Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Extended Earth Hour

Last night was Earth Hour, a world-wide energy awareness hour that most of the modern world takes part in. I was looking forward to this time and had big plans. It didn't go quite as expected, but in the end something beautiful happened...

I really wanted to do my first painting by candlelight. Before the lights went out, I sketched what I wanted to paint- a small painting of a beautiful wave breaking, enveloped by jasmine
flowers. The colours would be simple- ultramarine blue, English green deep, cadmium yellow pale, sap green, and white, all pre blended so I wouldn't have to fuss in the dark.

The Moon

I hadn't showered yet and needed one! So to set the mood I poured a hot bath, lit the candles, added some jasmine essential oil to the tub, and got ready to enjoy a long hot bath. But first, lights out!

Setting the ambiance

I didn't want to JUST turn out the lights. I had the fridge on, the heat, the hot water tank- all big energy suckers. So, I flipped the main breaker! Voila, an hour of energy-free living, and I was ready to enjoy it. And I was, until my 16-year old dog, Daizy, got a little freaked out about the no power thing and started to move towards one of her full-fledged panic attacks, just as I was fully relaxing into the peaceful silence.

After my bath, I set to painting my little Earth Hour contribution. I had a hand-crank battery-free lantern and some candles. I was a little nervous about the flame in my studio. Just about everything in there has flammable warnings on it. Last night I quickly developed a fond appreciation for the 'olden day time' artists who created masterpieces prior to the invention of electricity. I was squinting so hard I was starting to get a headache. It just wasn't working. I looked at the time. 9:30 pm. I wanted to do this so badly and was feeling really disappointed with myself and frustrated that I couldn't SEE what I was painting!

I gave in and went down into the basement to flip the main breaker back on. I thought, oh well I tried. That's what counts. It didn't flip. I tried harder, but it wouldn't budge. It was jammed! I kept trying with all my strength. Fearing something would break and I'd get electrocuted, I called my husband's Uncle Bernie, the plumber and jack of all trades. Stefan told me that I could call him if anything went wrong while he as away. Bernie went into a full rant over the phone about how I was supposed to turn out the LIGHTS, not the main breaker, my house wasn't the CN tower, and that the main breaker isn't meant to be switched on and off endlessly because it eventually will jam. He asked if I'd be ok until the morning since I was going to bed soon anyway. I relented, blew out the candles, and went to bed worrying about the freezing cold basement and the pipes, and trying to fall asleep while Daizy panted and paced around the room, still panicking about the lack of electricity running through the walls. I gave her a double-dose of Bach's Sleep Rescue Remedy, and we both eventually drifted off.

This morning when I woke up I could practically see my breath. The house was fridgid! I told Bernie I'd be getting up around 7am. I had no idea what time it was, but was so much warmer under the covers that I didn't want to get up. I threw on my layers and slippers, went down into the storage room and found the propane camping stove. I made my coffee and went up into the studio. I realized then that I hadn't missed the opportunity to paint during Earth Hour after all! I had hours and hours of power-free hours!

I set out to finish the painting I had started in the dark, this time with the help of beautiful sunshine lighting my way...

Jasmine Beach Break
12" round, oil on canvas

In process
This morning, freezing. Wishing I could paint with warm gloves!

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