were promised 6:30 – 8:30 pm Saturday … that stretched to noon on Sunday which became 2 pm and then 4 pm for us and later for others.

      Missed my usual blogging time (Sunday morning).

      • Don’t get me wrong…if the utilities are out, I am not a happy Lorri. I hate the lack of control, and have difficulty not being able to blog and interact online if the cable goes out. My phone doesn’t do it for me…I prefer my computer, especially for writing posts.

        I felt bad for you, but glad everything is back on.

      • I think it’s worse for us since we had that lengthy outage last year – some for over two weeks. So we wonder if it will happen again, naturally.

        I can’t imagine anyone likes these outages! They are especially bad for the elderly, and we have a lot of elderly in our town. An older friend stayed with someone with power – I was happy to hear that.

  • We want to get a gas generator that tied into the gas line after having been without power several,times. Really a painting a day? Seems like a lot… Michelle

    • Yes, Michelle, that’s the kind we are considering.

      I would be happy with a painting a week. Sort of like how I’m happy with a blog post a week …

  • I admire your calm, creative response to the situation. I was busy brooding about the expense of getting the built-in generator that hooks to the gas line. I have a portable, but I wasn’t about to try to hook it up to my sump pump in the pouring rain. So, when I hooked it up to the sump pump the next day, it was to drain my already flooded basement.

    • My post may have a calm tone, but I wrote it much after the fact. I was planning to paint at some point, but I was more concerned about a long list of work I needed to do. So some painting happened; the work is still a bit back-loaded (just because my vacation plans coincide with my academic clients paying attention to their web needs).

      Oh, sounds like maybe you should invest in your basement not getting flooded? We’ve never had a flood in ours (poo, poo, though it’s been 15 years that we’ve lived here, so that tells us something).

  • It has been eons since I have done wet on wet water colors. You are indeed inspiring to my butt in gear and start doing what I used to do. I’m sorry you had a outage, but I’m really happy it gave you the space and time to do this. 🙂

  • I’m glad the blackout gave you some time to paint. I was in the middle of painting my large canvas which I have to do in my basement so the lighting didn’t work, but I managed to do some smaller work upstairs.

    • How little we pay attention to our power needs until they are gone! I realized I could paint, but only as long as there is daylight. Flashlight or camp lantern would not be enough.

  • These are lovely images Leora – I particularly like the bottom 2. I find it frustrating to be so dependant on technology/electricity, and yet I let it take over, just like most people do. An enforced break is always good. When I’m on vacation, I deliberately don’t go online, and I read, write, – pencil on paper or paint, depending on what mood I’m in. I should force myself to have mini vacations of an hour or so more often. Big believer in little & often. Thanks for the post. V. enjoyable:-)

    • Thank you, A.K., for commenting on the watercolors themselves! I really prefer to hear comments on my artwork than discussing/rehashing outages again. But it does make me appreciate what we have.

      My “vacations” aren’t really vacation, as I am working to keep other family members happy. I feel lucky when we get to a great art museum or I get to go skiing. I will try to work in time for me to do some artwork. Late at night I seem to get too tired.

  • I’ve never mastered the control needed for water colour, but I love the effect.

    I think painting is an excellent way to spend the weekend…even if you have power :).

    • Debra, funny, I’m looking forward to everyone going back to work/school, so the dining room is available again. There are two family members working in there now. I suppose I could invade with some paints – when I finish some more work.

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